Vol.XV No.III Pg.3
May 1978

Going Along

Dan S. Shipley

As so many have found, maintaining peace and harmony is not always an easy thing, even among those claiming to be followers of Christ. It takes a lot of getting along with a lot of different people under a lot of different circumstances. There are times when this getting along may require going along. In matters of judgment and opinion the conscientious Christian is willing to yield for the good of the group--and is willing to do so without grudge or enmity. What he proposes or opposes in such matters will never become more important to him than his love for brethren (Rom. 13:8-10; Eph. 5:21). Think of the problems that could be avoided if every Christian would willingly subordinate his personal preferences to what is best (and acceptable) for the group! (I think Phil. 2:4 points us in this direction) There are times, then, when going along helps getting along.

However, there are other times in which going along is more detrimental than helpful. Nothing good can come from going along with wrong, whether it be moral, doctrinal, or any other kind. By going along with the fornicator in their midst, the Corinthians were hurting both him and themselves (1 COR. 5). Had this man been a false teacher instead of a fornicator, the going along would have been just as wrong. But what if this man's sin had been in "going beyond what is written" in some other way?---say, by the promoting of an unauthorized practice into the work or worship of the local church? Would going along with such a practice be any more permissible here than with these other sins? — either then, or some 1900 years later.

With the flood of liberalism and institutionalism that has engulfed the church in recent years, many longsuffering and conscientious brethren have, whether through pressure or timidity, gone along with practices to which they are opposed. Some have so dreaded controversy and division that appeasing men has been given precedence over pleasing God (Gal. 1:10). Worse, the kind of men they seek to appease are generally those who are bound and determined to have their innovations and "programs" at any cost. Such promoters have pushed unscriptural programs under the guise of "expedients" and "optionals", but defend them as if they were matters of faith. Make no mistake about it! The "troublers of Israel" are not those who oppose questionable and unscriptural arrangements, but those who introduce, push, and support them, even to the dividing of the church! And to think that these are such as going-along brethren choose to appease and fellowship!

May the day soon come when more going-along brethren will stand up and say, "ENOUGH" : "No longer will we lend our influence and resources to such!"; "No longer will we ignore the demands of truth and conscience by fellowshipping what we oppose!" And may that day be hastened with the realization that every member of every local church has a responsibility to Divine truth. No Christian is obligated to follow elders who lead away from the old paths, nor can he blame them for his part in such. God ever looks to YOU to demonstrate your allegiance to Him and His truth as only you can. Will you?