"Where Do You Stand?"

P. J. Casebolt
Paden City, West Virginia

If we believe a thing, we should know why we believe it, and be ready to give an answer to those who ask why we believe it (1 Pet. 3:15). The Scriptures will furnish us with sufficient information so that we may make a decision on anything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3: 2 Tim. 3:16, 17). Peter did not say that we had to answer every question put to us, but those that pertain to "the hope" that is in us. Even Jesus did not answer all questions put to him, depending on the nature of the question and the attitude of the questioner. In fact, Paul says we should avoid the "foolish and unlearned questions" (2 Tim. 2:23).

It is understandable that when an issue presents itself one may need some time to think it through before coming to a conclusion and taking a position. This course would be advisable for anyone, and especially for younger preachers. One may even change his position, and should, if he has previously been wrong. However, it should not be necessary to spend years deciding what course to pursue with regards to something that pertains to the salvation of our souls and affects the welfare of the church. It is always wise to take the safer of two courses, at least until one has had time to assemble all facts and is certain of the course be should pursue.

Once we have taken a position on anything, we should declare that position plainly enough so that others may know where we stand, often enough to deliver our souls, and discreetly enough so that it does not become an obsession with us. Circumstances will determine how frequently and how fervently we advance our position.

Though the foregoing be true, I resent the implication that a gospel preacher has to identify himself with a certain paper, college, or program sponsored by certain brethren. Neither do I think it necessary to declare myself every time certain preachers are in my audience (whether we agree or disagree), nor, do I expect another preacher to depart from his text or sermon in order to say something just for my benefit. Another is not necessarily sound or unsound because he fails to imitate me in every respect. We should all strive to be followers of Christ, true to our convictions, and constant visitors to the word of God and the throne of God as we seek for truth and wisdom. Where do I stand? On the solid rock, and on the promises of God.

April 1967