By Daniel H. King
The word “anti” has been unblushingly used to refer to brethren who, in recent decades, have opposed the machinations and promotions of certain “big churches” and “big-name preachers,” as well as a host of human institutions. Many of the ideas have so little resemblance to anything found in the Bible that few can be found to defend them in public debate or private discussion. Yet the caustic title “anti” has served in many instances as sufficiently derogatory as to need neither argument nor reason in defense of the promotions. It conjures up all sorts of baleful notions, “anti-located preacher,” “anti-Sunday school,” “anti-multiple-containers-in-the-Lord’s-Supper,” etc.
That we do not believe these things any more than they do makes no impression upon the one who has heard the blast. The reason: we seldom have the opportunity to defend ourselves. The use of this ugly word alone is enough to close the investigation. After all, who wants to be labeled “anti”?
Well, I think upon further consideration and reflection we ought to, every one of us,. be downright proud to be called “anti,” especially with the course that we see many presently taking throughout the brotherhood. The term itself simply means “against,” and I am prepared to admit that I am “against” a great many things. For example:
(1) 1 am “against” the theory of evolution as an explanation of the origin of the world and man. Divine revelation says God created the world in six consecutive days, with all of its hosts (Ex. 20:11). 1 am “against” any view that conflicts with this scriptural teaching. Yet some liberal brethren have figured out a way to believe both the Bible and evolution, or so they say. Reminds me of a little boy who told his teacher that two plus two equals three. “No, it equals four,” she replied. “It equals that too!” said he. Here we deal with two mutually exclusive answers to the origin of the universe – and some consider them complimentary!
(2) I am “against” fellowshipping those as brethren who are not “in Christ,” since they dwell in darkness (Eph. 5:11). I also oppose brethren who believe and practice heresy, for the incredibly simple reason that God said to do just that (Rom. 16:17-18). Nevertheless there are those who consider the unimmersed. as brothers and fellow Christians. They have little practical or theoretical use for verses of scripture like Gal. 3:27 and Rom. 6:3-4. The same people wink at every sort of error and will fail to endorse no one, accept every form of adulterous relationship and spread the umbrella of “open membership” over all that come their way, then make all sorts of boasts and brags about how they have grown and rank among “the great churches of the brother hood.” Disciplinary action, with drawing of fellowship, and marking of false teachers is a thing of the hoary past. I am definitely “anti” that entire hog wallow.
(3) I am “against” the gimmicks and tricks and devious tactics being heralded all across our land as the way to church growth. Puppet ministries, bus ministries with all of their dubious modes of enticement and motivational tricks, carnal rewards, church birthday and anniversary banquets, “children’s church,” church testimonial dinners and the rest, have taken the place of the saving gospel of Jesus (Rom. 1:16) in houses of worship where the thunder of great Bible preaching was once heard – but echoes no more. No question about it, I am “anti” all such nonsense.
(4) I am “against” the watered-down preaching of the bland, neutral, “lovey-dovey,” “soft-soap,” spineless importers who fill a multitude of pulpits in churches of Christ across our broad land and around the world. As far as they are concerned there is no such thing as sin, only many “social problems”; the church is merely a social and recreational club; their major concern is that the church make a good impression in the neighborhood and fulfill all of its social obligations. The only time trey have anything negative to say is when they warn their flocks about the dread “antis,” those dastardly enemies of digression! It would be safe to say that I am “anti” with reference to what these men represent.
In addition to these things I can think of many things I am opposed to: fornication, theft, murder, agnosticism and atheism, Catholicism, Methodism, Presbyterianism, Calvinism, Pentecostalism, Neo-Pentecostalism, modernism, premillennialism, drinking and gambling, cursing and swearing, and a lot more! Why, all of us who renounce and denounce these things (along with the Herald of Truth and other unscriptural conglomerates and church-supported institutions) deserve a better name than just “anti.” Maybe we should be called “ultra-antis,” “hyper-antis,” or even “super-antis”!
Seriously, though, we have no right to be “against” anything that God is in favor of. But God’s favor is clearly and easily demonstrable. Book, chapter and verse; Bible authority, be it general or specific, command, example or necessary inference drawn from scripture. Any of these will do. But if there is none, then God is not in favor, and we had better be “anti”!
Truth Magazine XXIV: 8, p. 130
February 21, 1980