September 22, 2017

“Take Courage–Raise Your Voice in Objection to Error”

By James Nicholson

It would seem that there is an unwritten law, teaching that it is a sign of Christian virtue to remain silent in the face of every opposition. If this is the law of Christ, then His cause will be defeated by His own prohibition.

Jesus has taught His disciples to be peacemakers and to be longsuffering (Matthew 5:8; Luke 6:29). There is no child of God, who is a lover of truth and not a peacemaker as well. There is a time when a child of God, who is a lover of truth, and who wants peace, must use the sword of the Spirit which may cause division as it cuts off sin. The child of God will not use the sword of the Spirit for personal victory, but when under conviction that a practice is error must raise his voice in objection to error.

When the early Christians were persecuted in Jerusalem, they were forced to flee the city (Acts 8:1). We might expect that the fear of their past experience would stop their mouths from any further acknowledgment of Christ. But not so. The scriptures record, "They that were scattered abroad went about preaching the word" (Acts 8:4).

Early Christians on many occasions spoke out against the religious error of the day. The apostle Paul frequently pointed out the religious error in order to teach the truth (Acts 17:16-17, 22-23; 19:23-27). Apostles and Christians were forced to deal repeatedly with error within the body of Christ (1 Cor. 1:10-11; 5; 6:1-10; 2Timothy 4:2-4; Romans 16-17; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Due to the continued practice of sin in the body of Christ, a permanent division took place (1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Thess. 2:3-4; Rev. 2:4; 3 John 9-11). It is unfair to conclude that God's plans for Christ's church were inferior, therefore causing the division to arise. The Lord has made every preparation for unity in the body of Christ His church. If all men would respect the inspired plan for unity in Ephesians 4:1-6, error would cease to be taught.

God having sent only one Spirit makes for unity of revelation, which should give man unity of understanding unless one seeks out another revelation. God having sent only one Lord makes for unity of authority, and provides no room for the "think so's" of men. God having delivered only one faith makes for unity of doctrine providing man with unity of preaching. We must conclude that God has made every preparation for unity in the body of Christ. Man has failed, being beguiled by subtle satanic schemes, as Eve was misled by her appetites (Genesis 3:5, 13; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Jno. 2:16).

Who was it that brought about the first division in the church of Jesus Christ? Who is it that has brought about the present division in the body of Christ? Is it the one who endeavors to correct a sinning brother, by raising his voice in objection to the error? Such was not true in the days of the apostles. It is the authority of God's word -- the sword of the Spirit, as it cuts off sin that causes a division to arise.

Christ divided the church from the first century just as He said He would divide families. It is the same sword of the Spirit that has set apart a husband from his wife, and a son from his father (Matthew 10:34-38; Luke 12:51-53).

I want there to be peace in the body of Christ. I would that there be no division. But when the sword of the Spirit is that whereby men are to be saved and the church to be directed -- and men continue to invent religious practices unto themselves, then there will be religious division in the world and in the body of Christ.

Let us not cry for peace, when peace cannot exist in the same house with sin (Matthew 12:22-30). May we not be like Israel of old when Jeremiah the prophet said, "Thus saith Jehovah, stand ye in the paths and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls: but they said, we will not walk therein" (Jeremiah 6:16).

Error is error and you must have courage to oppose it regardless of who teaches it. Of course there are times when silence is best~ when being slow to speak is expedient, but there are times when silence is sinful. At the expense of truth and the salvation of souls, silence and slowness to speak are not virtues. "If anyone sin, in that he heareth the voice of adjuration; he being a witness, whether he hath seen or known, if he do not utter it then he shall bear his iniquity" (Leviticus 5:1).

The ranks are expanding in the church of those who do not wish to be "involved" when troubles arise over false teaching, perverted practices or disorderly conduct. Perhaps it is your influence that is most needed to be felt at the moment. It could be your maturity, your gentleness or your positiveness by conviction that could cause a possible drifter to reconsider his unchartered course spiritually. Do not be misled to believe that "silence is golden" in situations where it is cowardly. "If he do not utter it then he shall bear his iniquity."

A most timely article has appeared in the July edition of the Reader's Digest. It is called, "A Time for Moral Courage." I would like to encourage you to absorb the contents of the article, and come away practicing the principle.

Readers, this life is too short, our death is too certain, and God's eternity too long for us to refuse to study any vital issue such as those which divide God's people today. If we are wrong, we should be willing to change. If we are right, we should be desirous of taking any and every opportunity to teach those who are in error. May God help each of us to cultivate these attitudes in our handling of the sword of the Spirit. Take courage --raise your voice in objection to error.

Truth Magazine VIII: 12, pp. 13-14
September 1964

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