Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 31, 1951

"No Offense Intended"

L. W. Jones, Grand Saline, Texas

The "whole counsel of God' has always been sufficiently distasteful to the gullible public, saturated with sectarian propaganda, to cause bitter denunciations, and even occasional outbreaks of violence, against its teachers. This happened to Paul in the first century, and about it he wrote to the Thessalonians saying, "we are appointed thereunto.' 1-3:3 In this country, besides the lesser dangers of bodily harm to gospel preachers, or the lack of preparedness with any public gospel teacher, there is the greater peril of a call for a "modern psychological approach' to the problem; which is nothing but a blind for a conciliatory attitude characterizing many elders, preachers and church members. The plain truth is preached, objections are voiced, a few sectarian tempers flare, and it is courteously suggested the preacher has said too much.

The actual motives for such a suggestion might be numerous: A brother's business might be in danger of a "sectarian boycott"; or a faithful Christian, and a member of a lodge (a spiritual monstrosity!) may have had his fraternal leanings impaired. Regardless of the one of a hundred causes, the fear of standing with (not behind) the man who declares the "whole counsel of God" lies, of course, in a failure to investigate and accept divine instruction. Such a brief investigation we shall attempt here.

By and large the persons addressed by this article accept the fundamental truth that Christ and the divinely inspired New Testament preachers form an infallible guide for us in all their work. We shall assume this truth. Christ's words are replete with, and unmistakably clear in, denunciations of first century denominationalism. The sects of the Pharisees and Sadducees, along with the Scribes, were rife with the schism which has its modern counterpart in twentieth century denominationalism. Once after bitterly denouncing their concern for the cleanliness of their hands and ignoring the defiled condition of their souls, which led to lip service, "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men', and "vain' worship, His disciples came to him in apparent distress, saying; "Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended after they heard this saying?' Matt. 15:1-14. Christ's answer is plain enough. Other plantings than those of the Lord are to come to no fruit, but an uprooting. And in verse fourteen the somewhat famously misused, "let them alone."

For the most part it has been the sects who have misapplied these words of our Lord. But it is not too uncommon now to hear brethren employ them to impose what they suppose to be a needful restraint on some preacher. Obviously the Lord does not teach a complete withdrawal on the basis of "no offense intended." For from this time forward we see in His preaching no restraint but His Father's will and no emotion for the lost in this "generation of vipers." From His rebuke of their poor discernment for the "signs of the times' (Matt. 16:3), through sermon after sermon, His sharp reproof is heard until an apparent climax is reached in chapter twenty-three; at which time in quick order the series of "woes" is poured out upon the hypocritical hearts of these pretenders, children of hell, "blind guides", "fools", etc.: This, from the "lamb of God."

Neither Christ nor the apostles followed a course which would be applauded today in many quarters—preaching on adultery when the adulterers are visiting out of town, etc. Christ spoke about hypocrisy to hypocrites, Peter on murder to murderers (Acts 2:23), Stephen on stubbornness to the "stiff-necked" (Acts 7:51), and Paul on idolatry in old Athens (Acts 17:22-31). These used no "flattering words', nor spoke as "pleasing men", but they were " speak... the gospel of God with much contention." 1 Thess. 2:1-6.

From this array of scripture I have heard but two turns: (1) "I know the scriptures say this, but... Right then the speaker belongs with the Baptists and Methodists who reject what the scriptures say about baptism, or what have you! Such a person has never really bowed his will to the Lord's. (2) "Christ and the apostles were divinely guided in their reproofs. We might make mistakes. The same "argument" could stop all gospel preaching, for "we might make mistakes". But more than this, Christ left us a mould and John a testing ground. "Ye shall know them by their fruits", and the false teacher is especially contemplated. Matt. 7:15, 16. "Try the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1. These are as usable as any part of the New Testament. When properly understood in the light of other scriptures (e.g. 2 John 7) they become all that is required for proper fellowship of truthful preaching, and proper rejection of "any other gospel."

Thus, whether I am a gentleman, an American believing in tolerance, a modern believing in "psychology', or a good neighbor believing in "broadmindedness", NOT: This is not the issue! The issue is, shall I contribute to the weakening of the church, the consolation of the sects, and the damnation of souls; or risk some offense, some bad tempers and even "suffer as a Christian", and follow the way that is sure and safe.

This is not a plea for rudeness or impudence. Neither are we encouraging anyone to go searching for someone to offend, whereby he may gain glory from persecution. This is a plea for respect for the right-and-can't-be-wrong way of doing things in preaching the precious truths that save men's souls.