Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 18, 1954
NUMBER 44, PAGE 10-11a

Facing A Modern Problem, Pharisaical Labeling

Earl Dale. McAllen. Texas

When Jesus came preaching the principles of his then coming kingdom and exposing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, they tried to destroy his influence by using the evil art of "labeling," an art in which they were masters, and an evil art through which many carry out their aims and purposes today. The idea is this: If you cannot answer the arguments of another, then attack the person of him who makes the argument by labeling him with many ugly names. This tends to get the minds of the people off the real issue which you couldn't meet, and also causes the people to lose confidence in him whose reputation you hope to destroy, so that what he might say, right or wrong, will receive little or no attention. This ugly principle didn't di with the Pharisees of old. It lives in Modern Pharisee-is today. Let us consider first,

The Art Of Labeling In Bible Times.

1. Ahab labeled Elijah a "troubler of Israel." Why? Ahab forsook the commandments of God and followed Baalim. God sent Elijah to tell Ahab of his sin. When Ahab saw Elijah, he said, "Art thou he that troubleth Israel?" (1 Kings 18:7) Elijah was not swerved from his curse by that evil attack. He said, "I have not troubled Israel, but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and hast followed Baalim." (1 Kings 18:18) It seemed easier for Ahab o label God's servant as a "trouble maker" than to meet le issue concerning his sin. But, it didn't work.

2. Jesus forgave the sins of the man with the palsy and the scribes labeled him a "blasphemer." (Matt. 19:3) The Son of man came eating and drinking and they labeled him a "gluttonous man and a winebibber." (Matt. 11:19) He confessed that he was the Son of God, the high priest labeled this truth "blasphemy," the people declared "he is guilty of death," and the Jews put him to death at the hands of lawless men. (Matt. 26:63-68)

3. John the baptist came neither eating nor drinking and he was labeled as one having a "demon." (Matt. 12:48) For telling the truth about unlawful marriage, an adulteress had John's head severed and presented to her on a charger. (Matt. 14:1-13)

4. Paul gave up all things in order to preach the "unsearchable riches of Christ," and for preaching the truth he was labeled "a pestilent fellow, a mover of sedition, a temple profaner, a ringleader of a sect, an enemy," and many other labels. (Acts 24:5-6; Gal. 4:16) He was finally put to death for preaching the truth.

Names and cases could be multiplied to show the practice of this evil in Bible times, but the above will suffice. The question is: Do men practice this evil art today?

The Practice Of Pharisaical Labeling Today

1. Marriage and Divorce. Preacher brother, stand up and read the following passages of scripture: Matt. 19:19; 5:31-32; Rom. 7:1-7; 1 Cor. 7; 1 Cor. 5, and then say "Brethren, anyone who deviates from the teaching of these scriptures and dies in that state, will be lost." What will happen ? You will be labeled with such labels as "home wrecker," "child hater," "Mr. Fixit," "church divider," "meddling preacher," "hobby-rider," and many other labels. Why? Because you preached the truth and many didn't want it.

2. The Plan of Salvation, the Church, Heaven and Hell. Preach the truth on these subjects; point out the fact that denominationalism is not from God, but is of the devil; expose the doctrines of denominationalism; and what happens? You are 'intolerant, too severe, radical you don't love the souls of men; you are too hard on the denominations." Who does this labeling? Generally speaking, the brethren.

3. Doing "Missionary" Work. Preacher brother: Just get up before the brethren and read the following scriptures: Acts 11:19-26; 13:1-4; 14:28; 15:40; Phil. 4:16; 1 Cor. 16:17-18; 2 Cor. 11:9; 11:18; Phil. 2:25-30 Phil. 4:10-18, and then say, "Brethren, study these scriptures in the light of their contexts and you will find the following principle:

(1)A local church may send preachers into foreign fields.

(2)Other churches may help in the support of these preachers.

(3)Individuals may also help support these preachers.

(4) The churches and individuals may send their help direct to the field of operation, without any oversight of any congregation as to how it must be spent; without funneling it through any one congregation, etc.

(5) And, brethren, in conclusion, let me say, and that kindly, that any deviation from this approved Bible principle is but to take a step in the wrong direction, so to speak."

