Inconsistency = Confusion

If there is any one word that characterizes the religious world of our day, it is inconsistency. Of course, the only way to avoid being inconsistent is to follow the Bible very closely and carefully, that is, to be obedient to the Word of God. And since this is a day of disobedience to the Holy Scriptures, it should come as no surprise that religious leaders are continually causing confusion in the ranks because they have chosen the way of human reasoning and evaluation rather than being willing to “suffer with Christ outside the gate.”

It should also be realized that inconsistency is a major tool of Satan to deceive believers and unbelievers alike. Through the years, theological liberals in the churches have blatantly and openly denied one or all of the fundamentals of the Christian faith, only to turn right around and make or write some statement that appears to be quite biblical or orthodox. Then, when a faithful servant of God exposes their unbelief and apostasy, others jump to their defense by pointing out some “good things” they have written or accomplished. Thus, the devil uses a thin veneer of truth to hide and camouflage a cesspool of iniquity.

Unfortunately, inconsistency is no longer limited to the religious liberals. When the evangelical and new evangelical movements were born, they were conceived in compromise. These evangelicals were too fundamental in doctrine to go along with the ecumenical liberals, but they were “too loving” to “separate from their brethren.” Rather than practice separation as God’s Word plainly commands, they decided that infiltration was more practical and successful. Even though the Word of God is filled with “negatives,” these evangelicals decided they would only be “positive.” And, believe it or not, this policy has really “worked” from man’s perspective—they have become a real force in the religious world. The problem is that they sound more and more like the old religious liberals, and many of them have weakened or capitulated even on some of the fundamentals of the faith.

In the 60’s and 70’s, the Charismatic Movement came on the scene and is growing by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, inconsistency also characterizes this movement and its leadership. In one breath you will hear strong affirmations of fundamental doctrines of Scripture, but in the very next breath, the wildest kind of extra-biblical and anti-biblical statements will be given, defended and promoted. Whenever challenged, Charismatic leaders will claim that all of this is attributable to “new winds of the Holy Spirit.” In reality, they are being “blown about with every wind of doctrine.” In almost any Charismatic program, some good Bible truths will be presented; some good, scriptural testimonies will be heard; yet, on the very same program, so much doctrinal error is given and praised that it becomes obvious—inconsistency is a watchword of the Charismatic Movement.

But what about fundamentalists? Surely fundamentalists must be consistent, right? Well, it is becoming more clear with every passing day that inconsistency is a major problem with today’s fundamentalists, also. It is heartbreaking to observe that many of today’s fundamentalist leaders are sounding more and more like yesterday’s evangelicals. Just about the time you are ready to say a hearty “Amen” to what a particular fundamentalist leader says or writes, he comes out with another statement or article that makes one shake his head in amazement! If fundamentalists allow themselves to become inconsistent, nothing can halt a downward slide!

Finally, let it be freely and honestly admitted that no one is exempt from inconsistency. God’s Word clearly warns us in 1 Corinthians 10:12, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Every one of us must realize that we must daily check our own words, actions, and programs with the Word of God. We must all be willing to accept and prayerfully consider scriptural reproof and rebuke, realizing that this is one way in which God has chosen to protect us from the inconsistency we may observe in others but fail to see in ourselves. May God help us all to keep close to His precious Word and obey it implicitly, thus not only avoiding the confusion all around us, but giving us the privilege of helping fellow believers recognize and avoid the subtle attacks of Satan through inconsistency.

— M. H. Reynolds, Jr. (1919-1997)