Great leaders have always been men who are willing, at great risk, to stand. This nation has become strong due to the courage and tenacity of her leaders. Men like Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and MacArthur are just a few who come to mind. Because these men, and many others like them, were willing to stand, we enjoy the countless freedoms that we do. Often leaders are called upon to stand strong and do what must be done even when others refuse to stand and are quick to criticize and condemn. It was not a popular move when President Truman dropped the bomb, but it brought the war to an end.
In the Bible, God’s leaders were also men of courage and conviction. They were men who were willing to take a stand. Noah preaching to the pre-flood era, Abraham leaving his country to travel to unknown lands, Moses before Pharoah, Elijah on Mount Carmel, Gideon and his army of 300, John the Baptist preaching to Herod and Herodias, Stephen preaching to the mob of Jews, and Paul “preaching the Word” and facing persecution on every hand are just a few examples of this type of leadership. These men led God’s people without wavering!
The Lord’s church, during my lifetime, has had her share of great leaders who took a stand for truth and against error. These men did not poll the brotherhood to see which way was most popular. They stood for truth even if they had to stand alone. We owe much to men like Hardeman, the Wallaces, Brewer, Lipscomb, Toddy, Woods, Nichols, and Goodpasture. B. C. Goodpasture was one of the most influential men of my lifetime. For many years he edited the Gospel Advocate. His writings were powerful as he fought battle after battle for truth through the pages of the “old reliable.” The position he took for truth did not always please; some, like many of our day, thought you could fight error with kid gloves. This did not prevent brother Goodpasture and others from taking a strong stand on God’s divine truths and fighting every attempt of Satan to weaken the church. The church in our area is as strong as she is due to the strength of these great men of God.
The church today is in a great apostasy due to liberalism. Unless one has his head buried in the sand, he knows that this is a fact. Yet, many seem to be unconcerned. They “don’t know and don’t care.” God still seeks for men to “stand in the gap” (Eze. 22:30), men to “cray aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression. . .” (Isa. 58:1). Great leaders of today MUST take a stand, must warn the church of the impending danger, and with “sword” (Eph. 6:17) in hand must lead the attack against the enemy who is intent on leading God’s people astray!! These men must stand strong even when falsely accused of being unloving, trouble-makers, legalists, covenant keepers, etc. Paul tells us: “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore. . .” (Eph. 6:13-14). Soldiers of Christ, Arise!
“Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, IF YE CAN FIND A MAN, [emphasis mine, PMW] if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth. . .” (Jer. 5:1). Men, step forward! Years from now Tennessee Bible College and men like Hill, Ramsey, Duke, and Gore will be recognized for their part in standing strong against error and for truth.
-Paul Wilmoth