By David Edwards
Once in a business meeting of a certain conference, a good man, arose and said, “I do not know which side of this question I am on, but I am not on the fence.” After the meeting the writer said to him in a jovial spirit, “You said that you did not know where you were, but that you were not on the fence; please tell me where you are?” He laughed and passed the matter up.
Simon Stylus, a medieval saint(?) lived on one high tower for over thirty years. Some who claim to belong to old-fashioned holiness crowds have lived much longer, all their lives, on the fence. They sit in their saddles on the fence, watching to see which way the crowd is going, then they lean that way, but never change their position on the fence. They may crawl down once in awhile when everything seemed to be going one way, but they keep their hands on the top rail so that they can jump back on their comfortable position when the winds or tides change. Yes, which ever way the ecclesiastical winds blow, they lean. Many of them in their poor little weak way, would like to see right principles and person win, but if it costs them their seat or throne on the fence, the devil can have the whole business so far as they are concerned. If certain despised men and principles could get approval of all, my how they would boost and yell for them from their neutral position on the fence. When there is just one side, they are on that side, but if there be two sides, they are very quiet, nice and neutral, neither or nothing. They much prefer grieving the Spirit to offending the devil who always rights back. Neutral saints are the devil’s best spies.
When a church first starts out, all on fire, only those who dare to stand for truth and holiness have any recognition or influence. But when she begins to drift, only neutral men who become silent and inactive on all controversial questions have any place. Both sides push them because they offend neither side. They remain where they can nod either way, and then explain it either way that policy demands. They are always on the wrong side because true men are never neutral when principle is involved. But they brand all controversial questions as exaggerated or do non- essential”. They brand all who contend for the faith once delivered to the saints” as “radicals” in spirit or narrow minded, and unworthy of consideration or trust. And they do it in such a beautiful (?) spirit until both sides swallow it and compliment its lovely flavor and beautiful spirit. When they get the machinery and organizations under their power, they accuse all those who do not back them as disloyal. They cry aloud, “Touch not God’s anointed and do my prophets no harm.” Who said they were anointed? How much unction and power is there in their lives and messages? Who said they were “God’s prophets” False prophets have always dressed in the garments and manners of true prophets, and have destroyed all that true prophets have died to establish. Try these neutrals out and see how much they are willing to suffer for right? Take them down off their thrones and take away the places of honor and prestige and see how long they remain sweet and loyal. About the next thing you will see is a storm and then away they go to some other modernistic church where they belonged all the while. In fact, they are already popular with the Christ-hating, holiness- despising crowds.
Are they really on the fence in their hearts? No, it is only outward until the tide shifts enough to make them safe in their wrong principles and attitudes, then they come down and drive away everyone who opposes them. They plead for tolerance. But let them once get a solid seat, and they are the most subtle, intolerant persons in the world or church. This is the history of ecclesiastical diplomacy.
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