Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 4, 1951

Enemies Of The Truth

Voyd N. Ballard, San Pablo, California

Phil. 3:16, 18 - "Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example. For many walk of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:"

An enemy of the cross of Christ is an enemy of the Truth. This means an enemy of the Lord's system or gospel. This is just another way of referring to the gospel that the apostles preached. Paul used such terms as, "the cross of Christ," "our gospel," preaching "Christ crucified," etc. The Truth then, is that plan, system, doctrine, or gospel. In Gal. 3:1 Paul asked, "who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?" Peter says we purify our souls in "obeying the truth," and Jesus said, "thy word is Truth." (John 17:17)

It is generally admitted that the forces of evil on the outside of the church are enemies of the truth, but some who clearly see this seem to be blinded to the fact that there are enemies on the inside. These enemies on the inside will deny that they are such, but "by their fruits shall ye know them." Let us examine the fruits. I affirm the following are enemies of the Truth.

The Unsure

Those in our midst (including some professed preachers) that tell us we cannot be sure concerning the fundamentals of the faith. They say they cannot be sure to the point of taking a definite stand on such subjects as, The Establishment of the Kingdom, The One Church, Salvation In the Church, The Whole Council of God, etc. They seem to be "ever learning and never able to come to a to a knowledge of the truth." They differ greatly from the early Christians, for Luke said of those things that were delivered unto us, by those who "from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word" that they were "most surely believed among us." He declared that he had "had perfect understanding of all things from the very first," and that he wrote in order that Theophilus "mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed." (Luke 1:1-4) When a man says, "we cannot be sure" it means that he is not going to take a stand for the Truth and against error. It reveals a spirit of toleration and sympathy for those things that are in opposition to revealed Truth.

The Conformer

I mean by this those that conform or desire to conform to the world. In Rom. 12: 1, 2 Paul admonished, "be not conformed to this world." This desire manifests itself in the moral and spiritual. On the moral side its effects are seen in what is usually termed "worldliness in the church." It consists of Christians winking at and engaging in the sins of the flesh that are common to those of the world. Some members of the church have so conformed to the world in this respect that it is impossible to tell them from those of the world. Then there are those in the church that conform to the religious world. A study of the Bible will reveal that this has always been a hindrance to God's people. The desire to conform to the world led Israel to turn from God and reject His way. They wanted to be "like the nations around them." (1 Sam. 8) The conformer would reduce the church to the plains of Ono. God wants His church to be separate. (2 Cor. 6:17) Anytime that the church in any place reaches the point to where it is known as a "sister denomination" it has lost its marks of identity and its right to exist as a "church of Christ." James says that the "friendship of the world is enmity with God" and, "whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:4)

The Compromiser

The conformer is an enemy of the Truth. While parading before the brotherhood as a loyal preacher of the gospel, he would by his compromising attitude sell the church of the Lord down the river of error and digression. No man has a right to compromise or apologize for anything the Lord teaches in his word. The compromiser caters to those who cannot endure sound doctrine. Too many members of the church want to fellowship anything that comes along in religion, and they want the preacher to sanction rather than condemn such a course. The people of Israel asked the prophets to "speak smooth things." They did not want to hear what they needed to hear. But God told the prophets what to speak and how to speak. Isa. 58:1 - "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins," God has also told preachers of the gospel of Christ what to speak and how to speak. We are told to "preach the word" to "reprove, rebuke and exhort with all long suffering and doctrine." (2 Tim. 4:1-8) We are to preach the gospel, and the curse of heaven is pronounced upon any man or angel that preaches anything else. (Gal. 1)

The compromiser talks much about preaching Christ and not "doctrine." I will affirm that it is impossible to preach Christ and not teach His doctrine. To preach Christ is to preach ALL the New Testament says of Him. When one does that he is preaching the doctrine of Christ. You cannot forget the doctrine of Christ and please God. John says, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son." (2 John 9) So the man that does not abide in the doctrine of Christ doesn't even have God. Our spiritual relationship to both God and Christ is conditioned upon our abiding in the doctrine. Now, will someone pray tell how any man can abide in that which he does not know; And how can he know that which he has not been taught?

