Contradictions a-plenty

In this selection of pioneer Methodist missionary Rev W. E. Horley’s thoughts, our attention is drawn to the behaviour of Christians which tends to contradict Biblical teachings. His gentle, yet candid observations, deserve serious refl ection at a time when our everyday habits and lifestyles have become nearly indistinguishable from the rest of society. We may need to reassess the meaning of living a Christian life in today’s context.

‘LIFE SEEMS FULL OF CONTRADICTIONS! It would take volumes to record them all, but we will note a few if our readers will kindly bear with us.

Is it not a contradiction to profess to follow Him who said, “By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another,” and yet not to have any love or sympathy for these outside our own particular church or denomination?

It is a contradiction to sing in worship: “We are not divided, all one body we,/one in hope and doctrine, one in charity,” and think our own particular church the only true church.

One good lady, in expounding the text, “Come ye out from among them and be yet separate and touch not the unclean thing,” said that it meant “Come out from the other churches, Presbyterian and Church of England, and touch not the unclean things.” Surely the quintessence of bigotry and narrow-mindedness!

Another incident: Some little folks and their teacher who belonged to a Mission School were warned by a certain individual that it was wrong for them to attend a meeting of Christian Endeavour, held after school hours by the headmistress, because “non-Christians were present”. e same person should have told them, in order to be consistent in her teaching, not to attend the day school because non-Christians were present and to tell the teacher to resign her post because non-Christians helped pay her salary.

It is a contradiction for men and women to spend time in splitting hairs of doctrine and church organisation when multitudes are perishing for want of the Bread of Life, and the Master urgently calling to his disciples, “Give ye them to eat.”

Is it not also a contradiction for a worker to pray and not to work, to be a saint at conferences and public meetings and yet be a pugnacious, quarrelsome, fault-finding, miserable sinner in his daily work, a veritable “thorn in the flesh” to his fellow-workers? Is it not a contradiction for so-called Christians to kneel down in church and when the Fourth Commandment is read out solemnly to say, “Lord have mercy upon us and incline our hearts to keep this law,” and yet persistently play golf and tennis on Sundays?

Is it not a contradiction to say that because we are not under ceremonial law, we are therefore not under moral law? “Do we then make void the law?” asks St Paul when speaking of salvation by grace. e Ten Commandments have never been abrogated. If we truly love the Lord of Sabbath we shall keep the Lord’s Day holy!

May God deliver us from inconsistencies and contradictions in our daily life. “Be ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect,” is the Lord’s command.’ – MM September 1903, p. 113, edited.

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