Now, what happens? The labels begin to fly thick and fast. You will be labeled "anti-missionary," "the cause of many dying unprepared to meet God," "a caustic critic," "unsound," "fault-finder," "church divider," "church disturber," "fanatic," "radical," "disturber of the peace," "a fulminating factionist," and "as all others of your ilk who preach their 'opinions." You will be plastered with all these labels for doing what? Well, for telling what the Bible teaches and warning that any deviation there from is but to take a step in the wrong direction. No, my brethren, "pharisaical labeling" didn't die with the Pharisees of old. It lives on today in the hearts of brethren.

4. Sin In the Church. My brother, "lay the line to the wall" on the subject: "Sin In the Church" and get ready. The labels come thick and fast. You will be branded a "hobby-rider," "joy-killer," "Mr. Nosey," "shallow mind." You will be asked, "Why don't you preach the gospel and let us alone?" You don't love your brethren," etc. These labels come to you because of what? Well, for preaching the truth on 'What Must I Do To Stay Saved," and "What Must I Refrain From Doing To Stay Saved?"

5. Caring For Orphans. All you need to say is this: "Brethren, the best way to care for orphan children is for Christian families to adopt them into their homes. A man is worse than an infidel if he sends his children to an institution for the church to care for, thus shirking his responsibility. (1 Tim. 5:1-8) I do not believe it is scriptural for churches of Christ to set up organizations outside the local congregation for the caring of all the orphans, and supporting the same out of the church treasuries. I do not believe it is scriptural for one congregation to set up an orphans' home (in blue print), call upon all the sister congregations to build the buildings, 'compass land and seas' for orphan children `to have arid to hold,' then announce to sister congregations that 'this is YOUR work. We are only doing it FOR you. Send US YOUR money, and WE will do YOUR work for you.' I do not believe God is pleased when one congregation fails to do the work it should and can do, and then palms that work off on another congregation by promising to contribute meagerly to it. Brethren, is one 'anti-orphan' and 'anti-widow' who lends regular assistance to the 'fatherless and widows' in his own home town, or wherever he might find them, without doing it through an institutional orphan or widow's home? Can one 'remember the poor,' a thing which Paul 'was always forward to do' by helping them in places other than institutions erected by brethren? If an individual Christian gives two or three dollars per week in helping the 'fatherless and widows' in his own home town, does God recognize it, or must he do it through an institution erected by our brethren for that purpose before God will count it to his credit? Divide the number of members of each congregation into the dollars sent by that congregation to an institutional orphans' home, and see how few pennies per member is being spent per month 'taking care of widows and orphans.' The only thing that is big about it is the advertisement the superintendents of the homes give them. It actually discourages 'caring for the fatherless and widows,' as the Bible teaches."

Now, watch the comments come. "You are a child-hater," "you despise the aged," "you have no regard for the welfare of widows," "you are against everything we try to do," "you are a 'journalistic blatherskite' if you write anything about your feelings in this matter." 'In fact, you are 'everything in the book'." Why? Because you do not do any "visiting the fatherless and the widows?" No, No! "Because you do not do it through our institution."

What Should A Preacher Do?

There are several courses he may pursue..

1. He may keep his convictions well hidden. So many do that. They are hypocrites.

2. Compromise his convictions and get in the broad stream with the masses.

3. Be a "double-minded man" even if you do have to be a little "unstable in all your ways." (James 5:1-8)

4. Follow the course of the Apostle Paul.

(1)Endure hardness, let not modern affairs entangle you, and strive lawfully (according to the truth). (2 Tim. 2:3-5)

(2)Rejoice that you have been counted worthy to suffer all these labels for the sake of Christ. (1 Peter 4:16; Acts 5:41)

(3)Pray for opportunities to preach the truth, and for boldness to declare the same. (Acts 4:29; Eph. 6:19-20)

(4)Be sure you speak the truth. (Acts 4:20)

(5)Above all things, don't be afraid. (Acts 20:24; 2 Tim. 2:2)

(6)If God be for you, who can stand against you. (Rom. 8:31)