Introduction to Special Issue

By Mike Willis

This special issue of Guardian of Truth is devoted to a study of two false religions — the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Branch Davidian Cult in Waco, Texas. A special word of appreciation needs to be given to Randy Harshbarger who edited the section on the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although some of our readers may not have the time to sit and read these articles from cover to cover, I am confident that they will put this issue in a place of safe-keeping for future reference.

This issue has special relevance for another reason. Some among us have recently been teaching that we need to preach Christ and not the church. They have written that lessons which contrast “us” and “them” do not convert men to Christ. There is no one among us teaching that the church dispenses grace; it is the recipient of grace, not the dispenser. One is saved by the shed blood of Jesus Christ not because he has affiliation with a certain group of men, however good they may be.

Having said that, I still insist that the contrasting of revealed religion with unrevealed religion is the proper work of a gospel preacher. If one wants to call this preaching church vs. church sermons, so be it. There is a difference between revealed and unrevealed religion and it is the work of gospel preachers to call on men to forsake unrevealed religion and turn to revealed religion. This is the essence of what Elijah did on Mt. Carmel and what Paul did on Mars Hill. He who belittles this kind of preaching is belittling the preaching of Christ and him crucified, regardless of how palatable his rhetoric may sound.

False doctrine cannot thrive in the hearts of men who “search the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11), who “try the spirits whether they are of God” (1 In. 4:1). When men belittle sermons which “try the spirits” and become too refined to preach such sermons, they prepare the seedbed for false doctrine to be planted and thrive.

Believing that this is true, I heartily commend this series of articles of our readers.

Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 8, p. 1
April 15, 1993