Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 26, 1950

What To Do?

Gene Martin, Quitman, Texas

A seemingly ever-present difficulty in any discussion of differences between persons or parties is that of keeping one or both sides of the discussion on the subject. Too often the issue is clouded by irrelevant material; frequently one side sets up a proposition (for which the other side does not contend) and then proceeds to tear said proposition to shreds, all the time claiming victory after victory. But no victory is gained where there are no proponents of the vanquished side of the argument. Such is evident in the present issues confronting the church.

The point questioned in regard to evangelism is not whether it should be done, but rather how it should be done. All arguments presented to prove that we should evangelize the world are utterly useless and serve only to cloud the issue. We all know that it must be done because the Lord commanded it. Let us stick to the question: Are the means and methods now used by some in accord with New Testament authority? Any question that arises concerning how we are to achieve the proper results in the work of the church will present two avenues of activity. One we know to be safe and sure by either expressed or implied command or example. The other (or any other) is doubtful at its very best, and it may be simply and absolutely wrong. (This because of absence of authority.) Surely we know which to accept. When we do that, and only that, which is divinely authorized in the way we know they did it in Apostolic times, then we KNOW we are safe and right in the sight of God. Why court danger and trouble by trying or entertaining ideas that are doubtful? Why indeed? No gospel preacher or group of elders deny that the local congregation is the only scriptural organization designed to do the work of evangelizing. We know that it is safe and right for each congregation to do its own work. Then why not be content with that? Leave off the doubtful entanglements. We preach "safety first" against denominationalism, false doctrine, etc.; let us practice some "safety first" within our ranks in this matter. And it is surely begging the point to say, "Yes, but some local congregations are not doing their work as they should". Just because some Christians do not do their duty is no excuse (and certainly does not make it right) for other Christians to use innovations or digress from the divine pattern in order to "fill the gap". NEVER has the end justified the means used when those means were not authorized by God's word.

What is it that at present is called into question? Why, it is the means used by some to direct and support efforts of evangelizing and educating. Then let us stick to the question, examine these things in light of Truth, and cast off all means used that are not absolutely safe and right as authorized by divine command or example, either expressed or implied. Thus we can, be expending our every effort with the best of our ability, further the Cause of Christ. Let us put away our pet theories and hobbies, our "modern methods and techniques", and really go to work for the Lord. The time and effort that has been spent so generously by so many to vindicate their position and/or their promotions could have been used to great advantage in the harvest of lost souls. Sad it is that they have defeated their purpose. They claim that those of us who "oppose their methods" are hindering the spread of the gospel, when in reality they are the ones who are doing the hindering. Much time and effort have been consumed as we have engaged in this fight by faith to stop the digressive trend.