By Edward O. Bragwell Sr.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance of their own desires” (2 Tim. 4:3, NASV).
When one’s standard of conduct begins to bind his con-duct, something must give. He may alter his conduct to fit the standard, but too often he alters the standard to fit the conduct. Like those of the text, he seeks teachers who will make the standard fit his practice. Thus, he finds temporary relief from the pressure.
Once I watched my wife cut out a dress. Being the prudent man that I am (“prudent” does sound better than “cowardly”), I silently watched as she used the same size pattern as before but just allowed a little around the edges. I guess this seemed to be the easier way out. I thought how typical this is of many brethren. They get their lives out of step with the pattern (the Bible), but seem to still want to use the pattern so they just allow a little here and there.
People often get themselves involved in situations and then go looking for some teacher who will tell them that they are alright. This happens so often in the matter of divorce and remarriage. They get into it and then call every preacher in the country hoping one will justify them in it. This is true of many other problems of life.
Churches get involved in questionable, to say the least, activities then hunt teachers who will try to make enough allowances with the biblical language so that the brethren can feel comfortable in their error. As the digression grows other allowances have to be made until someone talks about “where there is no pattern” as if we may not always need the pattern for the church and her practices.
We must confine our practice to the doctrine of Christ with no allowances. “Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God” (2 John 9).
(I wrote this line piece about 30 years ago. I thought we would run it again. Brethren in every generation need to be warned against stretching the pattern, BOB).
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: No. 21, p. 8
November 2, 1995