Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 28, 1963
NUMBER 46, PAGE 3,11b

Here Are The Scriptures

Glenn Rogers

There is within the church of our time a growing consensus that anyone who lifts his voice against anything he questions is a "witch hunter," a troublemaker and an "anti." I recall an incident of four or five years ago when I was preaching in another town. An irregularity arose in the church which needed correction, but those who wanted to guard the purity of the church ran into all kinds of opposition from some of the "peace at any price" brethren. In the days that followed, one of the good sisters called and was terribly chagrined at the fact that one of her friends had said, "The thing that is wrong with that church is that there are a bunch of witch-hunters there. According to them, someone is always sinnin'." So it is that those who are naive enough to believe that the church should be pure are held up to ridicule by those who evidently do not believe the parts of the Bible that condemn sin.

Then in a recent conversation, the same idea came up again in different words. When I called attention to an apparent error of practice, it came this way, "Some of you fellows are always looking for something wrong." Then the man said that "another man of the same kind" had mentioned the same problem to him, and even a third, "just like the other." It occurred to me that anyone who speaks against anything would be judged by this brother as "another of the same kind.... just looking for something wrong."

Men have always sought ways to justify themselves for their errors and short-comings. This must be the reason that the brethren so fear the pointing up of anything is a matter of self protection. I know of one case in which the man preaching for a small group could be described as nothing better than an all around rascal...."a revolving mess".... just a plain mess, no matter how you look at it. And some of the brethren knew all about it; but he had managed to get something on each of them, and so, for their own protection, nobody could say anything. On that basis a church of Christ was managed for a matter of two years. When some men contacted the brethren who were supporting that preacher financially, they said that they were just looking for something wrong.... making trouble.

In any number of places in the New Testament we are commanded to "watch" and "beware." But of what are we to "beware"....for what must we "watch?" Brethren would have us believe that we're only to "accentuate the positive." It's true that in Philippians 4:9, Paul mentions those things which are true, honorable, just, etc., and says that we are to think on these things. But still, there are the admonitions to watchfulness and the above mentioned are not things of which we must "beware." We need not keep a fearful vigil against such.

Jesus says in Matthew 71:5, "Beware of false prophets." If it were anyone else speaking, some brethren would counter, "You're just looking for something wrong"' Someone says, "But that was Jesus. He had a right...." But the fact that He said it only proves its truthfulness. And Peter tells us that we are to walk in His steps. In Mark 12:38-40 the warning to beware is again given....this time against the scribes because their practices and their theology did not match. But in our time, the person who tries to make a comparison of theory and practice is a witch-hunter and a trouble maker. In a private discussion the other day, a member of the church in a neighboring town was forced to the conclusion that the Lord's supper could be observed on any day of the week. You know, he didn't want to admit that an example is binding. When it was told on him in the class discussion the following Sunday morning, he made no attempt whatever to justify his shaky position....his only answer concerned "six things which Jehovah hateth, yea, seven which are an abomination unto him.... he that soweth discord among brethren." His point was not whether he had concluded truth or error...only that the other person was a trouble maker. Indeed, it has become about as difficult to get some of the brethren to face up to any issue as it is to drive a herd of hogs through a gate. Just about the time you think you have them moving in the right direction, one will shoot out to the side and all of the others follow.

The Bereans were judged by inspiration to be more noble than others. Why? Because they were not willing to swallow the teachings of any man without proof from the scriptures. But alas, the noble in this respect are few today. The practice is to parrot the "big preachers" and go along with any and all of the combines. And if any man say, "Nay," mumble something about marking a divider, and say a few words over the memory of his good works and influence "before he went anti."

The apostle Paul found a great deal wrong with the church at Corinth.... even got his information secondhand. But then he too was judged by the religious leaders of his day as a pestilent fellow and one who turned the earth upside down. Peter spoke of the Devil as a raging lion seeking whom he may devour; but brethren speak derisively of churches where "someone's always situate." To them it is unimportant that these sins are leading brethren as directly to hell as a preacher ever went to the church treasurer.

Such terms as "witch hunting" and "just looking for something" are only guises that the Devil uses to keep brethren blind to the dangers, and deaf to the warnings against the very things which Jesus and the apostles condemned with their very lives.

— Box 3116, McAllen, Texas