Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 16, 1961
NUMBER 28, PAGE 1,12b

If,- Then What?

James A. Allen, Nashville, Tennessee

If it turns out in the end that the Bible is false, and that Jesus Christ was an imposter, what, then? The Christian has lost nothing. If there is no God, no Christ, no Holy Spirit, no truth in the Bible, no heaven, no hell, but only eternal nothingness, then the Christian certainly will fare as well as others. He cannot lose anything.

But, if it turns out that the Bible is true, as many infallible proofs certify it to be, then what? Those who have not believed it, and conformed to its holy teaching, must lament their eternal suicide, world without end.

If it turns out that people do not have to take the Bible for just what it says, but that just anything is acceptable to God, then certainly those who conscientiously endeavor to go by what the Bible says have nothing to lose, and will certainly fare as well hereafter as others. God is not displeased by a man's striving to do what His Word tells him to do.

But, if it turns out that every word in the Bible is true and stedfast, and that God actually means exactly what he says, then what a predicament will those be in at the judgment who have taken the Bible loosely, and who have thought that just anything in religion will do.

If it turns out that it does not make any difference what church a man is a member of, but that he may be a member of any church that pleases him, then the man who chooses to be a member of the church that Christ built upon the Rock, and that every Christian in New Testament times was a member of, certainly has nothing to lose. If the Lord does not care what church a man is a member of, then certainly the man who belongs to the true, primitive, New Testament church has nothing to lose.

But, if it turns out that God, in the judgment, will recognize only the church that Christ established, and that is spoken of in the Bible, then what about those who live and die as members of other churches, which are unknown to the Bible? Jesus said: "Every plant which my heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up." (Matt. 14:13) It will be a desperate thing for any man if the judgment finds him in a church that the heavenly Father did not plant. What about him when the church he is a member of is rooted up?

If it turns out in the judgment that sprinkling or pouring will do as a substitute for baptism, then the man who is immersed can lose nothing. All agree that immersion is baptism. Jesus was immersed. All the apostles and early Christians were immersed. Every one of them, without an exception, "went down into the water," and were baptized, and then "came up out of the water," and "went on his way rejoicing." (See Acts 8:35-39) Paul says: "We were buried," and "raised," as Christ was buried and raised from the dead. (Rom. 6:4)

But if it turns out that God will not accept a substitute, and that sprinkling is really sprinkling, and that pouring is really pouring, and that actually neither of them is baptism, and that those who have had a few drops of water sprinkled, or poured, on them have not been baptized, then what? Jesus commands every one to believe and be baptized. (Mark 16:16) Is it safe to go to the judgment in violation of the commandment of Him who will be the Judge on that dread day?

All those who have obeyed the gospel and are saved are taught by the Bible to wear the name Christian. "And that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." (Acts 11:26) The word from which "were called" is translated from the original Greek Testament, which is the word that the inspired man used, is not the ordinary word for he values his eternal destiny, had better become familiar with what the Bible teaches. Something might be in it that he does not know is there. And again he might think something is there when it is not. He cannot plead ignorance, because if he is ignorant, he himself is responsible for it. God has given him the Bible and commands him to study it. If he will study the teaching of the inspired apostles, he will find his duty made so plain that "the wayfaring man, yea fools, shall not err therein," "that he may turn that readeth it."

There is, then, amidst all the confusion and uncertainty of the religious world a course that men may follow that is infallible safe. This course is to read and study the Bible, believe and do what it actually says, and refuse to have anything to do with anything that cannot be found therein. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." (1 Peter 4:11) A man cannot go wrong when he is guided by the Bible.

Under the preaching of the apostles every one who believed in Jesus was commanded to, "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins." (Acts 2:38) There was not one exception. All penitent believers were baptized. Then God added them to the church. There are no unbaptized people in the church that Christ established and to which God adds all who are saved. When a man is in Christ, he is saved and safe for time and eternity. To pursue any other course is to build upon the sinking sand.

call, which is Kelso, but is cremataisai, which means, "divinely called." "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadeth me to be a Christian." (Acts 26:28) "But if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name." (1 Peter 4:16) No one can glorify God by wearing a name given by men.

If it turns out that it does not make any difference what name a man wears, then those who wear the name Christian have nothing to lose. But if it turns out that it does make a difference, and that God is not pleased with people wearing names that are unknown to His Word and that do not glorify Him, then what? Can those who wear any human name expect to hear the Judge of all the earth say, "Well done?"

"And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing Lefore the throne; and books were opened: and another hook was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works." (Rev. 20:12) Every man must face the Bible in the judgment. Hence every man, if