By Weldon E. Warnock
After reading for a period of time the pompous pronouncements and diverted and deviate declarations of Ensign, a paper published in Huntsville, Alabama, I feel compelled to say a few things in defense of the truth of the gospel. I entitle this article, “A Short Jab,” because it does not require a “haymaker” to K.O. the wisdom of men.
The writers in Ensign, by and large, rationalize, theorize, opinionize, liberalize and nearly every other kind of “ize,” but never scripturalize their audacious assertions. They sound like a broken record that plays one tune over and over. They want to fellowship every digressive renegade and spiritual derelict regardless of what he believes or practices, just as long as he affirms that Jesus is the Christ. They do make reservations for immorality (except adulterous marriages, per Olan Hick’s position), but doctrine has no bounds. It is not the what but the who that really matters, they tell us.
But my Bible, their Bi6le, and your Bible, teaches differently, and it does not take an Einstein to see it, either. Jesus and doctrine go hand in hand. None of us can have a covenant relationship with Jesus while at the same time walking after the doctrines and commandments of men. Those who do not believe this do not believe the Bible or they are grossly ignorant of this fact.
Read, study and scrutinize the following Scriptures and see how clear, plain and explicit the Word of God is about the importance of doctrine. I am quoting from the King James Version. I trust this version is not too outdated for the “intelligentsia” among us.
1. Those who do not abide in the doctrine of Christ hath not God. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn. 9). God will not fellowship digressives, so why do the Ensign brethren want to fellowship them?
2. Doctrines of men make worship vain. “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9). Instrumental music is a commandment of men, and those who use it are worshiping in vain. You Ensign brethren ought to know this, but do you believe it? Proponents of instrumental music are blind leaders of the blind, yet you want to fellowship them. Jesus said, “Let them alone” (Matt. 15:14).
3. No other doctrine is to be taught. “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:3). There is only one doctrine. However, men teach other doctrines that are false and destructive. They desire to be teachers of the law, but they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm (1 Tim. 6:7). Sounds like Paul had these ultraliberals in mind that are running to and fro, sowing doubt and discord among brethren.
4. We are saved through doctrine. “Take heed to thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:16). Ensign tells us it does not make any difference about the doctrine, just the moral behavior. Wonder why Paul did not know that when he wrote Timothy? Paul said it takes both – both moral conduct and doctrine.
5. We are to continue in the apostles’ doctrine. “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine… ” (Acts 2:42). Ensign teaches us that we do not have to continue in the apostles’ doctrine – that any doctrine will do if you are sincere and honest about what you believe and practice. Of course, I would like for them to pick out the sincere from the insincere. I have never seen a false teacher or a brother in error who claimed to be anything else but sincere. I can only extend fellowship to a brother on the basis of what he does, not by what he thinks. God knows his heart. I can know only his manner of life.
6. False doctrine is to be avoided. “(Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men” (Col. 2:21-22). Paul said to “mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned and avoid them” (Rom. 16:17). Ketcherside, Garrett and all of their persuasion fraternize every schism, party and heretical group in the country who claim to be the Lord’s church. Paul says, “mark and avoid them,” and Ensign says, “receive and fellowship them.” What an incongruity between these men and their pious platitudes and an inspired apostle.
Listen, Jesus said, “Any why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Lk. 6:46). This verse certainly sounds like Jesus cannot be our Lord unless we do what He says. Again, Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (Jn. 12:48). Jesus and His words go together. Jesus cannot be divorced from what He said.
Jesus is our Lord, Savior, Priest, and King. We trust in Him, depend on Him, live in Him, and walk in Him. But all of these are contingent upon our abiding in the truth He spoke. “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (Jn. 8:31).
In conclusion, may I ask, plead and beg the writers of Ensign to please give us biblical arguments, Scripture, book, chapter and verse instead of a verbosity of – human wisdom, trite sayings, and denominational jargon. Then, and only then, will you be contributing something worthwhile that will help bring brethren together in unity of doctrine and practice.
Do not tell us that doctrine cannot be understood, either. Paul said, “Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is” (Eph. 5:15).
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 22, pp. 691, continued on page 678
November 15, 1984