Art Thou He that Troubleth Israel ?

By Voyd N.Ballard

In every generation there have been some of God’s people that have rejected Him and determined in their hearts to have their own way, regardless of what God says. This was true of God’s people in the days of the prophet Elijah, and it is equally true today.

These perverters of truth never want their false doctrines and practices exposed, and while pretending to “love” everything arid everybody, they cry long and loud against any and all that have the courage to expose them and their teachings. They cry, “Let us alone,” “You are causing trouble in the church,” “You are trying to censor everyone else and build up a clique of your own.” Others who claim to stand for the truth just stand on the sidelines and say, “We believe in preaching the truth and exposing error, but we don’t like the way you are doing it.” Of the two, the latter is the most deceptive; he is the one most likely to lead brethren into error, for by his constant criticizing of those who are exposing false teachers he leads many brethren to think the exposers of error are just “trouble makers” and if they would just “leave these things alone they will soon die out and not bother us anymore.” Proof of this can be seen in institutional churches all over the land today. Many of these churches could have been saved from the clutches of institutionalism if those who claimed to be sound preachers had taken a stand and preached the truth on the work of the church, and exposed the errors of institutionalism fifteen or twenty years ago. But they did not do it. They didn’t want to “rock the boat.” They said, “These issues are not bothering us here.” They criticized brethren that were preaching against these big promotional projects and said, “they are just causing a lot of trouble over nothing.” As a result of this attitude hundreds of churches went into institutionalism that probably could have been saved had these fellows taught them the truth before they became so steeped in these errors. Some eighteen or twenty years ago when I was preaching in Ventura, California, and was being partially supported by the church meeting at 1345 Mountain View Avenue in San Bernardino, California (no reflection on this congregation) Thomas Allen Robertson who was the preacher in San Bernardino (arid whom I am sure the elders there thought was sound in the faith on the issues) wrote me that I should “just preach the truth in Ventura and ignore the institutional brethren.” I think I know now what he really meant was, “Don’t expose institutionalism.” This statement is based on the fact that he is now preaching for a liberal church in Porterville, and is a panel member of a question and answer program on a television station which they advertise as “sponsored by the church in Tulare, California and under the supervision of the Tulare elders.” This program is actually a small “Herald of Truth,” and nobody knows it better than Thomas Allen Robertson. They claim they will answer live and over the air “any Bible related question,” but when I phoned in the following question: “Where is the passage of scripture that authorizes the arrangement you have in soliciting money from all the churches to be sent to the Tulare elders to spend in sponsoring and supervising your T.V. program?” They held me on the phone until after the program went off the air, and then one of their panel members came on and said he would talk to me privately. He informed me that they tried to “screen” the questions and keep such questions as mine from being broadcast! When 1 told him I would still like to have the scripture he said it was Matt. 28:18,20. I then asked him if this passage would also authorize the Missionary Society of the Christian church and he said, “You are just trying to make trouble and I don’t want to argue about it.”

Those who have steadfastly demanded a “Thus saith the Lord” for all teaching and practice have always been branded as “trouble makers” by false teachers. Old Ahab wanted to follow Baal, so he thought the best way to fool the people was to ask Elijah, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” (1 Kings 18:17). Just make the people think that the man who has the courage to expose false doctrine is the “trouble maker.” That is the same old song we are hearing again today. Do not expose these fellows in the church today that are running around all over the country advocating “grace only” “faith only” “fellowship everything and everybody” and the Lord only knows what else. You will cause trouble, you are judging them, etc., etc.

Just remember this, brethren: The man who stands for the truth is not the “trouble maker.” Truth never causes division. Trouble and division come because men reject the truth, and insist on injecting teachings and practices which the Lord has not authorized. “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim” (1 Kings 18:18).

Any man who attempts to silence the mouth and pen of those who are “set for the defense of the gospel” (Phil. 1:17) by pleading for sympathy for these false teachers had just as well be teaching error along with them. Regardless of all the twisting and perverting now being done, the Holy Spirit still says, “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. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed: For he that biddeth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 9,10,11).

So far as I know, no one in the church ever so much as suspected that this passage had reference to the divinity of Christ only until Ketcherside and his cohorts conjured up the idea in an attempt to justify fellowshiping everyone who claims to believe Christ is the Son of God, regardless of what they teach or practice.

Truth Magazine XX: 46, p. 732
November 18, 1976