Contending for the Faith

I just finished reading Contending for the Faith, by Fred Moritz.   I read this book years ago but decided to reread it in preparation for a sermon series I’m working on.  The book delivers a defense of the biblical doctrine of separation and militant battle against false teaching from the book of Jude.   I’m not doing a review of the book, but I am posting two things from the book which have been edifying to me.

First is a poem quoted at the beginning of a chapter.

Hammer away ye rebel bands

Your hammers break, God’s Anvil stands.

Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith’s door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old Hammers worn with beating years of time.
“How many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
“The anvil wears the hammer out, you know.”
“And so,”  I thought, “The Anvil of God’s Word
For ages skeptics blows have beat upon,
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The Anvil is unharmed, the hammers gone.”
–John Clifford in John R. Rice, ed., Poems That Speak, Quoted in Fred Moritz, Contending for the Faith, p.97
Second is a quote from the conclusion of the book (p.162,163).
After giving an illustration about pruning a plant in order to make it grow better, Moritz says this,
We may need to closely examine and severely prune the “bush” of our Fundamentalist movement.  If we are committed to excellence, we will always look for ways to improve our walk with God, ministries, and methods.  Pruning will invigorate our ministries.
Pruning, however, does not attack the plant at the roots to dig it up or destroy its life.  It seeks to produce vigorous growth.  Yet that very destructive tendency appears within the ranks of Fundamentalism.  Many men were saved, called to ministry, and trained because of the sacrificial leadership and selfless work of Fundamentalist preachers.  Yet now they seem to concentrate solely on the flaws in the men and the movement that nurtured them…Such action borders on treason.
We can all find flaws to avoid in men, even in those who are our heroes.  Let us feel free to objectively examine ourselves and our movement.  Let us use our influence to improve Fundamentalism’s testimony in this evil day.  Let us prune the plant and cut back the dead wood.  But let us remember that the plant of Fundamentalism grows in a rich, fertile, biblical soil.  Let us never desert the ranks for compromise.
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