"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VI No.X Pg.10b-11
May 1944

Canonizing Campbell And Lipscomb

O. C. Lambert

An editor of the Gospel Advocate, who not so long ago was reported to have asked the government (which is the devil, according to his theory) to appoint him to pass on the requirements concerning Chaplains in the army for the whole church of Christ, now admonishes the small fry to modesty. This, he insists, was one of David Lipscomb's cardinal virtues. While he, himself, calls some of us names, he says that Brother Lipscomb was "inoffensive and mild in manner toward all." He says that Brother Lipscomb "never squabbled over salaries nor disputed about places of pre-eminence." Evidently, to be commissioned by the government (which is the devil, according to the Lipscomb theory) to do something for the whole church of Christ is something David Lipscomb would not have asked for himself.

Since the editor referred to never mention names, and not knowing how many in the church may have criticized Brother Lipscomb's book, Civil Government, one is made to wonder just who is meant. He charges those who criticize Brother Lipscomb with "ignorance and littleness" and with having "a very shallow and ignorant mind." As if that were not stigmatic enough, he continues his excoriation of these "smaller minds" who have dared to take issue with Lipscomb's theory of Civil Government. It is clearly implied in the article that he, the editor referred to, does not belong to that class of ignorant little men. Not he--he is great, but modest. And in his humble modesty he would have the government appoint him to an office of authority with power to pass on all applicants for the Chaplainry of "Church of Christ preachers." Lipscomb taught that the government belongs to and is operated by the devil, and the afore-mentioned editor believes that. Can he actually believe that and at the same time believe such an appointment to be consistent with the Lipscomb theory or in harmony with the New Testament?

Concerning the Lipscomb theory, he says that Brother Lipscomb addressed "all the scholars of the Christian Church, and among them was J. W. McGarvey," on "Civil

Government." But it appears that McGarvey "criticized" it by saying that very few of them, if any, accepted his views. The "smaller minds," who are being excoriated by this sage for "the whole church," should not feel so bad about it now. Remember that was an array of scholars that Lipscomb addressed, including McGarvey, and they rejected his views.

He further informs us of his own indignation. He says, "the writer's righteous indignation is gendered" because of these criticisms of Lipscomb's teaching. So what shall the "smaller minds" do in a case like this? Could it by any chance be possible that it is something that he has read in the Bible Banner from its editor and me on this subject that has so "gendered" his "righteous (?) indignation?" If so, since he sent out a number of letters sometime ago wanting to debate the government question, I wonder why he has not accepted the propositions covering the theory taught by Lipscomb instead of letting his indignation get gendered so.

The circumstances really demand that Brother Boles affirm that the theory of Civil Government taught by David Lipscomb, in his book bearing that titles is in harmony with the teaching of the Bible. Will he do it? If not, he should quit talking about someone "declining" to debate. The same attitude toward Civil Government set forth in the Lipscomb book was also advocated in a book by Charles T. Russell, and that book was outlawed during the last war. Pastor Russell's successor, "Judge Rutherford," spent a long vacation in the Atlanta Federal for advocating the idea that the devil is the head of the government and that it should be overthrown. Lipscomb's book teaches that the devil is the head of the government and that it is the divine mission of the church to destroy it. I feel sure that the Lipscomb book would be outlawed now if the FBI knew its contents. I wonder if the recollection of Rutherford's experience with the United States government has had anything to do with his large-minded brother's extreme caution in his efforts to write on the subject. Or has the FBI already tapped him on his writing wrist; if so--in the light of his teaching should he not "obey God rather than men," teach what he believes, and take the consequences? That is what he has advised the C. O. boys to do. He is attempting the difficult task of defending the Lipscomb book without involving himself. But the FBI would have no difficulty in concluding that he thinks, with Russell Rutherford and Lipscomb, that the devil is the head of the government and that the church is divinely commissioned to destroy it. Here is the statement of this editor of the Gospel Advocate: "He did not shun to declare the whole counsel of God on the subject he treated."--Then he says "Only a very shallow and ignorant mind would ridicule the profound treatment of this lofty theme by such a wise, thoughtful and good man."

I strongly suspect the editor of the Bible Banner is one of the "shallow and ignorant" minds, and one of the "little" fellows he is attempting to talk about. I wonder again why he puts him in his list of the worthies. In commenting on the history of the Gospel Advocate he refers to its "worthy list of editors." Hear him: "The Gospel Advocate has had a worthy list of editors who have directed its policy and kept it on a high plane of editorial dignity that is characteristic of its founders." David Lipscomb was one of its founders. In the list of editors who preserved the "characteristics of its founders," he mentions the following: J. C. McQuiddy, E. A. Elam, A. B. Lipscomb, F. W. Smith, F.B. Srygley, J. A. Allen, Foy E. Wallace, Jr. (emphasis mine-O. C. L.), John T. Hinds and B. C. Goodpasture, the present editor." I suppose Brother Wallace has become all of those bad things since and because he has expressed disagreement with Lipscomb's theory of Civil Government.

