Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 18, 1950
NUMBER 3, PAGE 4,11a

A Developing Crisis Within The Churches

Charles G. Mcphee, Meaford, Ontario

Modernism is breaking out in the most unexpected places; even the church of our Lord is not immune to its insidious attacks. Wolves dressed in sheep's clothing are doing their deadly work. It is very popular for many teachers and professors to raise questions and create doubts in the minds of many about baptism, the Virgin birth and the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.

Destroy Faith

The fundamental facts of the gospel have little attraction for those who think more about, "higher education" than they do of the Lord and the Lord's church. They will not deny the Bible openly, but they surely will nullify its power and discredit its authority. Faith, with them is only a matter of form; and they talk about love, devotion and leadership; but they are never very sure about the Virgin Birth, bodily resurrection or divinity of Jesus. They have been educated at the feet of worldly philosophers who have little reverence for God or love for His word; and they have been reading modern books, saturated with unbelief, intended to undermine our faith in Christ.

A True Statement

Here is what Moses E. Lard, one of the world's greatest preachers once said: "They have an enormous fondness for sects and sectarians, and scowl on no one so indignantly as on the brother who dares to speak against them. With them sectarians are all Christians, and it is a favorite saying among them that 'we are as sectarian as any other people'. They seldom speak of their brethren except to disparage them, and never of 'the other' parties of the day except to laud them. In plain English, these men see nothing good in the great brotherhood to whom they are an offense, nor anything bad in the sects with whom their affinities really are.

The Fellow

Modernists set themselves up as the sum total of all wisdom and knowledge. What they don't know is not worth knowing. There is one thing that they do not know; "If any man thinketh that he is wise among you in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise." (I Cor. 3:18.) Paul had plenty of contact with these "Know-all philosophers," and he warned them: "Let no man deceive himself." "For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God—and the Lord knoweth that the reasonings of the wise, that they are vain." Self-deceit is most fatal and pernicious. There are churches who have these troublesome fellows, who destroy the peace and harmony and undermine the faith of some. To such the measuring line of God's Word must be applied and the gospel truth preached or the church will drift upon the rocks.

"If any man thinketh that he is wise among you, in this world, let him become a fool." This includes, "Any man," church member, philosopher or worldly wise teacher. The church in Macedonia could boast of teachers and worldly wisdom, but they weakened the influence of the gospel. Doubtless they called in question divine authority, misrepresented divine precepts and omitted the scripture that condemned their worldliness and vain ambitions.

How They Work

What will a modernist do? He will do most anything to cover up his deceitful tendencies; put the church in the wrong light and make the people feel that he is a martyr. Modernism may be seen in many forms. It may manifest itself when fully developed, by denying the Bible or some part of it; by adopting digression, Premillennialism or any other ism. They are great critics of the church of Christ and those who stand for the truth. When people who love the truth try to correct their attitude and save the church, they say, "He is unkind, lacking brotherly love and has lost the Spirit of Christ." Was Christ unkind and has He lost the spirit of love, when He drove out the "Pharisees" and silenced the money makers in the "house of God?"

Present Day Examples

Recently an article appeared in a periodical, largely circulated in Canada and the United States; (Readers Digest) trying to prove that the "sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day," (Joshua 10:13) for reasons caused by a disturbance in the heavens. Even the Jews who were delivered from Egyptian bondage and wandered forty years in the wilderness, never discovered that the pillar of fire and cloud was only a comet's tail. Under the guise of honesty and the pretext of confirming the miracles of the Bible, their subtle approach and insidious attacks are aimed at nullifying the truth and destroying the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.

Today, as in the time when Christ was on earth, he is "Crucified in the house of His friends." Dressed in garments of religion, philosophy and ethics, a telling blow is struck at the "religion of the Spirit," and not for the Spirit. Legalism produced by the Law of Moses was nailed to the cross, but "The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and death." (Rom. 8:2) If Christianity is not a Legal Law, then the Christian can do as he pleases and that is modernism gone to seed. It comes sometimes to the uninformed in a classical garb, "A Rare Gem," supported by careful scholarship, creating a crisis, a major issue, that must be met and destroyed if the church of our dear Lord is to continue preaching the unadulterated gospel, "The power of God unto salvation."

What The Word Says

To all modernists Paul says, "Let him become a fool, that he may become wise." He is in a peculiar position, to become wise in God's estimation; he must become a fool in his own estimation. His worldly wisdom and knowledge means nothing to God. "It was God's pleasure through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (I Cor. 1:21.) Men must consider worldly wisdom as worthless in matters of redemption. "Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled: and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted." True wisdom of the world is perfectly legitimate in its own realm; but worldly wisdom that tries to tie its religious schemes and plans on the church, is doomed to failure. "He taketh the wise in their craftiness." The craftiness, wisdom and knowledge of man, cannot stand in the wisdom, power and knowledge of God. Men who are really wise are prepared to live for God in Christ and serve in the church as God ordains. Modernism seeks to glorify man, and substitute suppers, shows and worldly entertainment for the power of the gospel. Paganism once tried to destroy the church by persecuting it. It scattered the church, but Christians went everywhere and established congregations. Now the devil is more tactful, he uses some modernists to do the work once done by persecutors of the church. They love to be called "higher critics," whereas they talk about the highest things in the lowest terms, and are therefore "lower critics."

A Final Word

"God is no respecter of persons," but He is a lover of all who fear Him. "Blessed are they who do his commandments." There is one thing God has never permitted, and that is for man to tell him what is right. Anyone that presumes to change the Word and Will of the Lord will ultimately meet with the same condemnation, as did Nadab and Abihu, when they offered strange fire before the Lord.