"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.IV No.IX Pg.2a
April 1942

Avoiding Extremes

It is difficult for even a well-balanced man, and all of us preachers think we belong to that category, to go down the middle of the road and always do and say the right thing and avoid extremes. In our efforts to avoid compromise there is the temptation to swing to the side of unnecessary and unreasonable harshness. In efforts to avoid the evil effects of such a course some have become so soft and compromising they can hardly tell a sinner what to do to be saved without great pain and embarrassment. And so we have "hard" and "soft" preachers and some are classified as both depending on the complexion of the spiritual, if that is the right word, surveyor who starts from some sort of corner to run his lines on him.

I have at times been alarmed and all but disgusted over the soft, compromising attitude some brethren have displayed toward religious error and unscriptural set-ups that support it. I must have expressed myself rather vigorously along that line with scripture citations that suggest the duty of sharp rebukes on occasion, for at least one prominent brother, who is aware that he is, has called my name right out in print and accused me of perverting the scriptures to endorse abuse. Now of course if I did a thing like that I didn't go to do it, wouldn't even think of defending myself in doing such a thing, and he should be more charitable with me, lest he become guilty of abusing me. I think preachers, along with others, are obligated to do what the New Testament teaches them to do. I was not seriously upset by the brother's outburst, for I knew at the time that he was still stinging over some printed remarks from me that lodged somewhat closer than his general direction. Besides, I am not much mad at him anyhow and blew some of the froth off of what he had to say about me to examine it more closely and see if there might be some truth in it. It could be possible for even me to go to an extreme.

At the moment I am tempted to go soft, that is toward some honest outsiders and some more or less innocent sectarians who venture out to hear some of "our preachers" go through what they call preaching. Some of these visitors did not come expecting to find an echo of their own opinions or peculiar views. Indeed, they entertained some misgivings as to what they might hear because they had heard something of "this sect" and knew that, if not every where, it was widely "spoken against." When they heard Brother Skin'em, who is sometimes young and sometimes old, they went home mad through and through, vowed they would never go back, and they didn't. Now, if plain Bible preaching and earnestly contending for the faith soured in them and turned to the vinegar of wrath, nothing can be done about it, and nothing need be done about it. The truth must be preached, even if there are many who cannot endure sound doctrine. But in these instances I have in mind, which brethren who do not even think I am' hard tell me about, such was not the case. The preachers were coarse, boorish, insulting. They did not show as much grace as a bull in a china-closet. They threshed about without any regard for personal courtesies, properties or the common decencies which are universally expected of a man when he enters the pulpit. Abuse is not preaching.

People generally are entitled to courtesy and respect even if they are wrong and many of them are honestly, or ignorantly, so. They need teaching and have a right to expect a preacher of the gospel to act like a gentleman, not a barbarian. I'd hate to have to tell which I like less, a compromiser or a bull-dozer. I sometimes think that one of them is about as bad as the other, if not worse. The funny thing is that both of them think they are the spit-image of the Lord and can quote scripture to prove it.-C. E. W.