We live in a world characterized by turmoil and confusion. Everything seems to be in a state of flux. In the secular realm, the rapid changes that have taken place during this century in the fields of transportation, communication, science, medicine, education, etc., which were at first thought to be great leaps forward for the human race, have turned out to be the cause of new problems rather than an answer to the old ones.
In the spiritual realm, turmoil and confusion abound. The twentieth century witnessed the birth of religious liberalism and the ecumenical movement, the beginnings of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, the new face of Catholicism, the explosion of atheistic communism, the multiplication of false cults, the popularizing of pagan religions, the rise of biblical fundamentalism to expose and oppose these errors, and the subsequent emergence of new evangelicalism based upon the impossible, unscriptural dream of being fundamental in doctrine but ecumenical in fellowship.
It is no wonder that people are in a state of confusion, no wonder that young and old alike simply do not know which way to turn. So many voices cry out to be heard, each offering attractive solutions to today’s problems. The prevailing philosophy of our day is: “Away with the old; let’s try something new!” The old paths, the old ways, the tried, tested, proven scriptural answers to man’s problems are discounted or disdained.
Why is this so? No doubt there are many contributing factors. The pace of life has so accelerated that people are swept along by the swift flowing currents of popular programs and movements, just barely able to keep their heads above water and not taking time to really consider their genuine needs and ultimate destination. Too many Christians are, themselves, being “carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14). Instead of continuing in the faith “grounded and settled” and heeding God’s warning to “be not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (Col. 1:23), they have succumbed to the weaknesses of the flesh and the allurements of the world. Pleasing God is no longer of primary importance. This not only prevents their helping others, but it also robs them of the joy and peace God wants all of His children to enjoy no matter how tempestuous the sea of life may be. Finding it too difficult to stand alone, they have forsaken the “Fountain of Living Waters” and are left with man-made “broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13).
In our fast-changing world, biblical fundamentalists are frequently criticized by compromising Christians for their unwillingness to change. We are roundly condemned because it is said that we are “dragging our feet,” “standing in the way of progress,” “living in the past,” or “hindering the moving of the Holy Spirit.” Biblical fundamentalists are continually being urged to join the “mainstream of Christianity,” leaving behind the outdated, outmoded “isolationist mentality.”
But these are days when biblical fundamentalists must “stand fast in the Lord” (Phil. 4:1), “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Heb. 11:25). We must follow the scriptural example and testimony of the apostle Paul: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy” (Acts 20:24). We must be willing to “go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach” (Heb. 13:13).
No doubt about it—God’s command to His people is to stand and keep standing! We must stand for the truth and against error. We must declare “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), no matter how unpopular that may be. Any other course of action is disobedience; any other position is unscriptural.
We must also realize that a whole generation of Christians has had very little teaching concerning the doctrine of biblical separation; they have heard only the caricatures of biblical fundamentalism. Yet it has become obvious that many of God’s people are beginning to realize how much churches and individual believers have lost by seeking to change with the world rather than to stand fast in the Word.
Churches, pastors, and individual Christians have undergone many changes in recent years. The tremendous growth of the compromising new evangelical movement originally produced such a euphoric atmosphere that many believers are only now beginning to realize how much has been lost by the false notion that we must “become like the world in order to reach the world for Christ.”
Do you realize just how costly unscriptural changes are? As modern scholarship has become exalted above God’s Word, speculation, supposition, and theory have replaced the reading, studying, and memorizing of the Bible. So much time is spent trying to meet physical, emotional, mental, and financial needs while so little time is spent addressing spiritual needs. So much emphasis is placed upon temporal things and so little on eternal verities.
Consider how many are being set up for a great fall by substituting self-esteem for self-sacrifice. Think how many are filled with fear instead of faith, how many are fleeing from the “roaring lion” rather than “fighting the good fight of faith.” Think how many leaders today are busy building man’s bridges to facilitate unscriptural fellowships instead of rebuilding God’s walls to maintain the clear distinctions between truth and error.
Christians must accept a large part of the responsibility for the unprecedented confusion of our time. The gospel is still the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. The Word of God is eternal, unchangeable, forever settled in heaven. The plethora of modern Bible translations of our day has compounded the confusion, but God’s Word abides forever! There is nothing lacking in the believer’s armor, no dullness of his Sword, no changes in his responsibilities, no failure possible in the many great and precious God-given promises. Victory is assured, no matter how powerful the enemy may be.
God has not changed! He does not want His children to change! Our orders? “Be not moved away” (Col. 1:23)! — Pastor M. H. Reynolds Jr. (1919-1997)