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The ‘Broad Minded’ Captain

Category Articles
Date May 13, 2002

He has provided pilots and captains – whom He calls pastors and teachers – whose duty it is to obey His directions, to study and follow the chart, and to explain and commend it to others

by G. Liebenrood

Some years ago, I was crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Quebec to Liverpool, in the liner “Megantic”. My cabin was on the upper deck, close by the place where the passengers were accustomed to play the various games which are usual on board ship. Consequently, it became the rendezvous of many who were interested in the games, including, occasionally, officers of the ship’s company.

An Announcement and a Question

One morning, when one of the officers and several passengers were chatting and yarning in my cabin, the officer said to me: “I say, Major, you will be glad to hear that, on Sunday morning, we shall have service in the saloon.. It will be conducted by the Rev. Doctor So and So, naming a well known minister on board, who had a large church in Montreal. “I hope he is a good, sound preacher,” said I, “and that he may interest and help us.” “Oh, yes, you will be sure to like him; he is so broad-minded.” “Is he really?” I responded. “But what do you mean by broad-minded?” “Well,” he replied, “he takes a cheerful view of life; is always ready for a game of cards, if the stakes are not too high: and he does not condemn us all to hell if we don’t happen to agree with his religious opinions, or if we don’t see our way to accept everything in the old creeds.”

A Striking Illustration

When our friend had finished his remarks, there was a brief pause in the conversation, after which I said: “Look here, gentlemen. May I give you an illustration which has just now occurred to me? It is this. “Supposing one of you had met me in Quebec a day or two previous to our sailing, and that the following conversation had taken place: “‘Where are you going?’ you ask me. “‘I am about to take my passage to England,’ is my reply. ‘What vessel are you going in?” “‘I am going in the Megantic.’ “‘Are you? Would it be safe to do so?’ “‘Certainly, why not? Is there anything wrong with the ship?’ ‘No, the ship is all right; but what about the captain? I distrust him entirely. “‘Indeed! Why do you distrust him?’ “‘Well, I will tell you. I understand that, in the exercise of his profession as captain he prides himself on being, as he says, a broad-minded man; that he has his own ideas and notions about navigation; and that he refuses to be bound, or even influenced, by the opinion or experiences of any other captain. Sometimes he takes one route, and sometimes another, just as his fancy inclines him, he pays no attention to the compass, but sails by dead reckoning of his own devising. He seldom, if ever, steers by the Admiralty chart; and, indeed, he spends much of his time in declaiming and ridiculing it, alleging that it is full of blunders, and therefore unreliable.'”

Shall the Captain Be Trusted?

“Now, Sir,” said I, turning to the officer, “what would have been your advice in such a case, and in such circumstances? Ought a captain of that kind to be trusted?” “Well,” he replied,. “I think you are rather hard on me, Major.” “What!” said I, “does the cap fit so tight that you can’t get it off?” At this point there was a shout of laughter all round, which was followed by another pause. “Gentlemen,” I resumed, “I am waiting for some reply, which none of you seem anxious to give.’ Immediately, however, an unmistakable Yankee, who was sitting just opposite me, drawled out: “Well, Major, I guess I wouldn’t go to sea in that yacht!” Honest and sensible man! Who but a fool would entrust his life to the hands of such a captain who steers his vessel according to his whims and fancies, and not by the Government chart?

Another Voyage and an Infallible Captain

There is another voyage which we all have to take – the voyage across the ocean of time to the unknown land of Eternity! On that voyage the Lord Jesus Christ is the Captain; and He will guide safely all those who put their trust in Him. He has provided an unerring chart – the Holy Bible; and that chart will lead aright all those who follow its teachings. Moreover, He has also supplied a dependable compass – the Holy Spirit; and that gracious Spirit is always available. Furthermore, He has provided pilots and captains – whom He calls pastors and teachers – whose duty it is to obey His directions, to study and follow the chart, and to explain and commend it to others.

Disloyal Pilots and Captains

But, alas! today, there are pilots and captains who are disloyal to the Captain. They make it their boast that they are not narrow-minded bigots; but that, on the contrary, they are “broad-minded men”. They even claim that they know more about the ocean of life and spiritual navigation than did the Captain Himself. This, however, is scarcely to be wondered at; for alas! in many colleges and seminaries they have been taught that, in His Rules for Sailing over the Sea of Time, He made mistakes; that the compass is sometimes deflected; and that the chart is “out-of-date”, “a child of its age” “full of errors”, and “not to be relied upon”.

The Jeopardised Passengers

And, sad to relate, tens of thousands of people who would never think of risking their lives by going to sea with an ignorant or reckless captain, are, nevertheless, imperilling their eternal salvation by trusting to those preachers who disregard the Bible, and who substitute in its stead the misleading and dangerous theories of ignorant men.

God has spoken, and has revealed Himself to mankind. The Bible is His infallible chart for our guidance across the treacherous ocean of life. It is complete and final. I would, therefore, earnestly implore you who read
this: To study the Divine Chart – The Bible. To trust the Divine Captain – The Lord Jesus. To obey the Divine Compass -The Holy Spirit. Then, through Divine grace, you will be safely guided and guarded throughout the voyage of life; and, in due time, you will be landed triumphantly and blissfully upon the shores of the Eternal City of God.


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