Vol.XV No.XII Pg.8
February 1979

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Remember the cigarette "ad" that pictured the black-eyed man or woman with the caption, "I'd rather fight than switch"? Well, there are various sequels to that line.

I am told of a preacher who was "trying out" at a large and generous church. One of the elders asked if he smoked, and the preacher said that he did not. But the elder apparently had reasons to press the matter, for he asked if the man had ever been a smoker; and he replied that he had, but that he had quit. Still suspicious — the evidence lingers — the elder then asked, "When?" And the preacher had to reply, "This morning."

There are preachers who had rather switch (their position on various issues) than fight (the good fight of faith). They know what the Bible does and does not authorize, and if they could preach it that way without being called "Anti" they would gladly do so. There are church members who know how a Christian ought to live: to speak with a pure tongue, and to avoid ungodly things and places. But when school or business peers are foul mouthed, or head for the wrong places, they follow the crowd. They are not blind; they had rather switch than fight. For the life of me, I can not see the difference in fear of "Anti" and fear of "chicken!"

Paul believed, and therefore he spoke (2 Cor. 4:13); accepting whatever cost such speaking might bring. He considered himself "delivered unto death for Jesus' sake" (v. 11); which is to say, he considered himself expendable. If he must die because he preached what he believed, then he must die. It seemed never to have entered his mind that he could "switch" rather than fight, for he was a man of conviction.

But it would be a mistake to conclude that the Christian warfare was easy sailing for Paul. His flesh warred against his spirit, as indicated in Rom. 7:15-f. He had to "buffet" his body (A.S.) and "bring it into subjection: lest ... when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (1 Cor. 9:27). He needed encouragement (Acts 18:9-10); but he persevered because his faith had made the Christian way his way. He could be true neither to himself nor to God if he "switched" for convenience' sake.

Those who switch to avoid serving the Lord have never learned there is no other way — of life (Jn. 6:66-68).