The Sin of Being Neutral
By B.C. Carr (1918-2001)
If there ever was a time for men to be taking a stand for Truth and right, it is now. The church is facing troublesome times in its battle against sin in the face of a new liberalism and softness toward doctrinal error. We see efforts of brethren on every side trying to take a neutral stand. They think they can win the struggle for right by failing to take a stand. Evidently, they feel that by being quiet the devil will go away. Not so.
Recently, in a forum discussion, I received a question, supposedly from an elder, wanting to know if elders should occupy a neutral position on such things as which version and the marriage and divorce dilemma. This shows the soft thinking of those who are trying to walk on both sides of the fence concerning truth and error. I believe this to be sinful. It is time for those who want to be on the Lord’s side to take a stand for Truth. Read Exodus 32:26.
The Sin of Balaam
You will recall that the prophet Balaam tried to be neutral, but failed. Balak wanted him to place a curse against God’s people. Balaam knew, and confessed, that he must speak that which the Lord put in his mouth (Numbers 23:12). At the same time he seemingly wanted to please Balak. Balak’s doctrine is stated in Numbers 23:25, “And Balak said unto Balaam, neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all.”
Strange as it may seem, this is the philosophy espoused by many preachers and church members today. They want to straddle the fence or walk on top of it so as to appease all parties. This cannot be done. We are either for the Lord or against Him (Matthew 12:30).
Let it be understood, we are not talking about personal disputes where there’s a possibility of both parties being in the wrong. Instead, we are thinking of doctrinal matters. For instance, one preacher said that he is not a premillennialist, but neither was he “anti-premillennial.” Another has said, he was not advocating instrumental music, but that he was not “anti-instrumental music.” There are many who would disclaim false doctrine in their own preaching, but they will embrace those in fellowship who teach and preach false doctrines. Brethren, let’s get off the fence.
The Sin of Pilate
When Jesus was brought before Pilate, this Roman governor knew that our Lord had done nothing worthy of death. He knew for envy the Jews had delivered Him, but the mob cried, “Let him be crucified.” In an attempt to appear neutral (and perhaps to soothe a guilty conscience), Pilate took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person.”
Brother, tell me, was Pilate really innocent? We have for a long time accused this man of being guilty of moral cowardice. This was one of the sins that crucified Jesus. When we allow the Word of God to be trampled under foot today and show contempt for the blood of the covenant are we any less guilty? It’s time for us to get off the fence and take a stand for the Truth.
The Sin of Meroz
In Judges 5:23, we read, “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof: because they came not to the help of the Lord, to help the Lord against the mighty.” God’s people were in a battle for their lives. God was mightily concerned, but where was the house of Meroz? They were still abiding in their sheepfolds. They were content to remain idle and let others do the fighting, but God was displeased. He ordered a curse be placed against them.
What was their sin? The same as many of our brethren today. They wanted to remain neutral. They wanted others to do their fighting.
There are those even now who will not join in the battle against error in the church. They look upon themselves as lovers of peace. They even become critical of those who are known as “fighters” or “brotherhood watchdogs.” Some of these are trying to do a balancing act on the fence of neutrality. If the truth prevails on some issue and error is exposed to the point that it is unpopular, they will fall off on the side of the majority and proudly claim, “We have won the victory” – yes, and “we killed a bear, but papa shot it.”
One Man said: “I’ve seen many statues of men astride a horse, but never of a man astride a fence.”