Dr. Allen Domelle
Sadly, I know I don’t do everything right all the time, and for that I apologize. For anyone to think that they are always right is simply pride, arrogance or someone blinded by their sin. The Scriptures teach, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12) Even the good that we try to do is still tainted with sin. God says in Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” I know this is not what you were exactly expecting, but an apology is in order because I am still a sinner growing in grace.
However, there are several things for which I don’t apologize. The Apostle Paul made it clear that he was not on an apology tour for his beliefs concerning the Word of God. He says in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” He clearly understood the power of God’s Word and how It’s truth changes lives. He was not going to apologize for clearly preaching the Word of God.
When he was confronted with preaching the truths of God’s Word, He again would not apologize. He said in Galatians 4:16, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” What he preached had offended some Christians, and he made an argument that just because he told the truth doesn’t make him a bad guy. In fact, he contended that instead of getting mad for telling the truth, they needed to change their lifestyle to match the guidelines of truth. He continued in verses 17-18 by saying, “They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.” He was teaching that they needed to let the discomfort that truth caused to bring about a change in their lives.
It seems as if there is an element in society who are critical of those in the past. These people are critical of the methods of previous leaders and what they believed and how they led. They seem to be on an apology tour to the present generation for being so harsh. President Barack Obama has apologized to the world for America’s supposed “transgressions.” Modern preachers who have swallowed the doctrine of Balaam for the cause of acceptance and crowds have criticized the methods of past generations to satisfy the Christians who want to live a worldly lifestyle.
Let me be unmistakably clear that though no one is perfect, we don’t need to apologize for our past. America became a great nation because of what our forefathers fought for and the principles on which they stood. Likewise, the independent, fundamental Baptists don’t need to apologize or criticize what has been handed down to us from those who walked the old paths without wavering. It is time to cancel the apology tour and start embracing the principles and methods of those who have walked the old paths.
Let me make it very clear, though I may not always do everything right, there are several things for which I don’t apologize.
1. I don’t apologize for the old paths of the past generation.
Paul said to Timothy, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;” (2 Timothy 1:8) There are too many wanting to throw the past generation out for the modern day Balaam’s which I absolutely disdain. These modern day Balaam’s who have copied the Rick Warren and Joel Osteen models more than the model which Jesus Christ set out in the Scriptures are destroying a younger generation. I don’t apologize for walking those paths that others showed us from the Scriptures. Instead of apologizing for those paths, we should embrace and teach them to the next generation. Instead of making those who try to make those paths clear look as if they are outdated or mean spirited, why not applaud them for standing for truth.
2. I don’t apologize for my scriptural stance.
I am not going to apologize for making the Scriptures my absolute source of truth. If making the Scriptures my absolute source of truth makes me a minority among the modern day scholars, then so be it. Paul said in 2 Timothy 1:12, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” He was not about to change what he believed just because others tried to make him uncomfortable. He further explained that the Scriptures were the final authority for the Christian in 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 when he says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” I will not apologize for my scriptural stance, even if modern day “scholars” reject it.
3. I don’t apologize for pushing people to keep others out of Hell.
How can one read Mark 9:44-48 and not push people to keep others out of Hell? How can one read the story of the rich man and Lazarus and not have a burning desire to push people to be avid soul winners? The compassionate person is not the one who doesn’t push people to become soul winners, but the compassionate person is the one who will do all in their power to keep someone from going to Hell. Jude 1:22-23 says, “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire;” I am not going to apologize for being aggressive about motivating people to be soul winners. If you believe in a literal Hell that has a literal fire, then you will push people to do all they can to keep others out of Hell.
4. I don’t apologize for preaching that tries to keep people as far away from the line of sin as I can.
When I was a boy, my mother did more than just tell me snakes were dangerous. She told me to not even get near any snake. She knew that if I didn’t play with snakes that I would never be bitten by a poisonous snake. The preacher who tries to keep you as far away as possible from the line of sin is not your enemy. God made it clear that we are to be “…wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” (Romans 16:19) My preaching may seem restrictive to those who want to skirt the line of worldliness, but I’d rather have preaching that restricts me from having the scent of sin on my life. Though to some my preaching may be too restrictive, I simply contend that I’m doing what I can to keep them from getting close to anything that might lure them into sin. For that I do not apologize!
5. I don’t apologize for believing that there are dangerous directions to avoid.
The Scriptures say in 2 Thessalonians 3:14, “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.” This verse was not talking about a lost world, but it was talking to the brethren. There are dangerous directions in Christianity that we are to avoid. When someone doesn’t believe that the King James Bible is the Word of God, then that is a dangerous direction. If someone doesn’t believe that “all Scripture” is doctrine, then that is a dangerous direction that we all must avoid. God doesn’t say that some Scripture is major doctrine and other Scripture is minor; no, He says that He inspired “all Scripture.” That means anything or anyone who has a chance of pulling someone away from the truth must be avoided.
6. I don’t apologize for being a friend to my friends.
Just because you don’t like my friends doesn’t mean I need to apologize for them. Paul begged Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:8, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me…” There were some who probably thought that Timothy’s association with Paul was hurtful, but that association was truly helpful. Jesus was criticized by the Pharisees for being a friend of the sinner. If being a friend to someone who has fallen in sin brings criticism, then so be it. I don’t apologize for being a friend to my friends, even when their life is adversarial or in adversity. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” If I stop being a friend when someone is not popular or disliked, then I’m not much of a friend. I don’t apologize for being a friend to my friends, and I don’t apologize for being friends with those who are being friends. When my friends are attacked, I will defend. When my friends are criticized, I will praise. When no one stands with my friends, I will do my best by God’s grace to stand with them.
7. I don’t apologize for the crowd with which I choose to run.
One of the attacks against the Apostle Peter when Jesus was being tried was that he was “one of them.” They were criticizing him for his crowd. Let me make this clear, I don’t apologize for running with the crowd who champions the “old paths.” You can try to shame me into changing crowds, but I enjoy being identified with the old path’s crowd. I don’t mind being identified with a crowd who believe in holiness, soul winning, separation and old paths preaching. I don’t mind being associated with a crowd who hates sin but loves the sinner. I don’t mind being associated with a crowd who is not afraid to identify with a J. Frank Norris, Jack Hyles, Lee Roberson, Harold Sightler or Shubal Stearns. I’m weary of people being afraid to identify with a crowd who passed the old paths down to them. I am not going to apologize for the crowd with whom I’ve chosen to associate.
8. I don’t apologize for having to apologize at some times.
Some may think apologizing shows weakness, but I believe it shows strength. There is no person who has not done wrong, and if a person can show me FROM THE SCRIPTURES that what I believe is wrong, then I will apologize. Matthew 5:23-24 says, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” There are times when we may stand for right, but our disposition is wrong. In those times I will apologize for my disposition but never for my position. My position is not on the table for negotiation. When you do wrong you should apologize, but you don’t have to apologize for apologizing.
It is time that old-paths Christians stop their apology tour and stand for the truths of the Scriptures. Just because others may criticize and call names doesn’t mean you have to apologize for being who you are. As long as the Scriptures back up your actions, then you have no reason to apologize!
Allen Domelle is the editor of the Old Paths Journal which is more than just a Christian’s publication. It is an excellent place to learn how today’s headlines will forge tomorrow’s laws and statutes. Keep yourself in tune with what is happening around the world, as well as in your own backyard with the daily updates and devotionals.
“Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God; such alone will shake the gates of hell.” -John Wesley