The Sin of Silence
By Carl Ballestero
“For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth……I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night ye that make mention of the Lord, Keep not silence. And give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”–Isaiah 62:1, 6-7
Isaiah was a prophet who could not keep his message to himself. It allowed him neither peace nor rest. In fact, he wouldn’t let God rest nor man be at ease until he saw his burden fulfilled. Here was a compassionate intercessor that pained in travail for the deliverance of his people. In his day, in a dark hour and a most trying time, he stood in the gap to make up the hedge–God had found the man He was looking for.
In every age there is the desperate call and the urgent need for the prophet to step forth and speak for God. He must usually render service that is long overdue and that which has been avoided and sometimes willfully neglected by his contemporaries. Moses, the lawgiver, made little mention of the office of the prophet. The priesthood was supposed to take care of all the problems that arose in camp and to keep in touch with Jehovah. When God’s prophet stepped from the ranks of obscurity with heart ablaze ant his dread words of judgment, there was only one reason for his appearance. . .sin had become the acceptable program of the day. When the chosen tribe of Levi couldn’t produce a man to step forth and raise his voice against the error and wickedness of the hour, God found a man to do His bidding; and where once he perhaps had been standing in the shadows, God gave him words they couldn’t deny, a spirit they couldn’t conquer and an anointing they couldn’t resist. The prophet was not a popular man. He met with much opposition from the leaders of his day. They had failed to continue as true witnesses and were interested in the easy living their office now afforded. As long as the prophet kept his mouth open, it put the priesthood in a bad light. This was why he was not always popular. When speakers for God in every direction mumbled the acceptable words and phrases of their day, the prophet, who was true to his calling, deliberately avoided the broken record routine and dared to declare the shocking words, “THUS SAITH THE LORD!”
The prophet was God’s way of showing His mercy to man and his goodness in leading them again to repentance. Concerning the prophet’s word, Malachi’s prophecy of the coming Elijah says, And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:6) Men can be so blinded by sin, they will actually fight off those that would attempt to rescue them from their terrible trap.
To justify ones self while remaining in a wrong state of mind or of practice amounts to a deafly delusion. It is not until some folks have been rescued from the pit they were in do they realize just how bad off they were. If God didn’t love us He wouldn’t repeatedly send to us a man with a message, but I wonder how long it will continue along that line? His patience may one day wear out and if He would not raise up a man with a heart stout enough to stand against the carnal opposition that swells against him and still dare to preach what God gave him, then we are destined to drift out to the deep waters of apostasy where God will leave us alone and utterly forsake us.
There is the alarming possibility of the ministry of today being content with a gag in its mouth. It is a shocking situation when preachers are content to wear a muzzle on their mouths. Their mouths have been stopped by carnal church boards and other so-called influential church members ant in order to have a place to preach, they are content to be silent on certain themes, or at least muted on the subject. When preachers are wrong, they most certainly ought to be dealt with: Church members can bully and blackmail preachers and sometimes starve them out so that he is content to resign, while they remain in their office and are further strengthened to control the next minister. The matter is made worse by outside ministers running to the rescue of a Laodicean church and offering assistance, when all the while they ought to do all they can to see that the preacher has the liberty to preach all God gives him. When muzzled preachers accept the pastoral of a ruined church and make no effort to speak out against sin, then they too have been ruined.
In our day of the justification of many things that our religious group once countenanced as evil, there is the cry for God to send forth men who will dare to obey God and do the work of the prophet. Malachi said the prophet would “turn the hearts of the children to their fathers” and Solomon the wise man said there would be a generation that would not bless the* mother and that would curse their father. Men don’t like to acknowledge they have drifted, but a wandering man has started to become good and lost. It is time for a revival of old fashioned, true-to-Apostolic-form anointed Holy Ghost preaching. The hearts of the membership of the present day church are a far cry from the hearts of the Apostolic fathers and there needs to be solid and stalwart men who will dare to stand again and champion God’s cause not only in the midst of a perverse and crooked generation but in the midst of a drifting, carnal and compromising Laodicean church world. We must get back to old-time praying and do away with the pathetic little mumbling sessions we have as a substitute for prayer these days. We must get back again to that kind of preaching that literally stirs and thrills and do away with all the cheap gimmicks and entertainment we now have in its place. Away with all the boring, droning sessions in our conventions and get back to practical Bible studies and straight-from-the-heart messages once again. That belongs in Pentecost and those who do not approve of that have no business to be in Pentecost. Let us do away with worldly dressed Jezebels parading all over the platform singing a song about prayer but never knowing how to get one little prayer through to God. If they could, they might pray some convictions down upon themselves.
Not long ago, when I ministered in a certain city, my wife, who said “amen” to my preaching, was the subject of ridicule because of her freedom in God’s house. Who would have ever thought that it would one day be a matter of laughter and of criticism, not from the world but from those within our own ranks, to worship in God’s house?–but nevertheless I meet with this cancerous problem all the time. Too many preachers are silent on vital issues. Some know better because they were raised in good solid churches and others are still without excuse because their high calling demands that they make a thorough study of all matters that pertain to salvation and certainly holiness is one of those. There will not be one preacher who makes it to heaven who does not preach the doctrine of holiness–inside and out. The reason for all the tight tress of our era and the shining knees and all the jewelry and the shameful behavior that disgraces our good name is because of the ministers being silent on these lines. To put it in plain Bible terms, they are dumb dogs that can’t bark; but we’d better start barking or the wolves will run off with what little we have left.
