Vol.X No.X Pg.3
December 1973


Dan S. Shipley

When asked whether he preferred to be identified as a conservative or a liberal, a certain Texas politician replied: Neither, Im a consiberal! The consiberal viewpoint, though seldom identified so appropriately, is old enough to have whiskers, aliases not withstanding. In both politics and religion it has been best known as the middle-of-the-road position. Its adherents like to think of themselves as being a part of the popular mainstream; somewhere in between those whom they consider to be freewheeling unrestrained liberals and the narrow-minded non-progressives. There may be a place for the consiberal in politics, but not in religion, certainly not in the Lords church.

First, the consiberal concept is tied to the false, if pleasant, premise which says that truth is usually found somewhere between two extremes. Some brethren seem to regard this hallowed assumption as having a divine source— even to the point of allowing it to determine their position on vital, church dividing issues. The problem with this concept is that truth is never relative, either to men or to the positions they may occupy. Seeking out the middle-ground and calling it truth is a far cry from proving all things (1 Thess. 5:21). My middle-ground could be as far removed from truth as I consider the extremes to be. Soul-saving truth is only found with God (Jn. 17:17); to walk in truth (2 Jn. 14) is to walk in the light with Him (1 Jn. l:5-7). This idea of truth between extremes is just another version of the way that seemeth right (Prov. 114:12); the way in which the presumptuous walk.

Furthermore, truth is extreme by its very unique nature. It is exclusive and intolerant; it is not subject to arbitration nor to the subjective appraisals of men. Now wouldnt it be unusual if the unique qualities of Bible truth were not reflected in the lives of those who love it? Would they be considered extremists by the consiberal? Since NT truth is Gods pattern for shaping us into the kind of people He wants, how much leeway could the consiberal concept allow in obeying His will? Where, for instance, is the middle-ground on the issue of baptism? Where is the truth between extremes concerning the instrumental music issue? And what makes these issues any different from others that have more recently caused division among us? Truth is involved! For too many, consiberalism is an out; an out for those unwilling to study; an out for those to fear being identified as liberal or anti; an out for those seeking to avoid conflict, making changes or facing issues. Has it been your out?