By Bobby L. Graham
“The spirit of pacifism is taking the fight out of the church. But the conflict between truth and error is unending. Victory does not come by truce. God’s terms are unconditional surrender…. The church grew when the fight was waged and the battle raged. When the letup came in the fight, the let-down came in the church. It is said that the sectarians do not fight any more. That is because the church has quit fighting and they have nothing to fight. If gospel preachers (and other Christians BLG) will fight now as preachers fought then, the denominations will also fight now as they did then . . . and truth will triumph now as it triumphed then. Shall we yield to the line of least resistance, or shall we challenge error in its strongholds and its citadels?”
The preceding quotation from brother Foy E. Wallace, Jr., which I read sometime ago, has provoked the thought ex-pressed in the title of the article. If anything needs to be said to Christians of our time, it is what brother Wallace said. We have, beyond any doubt, experienced a let-down in the church in numbers of places because many members have little faith and even less conviction or courage to stand for their faith. This article is not commending the use of mean and ugly tactics, but rather the vigorous waging of the battle for truth in the spirit of love and kindness.
We do follow the line of least resistance. Many choose to disregard errornot fight it; others suggest that we condemn sin in generalities not in specifics; yet others say that we should accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. Whether we realize it or not, such is the very path Satan would have us to follow if we are not fully pledged to him. We are playing to his hands.
Let us look to the pages of God’s Word to see how earlier men of God reproved error. Elijah called upon the prophets of idolatrous Baalism to demonstrate the authenticity of their claims or to quit making them. He also urged the undecided Israelites to commit themselves to either Jehovah or Baal and quit limping between the two sides (1 Kgs. 18). John the Baptist stood in the courts of royalty and rebuked Herod for his adulterous marriage to his sister-in-law (Matt. 14). Jesus, from his first confrontation with the Devil in Matthew 4 to his return to the portals of glory, condemned sin and challenged the sinner. The Chorazins and the Bethsaidas and the Capemaums were the objects of his rebuke, nor did the Jewish hierarchy escape his woeful warnings (Matt. 23). In the instructions Jesus gave to the disciples in Matthew 10 when he sent them on the limited commission, he told them to leave behind those who had no appreciation for the gospel message; even Sodom and Gomorrah will be sooner the recipients of divine mercy than those who spurn the saving news of Jesus and his kingdom. Peter on Pentecost pointed the accusing finger of inspiration at the very Jews who had slain the Christ and blamed them with his death. He and John courageously informed the Council of the Jews, that they took their instructions from the Lord, not men (Acts 4-5). Paul strolled the streets of Athens, was stirred in spirit by the idols in evidence, and subsequently preached to the people Jehovah whom they knew not and his son Jesus who would judge even them (Acts 17). Preachers are urged to preach the Word, whether it be seasonable or unseasonable. In doing so, they must reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering and teaching, even when men call for teachers to scratch their itching ears (1 Tim. 4). Jude exhorts Christians to contend (agonize) earnestly for the faith of the gospel (Jude 3).
When gospel preachers, elders, and other Christians do as these did, do they show a lack of love? No! Let us pray and teach for the day when the people of God see themselves as the mighty army of the living God going forth full-force to follow their leaders in doing battle against the forces of sin.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 20, p. 4
October 21, 1993