Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 6, 1958
NUMBER 27, PAGE 7a,12b

Infallibly Safe

C. D. Crouch, Baxterville, Mississippi

When I was just a beginner in the work of preaching the word, I had a book of sermons put into my hands, by Benjamen Franklin. I think all young preachers in those days came in contact with those sermons by that great preacher. At least, I know I have heard many of them preach, using the same outlines as Franklin used.

I was impressed particularly with one sermon, which he called: "The Infallibly Safe Course; or the Way That Is Right And Can't Be Wrong." I have endeavored all my life as preacher to put into practice the principles outlined in that sermon; and I have preached those principles all my life as a preacher.

There have always been difficulties confronting the children of men. And since "Satan transformed himself into an angel of light" he has multiplied these difficulties as the years have passed. It seems that there are more of those difficulties now confronting the people. The conflicting doctrines that are being taught by sincere people are naturally confusing. People will hear the different preachers, with one preaching one thing and another preaching something that is the very opposite, the question will very naturally arise in the mind of the listener: How am I to be expected to decide which one is right — which one is preaching the truth? Since the teaching presented by the two preachers, groups, or churches, is contradictory, both can not be correct. That is self-evident to all who think. Now the listener is expected to regard the different preachers as sincere in their purpose, and equal in respect to ability and honesty of his efforts; each is regarded as trying to guide the people in religions matters in a way that is pleasing to God. Both, have time for study and they are well educated, and have splendid facilities for research and study. Then the listener considering all these factors may cry out: How am I to ever be able to decide which course to pursue if these learned men can not agree?

Well, suppose you can not understand all the fine points they may raise in their preaching, is it not possible that there is a course one may pursue in which he will be safe, absolutely safe? ?

Just one difficulty that we may illustrate what I mean here: One preacher will preach very earnestly that if one is once converted to the Christ, saved by the blood of Christ, it is impossible for him to ever so apostatize as to be finally lost. Many passages of scripture are introduced to uphold his contention. And the contention is made by men of great mental power, and men who are highly educated. Then other preachers, equally as well educated, and whose mental powers are second to none, will argue that a child of God a Christian, one saved by the blood of Christ, can so sin as to be finally lost. Perhaps many are confused by this contradictory teaching and wonder how they can ever decide who is right. Is there not a course one may pursue here, in which he will be infallibly safe? Look at it this way: Suppose, it is utterly impossible for one who is a child of God to so conduct himself, as to be finally lost? Suppose it should turn out that way, in the end. My believing that I can so sin, will not condemn me, if I can not so sin as to be lost. No, in case the teaching is right, and scriptural, and I can not therefore apostatize, I can disbelieve the doctrine. I can denounce the doctrine as of the devil. I can fight it all my life, and still, I am just mistaken about it — I can not so sin as to be finally lost. But let's turn the matter around, and look at the other way. Suppose the doctrine is false. Suppose one can so sin as to be finally lost. Then, my believing that I can so sin, and therefore putting every possible effort to please the Lord, and doing all within my power to "take heed lest I fall", will be the wise course to pursue in that case. Then if one has believed that it was impossible for him to be lost any way, and thereby lulled into a sort of spiritual stupor, and fails to "take heed lest he fall." He is therefore lost. So, there is not much difficulty here, if one will look at the problem from that point of view. The infallibly safe course, is to believe the Gospel with one's whole heart, and obey the gospel all of his life as a Christian. If that isn't safe, then there is no safety. Moreover, it would be remarkable, if a matter which is infallibly safe were not infallibly correct.

Let's look at these issues that are disturbing the churches today from this point of view. The Herald Of Truth set-up is represented to be a means of churches preaching the gospel to a large audience, on the one hand, and on the other it is represented as an organization of funds from many churches, placed in the hands of a board of directors (who are elders of one church) to be expended by the central board. Do those participating in the set-up claim that it is specifically authorized? Not as far as I have heard, they do not. The Benevolence Societies are contended for only as "expedients", just like the Missionary Societies were contended for when they were being organized. The "Sponsoring-Church" set-ups are also contended for on the same basis — they are "expedients". They tell us that "they are in the realm of human judgment" — expedients. In other words, they are just human opinions, that's all. But, many brethren who are just as honest, and as learned, and as devout, as any who contend for these "expedients", regard them as violations of the principles of the religion of our Lord. It is not merely a matter of opinion with some of us that they are wrong. We are accused of "binding where God has not bound", and some who have more zeal than knowledge about such matters, say they "refuse to be bound".

Well, when it comes to the point where people will "hind" their "expedients" (which they freely admit is a matter of human judgment), which are nothing more therefore, than their "opinions" upon the conscience, of their brethren who regard those practices as departures from the simplicity that is in Christ, then we have a situation that is a problem indeed. What is the safe course to pursue? I can freely yield my opinion, which I regard as an opinion, or a mere "expedient", at any time, for the sake of unity in the body of Christ. And those brethren who are pushing these "expedients", disregarding the conscience of their brethren, are not manifesting that "love of the brethren" which the scriptures enjoin. Is it "safe" for brethren to pursue that course? I can not violate my conscience, without sinning against God. No man can. But, any Christian can hold his "opinions" to himself, and not press them to the disruption of the peace of the church. And since these things that are causing divisions in the churches today are admittedly only "expedients" — "opinions", how can they press them to the division that is being caused?

Oh, they answer, the division is being caused by the objections brethren make to these "expedients". Well, I'll grant there is truth in that charge. Just like those who objected to the use of instrumental music in the worship caused the division over that issue. Had there been no objection to the instrumental music in the worship there would have been no division over it. In fact many churches were not divided over it — the whole church apostatized. But, no guilt attaches to those who oppose "expedients" like Instrumental Music in the worship — And human societies to do the work of the church. If it should turn out in the end, when we shall all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that we have been mistaken about these "expedients" being innovations upon the divine order, we can not even then be charged with being opposed here to anything more than "expedients" — opinions, and I am sure the Lord will not condemn us then for being true to conscientious convictions. And it is therefore safe to oppose any opinion that brethren seek to bind on us, when it is no more than an opinion.

On the other hand, if it should turn out in the end that these advocates of centralization of power in a few churches are wrong, and they find out at the judgment that they have been wrong in advocating and pressing their "expedients" to the dividing of the body of Christ, they will learn too late, for them to ever be safe. Thus, it is infallibly safe to oppose all human innovations here. "His divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and virtue". There is nothing that even pertains to the Christian life but that God has furnished it unto us. And such things have not been furnished in language that is so ambiguous that ordinary Christians can not understand it. God has never yet proposed to condemn any one for refusing to accept and follow the opinions of men.