Sunday, November 21, 2010

Don't Pick a FIGHT With The Word of God.

Recently In making a small post in FaceBook, a person of the Hyper Prederism persuasion broke into the conversation, rather forcefully and in a rude manner. I clicked his name to see his wall. Sure enough, he was trying to sneak his all finished prophecy belief at 70A.D. belief in the back door. Why is that people who believe in a god who would torch his creation forever or a person for the most part, not all, who believe in Preterism....want to argue and refuse anything but an allegorical view of Scripture? Oh well, it is difficult sometimes.....but we must stand our ground sometimes when defending the Word. It can get messy sometimes. I did get blocked by the guy who really stuck his nose where it didn't belong. Where Scripture is being discussed, don't step in to the discussion unless you believe the literal written word. I am sorry, but God just is not finished with me yet. I just have not learned as of yet to back down when the Word is attacked. I am not claiming to know all. I am constantly growing in faith and knowledge.

OR SOME TIME a conviction has grown upon me that the cause
of truth could be served better if I should expose the methods of
those who oppose, and rebuke them, basing my action on the
scripture: "{Proclaim the word, stand by it, opportunely,
inopportunely, expose, rebuke, entreat, with all patience and
teaching. For the era will be when they will not tolerate sound
teaching}..." 2 Tim.4:2. There can be no doubt that this
passage is most applicable in the present era, for nothing is more
evident than the lack of tolerance for sound doctrine. Never was
there a crisis when there was more need of proclaiming the Word,
or of standing by it after it had been made known. And all will
agree that we should entreat, with all patience and teaching. I
cannot help believing that God would have us {expose and rebuke}
as well. There seems to be great need of exposing the immoral
methods used against the truth, but how can it be done without
giving offense? And those who withstand God's revelation ought to
be rebuked, but who is qualified to do it, and how can
personalities be avoided?

All of our readers are acquainted in some measure with the
need of conforming our conduct to the administration in which we
live. But we can go even further than that. Conduct may vary to
some extent within the same economy. We should also distinguish
between our general conduct and that particular phase which deals
with the defense of God's truth. For this there are special
directions. We should not fail to make a difference between the "eras" within the present administration. All this is usually overlooked. But it is vitally important in this connection. What we need is to get {the} passage, written on this subject for this present time.

The second epistle to Timothy is especially written for those
in the Lord's service, and there are two special passages which
particularly bear on the question of opposition to the truth. We
will place them side by side, the better to compare them:

2 Timothy 2:23-26 2 Timothy 4:2-4

Now stupid and crude question- Proclaim the word, stand by
ings refuse, being aware that it, opportunely, inopportune-
they are generating fightings. ly, expose, rebuke, entreat,
Now the Lord's slave must not with all patience and teach-
be fighting, but be gentle to ing. For the era will be when
all, apt to teach, bearing with they will not tolerate sound
evil, in meekness training teaching, but, their hearing
those who are antagonizing, if being tickled, they will heap
perchance in time God may give up for themselves teachers in
them repentance to come into accord with their own desires
a realization of the truth, and and, indeed, they will be
they should be sobering up out turning their hearing away
the Slanderer's trap, hav- from the truth and will be
ing been caught alive by him turned aside to myths.
for that one's will.

Once we see that one is especially for the time {before} the
"last days" (3:1), and the other particularly for {later} eras
(4:3), the two passages begin to come into clear focus. In the
first an individual antagonizes, in the second masses heap up
teachers. In the first there is hope of repentance, in the second
there is no such prospect presented, at least for the teachers. In
the first the antagonism begins with stupid and crude questionings
on the part of an individual, in the second sound teaching is not
tolerated by one who instructs others. The more we compare these
passages the more we will see that there is much room for
spiritual discrimination on the part of the Lord's servant who
wishes to guide his own footsteps by them.

Proclaim the Word! Stand by It!

Would it not be wise, even in these last days, to distinguish
between one who opposes with a crude question, and an intolerant
teacher? The former we should {not expose} or {rebuke}, but refuse
his questions. There is nothing to {stand by}, for positive truth
has not been attacked. Only a stupid question has been raised.
Crudeness and stupidity are at the root of the matter, and these
demand sympathetic treatment. They call for teaching and training.
Such a one needs to be taught the truth. With a firm but gentle
hand he needs to be led away from things that lead to fighting,
until he awakes to the fact that he was a tool of the Slanderer.
The object of the Lord's slave is to induce repentance, to change
his mind.

How different are the conditions in the second passage! Just
preceding it we read, "All Scripture is inspired by God, and is
beneficial for {teaching, for exposure}, for {correction}, for
{discipline in righteousness}, that the man of God may be
equipped, fitted out for every good act." Then comes the positive
charge: "I am conjuring you before God and Christ Jesus, Who is
about to be judging the living and the dead, in accord with His
advent and His kingdom: {Proclaim the word}..." This we consider
our chief task, and God has blessed it and will bless it. A few of
our friends would have us stop here. They tell us that God will
look after it if we only proclaim it. But this is only the first
item of the charge.


