“Better to Go Alone on the Word of God”

William Kinkade: "Better for Me to Go Alone on the Word of God"

In the early days of the Restoration Movement, many people were leaving various denominations in order to try to serve God according to His word without the addition of man-made creeds. One of these individuals was William Kinkade (1783-1832). He was raised as a Presbyterian, but later forsook that sect and others in order to simply follow the word of God alone.

“I then refused to call myself by any name but that of Christian, bore a public testimony against all party names, and declared that I would take no other book for my standard but the Bible. I did not then know that any other person would unite with me to have no name but Christian and take no standard but the Bible, but I thought it was right, and therefore determined to pursue it, let the consequence be what it might. I could have been a Baptist, a Methodist, or a Presbyterian preacher. The two latter sects both strongly solicited me to be a preacher among them, but I utterly refused, because I thought it would be better for me to go alone on the word of God, than to put myself under obligation to believe and preach any system framed by fallible men.” (The Biography of Elder David Purviance, p. 217-218).

Human beings are social creatures. We have been designed this way by God. Even those of us who are more introverted than others still value the acceptance, favor, and respect of others. This is why peer pressure is such a strong force. We typically think of peer pressure as a problem affecting young people, yet all of us can be swayed to a particular practice or way of thinking by the influence of others.

When it comes to spiritual matters, many choose to follow after others instead of doing what is right. When one is presented a particular truth from God’s word and accepting it would mean rejecting what is or has been believed and practiced by family and friends, many choose to remain loyal to family and friends than to embrace the teaching of God’s word.

Whether we preach or not, we need to have the attitude of Kinkade. If being faithful to the Lord means we have to stand alone, then “better for [us] to go alone on the word of God.” This was the attitude of Joshua who said, “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). It was the determination of Peter (though he afterward faltered in practice) who told Jesus, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away” (Matthew 26:33).

It is not easy to “go alone on the word of God,” especially when we can no longer go along with those whom we love and respect and those with whom we have previously had fellowship. Yet as Paul – one who also had to leave his prior relationships and associations in order to follow Christ – told the Philippians, “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7).

Like Kinkade, let us resolve to simply be Christians and follow no standard but the Bible, regardless of what the consequences might be.


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