By Thomas F. Eaves, Sr.
Webster defines watchdog as a dog kept to guard property. A dog that guards against loss, waste, theft, or undesirable practices. A watchdog is a dog which guards against the loss of something valuable.
One of the most valuable things in our world today is the Gospel. It is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16), calls sinners to God (2 Thess. 2:14), and produces faith in the hearts of God’s creatures (Rom. 10:17).
The apostle Paul recognized that some were false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26), and that some would depart from the truth (1 Tim. 4:1-5; 2 Tim. 4:14). This great teacher of God’s word charged that men not teach a different doctrine (1 Tim. 1:3) than that which came from God (Gal. 1:8-10). Some erred concerning the truth and were rebuked by Paul (2 Tim. 2:17-18). These were identified by name and their false doctrine condemned in keeping with Paul’s own instructions in Romans 16:17.
Paul rebuked sin (Gal. 5:19-21), false teachers (2 Tim. 4:3), hypocritical Christians (2 Tim. 3:1-5) and erring brethren (Gal. 2:11). The great man of God defended God’s doctrine of the resurrection (1 Cor. 15; Acts 23:6), grace (Rom. 5:206:4), and the New Covenant of Jesus Christ (Gal. 4:21-31). Paul acted through love (Eph. 4:15), conviction (1 Cor. 9:16, Acts 20:27), and was guarding God’s word from loss, waste, theft, and undesirable practices.
He sums up his activities on this earth, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Today when faithful preachers follow the example of Paul some cry, “Brotherhood Watchdogs.”
Several months ago when Randy Mayeux (Preacher for the Preston Road Church of Christ) made the statement, “I have preached and believed that the New Testament teaches that salvation is a free gift of God, period. You are saved by grace alone,” several brethren pointed out that salvation is not by anything alone. The Bible teaches that the sinner is saved by: Grace (Eph. 2:8), Mercy (Tit. 3:5), Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:21), Life of Christ (Rom. 5:10), Blood of Christ (Rom. 5:9), Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:4), Faith (Rom. 5:1), Word (Jas. 2:24), Calling on the Lord (Rom. 10:13), Baptism (1 Pet. 3:2 1), Hope (Rom. 8:24), and sinners save themselves (Acts 2:40). When such inconsistency is pointed out, instead of honoring God’s word the cry goes forth “Brotherhood watchdogs!”
Larry James’ (Preacher for the Richardson East congregation in Richardson, Texas) statement, “And so I would conclude that to praise God from the heart with an instrument of music is not wrong, it’s not sinful nor will it result in anyone being lost, and to condemn someone who uses such an approach I think is a terrible mistake,” was not allowed to go unchallenged. But when compared with the truth of God’s Word (1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12; 13:15), the truth was not glorified but the cry goes forth, “Brotherhood watchdogs!”
When a college uses speakers on its lectureships who have in debates, books or recorded speeches upheld teachings which are contrary to the word of God, why are they defended and the ones who pointed out the false teachings labeled as “Brotherhood watchdogs”?
There seems to be a tendency today to defend the false teachers and condemn the contender for the faith (Jude 3). The great prophet Isaiah wrote, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isa. 5:20). If Paul lived today would he be labeled as a “brotherhood watchdog” for rebuking Hymenaeus, Alexander, Philetus, and Peter? Where is our allegiance today? It should be with Christ and his word (Gal. 1:10).
If proving all things and holding fast to that which is good (1 Thess. 5:21), and contending earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints (Jude 3) makes a brotherhood watchdog, then woof, woof!!
(Note: This article from the July-Sept. 1990 In Word and Doctrine shows that many liberal churches are having severe problems trying to keep rampant error out. The same cry, “watchdog,” is occasionally heard among conservative brethren. This is a tactic of the devil who tries to intimidate and silence his opposition. “We are not ignorant of his devices” [2 Cor. 2:11]. Ron Halbrook, 654 Gray St., West Columbia, TX 77476).
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 3, pp. 64, 79
February 7, 1991