Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 16, 1958
NUMBER 36, PAGE 2-3b

Defeatism In The Church

Warren Rainwater, Nashville, Tennessee

The history of man is filled with the desire to do great things but most are defeated in their goal at one time or the other by obstacles that overcome them. We grow weary and a spirit of defeat causes us to fail in our duties toward God.

The people of God have always had to face opposition. In these conditions faith is necessary in order to accomplish what God demands. When the Israelites were being led out of Egyptian bondage they became discouraged and wished they were back in Egypt. They said, ". . . it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness." (Ex. 14:12). Their faith in God's' word wasn't strong enough to carry them through. They became weary of the way of the Lord. Other ways seem better.

The ten spies felt that it was impossible to accomplish the task of taking the land that flowed with milk and honey. Their report was, "... they are stronger than we." (Num. 13:31) ". . . we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight." (Num. 13:33) They felt that the commands of the Lord couldn't be carried out in view of the fact that they were in the minority. Their faith in God was weak. A spirit of defeatism overcame them.

We have many examples of God's people viewing the task of doing the will of God as too hard and because of that attitude they fail to do anything. Their talents are hidden under the cloak of indifference and complacency. In the church today we have the spirit of defeatism manifested in many ways. However, I think we are defeatists in the realm of the work of the church more than any other. In this article I want to point out some of the things we are doing that exhibits this trend.

I. Group One

In this group we have those that are like the one talent man. They look upon the mission of the church as being so vast that it overcomes them and gives them the spiritual jitters. They finally flop down on the stool of complacency and about all that is done to spread the gospel is to have one ten day meeting each year. In that meeting some of the most influential members will make their annual pilgrimage to the services and feel satisfied that they have done all they can do in spreading the gospel. Their outlook is one of defeat. After staying in that rut for awhile they become self satisfied and feel they are using all the talents God gave them. The work of the Lord will never make progress under that kind of leadership. Those that are guilty should awake to the harvest.

2. Group Two.

This group may or may not be as large as group one. However, their actions are just as much in the realm of defeatism. They look at the vast obligations that rest upon the church and the need of preaching the gospel to the lost and dying world and they are also overwhelmed. They view with alarm the complacency of those afore mentioned and set about to do something to overcome the existing condition. This group looks to the scriptures and fail to see in them God's plan for doing this work. The plain simple methods of taking the gospel to the world is beneath their ideas. In view of this they place their wisdom in the place of God's. In so doing they are saying that God gave us a task to perform that we can't get done with the outmoded ways of God. We must allow our incentive minds to function in order to get at the task of saving souls in a big way. They usually use this formula: a lot of cheer, pomp, enthusiasm, and a little watered down gospel. This is nothing but a spirit of defeatism. This type of action admits of no other answer but a disbelief in the Bible as God's complete will. To View the work of the "do nothings" in the church and say our plan is working and yours isn't doesn't justify a departure in God's plan for doing His Will.

Those that are in group one are so lazy and indifferent to the truth that they cannot raise their voices to cry out against the digressives who are forming these organizations because they are condemned by their own actions. To cry out against these departures and at the same time refuse to be engaged in doing our utmost according to a "thus saith the Lord," is like a preacher trying to teach against smoking with a cigar in his mouth. Some are talking one way and acting another. It is time for action now or it may be that a course of self-satisfaction will destroy the peace of the brotherhood.

Group two has now departed from what the Bible teaches in so many ways that there is little ground for fellowship. It just doesn't exist. Their digressive outlook on things spiritual reveal that the only way or place for them to find true fellowship is with the Christian Church. They are closer to the Christian Church than they are to those that are willing to be guided with a "thus saith the Lord."

The defeatist attitude makes itself known in many ways. This article has dealt with only two. What is the answer to the problems facing the church today? I think it can be summed up in a few words. Do things according to the Scripture. Do only those things authorized by the Word. Let the church be the church. Let the church fulfill its obligations through its own God-given organization. The sending of a few dollars to some human organization has made many congregations take on the air of satisfaction in the field of evangelism as well as benevolence. If congregations would be busy with a program of work that requires the energy of all, money as well as time, they would have no time to fall prey to the traveling promoters of the day. They would be doing what God wants done and the way he wants it done and the things which are causing all the trouble in the Church would die. A fire will burn out unless it is fed something to keep it going. Take the funds that belong to a congregation and see that they are used in a scriptural way and these things will soon pass away.

It is my conviction that we are all guilty, at least in part, for the departures that have come in the last few years. Maybe we couldn't see the end. Some did and warned us but we would hear them not. Now the warnings are a reality. We are faced with a hard fight to combat the forces of digression. They must be halted. The church must stay pure in order to hold up the Truth to the world.

Defeatism has turned into an obsession with some. Someone asks, "How can a gospel preacher become so clouded in his thinking that he refuses to accept the all sufficient Word?" That question is answered when you answer another question, "How can a Baptist or Methodist preacher teach their doctrine in the face of what the Bible teaches?"

Any honest person will turn when he is shown to be wrong regardless of the pressure put upon him by anyone. What group are you in? If you are in either you need to sever your relationship at once and get on with the job of working in God's vineyard to the saving of your own soul as well as others. Are you guilty of being a critic of everything that is being done in the brotherhood while at the same time you are doing nothing? If so, you need to take the beam out of your own eye first.

Are you in the group that is guilty of denying the plan of God by their actions in building other means of action except through the local congregation? If you are then come out from among them before it is too late. That is the path of the serpent. That is digression. Why? Because it is not according to God's way. Do not be deceived, God will not allow us to trample under foot His ways without a just recompence of reward.

It is time to arise and work with all our might for the advancement of the cause of Christ. Strive, but do it lawfully. We need action! Action based upon God's will. Never be a defeatist in any way. What God wants done we can do if we will let Him have His way.