Jerry C. Brewer
While Copperheads and Rattlesnakes are both deadly, I have a lot more respect for the integrity of the Rattlesnake because he has the courage to let you know when he is about to strike. That’s not so of the Copperhead. He is silent and deadly. He gives no warning, but strikes when you have no time to flee or defend yourself. The church in our part of the world is full of Copperheads—a situation that is not exclusive to us, as that could be said of many other places as well.
But having lived in Western Oklahoma for the better part of my life, I have come to the conclusion that we are surrounded with a lot of Copperheads, masquerading as “Christians.” Too yellow to confront us face-to-face, they hide behind the anonymity of unsigned letters. In time past, I have received unsigned, venomous letters in envelopes with no return addresses. These Copperheads usually strike us for something we have preached or written, and some of them are extremely nasty. We have never preached or written anything that we were ashamed of, or afraid to sign. I like to emulate the Rattler. Not so, the sniveling, yellow-livered Copperhead cowards. They prefer to attack without warning, then silently slither away into the tall grass of anonymity.
Copperhead soldiers in the Lord’s army present a grave personnel problem. Fewer true, soldiers of the cross are willing to lay their reputations, and/or lives, on the line, but Copperhead numbers are growing, preferring sniper duty in hidden places, from which they can strike a blow against us “legalists,” and hoping to draw an eternal pension that will ultimately delude them (Matt. 7:21-22).