Is Silence Golden?

By Andy Alexander

There are times when we need to be silent and other times when we need to speak out. Our Lord, the master teacher, knew exactly how to handle every situation. In John 19:9-10, Jesus stood silently before Pilate, knowing that silence would bring about his crucifixion and the salvation of those who chose to obey him.

When faced by religious error, Jesus always spoke out and condemned the false teaching and the false teacher.

Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit (Matt. 15:13-14).

Jesus’ love for the sinner prompted him to teach truth at all times, whether the sinner wanted to hear it or not. In Matthew 19:16-26, Jesus taught the rich young ruler the truth about what he needed to do in order to be pleasing to God. The young ruler could not bear to give up his riches for Jesus, but this did not stop Jesus or cause him to alter his teaching to fit the situation and make the ruler feel comfortable about his particular sin. Jesus’ love for the sinner would not allow him to ignore sin and false teaching.

Religious leaders of today will not debate their doctrine publicly or privately and their followers are just as apathetic as they are. The followers have little or no Bible knowledge; therefore, they are afraid to speak out, because they are not sure what they believe. The religious leaders know that if they speak out, their doctrine will be proved false when compared to the doctrine of Jesus. The false teachers in Matthew 22:46 were not “able to answer him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask him another question.” If their doctrine is shown to be false by controversy, they will then lose some followers who are interested in knowing the truth. More importantly, they will lose the money these followers were giving. The false teacher has everything to lose and nothing to gain by speaking out.

Our Lord was never silent when challenged on an issue. Chances are, your preacher is silent on any and every issue where his teaching contradicts the Word of God. He will not speak out for fear of the consequences and mistakenly calls this silence “love.” Is it “love” when we stand on the shore and watch someone drown without trying to save him? Is it then “love” when we see one lost in false teaching and stand silently by watching him sink into hell?

We can thank God that Jesus was not silent.

(The article by Andy Alexander entitled “Is Silence Golden?” is his first article for a religious journal and we are glad to have it published in the Guardian of Truth. Andy is thirty- three years old, is a faithful Christian, and is working toward the goal of giving his full time to the work of an evangelist. He is already a good Bible student and a competent speaker but plans to spend several more months in preparation before beginning full-time labors in the gospel. His father Charley is an elder here at West Columbia, and his brother Pete is also a faithful member in the church here. Andy’s convictions are firm and he is diligent about his duties on the job, in his family, and in the church here. It is a privilege to commend Andy to our readers. I believe he is typical of many young men who are preparing themselves as Bible class teachers, future elders, deacons, and evangelists. In a world of darkness, it is encouraging to see a good number of young married Christians who are striving to serve the Lord in every way possible from place to place. – Ron Halbrook, 654 Gray Street, West Columbia, Texas 77486.)

Guardian of Truth XXXI: 19, p. 587
October 1, 1987