Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 26, 1964
NUMBER 46, PAGE 4,12a

The Middle Of The Road


Roy E. Cogdill

When the problem facing us is concerned with what the Bible teaches and authorizes, then there is no middle of the road. The only middle of the road in this instance is compromise, and means selling out the truth and bartering away our spiritual birthright for a mess of pottage. When this is done we wind up in the ditch that leads to eternal ruin; we are minding "earthly things," our god is our "belly," and our end is perdition. We are truly enemies of the cross of Christ if we follow such a course. (Phil. 3:18,19)

In the digression from truth and New Testament authority that grew into the "Christian Church" there was no middle of the road. The issues were, first, do the churches of Christ have a scriptural right to form societies to do their work of evangelism? Where is the middle of the road on that issue? Everyone who tried to stand in the middle of the road wound up on the side of the missionary societies and digression and was lost in apostasy.

The second great issue raised was — Is it scripturally right to use mechanical instruments of music in Christian worship? Was there a middle of the road on that question? Some tried to find it and contended that they could worship with, or without, the instrument. But they were not in the middle of the road. They simply had no convictions on what the Bible taught on the question. They, too, wound up in the ditch of digression with the rest.

In this great digression many churches because of a weak and compromising leadership undertook to stand in the middle of the road, and would not have the matter discussed for fear they might experience some trouble or disagreement over it. They did not value the truth enough to want to know it or want the members of the congregation to be taught. Hence they said, "We will not hear either side!" In every instance of such an attitude, that church slid into complete apostasy, and if it is in existence today, is identified with the Christian Church movement. That is always the case when we are indifferent to truth and value peace and worldly prosperity above what the word of God teaches. Elders who take such an attitude are not fit to be Christians, much less elders in the church of the Lord.

In the battle of more recent date in the church on the issue of "premillennialism" was there any middle of the road? Some brethren tried to find it. All of the "middle of the road compromisers" on this issue were lost sight of completely.

In the debating that has been done on the Bible School question through the years there has been no middle of the road. One can talk about "extreme positions" all one wishes, but in the final analysis there is only the "right" and the "wrong" of the matter.

It is either right to teach the Bible in classes or it is not!

It is either scriptural and right to use uninspired literature and other helps in teaching or it is not right!

It is either scriptural and right for Christian women to teach other women and children or it is not!

It is either scriptural and right to have more than one container for the fruit of the vine on the Lord's table or it is not right!

There are not three positions to be occupied with reference to these questions; an extreme on either side and one "in the middle of the road." Extreme arguments may be made and extreme attitudes may be manifested, but with reference to scriptural teaching on any issue, there are only TWO POSITIONS — the right and the wrong.

Suppose our present day compromisers and apologists for truth find the middle of the road in the following issues:

1. Justification by faith only.

2. One name is as good as another.

3. Saved before and without baptism.

4. Saved out of the church.

5. Instrumental music in Christian worship is scriptural.

6. A child of God cannot so sin as to be finally lost.

1. Justification only by the faith that obeys.

2. Salvation only in the name of Christ.

3. Saved by baptism.

4. All of the saved are in the church.

5. Instrumental music in Christian worship is without Bible authority and therefore unscriptural.

6. A child of God can so sin as to be finally lost.

There is no half-way ground except in matters which do not involve the will of God and where the choice has been left to human wisdom.

Three Propositions

1. It is right for the church to act without scriptural authority.

2. The churches of Christ have scriptural authority to build human organizations as a means of cooperating in accomplishing their work.

3. Boles Home, Inc. is a divine organization.

1. It is sinful for the church to act without scriptural authority.

2. The scriptures d o not authorize the churches of Christ to build human organizations for any purpose or to do anything.

3. Boles Home, Inc., is a human institution.

The above three propositions are either true or they are untrue. If it is right for the church to act in any capacity without divine authority (and many of the liberal brethren are now claiming that it is) then the last two propositions are unimportant. But if the church must have authority from its head, Jesus Christ, in order to do what it does then the question is, does the Bible authorize churches of Christ to build and maintain organizations, or maintain them, in order to cooperate through them in the accomplishment of their work? If the scriptures do authorize such, the passage needs to be produced that gives such authority! And when it is we all need to apologize to the Christian Churches and ask their forgiveness for condemning them through all these years for having such organizations.

If the scriptures do not authorize the churches to build human organizations, then the third question is in order; are such institutions as Boles Home, Inc. human organizations? Anyone who would deny that they are human organizations would be foolhardy and silly! Where did God ever set up such an organization as the states have chartered such as "Boles Home, Inc."? There is no "middle of the road" on this question any more than on the others suggested above.

The middle of the road is a good place to be destroyed. It involves eventually a head-on collision and likely permanent injury or death. It is contrary to law, violates all of the rules of safety and good conduct, and is a menace to the welfare of others and their rights. DO NOT TRY IT! Have courage to stand for the truth!

— 8156 McNulty, Canoga Park, California