"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.VI No.XII Pg.1,16
July 1944

Sighting-In Shots

Cled E. Wallace

Don't Need Any Campbellites

If being dipped in water is essential to salvation, then every Baptist that has ever lived or died will go to heaven, for they have all been dipped. Therefore, we don't need any Campbellites for the dipping business on a confession of faith, for Baptists have long been in the affirmative on this proposition--the faith of the Bible alone being the rule and guide of our faith and practice.--American Baptist.

We have our doubts about a Baptist or anybody else going to heaven who speaks of one of the Lord's ordinances as "the dipping business." Baptism is a picture of the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is shockingly irreverent to sneer at it as "the dipping business." And it is inconsistent in one who belongs to a church which can be entered in no other way but by "being dipped in water, . . . for they have all been dipped." Paul says that Christians have all been "baptized into Christ." I have heard Baptist preachers sneer and leer about "finding Christ in the creek or tank." Where are Baptist Church privileges found? "We don't need any Campbellites," and we don't need any Baptists, either, for the New Testament doesn't say anything about either. How would it do for the "Campbellites" and Baptists to just be Christians like the followers of Christ were that we read about in the New Testament? "If being dipped in water is essential to salvation." There is no "if" about it for the man who believes what Jesus says. Jesus says: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Baptists can mock at the statement, but they cannot answer it. They "have all been dipped," but it will take something besides water to wash the sneer off their faces before some of them "will go to heaven." The American Baptist ought to be ashamed of itself.

"For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but so to think as to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith." (Rom. 12: 3.) Human vanity is shallow stuff. Egotism, with its false sense of self-importance, is not as distantly related to hypocrisy as you may imagine. And it plays tricks on men. "For if a man thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself." (Gal. 6 : 3.) It may make him think he is wiser, holier, and generally greater than others. He craves recognition which he rarely gets, because it is beyond his deserts. He is, therefore, discontented, if not downright unhappy. Egotism is a sort of mental high blood pressure. It explains a lot of trouble in church affairs. The egotist who is causing the trouble doesn't know it, because he is an egotist. The Pharisee who thanked the Lord that he was better than other men trusted in himself that he was righteous, "and set all others at nought," doubtless thought that he was contrite and humble. He was all but overcome with injured innocence when he was charged with being a hypocrite. A preacher, for instance, may stumble on to some very humbling considerations. Strange as it may seem, there are some very good churches built up in places where I have never been. They have somehow managed to get along very well without using me in meetings. And the places which have used me possibly would not have been injured beyond repair had they never heard of me. And when I some day take a long journey, the cause of Christ will in all probability not even miss a cog in its onward progress because of it. Nobody is missed much or long, outside of a very small circle. A man is to be congratulated, therefore, if he can live and work a while, do a little good and no harm, and depart with gladness in his heart.

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Concerning Faith in God

A skeptic asks me if theology has "any proof of a material nature that God is a personality." The revelation concerning God in the Bible is so exalted, full, and satisfying that I am not at all concerned over the speculations of theology. If our skeptic wants a God that he can examine much as he would a Chinese idol, or that he can reduce to the size of a man, such "material" evidence will be lacking. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4: 24.) "He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him." (Heb. 11: 6.) He is the Almighty Creator and has revealed his will to man in the Bible. The Book is worthy of such an Author. "For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity." (Rom. 1:20.) A Supreme Intelligence must be the Author and Guide of the universe. If our skeptical friends can read what the Bible says about God, the profoundest conceptions which ever stirred the soul of man, and then not be able to perceive "his everlasting power and divinity" through the things that are made, the material universe, then we must of necessity leave them to the darkness of their own hearts and let them learn by cruel experience that "it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." More evidence is not what they need, but more intelligence to appreciate the evidence everywhere at hand.

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Material Evidence

An "honest doubter" would like to have some "material evidence" that "Christ was divine." The evidence was material enough to convince Nicodemus and other members of the Jewish Senate. "Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him." "Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." (John 20: 30, 31.) Jesus fed five thousand men with a little boy's lunch; he walked on the water; he opened the eyes of a man born blind; and he raised Lazarus from the dead. So John declares. And his record stands up under the closest scrutiny as to its genuineness, integrity, and credibility. If it is not true history, then such was never written. Historical criteria vindicate it and establish its truthfulness. Christ claimed to be divine, that he was older than Abraham, came from God, and was going back to God. And he "was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." (Rom. 1: 4.) So declares Paul. The empty tomb is material evidence. It was sealed with a Roman seal and guarded by a large number of Roman soldiers with the body of Jesus within it. And on the third morning it was empty. Over five hundred witnesses saw him and identified him after he arose from the dead. The eleven apostles, who had been with him for years, were among the number. Paul was one. Seeing and hearing Jesus changed him from chief of sinners to chief of missionaries. These witnesses were neither mistaken nor dishonest. If material evidence is what honest doubters want, we can readily change them into believers, or put a prefix on "honest" and change it into "dishonest." The evidence is plenty strong to make believers out of honest people. A man who thinks Jesus was an imposter ought to be able to believe that Robert E. Lee wrote the Proclamation of Emancipation, and that George Washington surrendered to Cornwallis at Yorktown, and that Andrew Jackson was a Tory.