When Christians begin to compromise the Truth and to hob-nob with sectarians it is amazing to what ends they will go, and what foolish and false teachings they will encourage. An example of this can be found in the June 1951 issue of the Christian Forum?? published in Long Beach, California, by Ernest Beam. One of Beam's writers, Orvel Crowder, in trying to distinguish between "doctrinal preaching" and the "proclamation of the Word" says, "It is possible for doctrinal teaching to become rank spiritual poison if it is confused with genuine proclamation of the Word. Knowledge is confused with faith. Doctrine is piled upon doctrine, to the neglect of practical Christian action. The living soul of man may be smothered under all this. Doctrinal teaching alone may manufacture a fanatic or a Pharisee; it will never produce a Christian."

Ernest Beam indorses Crowder's statement in these words: "The continuing presence of the Holy Spirit—here to give us power now when the condition of our hearts permits it; both the Baptists and the rest of us may hit the sides respecting baptism and not quite come into the groove; the formal cause of our salvation is faith only; and doctrinal teaching can manufacture fanatics and Pharisees but without gospel preaching cannot make Christians."

Ernest Beam continually pleads for sympathy and fellowship for all who have "believed in Christ" without regard for their teaching and practice, so I am not surprised to find him talking about "faith only." He has already compromised every Truth in the Book so as to "receive" sectarianism on "faith only." He has "received" about everything and everybody except faithful preachers of the gospel who cry out against error and plead for a "thus saith the Lord." Such faithful ones are the only "sectarians" in Beam's book.

But what about these statements from Crowder and Beam? In the first place they cannot take the New Testament and prove that "doctrinal teaching" and "proclaiming the Lord" are different. On the contrary, the New Testament teaches that they are the same. In Acts chapter 3 we read that the apostles were released from prison and commanded by the angel to "Go, stand and speak in the temple all the words of this life." (vs. 20) Will Crowder and Beam deny that in doing this the apostles were "proclaiming the Word?" But verse 26 says they were "teaching the people," and the high priest said, "ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine." verse 42 says, "And daily and in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." So we see that the apostles were "teaching and preaching Jesus Christ"—They were proclaiming the Word; But in doing this very thing they were "teaching the people" and teaching them "doctrine" to the extent that they were "filling Jerusalem with their doctrine." I wonder if they were guilty of putting out "spiritual poison??"

This preaching that the apostles did caused believers to be added to the Lord in multitudes. (vs. 14) According to Crowder and Beam these multitudes had been made into fanatics and Pharisees, not Christians. Isn't it pitiful that men will allow a compromising spirit to drive them to such extremes?

Crowder says that "doctrinal teaching alone will never produce a Christian." In Acts 13:7 we read of "the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus ... who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God." The word that they proclaimed to him is spoken of in verse 12 as "the doctrine of the Lord." The deputy believed this doctrine. I wonder if it made him a fanatic or a Pharisee?

Paul told the Roman brethren that they were made free from sin and became the servants of righteousness when they had obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine delivered unto them. (Rom. 6:17, 18)

These compromisers say that "doctrinal teaching alone will never produce a Christian." The Bible teaches that men are saved by the doctrine. 1 Tim. 4:16 - "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."

1 Tim. 6:1 - "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of double honor, that the name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed."

I wonder how far men are from blaspheming the doctrine when they refer to the teaching of it as "spiritual poison" and write that it may "make fanatics and Pharisees, but will never produce a Christian." Paul describes such men in 1 Tim. 6:3-5. "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness; from such withdraw thyself."

When men allow the spirit of compromise to carry them to the point where they declare that doctrinal teaching can be "spiritual poison" and will no longer consent to sound doctrine, truly they are destitute of the truth; And by their "perverse disputings" of the truth they manifest that they are enemies of that truth.

Many other enemies of the truth could not be mentioned. We need to be on guard. The spirit of compromise, tolerance toward error, indifference, and fence straddling is a blight upon the New Testament church.