Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 4, 1951

The Silence Of The Sickly

Vaughn D. Shofner

It is an established fact that when a person gets "sick unto death" he doesn't make much noise. He just hasn't the strength to cause much disturbance. The same is true with doctrines and organizations. In the bloom of self-complacency and while basking in the blaze of manmade glory, much noise is heard from the promoters of false doctrines and practices; but when in the light of the Bible they are shown to be sinful, the noise of the parade fades into sickly silence.

Time was when the Denominational world of religion stood by what they practice and preach in the light of honorable debate, but too many defeats at hands of gospel preachers, and loss of members thereby, have driven them to shrouds of silence. The Christian Church at one time would defend its Missionary Societies, the use of instruments of music in the worship, but when they were continually defeated, due to their unscriptural stand, they forever silenced their defense. It is no longer popular for them to have their doctrines examined in public discussion, in fact they've decided it is wrong to debate—to debate both sides, that is. It is perfectly right for these Denominations to debate long and loud if no one is allowed to answer their arguments, but the moment their arguments are considered it becomes a sin. The truth is, they know defeat awaits them and they fear it. It is no more a sin to debate both sides of a question than it is to debate only one side.

I'd be ashamed to believe and practice something that I could not stand by anywhere. I'd hate to think of God as being so weak that his teaching would not bear examination.

But the most pathetic thing we face is the fact that many church members have exactly the same attitude as these Denominational neighbors. Only recently, comparatively speaking, the popular idea is to keep silent about what you are doing, but keep on doing it regardless of opposition. The person who speaks against the "powers" of the brotherhood is described as "anti" or narrow minded (another sign of defeat borrowed from Hell's horde), laughed to scorn in their own social circles, but there is absolutely no desire to prove the scripturalness of their positions and practices in honorable discussion. This silence denotes a very sickly condition!

No elder of the church, no preacher of the church, no member of the church will stand silently by when the teaching and practices of the Lord's church are being attacked. The only members that will keep silence at such times are those who are so far carnalized they care not for the church now nor in the future. The only people that will defend their positions are those who know the impossibility of it, or those who have a yen for power and popularity that reaches above constraint. No God-fearing member of the church will forcefully hold forth any practice that is not authorized in the word of God.

The idea of any such silence is this: "We're powerful enough to do as we please regardless of the opposition. We know we cannot defend our position, but we'll let them write and preach against our practices without much to say to them; and still we'll pursue the course we've set in spite of it all!"

I'd be ashamed to stand before the Lord of heaven and the faithful members of his blood-bought church as an elder or preacher if I lacked the spiritual stamina to back up my practices by scriptural authority when called upon to do so! I'd be ashamed to wear the name of Christian and profess to believe the Bible if I obstinately walked the way of those that "goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ!" I'd be ashamed to profess to wear the armor of Christ's soldiers if I refused to "contend earnestly for the faith" and "mark them which cause divisions" by the innovations of man! This silence may gain support of worldlings, but it's a certain sign of spiritual sickness.

Things looked gloomy for a few when the first opposition to unscriptural practices was sounded not too long ago. Emotional energy mocked reason and the majority of the brotherhood was swayed by the power. But soon the "zero hour" passed, reason began to rise in honest hearts, and preacher after preacher, member after member began to see the scriptural position of the "attack." The silent crowd is fast diminishing, and it doesn't require Solomonic wisdom to discern it; and when those pulpits are finally locked against the brazen bunch who defied popularity and prominence to preach the word of God, we'll find them too scarce to count. O yes, there'll be a group of carnalized churches led into this "ism," after the fashion of and comparable in number to the "Bollites" of a few years ago, but the truth of God's Son will march on to victory here, victory at the grave, and victory forevermore!