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The Main Point

"Take heed to yourselves: if thy brother sin, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him." (Luke 17: 3.) This is the language of the Lord, and he further says that if "thy brother" should sin against you seven times in one day, and should seven times ask your forgiveness, you must accord it to him. (Luke 17: 1-4.) Troubles are bound to come, and many will be caused to stumble. Some of the Lord's own "little ones" will become discouraged and fall. The guilty cause of it all would have been better favored had he not been born, or had he been cast into the sea with a big rock hanging to his neck, than to have been the principal in such diabolical activities. The unity and peace of mind of the Lord's children are sacred, and must not be needlessly disturbed. I must not rebuke the brother who sins against me, for the sake of revenge, or any personal pleasure I may derive from it. Such motives make me as great a sinner as he. "And if thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother." The main point is this: "Thou hast gained the brother." You do not go to him for personal satisfaction. You go to him for the sake of his own soul. If his offense is not great enough to endanger his soul, then you can afford to ignore it and not mention it, either to him or others. The main point is to help the erring brother. A man must be a Christian, indeed, to keep this main point in mind. If there is nothing more involved than a little ruffling of your false pride, and possibly you are a sensitive soul, and you stir up a lot of fuss over that, then you are a big baby or worse. What a lot of trouble big babies can stir up in the church! If the recalcitrant sinner against you will not listen to you and is hell bent in spite of you, call to your assistance one or two others, and finally the whole church, if need be; but don't forget that the main point is to keep him out of hell. If he sins against you, and you get vengeance by getting him classified by the church, "as the Gentile, and the publican," then you have not saved him at all. He has succeeded in making you a partaker of his ruin. Perhaps the Lord's rule for the settlement of personal difficulties would be applied oftener, if it did not require such an unselfish interest in the welfare of the other party. It is a lot easier to hate him.

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A Sorry Alibi

Occasionally, an otherwise good man will get mixed up in a lot of church trouble, and while the worst side of his nature is all agitated, will violate about everything that Christ and the apostles say about seeking peace and pursuing it. Christ says: "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God" (Matt. 5:9.) When the peace of a church has been broken up, and the ghost of division stalks about like living tragedy, the disturbers of the peace barricade themselves behind plausible alibis. Elijah and Paul and all other great servants of God have been troublemakers. All peacemakers are trouble makers, and Jesus really meant: "Blessed are the trouble makers: for they shall be called sons of God." Ergo, black is white. It is a sorry alibi for a guilty disturber of the peace, but withal, a very convenient shelter in which a guilty conscience may be whitewashed. You do not stand to lose a penny, if you offer a large reward for a troublemaker who does not compliment himself too highly, but compares himself with Elijah and Paul. They are all martyrs for conscience' sake. And to answer some possible correspondence in advance, this applies to all who have acted this way, are doing so, or who are likely to do so in the future. If there is no such case, never has been, nor ever will be, then this much of my page this week is a total loss.

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He Needed Conversion

It was Felix, the Roman governor of Judea, who held Paul a prisoner in Caesarea for two years. He was a murderer and an adulterer and guilty of all sorts of corruption in office. His chief interest in Paul was the hope that he might extort money from him or his friends as the price of freedom. "But after certain days, Felix came with Drusilla, his wife, who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ Jesus." This guilty pair needed conversion, and there was hope for them in the gospel. Paul made a sincere and a masterful effort to convert them. It did not occur to Paul that Felix was non-elect and eternally and irrevocably reprobate by virtue of a divine decree dating back beyond the ages; nor that he was totally depraved by birth and incapable of receiving the truth without the direct enabling power of the Holy Spirit. He preached the truth to him just as though he considered him a free and responsible man. "And as he reasoned of righteousness, and self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified." God did as much for him as he does for any other sinner. Felix heard the gospel and was conscious of his power to either accept or reject it. He was moved by it, but deliberately hardened his heart against it and remained in sin. Had he obeyed the truth, God would have pardoned all his sins. All talk of restricted election, partial atonement, total depravity, and direct operations is beside the point. It belongs to the field of speculative theology. Paul says: "... there is no respect of persons with God." (Rom 2: 8-11.) There are no alibis. Felix and Drusilla are alone to blame for the perdition which will envelop them throughout eternity. God holds no reserved power to be used on those who reject the gospel. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Rom. 1; 16.)