Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 24, 1959
NUMBER 20, PAGE 1,3b

"Is It Expedient? Or Is It Optional?"

Cecil B Douthitt, Fort Smith, Arkansas

On page 2 in this paper is a reply by Brother George Eldridge to my article in the Gospel Guardian of June 25, 1959, on the New Testament meaning and usage of the word "expedient."

I don't think Brother Eldridge intended to do so, but in his article he teaches the rankest sort of Modernism.

I don't think he knows yet that he did it.

1. He argues that the English dictionary definition of the word "expedient" is the New Testament meaning of the word. For more than a hundred years the Methodists have argued the same thing relative to the meaning of the word "baptize". But neither the Methodists nor Brother George Eldridge can prove their erroneous contention.

2. Brother George Eldridge admits that "God steps into the picture" and makes Caiaphas' statement, "It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people", a prophetic utterance. Now according to Brother Eldridge, "expedient" does not mean indispensable or absolutely necessary or required, therefore the death of Christ for the people was only a little better than something else; only one out of many ways that could have been chosen for the salvation of souls. That is rank infidelity; that is rancid Modernism. The Chicago area (where Brother Eldridge lives) has a reputation of being a hotbed of skepticism. His article indicates that it has soaked into his system unaware. I have known for some time that Modernism is creeping into the pulpits of some of the churches, but this is the first open denial of the essentiality of the death of Christ for the people that I have seen.

R. H. Boll, the father of Premillennialism, never indulged in any speculation more wild or more dangerous than Brother Eldridge's chatter of the Sanhedrin's fear of the Jewish desire to make Jesus a king, and a Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire. Moreover, his miserable contention that the "reason" for the death of Jesus was "that 'Children of God' scattered abroad and the Jews might be gathered together into one fold" makes void everything that the prophets and apostles said about thh purpose of the death of the Son of God.

Brother Eldridge asks: "Where in the world does Brother Cecil B. Douthitt get the idea from this passage that the death of Jesus was necessary for the salvation of souls?" Kind reader, would you ever have thought that any man who ever claimed to be a gospel preacher would ever ask a question like that? "This passage" to which he refers says, "It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people". Brother Eldridge admits that is a prophetic utterance regarding the death of Christ; but blatantly denies that it teaches that the Lord's death was necessary for the salvation of souls. Doesn't he know that he will make shipwreck of the faith of every person who believes his teaching?

3. In John 16:7 Jesus said, "It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I go, I will send him unto you." Brother Eldridge admits "the necessity of Jesus going away" "so that the Holy Spirit would come"; then asks the ridiculous question: "But where does Brother Cecil B. Douthitt get the idea that 'expedient' from this passage means essential and indispensable?" What on earth is the matter with the man? Doesn't he know that if a thing is not "essential and indispensable", it is not a "necessity". Is the man totally blind to the meaning of the word "necessity"?

4. After two long paragraphs of senseless comment on I Cor. 6:12 and I Cor. 10:23, Brother Eldridge states clearly that "expedient" is used here "in a sense as essential and compulsory as the commandments of God". Well that is all I claimed in my article of June 25th. Why is he replying to it, since he admits I am right? Why the two paragraphs of senseless comment? Does he just like to hear himself rattle?

5. In his comment on II Cor. 8:10, Brother Eldridge argues that it was not a commandment of God, and not binding on the Corinthians for them to keep their promise and supply the needs of the saints in Jerusalem; that it was optional, just a matter of choice, he thinks, because Paul said he was giving his "judgment" regarding the matter. This would be laughable, if the Scriptures were not involved. Brother Eldridge, was Paul expressing the will of God when he was expressing his "judgment" in this passage? Is doing the will of God essential or nonessential? Is it binding or optional?

6. Brother Eldridge claims that the disciples said in Matt. 19:10, "It is not expedient to marry", because they thought "it would be impossible to live up to so high an idea". Brother Eldridge, if you are right in your guess, and if they could not possibly live up to the requirements of God or "so high an idea", would it not be essential and compulsory for them to stay out of every situation in which they could not live up to the requirements of God?