The Waco Tragedy

By Burl Young

The tragedy which occurred in Waco, Texas is indeed a terrible thing. The loss of innocent children, misplaced adoration, and the pain that all of them must have endured was surely horrendous. When we see or hear of such happenings, it is only normal to second guess the authorities, and to be upset at such happenings. However, there is something that occurs every day that is much worse than this tragedy. The loss of souls to fanatics and false teachers in a spiritual sense. This article will deal with this issue.

The loss of a soul is worse than a physical death. Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Should we not be even more disturbed that false teachers are leading countless millions down the broad way to the fires of Hell?

What should be the punishment of a man that allowed innocent children to die? We might quickly answer that he deserves the worst possible punishment. Some of us might be willing to administer the death penalty to such a man if the law determined it to be needed. Yet, oftentimes we let false teachers and preachers go unopposed in the spiritual realm. Could it be that we are not seeing the real problem? The real problem is the salvation of souls rather than the preservation of our physical bodies.

False Teachers Are Supposed To Be Confronted

Again, whether you agreed with the tactics of the authorities in Waco or not, rest assured they realized the problem would not go away on its own. The same can be said of false teachers. Paul said when speaking of the gain-sayers in the book of Titus, “Whose mouths must be stopped.” The Apostle was pointing out that the duty of an elder in the Lord’s church was to make sure that error was con-fronted. Leaving error alone is not what God wants.

Our weapons are not carnal. In the second Corinthian let-ter, Paul asserts that our weapons are not fleshly ones, as were used in Waco, but rather we are in a spiritual battle that must be won. Christians are not only to be confrontational, but also to use the right weaponry. The word of God will cast down imaginations (false doctrines) and win every battle (2 Cor. 10:5). However, we Christians must be willing to use the weaponry that God has assigned to this war. The gospel is still God’s power to save men from the fires of hell (Rom. 1:16).

The Soul More Important Than The Body

Man just can’t seem to grasp this important point. Most churches have been overtaken by the desire to cater to the needs of the physical body, rather than the needs of the soul. I am sorry to say that even churches of Christ have joined in the rush to capture the body and push the spiritual needs of man to the back burner. For instance, the social gospel is plaguing us. Many churches of Christ in this area are picking up debris along the roadside trying to enhance the beauty of the highway system, and allowing little or no attention to be given to spiritual needs. The gospel is the only power that will save us from hell. Therefore, we should be more attentive to the holy highways that we are to trod instead of the interstate system.

A neglect of our spiritual well being has also come to the church of Christ because of our incessant desire to be like the religious world around us. Will we adopt the philosophy that the Grand Avenue Baptist Church here in Fort Smith adopted when it showed the Super Bowl Game live on a large screen television accompanied by hot dogs and cokes during their Sunday evening service?

It is evident that we are overcome by the desires of the physical body. When tragedy occurs that kills the body we are rightfully incensed. But, dear friends, the real tragedy is the loss of millions to false teachers every day that we live.

Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 12, p. 7
June 17, 1993