In this “advanced” age of ours, when progress swells like a flood, and sinful man prides himself upon such advances of knowledge as Solomon never dreamt of, it’s wise to have a firm grasp on sound doctrines and principles. Why? Because it’s too easy to be led astray by false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing. Christ & His inspired apostles foretold that many of these would arise during the “last days” (i.e. the epoch preceding Christ’s return), & thus we have need to exercise constant caution at all times. More circumspection is needed in this age, perhaps, than in any other.
But how do we maintain the true faith in an heretical environment? Even people we’ve known personally have evinced such a lack of soundness in their theological beliefs, that we often feel that the “falling away” has already commenced. In times like these, let us hearken to the words of Jeremiah, who proposed a sure solution to the backsliding Israelites. The prophet writes: “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6: 16). He was giving them a perfect remedy against the false prophets and teachers which had proliferated among them. I say again, “Ask for the old paths.”
Jeremiah’s message holds true today. The antidote for all false teaching is a return to the orthodox Christianity of 2,000 years. And the saints that seek refuge herein will find, not only peace for their souls, but a perfect answer for the adversary. For months I’ve been very earnest about the historic Christian doctrines, and anyone who has followed the Hyper-Preterist movement knows why this issue is so important to me. The future of the church does not depend upon debates, or upon getting the most “pull” from respected ‘scholars,’ but upon steadfastly cleaving to the doctrines of eternal life. Despite the proliferation of divers viewpoints, there is still only “one Gospel.” Let us take comfort in that fact.
Bishop Ryle wisely observed: “Like the sower, the preacher must sow good seed, if he wants to see fruit. He must sow the pure word of God, and not the traditions of the church, or the doctrines of men. Without this his labor will be in vain. He may go to and fro, and seem to say much, and to work much in his weekly round of ministerial duty. But there will be no harvest of souls, no living results, and no conversions.” He is correct. There is but one true teaching of Christ’s message, & if we sow this we may rest assured that our efforts will do good unto others, and will likewise bring glory to our Savior Jesus Christ, whose commission we daily fulfill. Let us pause here and ask ourselves: what seed are we sowing? Our conscience shall give us an answer.
Remember that the doctrines of heretics, the various false systems, lies, and delusions which pass as current coin, shall one day be driven away as chaff of the threshing floors. Until then we are called to exercise patience, perseverance, and fidelity in the Gospel which has been committed to us. As there is only one true Gospel, & one true church, so there must be a continuity of the Christian message throughout all ages of history. Find this, and you’ll have a city of refuge to which you may run in the day when the enemy rages, and when wrath, pride, and folly stalk among the camps, decimating their thousands and ten thousands. As Jeremiah preached, it is the only safe haven.
Like Jeremiah, however, we must often be virulently attacked for holding this position. The backsliders will still say, “We will not walk therein” (Jeremiah 6: 16). The scoffers of the world will prate with lips of falsehood that there is no “absolute truth” in Scripture. They’ll claim that everything must change, and yet not knowing what they themselves are about. They will teach “doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4: 1-2). They will “have a form of godliness” but will “deny the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3: 5). Like Jannes & Jambres, they will resist those who preach the true Gospel (2 Timothy 3:8).
These are the men concerning which Jude warned the church (Jude 18 ff.). Among liberals they have risen like a flood, occupying high positions in learned societies. In the church they vigorously promote a false Christianity which sows the seeds of death. These same teachers are aiming to deny Jesus Christ as Son of God, so that they can bring in a strange new ‘religion’ in which Buddhists, Muslims, pagans, and atheists all sit at the same board together, and none is allowed to contradict the other.
What is the solution for all this? Rather, we should ask, in which way can we best defend ourselves? The answer is simple: by returning to the orthodox Christian faith. Let us throw away the heretical textbooks we are using, and get back to the pure teachings of the Gospel. We’ll never have any kind of ‘reformation’ in religion until we agree to return to the Gospel–the one Gospel of Jesus Christ, Who is “the same yesterday, and today, and for ever” (Hebrews 13: 8). Let us take a lesson from Jeremiah and seek the old paths, that we may walk therein. The benefits of so doing are apparent in the text: “and ye shall find rest for your souls.”
Brethren, let us soberly admit that human nature is too bankrupt to bring in a Millennium by its own efforts. Man is still a sinner who requires Divine grace before he can follow the Shepherd and Bishop of his soul. He must be sprinkled by the blood of Jesus Christ and renewed by the Spirit of God before his works will be accepted before the throne of grace. When John said “The whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 John 5: 19), he gave no indication that its moral quality would change for the better before Christ returned. No, friends. The wheat and the tares must grow together until the harvest.
Until then we are called to maintain the truth, even though we should suffer for it. Christ says: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2: 10). Being faithful means taking our crosses daily and following Christ (Matt. 10: 38). It means keeping the form of sound words which we have heard (2 Tim. 1: 13). In all matters we must eschew evil. They who have the pure Gospel, & do not buckle beneath the onslaughts of false teachers, are the ones who will stand unashamed in the last day. They shall see the King in His glory, whilst unbelievers will be cast into outer darkness. Those who keep to the old paths, the good paths, even in the face of all opposition, are they alone who shall reign with Christ.