By T. Austin Sparks
Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. (Philippians 2:1,2 NLT)
Error, false teaching, and heresy have always been a major means by which the Devil has sought to destroy "the testimony of Jesus," but when he brought in the weapon of what is known as "Modernism," or "Higher Criticism," he used a double-barreled gun. One barrel he aimed directly at the great fundamental truths of the Person of Christ, the work of Christ, and the authority of the Bible. He has thus wrought great havoc, but one wonders whether even that is comparable to the mischief of his second and closely related barrel. By it he has poured out volumes and clouds of suspicion, fear, mistrust, apprehension, and all the grievous effects of these among true Christians. There is not a single person today who is quite safe in this "Christian" world and atmosphere. Some of the most outstanding and erstwhile evangelical stalwarts have at length fallen under its awful miasma, and died of a broken heart because of it – and all so untrue! The enemy stops short at no point short of dividing the last two Christians, and if he cannot find true ground for doing it by spreading suspicion and mistrust – "evil report" – he will make it by giving a twist to anything that is capable of being twisted....
We beg to appeal to all those to whose eyes this message may come, that they will ask the Lord, if need be, to completely convert their mentality in this matter. Would it not be more according to the Spirit of the Master, who said, "Let him that is without sin cast the first stone," and "He that is not against us is for us," if, as our instant reaction to every "report," "rumor," criticism, judgment, insinuation, innuendo, or whisper, we instantly asked the question, "Is it true? Did the speaker – or writer – really mean that? Is there not another meaning to be given to it? Is it not – perhaps – an unfortunate way of putting it, but not necessarily pernicious?" Should we not, before accepting it, find out whether our interpretation is the right one, or whether we may be mistaken? The enemy is engaged more than ever upon a campaign of sabotage within the Church for its internal disintegration, and it is for us to resist him by seeking all the positive ground of fellowship possible, not looking for all the negative ground, either really or imaginatively existent.