Why is it that some Christians maintain the attitude that capitulation to evil is the best way? They will condemn any attempt to expose the organization and practice of evil, while harboring those who refuse to change from their evil ways. They make the church of Christ composed of a “mixed multitude” rather than people desiring to be pure from their sins. Ephesians 5:25-27 said: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
Have these Christians not read:
what David said? “Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14); “Depart from evil, and do good; And dwell forevermore” (Psalm 37:27);
Or the same thought when Paul quoted that statement?
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9);
Or God’s command to apostate Israel through Amos?
“Seek good and not evil, That you may live; So the LORD God of hosts will be with you, As you have spoken. Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate. It may be that the LORD God of hosts Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph” (Amos 5:14-15).
Since God’s people are commanded to know the difference between good and evil, then how is it wrong to expose the line of demarcation between the two?
Why is it wrong to organize opposition to evil but not wrong in these Christians’ minds for evil to be organized?
The church of Christ must accept the fact that there is a moral war that is being waged constantly and not condemn Christians who are engaged in it. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:4-6).
The capitulators may partially quote and misuse 2 Timothy 2:24 that “the servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all,” by arguing that Christians must be “gentle” and not engage in “quarrels.” (1) no verse should be used to “cancel out” any other verse, for Jesus condemned this practice in the Pharisees in Matthew 15:1-9, thus 2 Timothy 2:24 does not cancel 2 Corinthians 10:4-6; (2) the kind of “quarrels” Paul condemned were defined in 2 Timothy 2:14 as “words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers.” These are “to no profit,” not the contending for the faith that must be done (Jude 3); (3) read 2 Timothy 2:14-26 and see that the quarrels forbidden do not keep the “servant of the Lord” from “correcting those who are in opposition,” to help them “come to their senses,” “so that they may know the truth.” Indeed, Solomon was right in Ecclesiastes 9:18: “Wisdom is better than weapons of war”
When Paul said, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21), he was not forbidding a Christian’s contending for the faith, or “correcting those who are in opposition.” There is, however, no amount of “good works” that can be substituted for the “doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) that should accompany them.
No one should hamper the “boldness” with which Christians must face down error. “Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech” (2 Corinthians 3:12). Adam Clarke rightly commented on this verse: “We speak not only with all confidence, but with all imaginable plainness; keeping back nothing; disguising nothing; concealing nothing: and here we differ greatly from the Jewish doctors, and from the Gentile philosophers, who affect obscurity, and endeavour, by figures, metaphors, and allegories, to hide every thing from the vulgar. But we wish that all may hear; and we speak so that all may understand.”
We need to be upset, not with Christians who advance the cause of Christ with the sword of the Spirit, but with those who would have it otherwise!
—–John T. Polk II