"Defenders Of The Faith"
The above caption appeared in the July 19, 1955 issue of the FIRM FOUNDATION, page 471. The article was prepared in defense of some of the present "trends" within the church. Such statements as "These brethren seem very much concerned about the 'How' of doing the work of the Lord in this day and Age. "and" . . some . . . have set themselves up as 'defenders of the faith'." are characteristic. Should someone have suggested 25 years ago that this once strong paper (spiritually-doctrinally) would publish with apparent approval such an article it would have seemed mockery.
In the course of the article the author tells us the Bible "has nothing to say about a second apostasy of which some brethren in the church are so fearful today." I wonder — can this be a show of learning and wisdom? To suggest that we need not worry about departures from the truth because the "New Testament has nothing to say about a second great apostasy" is worse than folly. Seventy-five years ago the digressives could have argued that we need not oppose the missionary society and the instrument of music because the "New Testament says nothing about a second apostasy." I wonder if the good brother who penned these words ever preached a sermon on the possibility of apostasy. If he has he knows full well that brethren can depart from the faith, and if one can, then ten thousand can and an apostasy (major) would be the result. EVERY WARNING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, AT LEAST IN PRINCIPLE, IS A WARNING TO US.
However, in the course of this "meaty" article our brother quotes Prov. 6:16, 19, and indicts all those out of agreement with him of sowing discord . . . Well, this approach is neither new, nor peculiar to this generation. Digressives used it long before our "writing" brother was born. We can all indict, but can we all get a conviction? The one charge that is specifically brought against some is they are "defenders of the faith." To this I gladly plead guilty.
But we have the advantage of his thinking further — "I doubt whether he (the Lord) will call us up and question us on the methods we used in spreading the word. . . ." To sustain his opinion, he uses Matthew 25:31-46, and says, "It does not say, 'Because ye have not done these things in a certain way, ye cannot enter in." We are reminded of the Baptist argument: "Because John 3:16 doesn't mention baptism, it is non-essential." If you can see the fallacy of one, you can of the other. But I recall the Lord depicting the judgment in another place (Matt. 7) in which the people did, but the Lord said, "Depart from me." In one place (Matt. 25) the people were condemned because they did not, in the other (Matt. 7) they were condemned THOUGH THEY DID. So, more is involved in the salvation than simply doing. "Not everyone that saith Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven," includes not only the doing, but the way (method) by which it is done.
In conclusion, we suggest that one of the most dangerous positions held by brethren is that "we ought to get it done right or wrong." When we admit just any method is alright, we ought to go over and shake hands with the Christian Church, confess that we have caused the division, and then ask the forgiveness of God and them, and then arm-in-arm, travel the same route they are traveling.