As a build-up for his solemn warning to the "small minds" in the church not to criticize Lipscomb and to encourage them to accept his ideas without question, he cites a number of things characteristic of David Lipscomb. For instance: "Brother Lipscomb wore home-made clothes." But the editor whose "righteous indignation" has been "gendered," because somebody is not following Brother Lipscomb implicitly, wears store-bought clothes. Some Quakers and Mennonites wear home-made clothes. Again: "Brother Lipscomb was liberal and made many sacrifices." But not so many as a Catholic Nun makes. Another: "Brother Lipscomb has had wide influence for more than seventy-five years." But a great influence does not give one the authority of an infallible teacher. Martin Luther has had a great deal more influence than David Lipscomb for more than four hundred years.

But the above-mentioned editor says: "Frequently he is quoted and appealed to as authority on many of the questions and problems that vex the brotherhood today. He must have been a great man to wield such an influence for so long. Anyone shows his ignorance and littleness when he criticizes so great and good a man as David Lipscomb."

That is exactly the way the authority of men has almost universally been substituted for the Word of God. The Catholics dare not decide religious questions for themselves. They are drilled, as this editor of the Gospel Advocate is apparently trying to drill members of the churches of Christ, in the idea that the average individual among us is incapable of doing that, and must accept his ideas from an ecclesiastic head. Most Protestants believe this same doctrine in some form--at least, they practice it. Are we now about to make the same mistake? If so, it will be the beginning of the greatest departure from the truth in our generation.

Did our popular leaders, Campbell, Lipscomb, et.al. acquire such infallibility while they lived, or shall they now become so by an act of canonization? There is a growing tendency today to prove things by Lipscomb, Campbell or

somebody else. Sectarian debaters try strenuously to compel us to defend the teaching of some man among us. This I have steadfastly refused to do.

I believe David Lipscomb would resist this new menace to New Testament principles with all of his powers if he were living today. They are not friends of Brother Lipscomb who would hold him infallible. He made no such claims.

The writer in the Advocate, herein referred to, makes much of David Lipscomb's stand against Digression. How anxiously he walked the floor the night before he was to meet those forces that were threatening to destroy the church. I believe no one appreciates that stand more than I, unless perchance he has a "bigger" mind. But I appreciate the stand of Luther against the forces of Catholicism. I am sure that he anxiously paced the floor the night before he appeared before the Diet of Worms. The whole world is indebted to Luther. My admiration for his courage is almost boundless, but I do not believe therefore that he is an infallible teacher. Though he probably had a "larger mind" than I (and I would dare to suggest the possibility of his having a larger mind than that editor who is taking the first steps toward the canonization of Lipscomb), still I do not hesitate to "criticize" Luther's man-made creeds, and his doctrine of salvation by faith alone. Is it necessarily an act of disrespect for a man to think for himself, even if he does have a "small mind?"

Another devotee, who "sat at the feet of David Lipscomb eight years," accuses me of the sacrilegious work of "digging up David Lipscomb's bones." Yet that same writer, not very long ago, made some very serious charges against the beloved T. B. Larimore. He told his readers that J. A. Harding refused to call on Larimore to deliver a sermon or to lead a prayer at the old Nashville Bible School, because Harding said Larimore was a compromiser and would not take a stand against the Digressives. Thus he charged T. B. Larimore with compromising what he knew to be the truth. Such a weakness is a reflection on a man's character. I suppose that the Lipscomb devotee regards it a very wise and noble thing for him to enter Larimore's tomb and "dig up his bones," and parade them before his readers, but if we criticize the teaching of David Lipscomb we are all but worthy of excommunication! It all depends on who is criticized and who does the criticizing!

I noticed recently a little note from Brother Goodpasture of a greatly increased sale on Lipscomb's Civil Government. Perhaps, the brethren are checking up, to see for themselves the quotations that I recently made from his book, in the Bible Banner. No one, not even our brother who is so righteously indignant, has yet called my attention to a single false accusation made against the book. So, until they are able to do that in the language of the court, the objections are over-ruled.

I think our brother is more wrought up over the fact that what Brother Lipscomb said in his book is being brought to light, than over what anybody has had to say about him.