Dr. Allen Domelle
When I was a teenager, there was a young adult man in our church who at one time was the golden gloves boxing champion for the Hawaiian Islands. Not only was he a good boxer, but he also held a black belt in martial arts. As a teenage young man, it was not difficult to want to be around him for in my eyes he epitomized a manly man.
One day he offered to give me and a friend of mine some boxing and martial arts lessons if we were interested. Well, of course we were interested!
Both of us asked him when we could start and where we would train. We were told to meet him in his garage, and that we did. Beyond just getting us in shape to fight, he began to teach us some beginning pointers of boxing. He taught us to keep our hands up so that we could keep from getting punched. He also taught us the art of the jab and looking for the opening to hit the opponent.
We were only into a few lessons when he had me and my friend fight each other. It wasn’t going to be a whole boxing match, he just wanted to see if we were picking up what he taught us and to see what kind of fight we had in us. When I first started fighting my friend, it was hard to get into it because I found it hard to try and hurt a friend. Well, he apparently didn’t feel the same way. He kept looking for an opening to hit me in the face, and he found it and hit me pretty hard. Up to that point I was jabbing him, but with no fire in my gut, but after he hit me hard it ignited a fire to start fighting for if I didn’t I would end up on the mat. It took that hit in the face to finally get me to fight.
There is an element in fundamentalism who won’t fight for anything. Their mantra is that they don’t want to get involved in anything that does not concern their local church. Though I am not for us getting involved in needless battles, I am for a standing up and fighting for truth. It seems that many in fundamentalism don’t seem to have a fire in their gut to stand up and fight for truth. They have cowered to the pressure of liberals to get along for the greater cause. While truth is attacked, I watch them silently sit down all the while pretending that they are fighting for truth.
The liberals would make you think that fighting among Christian brethren is only a modern day problem that is caused by eccentric fundamental Baptists. They want to paint those who stand for truth as hate mongers and the battle as fighting over semantics. They paint those who stand for the truth as people who are destroying Christianity.
My question to these people is, what about Paul calling Peter on the carpet? Peter was teaching that the Gentiles needed to be circumcised, and Paul disagreed. Paul said in Galatians 2:11, “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” Paul was not afraid to make a public battle about truth being attacked.
Again, there are those who love to use the Apostle Paul as an example of a man who didn’t fight, but was concerned with only spreading the Gospel. Yet, they conveniently forget to mention the tension between Paul and Barnabas in Acts 15:39 where it says, “And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;” This contention was not something that was a private matter, but it was public, and yes it was over opinion.
I am not calling for an all-out-war amongst the brethren, but I am saying that somewhere we must learn to stand and fight for truth. What scares me is that we are raising a generation of fundamentalist who believe that fighting or being controversial is an evil thing. There is a generation of young preachers who believe that we should be silent and not challenge those who publicly make an unscriptural stand.
Let me remind you of Jude 1:3 that says, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” If you are going to “contend for the faith,” then that means you are going to have to fight.
Shall we forget what Paul taught the young preacher Timothy? Paul told him in 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” This was not a novice preacher saying this, but it was a veteran preacher teaching a younger preacher to fight when faith is attacked.
There are some who want us to think that Paul’s ministry was only about teaching the grace of God to the Christians and to the lost. While grace was certainly a part of his ministry, his ministry was also a ministry of defending the faith. Let’s not forget what Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” Yes, Paul’s ministry was about preaching the grace of God, but it was also about standing and fighting for truth when it was attacked.
When it comes to fighting battles, I find there are several positions people take.
There are some who have no stomach for fighting and will make no stand at all. This crowd won’t fight for anything. It doesn’t matter how hard they get hit, they just don’t have it in them to fight.
