Vol.IX No.XII Pg.3
February 1973

Faith Versus Faith

Dan S. Shipley

For if the trumpet give an uncertain voice, who shall prepare himself for war? So also ye, unless ye utter by the tongue speech easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? (1 Cor. 14:8, 9)

It has been observed that some preaching is worse than no preaching at all. So is some writing and other forms of expression— especially the kind that is deliberately slanted toward vagueness and uncertainty; the kind that is designed to be indistinct or intended to be received with different interpretations. Such forms of expressiveness are well-typified in the language of a popular placard which reads: I KNOW THAT YOU BELIEVE YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU THINK I SAID, BUT I AM NOT SURE YOU REALIZE THAT WHAT YOU HEARD IS NOT WHAT I MEANT.

Regrettably, this sort of idle and confusing talk is not limited to the public proclamations of placards and politicians.

Take, for instance, the men-pleasing Christian who is reluctantly drawn into a religious discussion with non-Christian friends. His comments, instead of reflecting t h e plainness of Bible teaching, are apt to be flavored with the kind of vagueness and generalities that are easily misconstrued; the kind that offend no one— and that profit no one. Carefully avoiding specifics, he may even boldly affirm something like, We need to hear more gospel preaching, meaning it one way and knowing it will be taken in another. The world will not profit by such uncertain voices. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.. But even worse is the Christian with the louder trumpet—the influential preacher or writer who expresses himself in an uncertain voice with reference to vital issues confronting Gods people. This, coupled with the natural inclination of most to interpret ambiguous language to suit themselves, only compounds the problem by giving comfort to sinners and allowing the uninformed to be misinformed by drawing wrong conclusions. Any language that obscures Divine truth is worse than useless— it is dangerous.

Consequently, at a time when Gods people so desperately need to hear the simple truths that will take them back to the old paths and unity, many are hearing uncertain voices urging support of man-made schemes and innovations that have divided brethren. Instead of hearing about the oneness of the church and about the distinctiveness and sanctified nature of its members, some are being subjected to uncertain voices that subtly question such. Even now, as worldliness and permissiveness threaten to engulf the church, many saints, instead of being admonished to keep themselves pure and unspotted from the world, are being lulled into complacency by uncertain voices dealing in vague generalities, poetry, and current events. Our urgent need is plain, pointed and sound gospel teaching! The conflict is here. The Captains commands must be relayed with clarity and conviction. As a small band of Christians once prayed, Lord grant unto thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness---and, we might add, the desire to hear it so spoken!