Much of our bulletin work and a good portion of our pulpit work has to do with warning brethren of evils all around us. We never make an apology for this, noting that a goodly amount of the Bible deals in negative material. The profitableness of the Bible is said to be in the area of reproof and correction, as well as doctrine and instruction in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16). The young preacher Timothy was told to use the Word in reproving and rebuking, as well as exhorting (4:2). So, we have in the past, and will in the future, devote considerable space and time to warning brethren.
As a preacher, I would rather face the brethren in judgment, having warned them repeatedly (and having been called a “negative” preacher), than to face them and see them lost, and have them ask me, “Why didn’t you point out these dangers?” We find Ezekiel stressing that when the wicked are warned, then the person giving the warning has “delivered thy soul” (Ezekiel 3:17-19). We are, and must be, constantly in the business of keeping our own heads pure from other men’s blood (Acts 20:26).
The church, in its history, has weathered many storms. When the calm returns, we may be a smaller brotherhood, but we will be a stronger one for the hardships we have experienced. For all of our warnings concerning liberalism, modernism, permissiveness, worldliness, and apostasy, if the world stands, we confidently believe in good days ahead. The church may be smaller in size, for having lost many to these evil forces, but it will be a faithful and spiritual body. God has always had a pruning process, whether in response to His commands regarding discipline, or in the natural order of things whereby men leave us due to having already left us in spirit (I John 2:19). Nevertheless, in the turmoil used by Satan to take men away, the body of Christ is cleansed.
One reason we believe in good days ahead is the conviction that men can tire of their own filth, in time. That can happen in a nation. A society can cut loose its moorings into an abyss of degradation and depravity. Given time, though, it can happen that finally the basically good people can sicken of the filth around them, and come to say, “That’s it! No More!” They can begin to take corrective action.
We believe such will take place, if the world stands, in the church of the Lord. Already in some places brethren have decided that gimmickry is not spirituality, and some are crying out: “Why can’t we have Bible in our classrooms and from the pulpits?” They will—those with real spirituality that is—come to see what is really the work of the kingdom, and also to see that the church is not a “fun house” where everything is geared to our pleasure. Rather, men who are spiritual learn to take their pleasure in the things pleasing to God. Many will see loved ones lost forever, and many parents will perhaps be shaken in realizing that they have lost their children, before there is that awakening. But, in time, it will come. Once more we declare that men finally can sicken of their own filth, and then will move toward cleansing. We believe good days, while perhaps yet years away, will come. Finally, brethren will realize what has been said all along, “the gospel is the power of God unto salvation!” (Romans 1:16).