October 20, 2017

Truth or Truce

By Billy Boyd

The word of God is graphic in its portrayal between the forces of right and wrong, truth and error. The
initiation of this struggle is pictured in the opening chapters of the book of Genesis and the conclusion of the
conflict is found in the closing chapters of the book of Revelation. While Christ and His saints will inevitably gain
the victory by wielding the sword of truth, the triumph will not be won without gigantic struggle. Satan is a
formidable foe (1 Pet. 5 :8) and must not be underestimated (2 Cor. 2:11) . He knows quite well that the victory
against him can be gained only with truth, and thus he is most diligent, and often successful, in inducing man to
trade truth for truce.


In reality, we are all continually confronted with the alternative of truth or truce. To win a battle is not to win
the war which is another way of saying that to have the truth in one particular is not to have it in all things. It is
entirely possible for us to hold a sufficient guard on one front but leave ourselves completely open on another.
The goal of the Christian must be, at all times, to obtain "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." In
making a staunch stand for the truth, the Christian soldier should give careful consideration to a number of
factors, lest while standing for truth in one way he may make a truce in another.


1. We trade truth for truce when we occupy a position because of popularity or pressure. Often times, the way of
truth is not the way of popularity. People-pleasing preaching did not originate with either Peter or Paul. When
Peter was charged not to "speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus," he answered, "Whether it is right in the
sight of God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye: for we cannot but speak the things which we
saw and heard" (Acts 4:19). Paul affirmed the same truth in I Thess. 2:4: "but even as we have been approved of
God to be intrusted with the gospel, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God who proveth our hearts." If and
when the way of truth becomes unpopular with men, a plurality of pressures are brought to bear upon the one
standing for truth. Yet, if one compromises his convictions because of these pressures, he has chosen truce instead
of truth.


In many circles today, pressures are being brought upon preachers and congregations in regards to current
issues. These pressures range from the withdrawal of financial support to the boycotting of one's usefulness.
Congregations receiving help from other places are told to either replace the preacher or lose the financial
backing. Preachers are approached with the alternatives of being silent on certain matters or being sent on their
way without support. Young preachers are being pressured with the impression that if they take a certain position
they will be unable to find a place to preach. It is to be feared that there has been a resurrection of the disposition
of Amaziah the priest who said to Amos, "O thou seer, go, flee thou away unto the land of Judah, and there eat
bread, and prophecy there: but prophesy not again any more at Bethel; for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a
royal house" (Amos 7:12, 13). "Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac"
(Amos 7:16).


Since those who bring such pressures to bear, usually imply that only a small minority differ with them, we
need to understand anew that truth is not determined either by popularity or by pressure. The following words
about truth and minority by John B. Gouch are certainly pertinent:


Minority! If a man stand up for the right, though the right be on the scaffold, while the wrong sits in the
seat of government; if he stands for the right, though he eat with the right and truth a wretched crust; if he
walk with obloquy and scorn in the by-lanes and streets, while falsehood and wrong ruffle it in silken
attire-let him remember that wherever the right and truth are, there are always "troops of beautiful, tall
angels" gathering round him, and God Himself stands within the dim future and keeps watch over His
own! If a man stands for the right and truth, though every man's finger be pointed at him, though every
woman's lip be curled at him in scorn, he stands in a majority, for God and good angels are with him, and
greater are they that are for him than all they that be against him!


Those who are dedicated to the way of truth cannot make a truce because of either popularity or pressure.


2. We trade truth for truce when we allow one extreme to cause us to go to another. The reality of liberalism
does not justify the embracing of legalism. Rationalism is not corrected by radicalism. It is possible to become so
zealous in opposing one error that we may adopt another. When opposing error, we cannot "fight fire with fire,"
for error cannot be defeated with error, but only with the truth.


I am quite sure that in the present controversy in the church, many weak and faulty arguments have been
presented on both sides. I am equally sure that such weak and faulty arguments do nothing to strengthen one's
position even though it be the true one. Truth must not be supported by the "bruised reed" of erroneous reasoning
and misapplied scriptures. We must not become so anxious to combat digression that we make an application to
such from every scripture we read, for when this is done, it only serves to strengthen those innovations we
oppose. In defending the truth, let us weigh our arguments very carefully in the crucible of God's word, lest we be
found to make a truce by striving to defend truth with the sword of falsehood.


3. We trade truth for truce when we allow a lag between what we say and what we do. One of the chief cries
that arises from those who try to defend unscriptural practices is that those who oppose the practices are inconsistent. In most cases, this may be said when it is not so, and even when it is so, it does not justify an
unscriptural practice. Yet, we must seek to be consistent in defending the truth, for though inconsistency on our
part does not make the other person right, it does make us wrong. The Pharisees of Jesus' day were condemned
not so much for their false positions as they were for their failure in practice. Jesus said, "The scribes and the
Pharisees sit on Moses' seat: all things therefore whatsoever they bid you, these do and observe: but do not ye
after their works; for they say and do not" (Matt. 23:2,3) . This same type of inconsistency brought a stern rebuke
from Paul. "Thou therefore that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?" (Rom. 2:21.) When there is a glaring
inconsistency between what a person says and what he does, he either does not practice what he believes or else
he does not believe what he practices. In either case, he stands condemned by the standard which he holds forth to
others.


One of the most destructive ways to trade truth for truce is to fail to carry out the Lord's will in a positive and
scriptural way. I am not in sympathy with those who place a blanket epithet of "do nothing" upon those with
whom they disagree. But neither am I in sympathy with those who rightly deserve such an epithet because they
are actually doing nothing. We are not actually standing for truth until we are standing with an aggressive
program of taking the word of God into the world. And those who are determined to stand for the simplicity and
purity of the Lord's way are thrice bound to be energetic and enthusiastic in holding forth the word of life. If the
present trend of digression cannot be diverted, let us at least resolve that we shall abound in the work of the Lord,
so that his cause will still move forward. Any lag between what we say and what we do will be a truce with the
forces of digression.


4. We trade truth for truce when we occupy a right position with a wrong attitude. While we defend the word
of Christ, we must not default the Spirit 6f Christ. Jesus' victory over Satan was gained not only by his
uncompromising stand for truth, but also by the humility and meekness in which he stood. It is difficult to
experience abuse, ridicule, misrepresentation and even lying, without retaliating in any way. Yet, this is just the


position that the true Christian must take. Even if some choose to engage in unfair tactics, we must set "a straight
course in the word of truth," and not be turned aside in word or deed.


5. We trade truth for truce when we strive to occupy a neutral position in the battle for right. Jesus said, "He
that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth" (Matt. 12:30). There are some
who try to justify a non-committal position on current issues by saying that truth is often in the middle of the road
between two extremes. It may sometimes be true that truth is between two extremes, but even when this is the
case, the Christian cannot be non-committal. He must then walk in the middle and oppose both extremes. The
doctrine of "faith only" is the opposite extreme of the Catholic doctrine of works of merit. While the truth is in the
middle between these extremes; no true Christian can be neutral in this controversy. He must affirm that in Christ
it is "faith working through love" that avails, and at the same time, he must oppose both erroneous extremes. A
neutral, non-committal position is always a truce and is maintained at the sacrifice of truth.


The classic scriptural example of one who traded truth for truce is Baalim, "who loved the hire of wrong
doing." He was in the awkward position where he dared not speak contrary to the word of God, and yet he
desired greatly to speak to please Balaak. His resulting action was a compromise which was as displeasing to God
as outright disobedience. We, too, are faced with the alternative, Truth or Truce. What choice will we make?


Truth Magazine, V:9, pp. 5-7
June 1961

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