Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 14, 1963

Another Form Of Worldliness

Lloyd Moyer

Worldliness in any form is fatal to the child of God and the church of the Lord. The above statement simply means that any time a child of God or a church of the Lord engages in worldliness in any form their acceptability to God is forfeited. This being true, we need to study the subject of worldliness. I fear that when most people talk and think about worldliness, they have in mind such sins as drunkenness, adultery, lasciviousness and immorality in general. However, there is another form of worldliness I wish to discuss in this article. It has to do with the idea of "peaceful co-existence." This term is used in reference to the existence of two (or more) opposite ideologies. To have this "peaceful co-existence" both sides are urged to "make concessions," "to be tolerant" and to avoid "absolutism," "radicalism," "extreme views" in either direction. By employing such terms and preaching such ideas the Communists have taken captive millions of people since 1917. By using the same tactics, politicians in this country persuaded Protestant America to elect a Catholic President. By these two examples we can see the effectiveness of this course in world events. It seems that there is something terribly wrong with one taking a firm stand on anything today. It is the "middle-of-the-roader" who is most popular. My definition of this type person is one who talks out of both sides of his mouth at the same time; makes concessions so as to lead others to believe that he is for both sides and yet, against both sides The "middle-of-the-roader" is one who has no strong convictions either way. Therefore, he is very popular. This makes a good politician but a very poor Christian.

We have heard and seen much of this form of worldliness which has made deep inroads into the thinking of God's people. Many feel that one is a "radical," "intolerant," "extremist" and void of the Spirit of Christ, if he has strong convictions on anything religious and has the courage to preach what he believes. A few years ago it would have been hard to find a preacher or a church of Christ who would not have been happy to engage in a discussion of their belief and practice. However, because of the form of worldliness I have been talking about, it is almost impossible to find a liberal preacher or a digressive church which will enter into an honourable discussion. Jesus and the apostles were ever ready to engage in religious controversy. No one could have accused them of being "middle of the roaders." Both, Jesus and the apostles expressed their strong convictions in strong words, Jesus called his own Jewish brethren "hypocrites," "ye serpents, ye generation of vipers." (Matt. 23) Paul called a man a "child of the devil" and asked him to "cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord.'' (Acts 13:10) In the second chapter of Galatians, we read of Paul withstanding Peter to the face, because he was to be blamed. And horrors of horrors, he did it "before them all"! (Verse 14). Had some of our brethren been present they would have accused Paul of "causing trouble in the church." They would have branded him as an "anti."

From these examples we learn that neither Jesus nor the apostles were "tolerant" of error. There can be no "peaceful co-existence" of truth and error, right and wrong or righteousness and unrighteousness. (Eph. 5:11), "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." From a study of the sixth chapter of Ephesians we learn that there is some fighting to be done by the people of God. They are to put on the "whole armor of God." and after "having done all, to stand. Stand therefore..." (Ver. 13-14).

It is impossible to please God and make any concessions so far as the truth is concerned. A concession made at one point of the gospel leaves no ground upon which to stand at any other point of the gospel. The same ground for concession at one point of truth, arises at every other point.

God has stipulated the work of the church. He has proscribed the government of the church. He has set forth the items of worship of the church and He has outlined the plan of salvation. Now, if someone can make a concession and have the church engage in a work not stipulated, others can, with the same arguments, change the plan of salvation or alter the items of worship. There is no stoping place. We must, therefore, contend for the faith (Jude 3) and be "set for the defense of the gospel" (Phil. 1:17). We must always "speak as the oracles of God...." (1 Peter 4:11). We must "prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (I Thess. 5:21). To follow these and many other like admonitions, we will be branded as "radicals," "trouble-makers," and "extremists." Some brethren may lie about us and do all in their power to injure our influence. And when we raise our voice in protest against them and try to protect our influence, they will accuse us of dividing the church. That happened to Paul in the long ago — and will to faithful men always.

As we noted in the beginning of this article, these tactics succeeded in the political world. They did so simply because enough people did NOT fight against them. These same tactics will succeed in sweeping the church of our Lord into apostasy unless the people of God take a firm stand for truth and fight against this subtle form of worldliess. "And be not conformed to this world:..." (Rom. 12:2).

— 41325 Kathlean, Fremont, California