Some folk prate about “having the truth” when it is evident they can’t give chapter and verse for their contention. I wonder how they know they have the truth? When Jesus said, “Thy (God’s) word is truth;” (Jn. 17:17) He stated the dependability of God, and the accuracy and integrity of His teaching. In a sense, people are “set apart” by false doctrines and practice, but Jesus prayed that the Apostles might be set apart by their acceptance and adherence to TRUTH.
All who have access to the word of God “have the truth” — to learn, believe, obey. But many seem satisfied to hold aloft this “Holy Bible” — the outward aspect of truth, yet give little attention to the contents of the book. By reading a verse now and then, and making use of some Bible terminology, they suppose their doctrines are “based on the Bible.” A thing is neither wrong nor right because we have always done it. Can we safely assume that our forefathers were infallible? We use the term “always” rather loosely when we refer to a practice of thirty, fifty, or even one hundred years. The gap between the early church and the practice of the church today is spanned, not by succession, but by the seed which is the word of God. (1 Pet. 1:25)
A thing is neither wrong nor right because of the supposed “end”. May we assume to infallibly predict the end? God alone sees the whole picture, and His plan is certain to bring about an “end” He desires. When we leave His plan for our “more efficient” scheme, we presumptuously cast reflection upon divine wisdom.
A thing is neither wrong nor right because it evokes either opposition or acclaim, from the people. Paul said, “Do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10) A preacher once told me he knew a certain action was right, but that if he took a stand on the subject it might “cause trouble.” I agree that unnecessary trouble should be avoided, but if his analysis of the situation was correct, “trouble” already existed. The time had come to “reprove, rebuke, exhort …”. The majority has usually been wrong in matters religious, and neither one nor many people have ever constituted divine authority.
A thing is neither wrong nor right because “good” or “bad” men do it. What makes a man “good”? Jesus said, “None is good, save God” — i.e., we must acknowledge God as the source of good, and the things of God alone as being truly good. A man “does good” with reference to a given problem when he acts in keeping with God’s will. This is applicable to preacher and elders, as well as to any others. A good action does not make a precede “truth”; on the contrary, “truth” precedes the good action, and the act is good because it is in keeping with truth. Remember, God’s word is truth.
No Man Loves Truth Who Shows Disrespect For God’s Word
Write that on your samplers, teach it to your children, shout it from the housetops, and apply it to your own religious practices now and then. What egotism, what unmitigated gall is this that allows one man to use the pulpit, radio, or journals to challenge another for his authority to—let us say, use mechanical music in worship, — and then hold me in contempt if I ask him for his authority to support human institutions from the church treasury? Is God’s word the standard for TRUTH only when it suits our purpose?
A Plea For Truth Seekers
God give us men of courage; honest men, hungry for TRUTH. Banish selfish concern, creed-bound fumblings after truth; and help us to search thy word prayerfully, convinced that therein are the answers to our problems. Open our eyes that we may see, our ears that we may hear, and our hearts that we may understand.
“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the world which by the gospel is preached unto you.“ 1 Peter 1:24