By Luther Blackmon
Sometimes I have suspicioned that we call names out of spite and vindictiveness. Whoever does that advertises his littleness. But the person who says that we should never call names advertises his -ignorance of the true spirit of the New Testament writers. Of course, Luke could have said, “There were a couple in Jerusalem, a man and his wife, who sold some property and misrepresented the amount they gave, and for this the Lord killed them!” But for some reason, he told us exactly who they were. And Peter said, “Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost . . . . ” I think I know some preachers who are too nice to use the word “lie.” That is, unless something is told on them personally. One preacher just said that he had no place in his vocabulary for the word “liar.” All I can say is that his vocabulary is not big enough, and is too sweet.
Pet6r said, “Judas by transgression fell that he might go to his own place.” (Acts 1:25). Peter indicated that he had some doubt about Judas going to heaven. “What a terrible thing to say. He was judging the poor fellow.” I read an article once which made a feeble attempt to place Judas in a better light than that which is generally cast upon him. However, I doubt that even his champion hopes to meet him “over there.”
Paul tells us that “Elymas” was a “child of the devil,” an “enemy of all righteousness.” He told Elymas that. Can’t you just imagine how mortified some of the sophisticated upper crust would react to that kind of preaching today. I shouldn’t wonder if Paul would get “fired” right off.
John Mark turned back from the work and went not with Paul and Barnabas. Later Paul and Barnabas had such a disagreement over Mark that they split up. Luke says the contention between them was “sharp.” I have known many who said they would not for anything let their “unsaved” friends read a paper in which brethren are having “sharp contention.” Wonder if they tear out this chapter in Acts? (Acts 15:39). Later on, Paul speaks very favorably of Mark. He redeemed himself, and Paul held no grudges. (2 Tim. 4:11).
Apollos preached an imperfect Gospel in Ephesus, “knowing only the baptism of John.” Aquila and Priscilla taught him better and he continued his work. Was it necessary to put this in the divine record? Evidently the Holy Spirit thought so. (Acts 18:24-26).
Paul said that Peter acted the part of a hypocrite “when he was come to Antioch.” Peter was human and made human mistakes and some of them are recorded for all succeeding generations to read. This one is found in Gal. 2:11-13. The word “dissimulation” means hypocrisy.
Paul said, “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world.” He said Hymenaeus and Alexander had made “shipwreck of the faith,” that Hymenaeus and Philetus had “erred . . . teaching that the resurrection had passed already.”
There are times when gospel preachers ought to be like the old dentist. A young dentist moved to town, and put up a sign that read: “Teeth extracted without pain.” The old dentist put up one that read: “Teeth extracted regardless of pain.” Sometimes it is necessary to name the sinner as well as the sins. It hurts, but it should.
Truth Magazine XIX: 12, p. 178
January 30, 1975