Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 5, 1962

A Dictionary, A Concordance, A Bible, And "Anti"

P. J. Casebolt, Akron, Ohio

Ordinarily, from the standpoint of usage, I reverse the order of these books as they appear in the title of this article. I use the Bible more than the concordance, the concordance more than the dictionary, and all three of these books more than all the rest of my books combined. But, when one brother refers to another as an "anti," and the closest I can come to this term in the Bible is where John speaks of "antichrists" (1 John 2:18), then I am relatively certain that this is not the connotation intended by the user of the term. Therefore, since our Bibles have been translated into the English language, I will look up the term in the English dictionary, see if the concordance will refer me to any passage in the Bible where the term is used in that sense, and determine if any or all of us should be "antis."

Now I do not hope to convert those who may be using this term "anti" in a reckless, ungrammatical, un-Christian way. But, occasionally, an honest, sincere person will hear this term used and ask, "Just what, or who, is an 'anti'?" Peradventure there may yet be ten honest souls remaining in the Sodom and Gomorrah of backbiting brethren, I will undertake to enlighten them on this point, that they may flee the wrath of God coming upon those who resort to such sins. (Rom. 1:30)

"Anti" Is Anti-Grammatical

Webster says that "anti" is "A prefix signifying opposite, against, instead, counter, used in forming nouns and adjectives." The term "anti" by itself leaves one in suspense as to its intended meaning, unless it is used as "A prefix.... in forming nouns and adjectives." Webster lists sixty-nine examples of how the prefix "anti" may be used in forming other words, such as "anti-pope," "anti-Masonic," "anti-slavery," and "anti-grammatical." Even a gun could be an "anti" if it were an "anti-aircraft" gun!

Now I have learned that some brethren are so mean that no amount of logic, pleading, or scripture will persuade them to quit their slanderous misrepresentations. Therefore, I'm going to resort to threats. If they don't stop it, I'm going to call them anti-grammatical At that, I'm being more charitable than they, for they won't truthfully say what I am against (anti), but unless they start forming adjectives and nouns with the prefix "anti," I know that they are without a doubt anti-grammatical.

"Anti" Is Anti-Logical

If those who are now making a hobby of calling someone "anti" will reflect for a minute, they can recall that it hasn't been too many years since sectarians called the followers of Christ "Campbellites." We pointed out that no point of doctrine which we embraced was peculiar to, or originated with, Alexander Campbell. The Baptists and Methodists still insisted on being anti-logical, and called us "Campbellites" anyway.

Of course, we knew that such name-calling was an indication that they had exhausted their arguments against our position, and were smarting and retreating under a steady barrage of "thus saith the Lord." Their only hope was to incite prejudicial sentiment against those who were anti-sectarian. It is anti-logical for brethren to become guilty of the same tactics they once condemned in sectarians.

"Anti" Is Anti-Scriptural

I mean the way it is being used. It is neither anti-grammatical, anti-logical, nor anti-scriptural if properly used. But, it is being used in an anti-scriptural fashion when brethren will misrepresent the position of others, and when they leave the impression that we should not be antis anything.

Jesus came to set a man against (anti) his relatives. (Matt. 10:35) "The face of the Lord is against (anti) them that do evil." (I Pet. 3:12) The Bible teaches us to be against (anti) sin, and those who would transgress the doctrine of Christ. (2 John 9-11) We should all be against (anti) anything or anyone that threatens the all-sufficiency of the church or the authority of the Scriptures.

I said previously that some brethren are so mean that they will not quit their "slanderous misrepresentations." Lest some think I am guilty of that which I condemn, let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. When one brother accuses another of being "anti-orphan," "anti-education," "anti-evangelism," he has at least stopped being anti-grammatical by prefixing his noun with "anti," but he is now anti-factual.

There is not a brother anywhere that is against (anti) orphans, education, and evangelism. Yet, those guilty of such lies will not clarify their accusations unless forced to do so. Brethren, remember one thing, a "church of Christ" liar can burn in hell as readily as any other liar. (Rev. 21:8) That goes for all of us.

Now I don't mind being called an "anti" if those gracing their dissembling, deceitful lips with my name will tell what it is that I am against. (Prov. 26:23, 24) I know many good brethren who are against (anti) mechanical music in worship, evangelizing thru a missionary organization other than the church, the church caring for its needy thru benevolent institutions, and edifying the church thru an educational institution of human origin.

Some brethren take the position that "negativism begets liberalism." This is anti-logical because it has the cart before the horse. One can't be against something that doesn't exist. Liberalism begets negativism, if there is any negativism. If brethren are as excited over "antis" as they purport to be, and are sincerely concerned about decreasing their number, then let them quit introducing so many things for which they have no scriptural authority. Otherwise, even as the Lord was against (anti) the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, and hated it to the point that he threatened to fight against those who embraced it "with the sword of my mouth" (Rev. 2:15, 16), so must every loyal soldier oppose that which is "after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." (Col. 2:8)