Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 25, 1951

Choosing Sides

Cleon Lyles, Little Rock, Arkansas

When people are confronted with any question, whether of major or minor importance, they feel duty bound to decide which side they will be on. People generally look with scorn upon anyone who can never decide where he is. Although we do find people occasionally who cannot make up their mind, they are slow to admit it. We had rather people would think of us as being able to decide important issues.

In deciding which side to represent, we are confronted with many things to assist us in making the choice. Many people never know why they decide for a certain cause. That is why politics become so corrupt, and error is allowed to creep into the church. Such people allow others to make up their minds for them. Hence when some issue arises they must first learn how certain people stand before they can make a stand. There have been times when congregations of the Lord's people have been ruined in this manner. It is the same old story, whether in or out of religion. We would be the last to admit that we are allowing our brains to be used as a toy by some other fellow, but still we must admit that such is generally true.

Then we may wait until we find where some institution stands before we decide. This is one of the many dangers of the church having any close contact with anything other than the church. People have become so worked up and "school spirited" that in some cases the welfare of their alma mater means more than the welfare of the Lord's church. While they might stand by and allow much criticism to be offered regarding the church they will not permit even a slight hint that there is something wrong with the school.

Sometimes we find those who must wait until they find out where a certain congregation stands before they can make a stand. It is as possible to allow the wrong spirit to enter into a relationship with a congregation as it is with some institution. One cannot help but have some fear regarding the influence of some congregations over there. We certainly desire the progress of any group of the Lord's people, but we would draw back from the idea that issues are decided by one congregation for a group of congregations. The strongest congregation in any community, or state, could become the directing agency for many smaller congregations if they so desire. Of course this could not happen if each congregation had qualified elders, but that is not always the case. If some group learns that others wait for their decision before taking a stand, they should try to discourage such. Even if they always do that which is right, the principle is still wrong, for God intended for each congregation to direct its own affairs.

David said, "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?" (Psa. 118:6) That should settle any question. Where is the Lord, and where does He expect me to stand? There is no question concerning any issue, or my attitude toward it, that I cannot find in the Lord's word. If we always stay on the Lord's side He will be on our side.