Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 29, 1951

Who Are The Troublers Of Israel?

Robert H. Farish, Tarrant City, Alabama

Trouble was rampant and nearly universal in Israel in the time of Elijah and Ahab. Many, yes even the majority in Israel, were troubled and confused, "limping between the two sides." These conditions are duplicated today in God's Israel. The church is torn with controversy. Many issues that vitally affect the welfare of the church are being discussed. There can be no doubt that there is trouble in the church and that many are today troubled and confused, "limping between the two sides." No one can deny the presence of "trouble in the camp" and where there is trouble, there must be troublers who have provoked the trouble. Now, who are the troublers? Who must bear the blame?

Ahab sought to put the burden of blame on Elijah by inquiring "Is it thou, thou troubler of Israel"? Today efforts are being made to mark the troublers. We should be concerned to locate and identify the troublers, but we must keep constantly in mind that we cannot use human standards to determine who the troublers are. Those who oppose the trend even of the majority do not by their opposition identify themselves as the troublers. Elijah was opposing the majority in Israel, but denied being the troubler. So even if it could be established that the majority are trending in the direction of institutionalism that would not exempt those engaged in promoting the trend from the odium of troublers. Neither does opposition to some course followed by those of former generations make one a troubler. Ahab was following a course set by former kings of Israel. The difference was that his was on a bigger scale. But how are troublers to be identified? By what yardstick shall teachers be measured to determine if they are troublers?

Elijah in his reply to Ahab's insinuating question, reveals the solution. "And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy fathers house." Thus Elijah rejects the accusation by turning it back at Ahab and his father's house. He then states wherein Ahab was the troubler in these words, "in that ye have forsaken the commandments of Jehovah and thou hast followed the Eastern." The troubler in Israel then was the one who forsook the commandment of Jehovah and followed the Baalam. The troublers today are those who forsake the commandments of Jehovah and follow the idols and trends of denominationalism.

A "Mount Carmel" test is in order today. A clear, forthright decisive test that will show the people who has "forsaken the commandments of Jehovah."

In affirming ones' practices in religious matters the scriptures are to be taken as the authority. We must be interested in what the scriptures teach. We should be willing to preface our affirmative with, "the scriptures teach —." It has long been accepted that the scriptures teach (1) By expressed command (2) Approved example (3) Necessary inference. Those who would justify the institutional orphan homes, church supported schools and centralized oversight in evangelistic work can establish the scripturalness of these things if they are scriptural. If they are scriptural the scriptures teach them! A command, approved example or necessary inference will settle the matter for all who are sincere—anything less must be rejected. The truth will bear repeating that to establish that one thing is as scriptural as another does not establish that either is scriptural. Nothing can be scriptural but the things authorized by the scriptures.

The point must be emphasized that the troublers are those who "have forsaken the commandments of Jehovah." Now if forsaking the commandments of Jehovah makes one a troubler, then those staying with the commandments of Jehovah cannot be classified as troublers.

We have already seen that opposition to those who forsake the commandments of Jehovah does not make the opposers troublers. Elijah opposed the course of Ahab, this opposition provoked Ahab to try to brand Elijah as the troubler of Israel. This was a false charge which Elijah rejected. Ahab was the troubler, in that he had forsaken the commandments of Jehovah. Those today who have forsaken the commandments of Jehovah for the plans and organizations of men are the troublers of the church.

I close with a quotation from brother John Allen Hudson's book, "The Church In Great Britain," page 210. "Some men have the perfect mania for organization and power, and they are the ones who destroy the harmony and peace of a once united brotherhood and they are the ones who have the effrontery to speak of a lack of charity! It comes with exceeding poor grace. 'Back to Jerusalem and the source of trouble on this organizational side will be abolished."