By Nana Yaw Aidoo

Sometime ago as I was in a discussion with some brethren who support the use of the singing group among the Lord’s people, I was told by one that truth does not need any defense. Apparently, this sister believed that if what I was saying is true, it would prevail even if I kept quiet about it. I have no doubt in my mind that this sister was sincere in what she said but surely, it ought to be easy for all and sundry to see the error inherent in such a view.

To begin with, if the early church had believed such a proposition, then what do we suppose would have happened to the “gentile congregations?” They would have been swallowed up by the error of Judaizing teachers, who taught that salvation in Christ was conditioned in part on the keeping of the law of Moses. On the contrary, the inspired historian recorded that as a result of this error, “…Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with…” the false teachers (Acts 15:2). Paul himself wrote at a later time that he “…did not yield submission even for an hour…” to them (Gal.2:5). These men defended the truth because they did not believe like some do today that “truth does not need any defense.”

Also, in clear, certain and concise terms, the Bible exhorts all children of God to “…earnestly contend for the faith…” (Jude 3). I remember as if it was just yesterday, the preacher who said the word “earnestly” as used by Jude is “a military term.” Now brethren, can we in all honesty read these words of inspiration and advocate the idea that “truth does not need any defense?”

We do not apply this sort of thinking in our domestic or non-religious affairs. If you knew that a certain route that your friend is plying on his way to another town leads to a ditch, would you keep quiet in hopes that the truth (i.e. the fact that the road leads to a ditch) “would prevail?” Surely, all right thinking people need to readily see that the “friend” who keeps quiet in such an instance is anything but a friend. In like manner, if we see a ravenous wolf (Matt.7:15; Acts 20:29) or an unauthorized teaching or practice (Col.3:17) trying to make headway among the flock of God, does keeping quiet about such make us friends of God (cf. Judg.5:23)?

Indeed, God’s truth is powerful (Rom.1:16; Heb.4:12). However, it has no inherent power in itself to defend itself. Hence it needs defenders. Even God knows this and a careful survey of the scriptures reveals this fact. The Psalmist wrote; “You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth” (Psa.60:4). God did not expect the banner that He had provided to display itself but that those who fear Him would display it for the sheer sake of the truth. When He commissioned Isaiah to “set a watchman,” in the land, it was so this watchman would “declare what he sees.” (Isa.21:6). God did not commission Isaiah to set a watchman, who sees no evil and hears no evil. Would you call someone like that a watchman? The Bible student is also encouraged to read the third and thirty-third chapters of Ezekiel.

Every child of God ought to be a watchman (Jude 3), to fight the good fight of faith (1 Tim.6:12), to be able to exhort and convince gainsayers (Tit.1:9), to be an apologist for truth (1 Pet.3:15) and as such every child of God needs to be set for the defense of the truth (Php.1:16-17). We have been given a sword (Eph.6:17) for the purpose of “…pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor.10:3-5). God’s warning to the one who does not utilize this sword because he thinks “truth does not need any defense” is this; “…cursed is he who keeps back his sword from blood” (Jer.48:10).

In conclusion, I submit these words from the late Dr. Thomas B. Warren;
We plead earnestly and lovingly for brethren everywhere, both to practice and to defend the truth. Error will NOT just “die out” if only it is “left alone” (1 Tim.6:12; Acts 7; 9:20-22). Error must be lovingly – yet courageously and vigorously – opposed along with a persuasive proclamation of the truth (Eph. 4:15; Jude 3; Acts 9:20-22; 2:21-47). The church of Christ is the army of Christ. He expects every member to be a good soldier in that army (II Tim. 2:3; I Tim.6:12; Eph. 6:10-20). May God help us all to “speak boldly” as we “ought to speak” (Eph.6:20). (The Spiritual Sword, Vol.17, Num.1, October, 1985, pp.5 – emphasis in original).

God bless us all in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


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