There are some who choose to fight battles by being silent. This is not fighting a battle, this is allowing error to go unchallenged. This seems to be one of the greatest positions I see today, but look what this position has done for us. Because preachers are silent when truth is attacked, well known men, who are good men, have been emboldened in their change because people were silent. This silence is teaching a younger generation that the error being preached and taught on national platforms is okay. Silence is nothing more than cowardice, and those who are silent and won’t take a public stance have no right to bemoan the change going on amongst the brethren.
There are some who put their finger to the air to find out which side is going to win, then they jump on the bandwagon of what they feel is the winning side. This crowd has no backbone because their position is a populace position. They are no more than a Balaam looking for the filthy lucre of acceptance. It’s not about right and wrong, it’s about being accepted by the crowd. They don’t follow truth, they follow crowds.
There are some who were hurt in previous battles that don’t want to fight. The reason they were hurt is because they fought for a personality and not for truth. Truth is the only reason for which we should fight. If you fight for personalities you may end up on the wrong side, but if you fight for truth you will always end up on the right side.
There are some who feel you need to destroy the people who made the error. This crowd is most likely the crowd that has turned many off from standing for the truth. This crowd makes a battle personal with a personality instead of for truth. Those who are changing always use this crowd as their mantra to stop fighting.
There are some who believe you should deal with the error and try to salvage the person. This is the crowd in which I desire to be. I’m for standing for truth, but I’m not for destroying people who go into error. Yes, the battle against error will always involve a personality who is trumpeting error, but this crowd truly wants to salvage those in error. They don’t make the battle personal, but they will certainly stand up publicly for truth.
Friend, there comes a time when you must fight. When our faith is publicly attacked, then we must publicly stand. When the local church is being attacked, then we must fight! When the King James Bible is being attacked, we must fight! When soul winning is attacked, we must fight! When morality is being attacked, we must fight! When the heritage of our old paths are being attacked, then we must fight! Those old paths are the paths that made us who we are. We must not idly stand by in silence and let the faith be attacked.
If you can’t fight for the basics of the faith, then for what will you fight? If you’re not willing to be vocal when the King James Bible, the local church, soul winning and the old paths are under attack, then when will you take a public stand? What does a person have to do for you to take a public stand against error? I wonder what it will take for preachers to wake up. Are we going to have to lose another generation for you to fight? While the emerging church creeps into our “fundamental” ranks and destroys churches, are you going to be silent?
Where are the Nathan’s of our day who will stand up to the David’s and say, “Thou art the man” when truth is attacked? Where are the John the Baptist’s who will call out the Herod’s of our day who are committing spiritual adultery with liberals? Where are the Stephen’s of our day who as laymen will not be silent when liberalism creeps into our churches?
Preacher, are you going to have to lose your children to liberalism to get the fight inside of you? Are you going to have to lose someone personal before you fight? Are you like me who was pretending to fight until I got hit in the face? I know, you’ve loathed the battles of the previous generations, but you must understand that it was the public battles of previous generations that gave us what we have. It’s time men of God stop being silent and get a backbone to stand when truth is under attack.
No, I’m not for making public battles over personalities, but I am for fighting publicly for truth when error is publicly being pushed. If you won’t fight, then what will your grandchildren have when they are adults? We fight because there is another generation who needs to know that what we believe is worth fighting for. If we stay silent when truth is publicly attacked, then your grandchildren will have no choice than to become a part of the wrong crowd.
As the song says:
Sound the battle cry! See, the foe is nigh;
Raise the standard high for the Lord;
Gird your armor on, stand firm every one;
Rest your cause upon His holy Word.
Strong to meet the foe, marching on we go,
While our cause we know, must prevail;
Shield and banner bright, gleaming in the light,
Battling for the right we ne’er can fail.
If we don’t fight the battle for truth in our country and churches, our homes will be destroyed. It is a tragedy that we’ve already lost one generation, must we lose another? It is time to stop being silent. Silence has never won one battle or saved one generation. It has always been the minority of those who firmly stood alone for truth that have won every battle and have preserved truth for the next generation.
“Give me 100 preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God; such alone will shake the gates of hell.” -John Wesley