By Ron Halbrook
(Editor’s Note: No little has been heard lately about the value of lessons taught by satire. Following is an article in satirical form written in response to Edward Fudge’s widely circulated booklet and article, AAnswers to Questions@).
Brethren, it is actually reported that some among you say sin consigns one to hell, and I partly believe it. Some have become so unyielding that once they acknowledge a thing is “sinful”-in the biblical meaning of the term-they are single minded in preaching that said action will cause one to be lost. They will turn neither to the right hand nor to the left in this declaration. Brother “Walk The Tightrope” has brought this appalling news to our attention and we are greatly indebted to him for warning against such fanatical hewing to the line. In preaching on sin, we need to leave room for “yea, yea” and “nay, nay” lest we make it appear God’s Word consigns to hell without further ado all who continue in sinful activity.
Here is the report as it came from the press recently:
I believe that it (instrumental music) is (sin), in the accepted definition of “sin” as “missing the mark.” My previous answer clearly shows that. Some, however, have apparently wanted to play judge and jury, and assign to hell without further ado all who use instrumental music in worship. This I have refused to do, and, when it has been clear that this was the meaning being given to “sin” I have refused to use that word. I have always believed, however, that instrumental music “misses the mark” of God’s will, and that-in that biblical meaning of the term-it is sinful. (Edward Fudge, “Answers to Questions,” Gospel Guardian May 16, 1974, p. 8)
Judging from this report, it appears some brethren have lost that all-important distinction clearly made in (?) (Book), (?) (Chapter), (?) (Verse) (the exact reference slips my mind at the moment) between continued sin which consigns to hell without further ado and continued sin which does not so condemn. Likely brethren have overlooked the distinction because they reason as follows:
1. Major Premise: “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
2. Minor Premise: Instrumental music in worship is sinful (in the “biblical meaning of the term”).
3. Conclusion: The wages of worshipping with instrumental music is death. Brother W. T. Tightrope has called us back to that scriptural proclamation of the gospel which affirms the major and minor premises but denies the conclusion. In some cases, of course it is “yea, yea;” but in some cases there is “further ado” resulting in “nay, nay.” In other words, to state it simply, the conclusion is yea and nay, yes and no! But, as reported, weaker logicians persist in thinking it must be “yea, yea” or “nay, nay” and that each answer excludes the other.
Now that this startling report has been brought right out into the open, the light that once escaped us is now dawning in our heart. (1) There really are some brotherhood watchdogs and regulators troubling Israel; look what a cry is raised just because some teach the principle of the old Jerusalem gospel which distinguishes between sins which condemn and sins which do not. (2) Those who accept the above stated conclusion without further ado are playing “judge and jury”-they must think they are God. These single-eyed, simple-minded brethren do not yet have the humility to admit that the major and minor premises can be “yea, yea” but the conclusion still be yea and nay. (3) When the conclusion is “yea, yea” or nay, nay” exclusively, opposing groups develop; the circle of fellowship can be enlarged if those who insist on “yea” wil permit “nay” (in some cases) and if those who insist on “nay” will permit “yea” (in some cases)-i.e., let both groups unite under this conclusion: “yea and “nay”.
(4) Love demands the conclusion “yea” and “nay;” therefore, those who resist that conclusion are almost surely motivated by bad motives such as prejudice, financial gain, increased paper circulation, ambition for. Power, (5) Those who resist the obvious “yea-and-nay conclusion cannot prove the certainty of their invariable “yea-yea” conclusion (never mind that the premises are admitted). Therefore, it seems certain that their continued outcry is abusive, political, dealing in mere personalities, bestial, and cannibalistic. That is the most charitable thing that could be said about it.
Brethren, if the full impact of Brother W.T. Tightrope’s report has not hit you yet, consider this. That one should turn neither to the right nor the left in declaring that sin consigns one to hell is a fault “not so much as named among the Gentiles.” Neither Catholics nor Protestants are guilty of such; is it fitting that the people of God alone should be guilty of such deeds?
Truth Magazine, XVIII:42, p. 12-13
August 29, 1974