Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 3, 1949
NUMBER 26, PAGE 1-2b

False Arguments And Scripture Perversions

R. L. Whiteside

When we quote a statement as scripture which is not in the Scriptures, we in reality pervert the Scriptures, for we are adding something. Already some of these chimney-corner scriptures, have been noticed—here is another: "Cleanliness is next to godliness." See if you can find it in the Bible. You will not find it—it is not there. Besides, it really misrepresents the scriptures; for in reality cleanliness, both moral and physical cleanliness, is a part of godliness, not merely next to godliness, as you will see by looking up what the Bible says on the matter.

"While the light holds out to burn, the vilest sinner may return." And that is not in the Bible either. In fact, it contradicts some things that are in the Bible. People may become so hardened that it is impossible to renew them to repentance (Heb. 6:4-6). The impossibility is with the sinner—he becomes so hardened that no plea will stir him to repent. (See also Heb. 10:26, 27). People may reach such deep depravity and hardness of heart that there remains nothing for them in the future "but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire." When a person becomes so depraved that there is no good in him, there is nothing in him to appeal to. He cannot be turned from sin, "cannot cease from sin"; such cannot be redeemed, they are past redemption.

This story illustrates a point: Two Presbyterian lads were discussing their progress in studying the Catechism in Sunday school One said, "My class has got to total depravity." The other replied, "Shucks, that's nothing. My class is clean over past redemption." But people may get to total depravity and then get "clean over past redemption" in life, as well as in the Catechism. And that was what the vilest sinner does. Jesus said of such, "Ye will not come to me, that ye may have life."

Israel Starts Their Journey To Canaan

Many false arguments have been made on incidents connected with the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. It has been said that the children of Israel were saved in Egypt by the blood that was sprinkled on the door posts and lintels of their houses. As a last plague upon Egypt the firstborn throughout Egypt was to be destroyed on a certain night. The children of Israel could save their firstborn from the destroying angel by sprinkling the blood of a lamb or kid on the door posts and lintels of their houses. That blood saved only the firstborn from being destroyed—the rest of the family were safe anyway. And yet even brethren, who should know better, sing lustily, "When I see the blood." That blood did not save anybody from sin; it did not save Israel from Egyptian bondage; it saved the firstborn, and only the firstborn, from physical death—the other members of the family were not in danger of being destroyed. But the death of the firstborn throughout Egypt made Pharaoh so anxious to get rid of the children of Israel that he thrust them out of the land; but he soon repented and pursued them, determined to bring them back.

Some months ago I read in one of "our papers" a lesson prepared and published for use in young people's meetings, in which the writer or writers said the children of Israel marched out of Egypt five abreast. The Bible says no such thing. Besides, such an arrangement was impossible. There were "about six hundred thousand on foot that were men," from twenty years old and upward. There must have been about the same number of women of that age, both men and women amounting to about one million two hundred thousand. Do some figuring. Five abreast, the next five would have to be for enough behind the first five—about five feet—to enable them to march without stepping on the heels of those before them, and so on to the last five. With that arrangement, one million two hundred thousand people would make a line of marchers about two hundred and twenty-seven miles long! Added to that must be all the children under twenty, also the mixed multitude, the wagons, and the "flocks and herds, even very much cattle." Besides, if they marched five abreast, how did they manage to help along the little tots and the infirm? And how could they in such a formation manage the wagons and the great flocks and herds?

Some one is likely wondering why any attention should be paid to such a foolish notion. Well, for one thing, it gives some diversion from more serious matters. And it was written in a lesson for young people's meetings, and published in a widely circulated paper. A little fun made of such foolish notions may cause some writer to be more thoughtful when he undertakes to write lessons for others, and may cause some to be more careful about accepting what others say. And in showing the absurdity of the notion mentioned we see something of the enormity of that migration. Never was there another such mass movement of people and livestock.

A discussion of some false arguments about incidents connected with the crossing of the Red Sea will have to wait till another time.