By Leslie Diestelkamp
Every real Christian must indeed be tired of the constant conflict to which we are continually committed. War is always a grueling experience, but this is especially so in case of civil war-war between people of the same citizenship. And the same is true spiritually. Doctrinal conflict with denominational forces may become frustrating but when that same kind of struggle is with our own brethren in the Lord it is significantly more demoralizing.
Perhaps 99% of God’s faithful people have a burning desire for peace and unity and an overwhelming yearning for an end of internal conflict among brethren. Oh how we wish we could awake some morning soon and find that divisive issues have disappeared and that total love and harmony prevails! “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Ps. 133:1). How wonderful it would be if we would all be “endeavoring to keep the, unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3).
But real peace has never been the lot of faithful Christians. We were made to be soldiers (Eph. 6:10;17), not just nurse-maids. We are ordered to contend (Jude 3), not to compromise. We are built up as living stones (I Pet. 2:5), not as soft modeling clay. Our greatest mission is not peace, but purity (Jas. 3:17). And so, without malice for people, indeed with sincere love and good will for -all, especially for brethren, we must relentlessly wage a good warfare (I Tim. 1:18; 6:12), not only upholding truth, but also opposing error.
Some brethren who actually believe truth, and who desire no departure, have apparently become so battle-weary that they have become obsessed with peace, even peace at any price. This is a destructive and deadly attitude and will, if pursued by many, bring great havoc to the Lord’s church. But some of these are now so determined to have fellowship with all brethren that they even refuse to recognize the line that others have drawn-they are trying to ignore a division others produced and force a unity others neither desire nor allow.
Most of the advocates of church support of human institutions and of sponsoring churches today obviously do not want fellowship with opponents of such programs. They have drawn a line of demarcation so sharply that it cannot be crossed by me, regardless of how much I might desire, without a complete surrender of my conscience that would render me a spineless, milque toast, unworthy of respect by God or man!
We must not allow battle-fatigue to hinder our over-riding objective-to seek peace with purity. So we must fight on, for this warfare is not really ours but, “the battle is the Lord’s” (1Sam. 17:47).
Truth Magazine, XVIII:37, p. 2
July 25, 1974