It is commonly said, “The church of Christ fights everybody.” We, as members of the church of Christ, do not fight anyone. It is strange that anyone who claims to be a Christian will circulate such a malicious slander. Dogmatic preachers will say publicly and privately that we, as Christians, are fighting everyone in the community. We, on the other hand, say that we are not fighting anyone but only seeking to uphold the teachings of the Bible and the principles of Christian living as exemplified by Jesus our Lord. In order to be saved one must believe the Gospel of Christ with all his heart (Matt. 28: 19,20; Mark 16:15,16). To believe the Gospel one must be taught the Gospel. Are we fighting souls when we ask them to hear and believe the gospel?
The Savior of the world said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.” Do we fight men when we ask them to do what the Lord said? I t seems to me that the man who tries to talk a man out of doing what Jesus said to do is the one who is fighting others.
If gospel preachers tell men to do just what Jesus said to do, men will say “they are fighting.” If on the other hand, when men say, “He that believeth and bows his head and raises his hand shall be saved,” the world will stand up and cheer. “Bow your head and raise your hand” is the general procedure of the modern revivalist “Bow your heads and raise your hands,” they will say. The preacher will say, “I see one over here, God bless you. I see one up in the balcony, God bless you.” Of course no one can peep but the preacher. Some of the preachers threaten their audience with a curse if they peep as does the preacher. If one so preaches the world will applaud, but if one dares preach the Book just as it is, someone will say, “the preacher fights.” He who preaches Mark 16:15-16, as it is written, is preaching what Jesus said. If one preaches “Bow your head and raise your hand,” he is preaching the way of the world.
Whether it be fighting others to preach man’s ways or God’s ways judge ye. To preach the way of man is to fight both man and God! The old mourner’s bench system is still in vogue. Instead of hitting the “sawdust trail” the old mourner’s bench has been moved to the back of the house or “right where you are.” “Just bow your head and raise your hand is the same system that has been used by rabble-rousers for ages. The mourner’s bench has been moved from the front of the building to “right where you are.”
The stock objections to telling men just what Jesus said is to ask, “What will become of people in heathen lands who have not been baptized and know not of baptism?” We reply by asking what will become of those same people who know not to “raise their hands and bow their heads?” If it is suggested that missionaries will be sent to tell them about Christ and to “raise their hands and bow their heads,” then we suggest that the missionaries do what Christ said do and thus not fight the poor heathen.
If one is going all the way to Africa or India to tell someone about Jesus, why not tell him what Jesus said? To do otherwise is to fight the heathen. Truly, those who tell people just what Jesus said are the real friends of Christ. Those who tell men something else are not only fighting men, but they are also fighting God.
Be it remembered that the Lord’s church does not fight anybody. God’s people strive to help everyone. He who fights a servant of God when he is telling men what God says is fighting God. “But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God” (Acts 5:39).