Voices from the Past
There are two standards before which all stand - God and man. Computed by the standard of man, Noah was a very narrow person. I am not sure but what he was also considered narrow by the standard of God almighty! The servants of the Lord throughout the annals of history have been branded as narrow by the philosophy and worldly wisdom of man. Perhaps some consolidation can be derived by analyzing the life of Noah, to determine why people would have called him narrow.
By human standards Noah was narrow because he taught and believed his ark was the only one to be saved. Noah preached for years that salvation could be found in his ark only! (Gen. 7:23; 1 Peter 3:20,21). Today, when one teaches that salvation is found only in one church, this brings down the roof of slurs and taunts of worldly men. They usually say, "I have never heard of a person being so narrow as to claim that salvation is in only one church." However, on the other hand, the Lord has plainly said that salvation is found only in His church which is His body (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:23). Notice He gave His blood for His church (only) and He is the Saviour of His body, the church.
Noah was narrow because he taught water as a dividing line between himself and a sin cursed world. He believed and taught that one day God would send water and separate him from the world of sinners. Today, if one wants to receive the smart retorts and insulting gibes of the world all he has to do is to say that water has something to do with his salvation. Yet, the grand old Bible plainly says that Noah was saved by water and that baptism saves us today (1 Peter 3:20, 21).
Noah, was considered narrow because he taught only a few would be saved. Today, when one teaches that only a few will be saved he is castigated and considered fit for some mental institution. However, the good Lord taught that few would be saved (Matt. 7:14). People of the world like to think that some in all denominations will be saved. In listening to funeral sermons I have observed that some sectarian preachers have never lost a case. They can usually dig up at least one good thing a person has done during his life and call it "an experience of grace" and attribute salvation to that deed. The Bible, on the contrary teaches us that failure to keep one commandment can keep us out of heaven (Mk. 10:21).
Noah, was narrow because he taught what the world would call "ark salvation." He believed and taught that a man had to get on the inside of his ark or be lost. This is a very unpopular doctrine. However, God backed up his affirmation by destroying all the "outsiders" (Gen. 7:22,23). When we teach that God has "walled in" salvation by placing it within the confines of His blood bought, spirit filled institution called the church, people shout "church salvation!" Please remember that God has "walled in" salvation by putting it inside His body, the church (Eph. 5:23).
Yes, if Noah had lived in our day many would have desired to stone him. He would have received the epithets of a world which seems to move further away from God from day to day. The example of Noah is a faith builder for all Christians today. When we grow weary from the heavy onslaughts of our fellow man we can always lift up our feeble knees by reading about "Narrow Noah" and his plight and deliverance by the omnipotent ruler of the universe. Remember, gentle reader, that one man and God is a majority! (Searching The Scriptures, Vol. IX, No. 8, August 1968).
By human standards, some today are considered narrow for insisting that drinking, including the "social" kind, is sinful (1 Pet. 4:3-4; Prov. 23:29-35). When one teaches this strait doctrine, he is labeled as "prude" or as being "backwards."
By human standards, some today are considered narrow for insisting that dancing, cheer-leading, and gymnastics are sinful due to the bodily motions and/or clothing that is worn in association with them (Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Tim. 2:9-10). When one raises his voice to condemn such, he is tagged with "pervert," "gutter-mindedness," or "old-fuddy-dudd."
By human standards, some today are considered narrow for insisting there is only one just, scriptural cause for divorce and remarriage--fornication (Matt. 19:9). When one preaches this confined teaching, he is maligned as "negative" and "unloving."
By human standards, some today are considered narrow for insisting there is only one basis of fellowship--that we must walk in the light (1 Jn. 1:5-7). When one proclaims that sinful doctrines and practices cannot be fellowship and tolerated via Romans 14 (or any other passage), he is vilified as a "brotherhood watchdog" or "self-appointed defender of truth."
By human standards, some today are considered narrow for being intolerant of error in any form (Gal. 5:10; Eph. 5:11). When one speaks in a way deemed intolerant, or displays the attitude of intolerance, he is not tolerated and is said to be "vicious" and "divisive."
Brethren, think about it! More and more those who stand for truth are considered by fellow-Christians to be narrow! As our article this month points out, it has ever been so and we ought not to expect a change. Similar to what the author closed with, let us remember, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee...The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me" (Heb. 13:5-6).
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