In the form of this personal letter I am going to introduce myself to you and to this department of the Beacon Lights. The introduction itself is not to be of a personal nature for that would be neither desired nor necessary. I wish rather to introduce myself exclusively in the role of your editor of Beacon Light’s Truth vs. Error Department and therein reflect upon my own attitude toward and purpose in this assignment.
My readers will understand, I think, that it is with a sense of trepidation that I have agreed to edit this particular department. Herein we are to deal with “truth” and “error.” Our task is to set forth the “truth” in a concise and lucid way for the purpose of instructing the spiritual and building up the faith. In doing this we will have to gainsay and refute error in the same concise and lucid manner. We shall have to place these two in juxtaposition in order that we may see the radiant beauty of “truth” in contrast to the horribleness of every form of error in order that by Divine grace we may embrace the former and cast from our hearts, minds and lives the latter. Truly, this is a great challenge at any time but most especially so in our present day.
This has been the prodigious task of the church throughout all ages. From it she does not shirk though she approaches it with “fear and trembling.” Today we are living in the “last hour” and rapidly approaching the end of the ages when iniquity waxes worse and worse. Evidence of this is apparent to all but the blind. Error not only multiplies but it becomes more subtil and deceptive than ever before. Whole houses are subverted by the many vain and unruly talkers and deceivers who propagate things which they ought not. (Titus 1:10, 11) Such is the reality of the last days. Over against all this the “truth” must reverberate with emphasis and clean sounding tone. Our task is “to speak the things which become sound doctrine (Titus 2:1) and to “exhort and convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:9) With a sense of humble awe we embark upon this wonderful voyage.
It seems to us that the caption which appears at the head of our department is in need of a bit of clarification. As it stands it immediately suggest the figure of the militant. In the figure the “truth” is pictured as being on the offensive, making its attack upon the defender “error.” In actual life and experience the very reverse of this is true. It is the lie that makes its attack upon the truth. From the dawn of creation the truth has stood as an impregnable citadel in the midst of the world in which it has been ruthlessly attacked by the gruesome forces of error. The fact that “one can do nothing against the truth” (II Cor. 13:8) has not diminished the force of this incessant assault but has only made the battle more intense as the fury of error’s protagonists is aggravated by their repeated defeat.
And the truth goes marching on!
Would we, perhaps, be more correct then in reversing the terms of this caption and speak of “Error Vs. Truth”?
Before answering this question let us also remember that we do not conceive of the truth as merely the “defendant.” The truth does not take an apologetic position in this battle. In the verbal aspect of her warfare the truth must not be looked upon as one who is compelled to give a defensive answer to every assault the lie makes upon her. The testimony of the “truth” is not negative and apologetic but is very positive and exposes the insidious nature of the foe that dares to attack her. In that light we may leave the caption of this department as it is: by changing it we put the “truth” in the wrong light.
The “truth” is always first. She stands eternal. She is before error has existence. Her very presence posits the possibility of error. “Truth” alone is paramount. Our emphasis, therefore, may not be to set forth “error” first as she creeps in to attack “truth” but our concentrated vision must be focused four-squarely upon “truth” alone. Truth we propose to see and unveil in her multifarious beauty and only then will we detect the ugly face of error. The truth then will not be presented simply as one that is interested in leading the battle against her foe but rather she will be portrayed as the “reality” that is gloriously adorned over against all that is false, ugly, unreal and putrid. In that sense “truth” stands against error and in that way we shall humbly vision her that our appreciation for and attachment to her may increase.
In aiming at this objective we are mindful that most of the readers of our department are “covenant youth.” This necessarily will have a bearing upon our writing. From this fact we may properly assume that you are deeply interested in the “truth” and that you put forth a concentrated effort to seek and know the truth. For such are the characteristics of covenant youth. They do not expend their time and strength in the pursuit of the vanities of this world but in the sphere of the church and through the means of societies they endeavor to build themselves up in knowledge of the truth.
Furthermore, to youth the truth has a very special, practical application. It is in these formative years of your life that you are often called upon to make decisions which in their very nature will have an important bearing upon the rest of your earthly life. Imperative it is, therefore, that you be guided in every decision by the truth and that the pervasive forces of error be thoroughly combatted ere you render these verdicts. Our purpose in setting forth “truth vs. error” will be to assist you in making the right decisions that will bring present and future happiness and thereby give directive by which the pitfalls of error in which grief and misery prevail may be scrupulously avoided.
In accord with this it will be understood that truth and life and very inseparable. Truth is not an academic thing. It is more than a system of doctrine. It is “the way of life”! To depart from it is to perish. Conversely, error is inseparably annexed to death. It is the sure way unto death. Error is not innocent blundering. It’s not simply an intellectual miscalculation. It is more serious than that. It is the road to sure destruction.
Our department then could quite properly be captioned “Life Vs. Death” as well as “Truth Vs. Error,” for the one is the practical implication of the other. To set forth “truth” is to set forth “the way of life.” And to do this is to warn against “error,” the way of death. Such is our sole aim. If we may succeed then in unveiling to you just a bit of the beauty, richness and glory of that way of truth and life, our department will have served a worthy purpose.
“How shall the young direct their way?
What light shall be their perfect guide?
Thy Word, O Lord, will safely lead,
If in its wisdom they confide.”