Cled E. Wallace
The chief indictment that Jesus made against the religious teachers of His time was that they were making void the word of God by their traditions.
And ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men (Matt. 15:6-9 ASV).
He called them blind guides and warned that all who followed them would fall into a pit with them. His instruction to the disciples was to let them alone and not try to mollify their wrath at the teaching of Jesus. He had only contempt for their traditional precepts, which they cherished more than the word of God. Regarding them, He said, “Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up” (Matt. 15:13).
It is a tragic fact today that many religious teachers are abroad in the land who make void the word of God by their traditions and humanisms quite as recklessly and effectively as did the Pharisees who hated and opposed Jesus. They speculate, ride hobbies, build up parties, and write creeds to bind the consciences of men and hold them in the confines of sectarianism. If there ever was a time demanding that loyal believers “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3), that time is now. Multitudes with the best of intentions are blindly following their leaders into paths uncharted by divine revelation.
About the wildest, most irresponsible thing I have seen in a long time on the important subject of salvation appeared in a recent issue of the Baptist Record. J.E. Heath has an article entitled, “Anybody Can Be Saved In A Minute.” Then for fear that somebody might get the idea that a minute is too long a time to be saved in, he exclaims, “You can be saved in less time than a minute.” That just about sets a new record for getting saved quick. It hardly gives time for asking, seeking, or knocking. Mr. Heath makes short work of the old mourners’ bench system the Baptists used to work so hard over after a long sermon on “Not Of Works.” This later model Baptist preacher opens up after this fashion:
The thing that keeps a lot of folks from being saved is that they get the idea that being saved is a hard thing to do; that there are a lot of things to give up and a lot of praying and getting ready to do. And they think that it is such a complicated affair that they are afraid to try to start. There was never a bigger mistaken idea in the world.
If all this is true, then the Baptists were a long time learning it. Think how much time has been wasted trying to get sinners “through” at the anxious seat! They were preached at, prayed over, and struggled with in about as big a mess of complications as the world ever saw. It took some of them weeks and months to “get” it, and some never did. Salvation under Baptist tutelage was formerly a very elusive thing. I always thought that “there never was a bigger mistaken idea in the world,” and now, lo, after these many years a Baptist preacher comes along and agrees with me. It is not often that I have a thing like that happen to me, and the sensation is peculiar. One extreme of error follows another, and now a sinner can be saved about as quickly as he can bat his eye, and with about as little effort. We will let Mr. Heath tell about it:
Why, anybody in the world can be saved in a moment of time, without quitting anything, without giving up anything, without doing anything. You do not have to quit sin—if we did nobody would ever be saved; you do not have to pray; you do not have to reform—if you are drunk you do not even have to wait until you get sober. You can be saved any time, anywhere.
This is a sample of Baptist doctrine, and makes void the plainest teaching of the word of God. Without reform or obedience, a sinner is saved in a moment of time and then can never be lost again, regardless of what he does! What a doctrine! The writers of the New Testament were not Baptists. When sinners asked what they must do to be saved, they were not told that they could be saved “in a moment of time…without doing anything.”
Hear a few plain texts and compare them with Baptist doctrine as stated in Mr. Heath’s article:
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37-38 ASV).
Jesus says that a man must come to Him, hear His words, and do them (Luke 6:46). “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21 ASV). The man who obeys not the truth cannot be saved (Rom. 2:8). The Lord will take vengeance on them that obey not the gospel (2 Thess. 1:7-8). He is the author of eternal salvation to them that obey Him (Heb. 5:9). The New Testament abounds in such teaching. Yet a Baptist preacher teaches that a sinner can be saved “in a moment…without doing anything,” and knows it by the way he feels. Men who thus contradict the word of God are not Christians. “Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Luke 11:28).
As to the time it takes to save a sinner, he may have assurance of salvation when he obeys the gospel and not before (Rom. 6:17). “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” (Mk. 16:16). This is not a “hard thing to do” if a man wants to do it. There is nothing “complicated” about it. It is said of those that heard Paul preach, “…Many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.” (Acts 18:8). This was not a “complicated affair” like the old mourners bench system of some years ago. Nor was it as void of the time element as this modern do-nothing, quit-nothing, ask-for-nothing way of entering into life. But it was the way people became Christians when inspired preachers were in action, and that fact must not be concealed by such extreme and unscriptural positions as that advocated by the quit-nothing, do-nothing doctors.
“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (Jas. 2:24). A man who can, in the face of this, assert that a drunk sinner can be saved in less than a minute, without sobering up or doing anything else, needs to sober up himself. He is reeling with false doctrine.