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The Proper tone in Preaching

The Motor is Running,
But Brethren are in Neutral
Dennis Reed


Just about my first memories of the term “neutral” was that it had to do with placing the gear shift on the Model “A” Ford in a position where you could release the clutch when the motor was running (we called them motors - not engines, as in “Ford Motor Company”). When you were in “neutral”, there was no movement of the car - it was just a “do nothing” position. You also had to remember, when parking your car on an incline, that it would surely roll backward or forward if you left the gear shift in “neutral”. Neutral simply meant that you were not in gear - you had no influence whatever on the motion of the car!

I am seriously afraid that a lot of our brethren today are determined to operate in “neutral”! They don’t want to make any distinction between a false teacher and a sound teacher. They don’t want to take a position on fellowship which would make a distinction between darkness and light, between truth and error, or between sinfulness and righteousness - they simply want to smile and stay “neutral”. For years we have been trying to tell them that neutral (no position) is an open stand for the Devil - but they simply smile and go about their merry way being perfectly satisfied with staying in “neutral” - not really standing for anything and not really standing against anything! These brethren are about as useless to the cause of Christ as a Model “A” crank is to a new Ford automobile!

These brethren want to be identified with the “it just doesn’t really matter” philosophy which is being openly advocated by so many brethren today! With the neutral position, they never have to open their Bibles to give an answer to anyone (1 Peter 3:15), and with their “accept and respect the diverse beliefs” of all brethren (Isaiah 30: 8-14), they never have to get any deeper than “y’all be good now” in spiritual matters. They sometimes venture to say that they just want to be “middle of the road” brethren! But most of us were able to figure out a long time ago that there is nothing in the middle of the road except a yellow stripe and dead armadillos! And if you lie down on that yellow stripe in the middle of the road, it may just come off on your back! Where I was reared, out in West Texas, it was said that a fellow who wouldn’t stand up for anything was nothing more than a coward who had a yellow stripe down his back! You ask these brethren to openly discuss scriptural matters, my friend you just as well save your breath to cool your coffee! You ask them to openly debate these issues, surely you have heard the sound of “silence” before! Possibly we just don’t seem to get the picture - “neutral” means that you don’t have a position, you don’t have any real convictions, you don’t really have any serious conscience development - you just don’t stand for anything and you ultimately fall for just about everything! Your motor is running but you are not in gear. The lights are on, but nobody is at home! What a sad picture this is for God fearing, Bible respecting, and righteous living brethren, who have the courage to stand up and be counted - and who have the courage to be seen as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.

But the “neutral” folks seem to be the ones that so many of our brethren are considering as being the leaders of the church in the future! Wow! Here are folks in “neutral”, just sitting there with their motor running, who won’t really take a stand for or against anything - and they are going to be the future of the Lord’s church! Talk about a frightening thought! But as difficult as that is to comprehend, this is undoubtedly the direction in which the majority of our brethren are being blindly led. Great numbers of brethren are sitting like baby birds in a nest - their eyes closed and their mouths wide open - just waiting for the next “neutral” thought that someone is going to feed them.

We now have a Bible publishing company advertising a “gender neutral” Bible (?), we are living in the age of so-called “gender neutral” marriages (?), we are more and more expected by the world to be “neutral” when it comes to morality, and now we are even faced with brethren among us who want to proclaim a “neutral gospel”! They want to talk about Christ - not doctrine. They want to be positive in their preaching - not negative. They want to use less scripture in their preaching - more emotional tales and humorous stories. They don’t want to point out error and false teaching - and, according to them, only a dishonest person can be a false teacher anyway. They expect you to declare that you absolutely believe exactly what the scriptures say - but you must also be willing to fellowship all the brethren who could care less about what the Lord has said. On and on and on they go, the motor is running, but they are happy and content to just be in “neutral”!

Do you see the point that I am trying to make? Do you truly realize the seriousness of this apathy and indifference toward truth and error, and this absolute unconcern about whether things are right or wrong? Do you understand the danger we face with this lack of respect and lack of concern for the authority of the scriptures? We have people “among us” whom we cannot even recognize as being “of us”? Their conversation and teaching has become so sectarian and denominational that they don’t even sound like Christians! They are among us, but they don’t have a clue as to what the Word of God demands of us! They tolerate false doctrines, they fellowship iniquity, they ridicule those who would oppose them, and they are being more and more successful in leading the multitudes of brethren down the destructive path of sin and digression.

Brethren, we had better get in gear! We must preach the Word - reprove, rebuke, and exhort (2 Timothy 4:1-4). We must have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5: 6-17). We must do everything that is possible to rescue brethren who are overtaken with sin and error (Galatians 6: 1-2). And we must determine to not receive or give encouragement to anyone who doesn’t bring the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9-11). And having done all to stand, we must stand therefore (Ephesians 6: 10-18).

We must have the determination that we will not be a part of this so-called “neutral” generation (Matthew 12:30)! The night is far spent and the day is at hand - it is now time to wake up, stand up, and speak up for Truth (Romans 13: 11-14) (1 Thessalonians 5: 4-11)! You and I are the Lord’s messengers and servants - is He able to count on us?

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