The Air Academy recently expelled a number of students because they either took an active part in peddling answers to the exams or because they knew of the thing and kept silent on the matter. They have in that school a code of honor that compels them to not only refrain from taking part in a wrong but to also uncover that wrong if they know of it. Of course, the school and the system has been criticized quite a bit since then, but I can’t help but feel that that is just the way God wants His preachers to be today. If anyone ought to have a code of honor it should be the ministry. I am bound by my high and heavenly calling to stand up and preach the Word of God whenever I have a chance. It matters not whether the rest of the group is preaching what God gives to me I must be true and mind the Lord or lose out with Him. We preach not just to save others, but also to save ourselves. And don’t forget–what man covers, God uncovers; and what man uncovers, God covers.
I have been asked to preach in fellowship meetings and elsewhere when the word was passed to me that all the ministers were forbidden to speak out against the problem of television. Can you imagine those of our own group trying to silence the mouths of those who they feel might preach it a little too strong and put others in a poor light? If these people who are given the task of representing the group that stands for more holiness than any other had enough of the fear of God in them, they would not only allow the speaker to mind the Lord, but would do all that they could to encourage it. Imagine if you can, one member of your body instructing other members not to function, or telling it that it has no right to have proper mobility? We live in a time when little, man-fearing puppet pastors don’t want a God-called evangelist to help in perfecting the church. One would think that God was just calling pastors these days. But there is still the calling of the evangelist…and he isn’t merely a voted-out preacher looking for another church. Shame on the men who say that an evangelist can’t preach this or that, or that a pastor must be silent on certain points; that is nothing but the devil using a man to stop the mouths of people who might help solve the problems of the church. And when we yield to that kind of pressure, we have become man-pleasers and not God-pleasers–we fear man more than God.
The old story of Micaiah will always teach us a lesson that we must not forget, and that is that oftentimes the majority of so-called prophets will not speak the thing the Lord requires. There is a strong move on these days to silence the preacher. Note if you please, just how many of the resolutions that are being passed at out conventions are not really helping the preacher, but actually are working against him. Whether this was intentionally planned to be that way by some man we can’t say, but we do know that the devil is behind it all, for he knows that he has such a short time to work.
The devil tried to get Peter and John to close the* mouths in the book of Acts, but even after a whipping, they went right back to preaching with greater freedom than ever because they couldn’t hold their peace. My God raise up ministers today who can’t keep still on this matter, who will not let heaven or earth alone until something is done to satisfy God and to relieve the prophet’s burden. God identifies His servants as watchmen. If the watchman doesn’t take care, the hidden danger may steal up on the sleeping city and spoil it. A further evil is that of a watch man who sees the approaching danger and yet remains silent about it. There could be no greater curse to a trusting people than to have watchmen who failed to watch, or if they did see signs of danger, failed to sound the alarm.
There was too much silence about sin in the Corinthian church and the Apostle Paul had to rebuke them for it. It is difficult to believe that Holy Ghost people can get into the situations they do, but I feel that a good percentage of the time it happens because the preacher wasn’t watching or remained silent about the sin. Then again, there is the evil of a young man having his father’s wife, and instead of mourning, the whole church stands ready to justify him. Another parallel case is the evil woman Solomon tells of, who, after eating things forbidden, wipes her mouth and says, What evil have I done?” There are just too may who seek shelter within our ranks who have no real desire to be separate from sin. Consecration is a foreign word to them. They can see no evil in any of the worldly things they follow after, but I know that for many of them there would be a great deliverance if only men of God would open their mouths against sin once more–if only God’s man would blow a clear warning note on the trumpet. When a church that is bent toward backsliding can’t see any harm in those things that very definitely belong to the world and would excuse herself with the words “What evil have I done?” then my brother, it is time to stand up for God and speak out against sin–regardless of what that sin is or whom that sin might be in.
The unknown, nameless prophet might have had his name recorded in the 1th chapter of Hebrews for his loyalty to God in standing before the wicked king and rebuking him, but he died a ruined and wretched man be cause he listened to the pleas of a backslidden old prophet rather than to the command of God who forbade him to eat or drink with any in that land. What glory would it be to be buried with the compromising, backslidden false prophets, or have them mourn our passing, when we could go down to the grave identified with the holy Apostles and with Jesus Christ, the Faithful Witness? The sin of the unknown prophet was that he fellowshipped a man who wouldn’t speak out against sin, and of disobeying the clear command of God.
Speak out for God and you will show your position. In Psalm 32 David was silent. And that silence was brought on by sin. But if holiness preachers are living above sin, then they certainly have the right to speak out against every known wrong. May God raise up a fearless, anointed ministry to turn the hearts of a wayward church back to the truths of old time Pentecost.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS TAKES FROM THE SEPTEMBER, 1965 ISSUE OF THE APOSTOLIC SENTINEL, AND PUBLISHED BY THE APOSTOLIC STANDARD, APRIL 1999, PAGES 3-5. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.