Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 20, 1964
NUMBER 41, PAGE 2,13e

Neutrality Cursed

Leon Goff

There is nothing more dishonorable than the disposition to "straddle the fence" or "take the middle of the road" when there is a conflict raging between truth and error, righteousness and sin, and the Kingdom of God is at stake as well as the souls of multitudes of God's people. Such attempts to stay out of the struggle for right have never been honored by the Lord but have always been cursed.

Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad." Matt. 12:30. In Mark 9:40 he said, "For he that is not against us is on our part." These two statements together simply teach that such a thing as neutrality is not possible when it comes to the Lord and His Word. It is an illusion. Those who think they are in the "middle of the road" or who are trying to stay out of the fight for truth and right are deceiving themselves.

Sometimes such a disposition to remain neutral or "take the middle" as opposed to both "sides" is simple indifference to the principles of truth and righteousness. People who do net love truth and do not care when it is violated or trespassed upon will not raise their voices either in remonstrance or opposition. They want to be left alone and allowed to enjoy their peaceful situation without being bothered. But to cry "Peace, peace, when there is no peace" is but to practice self-deception and the ability to enjoy complacency is but indifference or lukewarmness and such an attitude is nauseating to the Lord. He said, "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." (Rev. 3:16)

People sometimes say that the "truth is between extremes." But truth and error are directly opposed — in this sense they are two extremes. This is always so when the difference between righteousness and sin, truth and error, divine and human will, is involved. The disposition to regard truth as extreme is unbelief and a failure to love truth as we should. Sometimes the truth is hard and imposes great burdens and sacrifices but truth is never neutral. It is always unyielding and uncompromising. One cannot stand for truth or contend for "The Faith" without being always diametrically opposed to everything out of harmony therewith. Jesus was never found in the "middle of the road" or "straddling the fence" when moral principles were involved or when the word of God was at stake. No Christian can be.

An Old Testament example is in point on this principle. In the days of the Judges, Israel became unfaithful to the Lord and God allowed their enemy, Jabin, King of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor, to triumph over them and punish them for twenty years. Deborah, a prophetess, judged Israel at that time and she called upon Barak to lead the forces of Israel against Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army. Barak took men from the tribes of Israel and static!, them at strategic points in the battle. Naphtali, ZebuIun "jeoparded their lives unto death" (Judges 5:18) in opposition to the enemy. They bore the brunt of the battle. Others helped and the people of God triumphed. But the people of Meroz were cursed in the song of Deborah and Barak over the victory. (Verse 23) This was a place in the northern part of the land. The people of this part of the country did not take the field against the enemies of Israel. It would seem that they had the opportunity of rendering some particular or important service to the cause of God's people but for some self-fish reason of their own they did not do so. They took the "middle of the road" or sat "on top of the fence" and thought they would stay neutral and not be involved. God thought differently. He placed them on the side of wrong. This is where the "middle of the road" man always should be placed. Never do you see nor have you known a man on top of the fence to even fall off on the right side. He always lands on the wrong side.

Today there are individuals, some of them preachers, who for reasons which we doubt they themselves recognize, who pride themselves as being, "Not crazy though for the cranks nor loose enough for the liberals," but who regard themselves as the only ones who are right. Everybody else is out of step but them. Such is conceit and arrogance of the rankest sort and though they deceive themselves into thinking they are in the "middle of the road" they are giving their influence to the enemies of the Lord's cause. This is a tragic thing.

Then there are papers, like the Firm Foundation and its editor, who profess to be walking down the middle of the road — but who are self deceived, but they are not deceiving the Lord. They are serving the cause of error and are therefore enemies of the truth. Once in a while this editor will have an editorial in his paper that sounds like he is trying to take a stand for the truth and would like to do so but he cannot do so without losing too much of his patronage. There is too much pressure on him and so he has to be a sort of spiritual contortionist, twisting this way and that in his effort to keep his sentiments from displeasing those who control his editorial efforts.

Then there are churches, like one of our neighbors, that give their moral support to nearly every promotion that brethren invent, and will not allow the truth on present day problems to be preached, nor allow those among their number to voice their opposition to anything much, yet claim that they have not gone "liberal" because they are not actually contributing out of their treasury to human institutions that are doing the work of the Lord's church. But give them time and when those leading the congregation think they can do so without arousing too much opposition or losing too many members, they will begin doing so. The fact is that they would be much more consistent and respectable if they would support with their money what they support with their mouths and by their attitudes.

Brethren, there is no quarter to be given or compromise to be made with any of God's people who will not take their stand against sin and error. Either "take the field" or come under God's curse. It is not a matter of lining up with men or being forced to "take sides" but a matter of fighting the good fight of faith in the service of the Lord of Hosts!

— 7054 Winnetka Ave., Canoga Park, Calif.