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TRUTH HAS TWO WINGS




The man of sorrow TRUTH IS LIKE A BIRD; it cannot fly on one wing. Yet we are forever trying to take off with one wing flapping furiously and the other tucked neatly out of sight. 

I believe it was Dr. G. Campbell Morgan who said that the whole truth does not lie in “It is written,” but in “it is written” and “Again it is written.” The second text must be placed over against the first to balance it and give it symmetry, just as the right wing must work along with the left to balance the bird and enable it to fly. 

Many of the doctrinal divisions among the churches are the result of a blind and stubborn insistence that truth has but one wing. Each side holds tenaciously to one text, refusing grimly to acknowledge the validity of the other. This error is an evil among churches, but it is a real tragedy when it gets into the hearts of individual Christians and begins to affect their devotional lives. 

Lack of balance in the Christian life is often the direct consequence of overemphasis on certain favorite texts, with a corresponding under-emphasis on other related ones. For it is not denial only that makes a truth void; failure to emphasize it will in the long run be equally damaging. And this puts us in the odd position of holding a truth theoretically while we make it of no effect by neglecting it in practice. Unused truth becomes as useless as an unused muscle. 


Sometimes our dogmatic insistence upon “It is written” and our refusal to hear “Again it is written” makes heretics of us, our heresy being the noncreedal variety which does not rouse the opposition of the theologians. 

One example of this is the teaching that crops up now and again having to do with confession of sin. It goes like this: Christ died for our sins, not only for all we have committed but for all we may yet commit for the remainder of our lives. When we accept Christ we receive the benefit of everything He did for us in His dying and rising again. In Christ all our current sins are forgiven beforehand. It is therefore unnecessary for us to confess our sins. In Christ they are already forgiven. 

Now, this is completely wrong, and it is all the more wrong because it is half right. It is true that Christ died for all our sins, but it is not true that because Christ died for all our sins we need not confess that we have sinned when we have. This conclusion does not follow from that premise. 

It is written that Christ died for our sins, and again it is written that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:9). These two texts are written of the same company of persons, namely Christians. We dare not compel the first text to invalidate the second. Both are true and one completes the other. The meaning of the two is that since Christ died for our sins if we confess our sins they will be forgiven. To teach otherwise is to attempt to fly on one wing. 

Another example: I have met some who claim that it is wrong to pray for the same thing twice, the reason being that if we truly believe when we pray we have the answer the first time; any second prayer betrays the unbelief of the first; ergo, let there be no second prayer. There are three things wrong with this teaching. One is that it ignores a large body of Scripture; the second is that it rarely works in practice, even for the saintliest soul; and the third is that, if persisted in, it robs the praying man of two of his mightiest weapons in his warfare with the flesh and the devil, viz., intercession and petition. 

For let it be said without qualification that the effective intercessor is never a one-prayer man, neither does the successful petitioner win his mighty victories in his first attempt. Had David subscribed to the one-prayer creed he could have reduced his psalms to about one-third their present length. Elijah would not have prayed seven times for rain (and incidentally, there would have been no rain, either), our Lord would not have prayed the third time “saying the same words,” nor would Paul have “besought the Lord thrice” for the removal of his thorn. In fact, if this teaching were true much wonderful Biblical narrative would have to be rewritten, for the Bible has much to say about continued and persistent prayer. 

One thing hidden in such teachings as have been mentioned above is unconscious spiritual pride. The Christian who refuses to confess sin on the ground that it is already forgiven is setting himself above prophet and psalmist and all the saints who have left anything on record about themselves from Paul to the present time. These did not hide their sins behind a syllogism, but eagerly and fully confessed them. Perhaps that is why they were such great souls and those who claim to have found a better way are so small. 

And one has but to note the smug smile of superiority of the face of the one-prayer Christian to sense that there is a lot of pride behind the smile. While other Christians wrestle with God in an agony of intercession they sit back in humble pride waiting it out. They do not pray because they have already prayed. The devil has no fear of such Christians He has already won over them, and his technique has been false logic. 
Let’s use both wings. We’ll get further that way.

Source: That Incredible Christian; A. W. Tozer




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