Do not these words enjoin us to defend the Word, after we
have proclaimed it? It is a most practical question. Few of us, it
seems, realize that even that Word itself is partly defensive.
Galatians adds little to the sum of truth, but it enforces it by
means of a background of error. This injunction implies that the
proclamation of the truth will be followed by attacks upon it. We
have had enough examples to illustrate this fact. Just now, for
instance, we are seeking to uphold the Word against

Our Attitude Toward Those Who Oppose

attacks in four regions of the earth, almost as far apart as the
poles. Does not this injunction impose such a duty upon us? How
shall we {stand by} the Word?


Now we have come to the crucial words. Is it not our duty to
expose and rebuke those who oppose the proclamation of the Word?
If we have failed we may be sure that this failure has not come
from the doing but from the faulty {manner} in which this has been
done. I confess that there have been times when my blood has
boiled with indignation, and I pity anyone who would feel
otherwise when immoral means are used to destroy the truth, by
those who profess to defend it. To be tepid at such a time would
be traitorous. But it is easy to fail here. However much one may
try to be just, it appears to those not fully in sympathy nor
deeply stirred, as if we were unduly harsh. This applies
especially to {rebuke}. It seems almost impossible to be
impersonal, or to avoid giving offense, especially in the eyes of
those not acquainted with the details. It seems best, therefore,
not to take much space for such matters in the magazine, but to
leave them to local brethren, when that is possible.

The following will illustrate the point. A magazine published
an article against the Version, with little else but
misrepresentations, and several direct falsehoods. The whole case
against the Concordant Greek text was based upon the assertion
that it reinserts the words about the Trinity in +1 John 5:7,
{which it does not do}. Several loyal friends wrote protesting
letters, one of them asserting that this falsehood, if an error,
was inexcusable, and if intentional, was damnable. I tried to
control my feelings and make my protest mild and courteous. In
reply I was thanked because my letter was not "unchristlike," as
those some of my friends had written. I felt condemned, for Christ
did not treat such sins with either mildness or courtesy. I had
not been "Christlike"...

Our Attitude Toward Those Who Oppose

...under the circumstances. To religious leaders who hired false
witness against Him His words were scathing in the extreme.

I am not claiming that we should copy Christ's severity in
this regard. But I am sure that many have a false idea of what is
"Christlike." He was not always gentle or submissive. The place
and the person made all the difference. He was intensely zealous
of all that pertained to God, and cast out those who defiled the
temple. He was especially plain spoken with those who displaced
the Word of God by their tradition, calling them hypocrites. If we
wished to be "Christlike" in the case before us there would be no
mincing matters. I feel certain that the most severe letter
written by my friends was the most "Christlike," and mine was the
least. It produced uncomfortable conviction, but I gave the
impression that I thought lightly of their sins, though I
considered them the most flagrant, in God's sight, that can be


In connection with the case already mentioned, about a year
was allowed to go by without any public exposure or rebuke. There
were repeated entreaties, and much correspondence. A large amount
of actual evidence was presented, and several thoughtful
discussions were sent. To me it seems that we have fully obeyed
this Scripture. There has been much entreaty and teaching and
patience. But this has had very little effect. It has only
confirmed the statement that {they will not tolerate} sound

In this case I have appealed to the local class for such
action as they deem best. The time has come when teachers will not
endure sound doctrine. That they will not endure the great truths
which we seek to proclaim is no mean evidence of their truth. That
this is so widespread is another good symptom. Surely the spirit
of God is not alluding to a few saints in this passage, but to the
general, prevailing character of this era. May the

Expose, Rebuke, Entreat!

Lord exercise our hearts in this matter, so that we may not be
lukewarm or really unchristlike, in standing by His proclaimed

This article, so far, was written a long time ago, but it was
not published for fear that it might lead to lawless excesses and
unworthy strife. Only those properly qualified to teach should
attempt it. But now I have before me an actual experience in which
God has used it for blessing, so I send it forth. The case was
something like this: The Fundamentalists and Modernists were
attacking each other in the daily papers. A brother wrote, showing
them that their phraseology was not scriptural, and stating that
he was ready to debate the matter publicly with any of them,
especially the doctrine of the Trinity. Only one minister took him
up, but demanded a statement of belief from the brother as to "the
Person, Nature and Deity of Christ." Of course, there is no
"belief" possible on these themes, as they are false expressions,
unknown to the Scriptures. The minister withdrew from the debate
on this account!

But the matter came up again and again in the local paper.
Several preachers made public statements or preached on the theme.
Some of them acknowledged that it was not directly stated in the
Bible. The result was that public interest in the Scriptures was
aroused and openings were found for God's Word. The exposure led
to some rather violent scenes, but it is difficult to see how they
could be avoided and still fulfill the Scriptures, for defenders
of orthodoxy may become very violent when exposed. The matter is
being followed up by teaching. A pamphlet was prepared on the
subject. Such a course, it seems to us, is indicated by this
passage. We are to stand by the word we proclaim, opportunely or
inopportunely, and not to shrink at exposing and rebuking. But
this should be followed by entreating, with patience and teaching,
even though we know that sound teaching will not be tolerated.

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