Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 1, 1962
NUMBER 42, PAGE 3,10b

That Thing Called The Middle Of The Road

Arthur R. Cox, Borger Texas

We hear much these days about the alleged righteousness of some who profess to be traveling the middle-of-the-road, as though that were a God-given standard of righteousness to be recognized by any men. But, according to the scriptures, it is possible for one to be in the "middle-of-the-road," and still be headed straight for the fires of eternal torment.

In a prophetic reference to the coming of Christ, Isaiah said, "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it: but it shalt be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." (Isaiah 35:8) Then we turn to the New Testament, and read of the two ways which lie before us: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matt. 7:13-14) Now get it: the Bible does not tell us of a road where those traveling the one side occupy one extreme position, and those traveling the other side represent the opposite extreme; while those who occupy the "middle-of-the-road," ate exactly right: but it does tell us of a narrow way, which leadeth unto life: and it tells us of a broad way, which leadeth to destruction. Therefore, it is not being in the "middle-of-the-road" that is important, but it is a matter of being in the right road?

Evidently our brethren who boast of being in the middle-of-the-road have forgotten that the doctrine of Christ provides no neutral ground. But the word of the Lord says: "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad!' (Matt. 12:30) Any form of disobedience is an extreme position, and the disobedient soul is alienated from God: but the individual who insists upon a "thus saith the Lord" for all that he believes and practices religiously, certainly has God and his Son Jesus Christ on his side. "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9)

An example of how unequal the legs of the lame are: our middle-of-the-road brethren classify those of us who do not contribute out of the funds of the church to such brotherhood projects as the centralized orphan homes, homes for the aged, Herald of Truth, Gospel Press, colleges and such, as "extremists." The fact that we discharge our obligation in benevolence, preaching the gospel, and edifying the church just like the Bible teaches, notwithstanding, we are still "extremists" to the middle-of-the-roader, and unworthy of his fellowship. While on the other hand, the ever increasing number of brethren who deny that the brotherhood orphan homes under elders are scriptural, but affirm that the homes under boards of directors are scriptural, are classified by the middle-of-the-roader as the "opposite extreme." But does he disfellowship the leftist? Not so you could notice? His middle-of-the-road policy is only theoretical: he does refuse to come out of his neutral territory to fellowship those on what he refers to as one extreme side, but he freely crosses into the land of the other extreme.

Brother Reuel Lemmons, editor of the not-so-Firm Foundation, self styled "middle-of-the-roader," takes an occasional editorial swing at those who are advocating church supported orphan homes under a board of directors, the colleges in the church budget, etc. This, to him, is an extreme position. But, because men of influence are pushing these projects, brother Lemmons will knuckle under. He may not like it, but since he accepts the orphan homes that are under local elderships (and all these other projects are in the same popular package), and desiring to be on the popular side, he wanders all over the left-hand side of the road.

The middle-of-the-road position is "anti" scripture; moreover, it is frowned upon even by worldly-minded people. From a trade magazine, "Between Calls," published by Walter O'Bannon Co., Tulsa, Oklahoma, quoting from Clichs of Socialism, by the Foundation for Economic Education, Inc., I lift this common sense definition of the middle-of-the-road position:

"In our day, 'middle-of-the-road' is more an excuse for intellectual sloppiness than a guide to moral discipline. There is nothing golden about it and it does not qualify as a mean. For instance, there is no middle way, as George Schwartz put it, between monogamy and polygamy. Nor is there any golden mean that can be derived from subdividing a single vice. Halfway between the theft of a small amount and the theft of a large amount is robbery all the way, no matter how you slice it.

"In the jargon of our times, 'I'm a middle-of- the-roader' has only political connotations. It means, when the drift is socialistic, that its advocates waver midway between a modicum of socialism and whatever extreme of socialism happens to be in popular favor. Thus, the middle-of-the-roader always finds himself wherever the currents of opinion dictate; he has no other basis for judging where his stand should be. The more extreme the socialistic view, the deeper will he be engulfed in socialism. (Emphasis mine ARC)

"Quite obviously, there is no virtue in being a political middle-of-the-roader. This position sounds something like the golden mean, but there the resemblance ends. What we have is a confusion of sound with sense. The former is not even a reasonable facsimile of the latter. Middle-of-the-roadism is but a platitudinous position riding inexcusably on the reputation of a splendid philosophical conviction."

Please permit this observation: God's word is both positive and negative; commanding things to be done, and forbidding us to do certain things. And there is no halfway between doing or leaving undone what God has commanded. Neither is there halfway ground between doing or abstaining from doing what God has forbidden. Let us be reminded, that there are only two ways; and if we are in the "strait and narrow way," it won't matter whether we are in the middle or not: to be in it will be sufficient.