Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 24, 1949

Faith Of Our Faddists

A. W. Tozer

(Editor's note: This article, picked up from one of our exchanges, is worthy of careful thought. Notice particularly his distinction between the "honest believer" who may, for a time, be misled, and the "evil teacher" whose conscience is seared.)

A hobby may benefit its possessor; a fad never does. A hobby sometimes helps as a tonic to one's general health, because it allows the mind to play; but the faddist must slave at the job, for it is the nature of fads to demand full-time attention from their victims.

It is in religion that faddism works its deadliest ruin. Descended of an evil line of ignorance, bigotry, and intolerance, it does not hesitate to put on borrowed priestly robes and stamp straight into the sanctuary itself to offer strange fire upon the altars of fundamental Christianity. We must distinguish, however, between the evil teacher of religious fads and the honest believer who may, for a time, be led astray. Many sincere Christians are captivated at first by these teachers, but later see their mistake and renounce them. Yet the true religious faddist seldom returns to sanity. He is inspired by seducing spirits to teach doctrines of demons, and a seared conscience prevents him from seeing his fatal error.

If we seem too severe in identifying the religious faddist with the evil teachers of whom Paul wrote (1 Tim. 4:1-6), let it be noted that the passage expressly names celibacy and vegetarianism as two of the fads taught by seducing spirits. Neither vegetarianism nor celibacy, which practiced for private reasons, is an evil in itself, but they become evils when they are riveted onto the consciences of God's people as a necessary part of the Christian faith.

The Great Pyramid Theory

A fad which has gained considerable favor and has succeeded in gaining some fairly respectable patronage is the Great Pyramid theory. I first read of it many years ago in the writings of Pastor Russell, of the Millennial Dawn movement. This theory was adopted by a number of otherwise reputable Bible teachers who proceeded to popularize it in certain circles until many people deserted the clear word of God to go wriggling through the dark and dusty passages of the Great Pyramid, looking for light. The whole business is as fanciful as a fairy tale, and its arguments wholly untenable. Many former adherents of the notion have since deserted it and are now painfully silent on the subject. The teaching is losing ground in strictly orthodox circles, but it is still doing yeoman service in the cause of another fad, Anglo-Israelism.

The Anglo-Israelism Theory

Anglo-Israelism also has received the approval of a few recognized teachers, and has confused not a few people. This theory is just curious enough to be fascinating, and it contains enough truth to sound convincing—if one does not read too far. The contention is that the ten lost tribes of Israel, some time after their deportation to Assyria, spread over the British Isles and parts of continental Europe under the names of Normans, Angles, Jutes, and Saxons. Thus the Anglo-Saxon nations of today are said to be the Israel of Bible prophecy. Some implications of the theory are:

1. That the scriptural kingdom of God is Great Britain.

2. That the "stone...cut out of the mountain without hands" is Great Britain.

3. That the reign of Christ on earth will come through the conquest of the world by Great Britain.

4. That the important work of the church in this hour is to preach this "kingdom truth" and thus acquaint Great Britain (who for some reason seems careless about the whole thing) with her noble origin and her nobler destiny.

I have noticed that non-Anglo-Saxons do not take to the theory so avidly, which is not surprising, for if the theory were true, then a large portion of the white race would be in a class with the Hittites and the Amorites of antiquity. They would be just scrub stock without a pedigree. Real burnt-in-the-wood Anglo-Saxons, however, receive a psychological lift from the idea. The only flaw in it is that it will not stand examination. Neither the Bible nor history supports it.

The Physical Immortality Theory

A few years ago, a man came to the grounds of one of our summer Bible conferences, distributing tracts among the people. The tracts contained a new revelation: No Christian need ever die, but might live on until the Lord's return, no matter how remote that event should prove to be! Two lines of argument were advanced to support the idea, one from Scripture, the other from science.

The Scripture used was John 11:26, "And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." The "Scientific" argument had to do with certain experiments which had been performed on flatworms. By proper diet and controlled fasting, the lives of these worms had been extended to thirty times their normal length. By analogy it was reasoned that, with proper dietary manipulation, human life could be extended to thirty times its normal length. Seventy years is the Biblical span of life; thirty times seventy are 2,100; thus the life of the individual would be 2,100 years!

The foregoing fads are only samples of the strange vagaries which have followed the true word of God. The religious faddist, like the poor, we have always with us. The need for sound doctrine was never greater, "for there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers... Whose mouths must be stopped." (Titus1:10-11.) There is one sure defense against these "vain talkers." That is to open one's Bible, smile, and say, "Chapter and verse, please." Then, if a passage of scripture is quoted, it must be compared with the rest of the Bible. Fads depend upon isolated texts. They can never face the whole truth.