Stand Up, Be Counted And Fight!
J. Wiley Adams
In every religious controversy there are those who lack the courage to fight for what they know is right. The very thought of challenging error and its proponents causes their hearts to melt within them and their blood to become as water. In private discussion they wax eloquent and adamantly pronounce the anathema of God upon those of the liberal element in the church. But in public it is different.
Some preaching brethren are occasionally afforded an opportunity to speak to an audience that is teachable on current problems in the church. They are invited to speak with no strings attached and will end up preaching on first principles or Christian living. They "muff" the opportunity and may never get another at that place. Should not the medicine be applied to the sore place? One Valley preacher sold out not long ago because he was unwilling to risk the loss of life-long friendships in standing for what he admitted was unquestionably the truth. Why would a man be more afraid of the censure of men than of the disapproval of Almighty God?
Meanwhile, the liberals wax bolder and bolder. Proclaimers of the old Jerusalem gospel are openly censured, meetings canceled, and lines drawn tight and clear and unmistakably. Brethren in liberal congregations are given to understand that they must swallow these liberal projects and stifle their consciences or get out. If they leave they are branded as a faction and stigmatized all around. This is happening all over the Ohio Valley. In the face of this, one group of brethren was called in question for making these matters a "test" by a preacher in the West Virginia panhandle. This is unmitigated gall. This same preacher in a lecture series near Fairmont a few years ago suggested that certain preachers be "benched" and he 'now laments these brethren making it a "test." When his own meetings were in jeopardy, it was a horse of a different color. The really lamentable thing is that God's people are being led farther and farther into error while many who know the truth just stand and wring their hands in dismay, fearing even that someone might have seen them do that.
Some of this "private" soundness on the part of many has a most hollow ring to it. If the many brethren who know the truth on these matters would fight "publicly" like they sound "privately," they would either change things where they worship or have to get out. But the idea of leaving even a liberal church causes some to have goose pimples. What? Division? Never! It does not seem to occur to them that God requires that his faithful separate themselves from error. This is division! We should, of course, try to show brethren the error of their way but when that fails we must cease to fellowship them. "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5: 11). When fellowship is withdrawn, we have separated ourselves from the advocates of error. We are commanded not only to cease fellowship but to "reprove" those who continue in such courses of error.
It is not going to do any good to moan and howl about the liberal shenanigans of our time and still align ourselves with those who are doing them. This is true whether we are in a liberal congregation and will not leave, or whether we leave sound brethren and move to a liberal church. What's the difference?
The cause of Christ would be greatly strengthened if these "private" sound (?) brethren would become public sound brethren - on every occasion. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord . . ." (2 Cor. 6:17). It is high time, brethren, for you to stand up, be counted, and fight! That is, if you are ever going to.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XII: 12, pp. 7-8