Queries and Explications
Do We Alert
Concerning current controversies over marriage issues, Romans 14 and fellowship, a brother recently wrote:
"I need your help and suggestions. The question is, how do we alert the sleeping faithful? After talking to some of my brethren and fellow preachers, it seems that most of them have the same attitude, 'You are just yelling wolf'. It seems that they do not think that the battle is real, nor one that will threaten them or their congregations. I feel that this is a very foolish, "bury your head in the sand" attitude. I believe the sooner we can jump into the thick of the battle and make our stand for the truth, the better.
"I have met with some of the brethren where I labor. They seem to have the attitude that I can do some sermons on the issue, but that will be enough. I feel that we need to attack this false doctrine problem with a focused, multimedia action. That is to use any articles, sermons, studies and any other medium we can get our hands on. I hate the thought of standing by and seeing my brethren fall by the wayside.
"I feel that this is the just the beginning of a very dirty and deadly battle. It is a battle that will be spoken of by future generations in the same light as we speak of the missionary society departure, and of the development of the liberal and social gospel in our own day. In the end, many of us will have suffered the spiritual death of some who are very dear to us."
Essentially, every man has to come along according to his experience, wisdom, judgment and knowledge. Where I see no danger, a pest control expert may see potential disaster. Where I see no problem in my business, a financial advisor may see imminent bankruptcy looming. Hence, encourage and warn others, but then turn and do the work as you deem best. Avoid rashness. That does not mean one cannot act quickly.
Using your own best judgment, teach on the dangers of a problem as well as on the difficulty itself, for it is only when the pest control professional informs me that I will be moved to take action; it is only when my accountant shows me the danger that I will move against the challenge to my solvency.
Too, you may teach others the extreme peril they do not see by using the lessons of history. The men in the days of Noah "knew not until the flood came and took them all away." Those who followed Absalom "went in their simplicity, and they knew not anything" (2 Sam. 15:11). In other words, they were clueless as to Absalom's real motives and manner. So, today. Write articles, preach sermons along that line, showing the danger of being oblivious to the seriousness of error. In this way, you may awake and arouse some who are sleeping while their house is on fire.
Point out that men said the institutional conflict of the 1950's was "just a preacher fuss," and "the only reason Roy Cogdill opposed Herald Of Truth is because he wasn't chosen to be its featured speaker." Now, look at the carnage that has been wrought because some did not wake up in time! Again, point out those facts. Show brethren today that no one believed that two picnic tables in a large class room (the first "fellowship halls") would grow up to become "Family Life Centers." One hundred fifty years ago, no one imagined that plinking a piano during the Lord's supper would lead to the development of the Disciples of Christ denomination! Likewise, today.
When you have done this, don't weigh yourself down in needless distractions. Fight the fight as you deem best, with or without those who do not know what is going on. You are not responsible for their inactivity; you are pure from their blood, so fight on.
Know this: Not everyone will join the fray, even if they see and know the seriousness of it. Some are cowards; some are spineless spiritual politicians who, like the princes of Succoth, will not aid the army of God until they see who is going to win (Jud. 8:4-7). Wash your hands of such men. They will stifle your efforts; they will quench the Spirit and yours, IF you will let them.
Follow the pattern of Paul in this endeavor, as in all efforts, teaching every man, warning every man in all wisdom (Col. 1:28). Having done that, flinch not, flee not, and take steady aim between the eyes of your adversaries.
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