"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.I Pg.8b-9
August 1943

Such As The World Has Never Known

(C. E. W.)

When "Publicity Director"--whatever that is--Jimmie Lovell comes down tooting a horn for a Committee, and Groaning Grover Brewer breaks out into multiplied columns of two papers with a "Plan" for a "world-wide effort," of which the church he is the "competent preacher of" is to be "sponsored"; then we may expect things to happen among us such "as the world has never known." I had a premonition that when Gunpowder Jimmie flashed up with something on "a nation-wide scale" that called for a Committee, Groaning Grover would soon see the need of something on a worldwide scale that called for a "sponsor," whatever that is in religion. Now I'm unable to see how Jimmie is going to find a wider field to operate his Committee in than Grover has to operate his Plan in, unless he inspects possibilities in hell, but his scouting resources must not be under-estimated. Now Jimmie and Grover are beyond question a matched and spirited team hitched to this new missionary wagon, but there are signs that somebody ought to hold a tight rein to keep them from running away and wrecking the whole shebang. The Gospel Advocate is traditionally conservative about such matters but it has changed policy again. It now has an editor who seems inclined to drop the lines and apply the whip when a run-away is threatened. From here it looks as though the Advocate were minded to furnish both the race-track and the gallery for such a race as "the world has never known." I'm just wondering if the gallery is going to get its moneys worth.

By day and night Jimmie shrieks without intermission that the churches are in a deplorable plight with their unqualified elders and selfish, lazy preachers, while the world with its rotten "isms" is Grover's specialty. "Is that a dark prospect? It is indeed! There is not even a ray of light on the horizon. The only reason the writer can see for changing this view would compel him to make it even darker by saying that no nation will be receptive to the gospel and that there will be a universal return to paganism." Thus groans Grover, the "Plan" will in all probability fail then even with a "Sponsor." Suppose we just call the whole thing off. Grandma doesn't enjoy talking about her "rheumatiz" as much as Grover enjoys talking about things "even darker." One would think he loves darkness! He does brighten up a bit when he begins to talk about himself and the Lubbock church. That is a relief, such as it is!

Now we expect and are prepared for somebody to get excited and charge us with being opposed to preaching the gospel to the heathen, being "anti-missionary" and all that sort of thing. We think we can take care of that too, when the times comes. We are for "missionary work," or what can be expressed in more scriptural language. Some people however, who are constantly prating about "missions" and "missionary work" give an uneasy feeling that they are talking about something I have been unable to find in the New Testament, and with all my faults I have quite a bit of respect for that inspired volume. It invariably puts me on my guard when somebody introduces a Committee, a Plan or a Sponsor and begins to cross-question the brethren and the churches on "a nation-wide scale." "Then what is your church doing toward getting ready for the execution of the plan? How much money are you saving? How many missionaries are you preparing?" Why should anybody get ready for anything, but an everlasting smash, if "there is not even a ray of light on the horizon"? If the churches conclude that Jimmie and Grover are "dark prospects" and decide to run their own business without the aid of a Committee and a Sponsor, nobody will be in a position to blame them much. I'm inclined to recommend that course myself, sans Plan or Committee. Brother Hugh Clark, of the College church in Abilene, speaks more conservatively than does the sage of Lubbock, and with more practical sense. I'm not so sure, though, that he has not been bitten by this Plan bug. There seems to be an ever-present temptation for preachers for big churches to play with plans for somebody else to help some good sense, whether or not it is original with him. I operate. Brother Clark does temper his enthusiasm with rather think it is. He picks South Africa. His reasons are that such factors as customs and languages make it a promising field and that there are workers who want to go there and are qualified, or are becoming so, to do the needed work. Well, that does make sense. The College church proposes to see to it that workers are supported to the limit of its ability. It does cast a look around for a little scotching from other churches, but does not appear to be in the imperative mood about the matter. It does not say: "Then what is your church doing toward getting ready for the execution of this plan? How much money are you saving?" My advice to them is not to get too ambitious along that line for it is sure to back-fire--I hope. Brother Clark is gracious and optimistic and sees several "rays of light on the horizon." This is refreshing. He doesn't even propose to speculate about general "post-war conditions." Groaning Grover does not speculate, not he. He predicts with finality. He is a prophet. "Is Saul also among the prophets?"

Speaking of something "Solomonic," here it is direct from Lubbock, via the Firm Foundation:

"A real church of Christ will not limit its benefactions as by creed or color or restrict its missionary endeavors by countries or continents. It regards neither class nor clime; neither race nor realm."

But I still think that the Abilene church is using good judgment to "limit its benefactions" in Africa to spots and people that offer the best likelihood for results, reserving less promising fields for future operations. Even the Holy Spirit did this in New Testament times. Good sense and judgment make such distinctions even in this country. After the war, though, total darkness is to descend and there will be no choice, according to our groaning prophet from Lubbock. Not "a ray of light" even from Lubbock can penetrate it. All true gospel preachers over here are to be "liquidated." Maybe when the Philistines have had their sport with the blind Samson from Lubbock, they will allow him to leap against the pillar of the temple of Dagon. and he can pull the house down on the whole pagan outfit and depart this sinful world in a blaze of glory. He would possibly relish the idea of slaying more "communists" in his death than he has been able to during his life, but according to my slant on things "that is a dark prospect. It is indeed!" His persecutions will likely be all subjective, not objective, nightmares, for instance. And he has 'em!

I have no plan to offer, but I do have a few ideas I got from the New Testament about preaching the gospel to the lost. I propose to write some of them down from time to time for the perusal of anybody who cares to examine them. I have no idea that these efforts on my part will result in "a brotherhood movement" or anything of the sort. That sort of thing smacks too much of denominationalism to suit an old fogy like me anyhow. I believe, however, that I can generate a few rays of light without over-reaching myself and trying to "sponsor" something. If the light is sufficient for anybody to work by he can hop to it, if he cannot fine more light somewhere else. I claim no distinction either as a "sponsor" or a prophet. I'm a somewhat incompetent preacher for a rather small church. But I have a few ideas I want to try out on somebody, if I can get anybody to listen, and I believe I can.

There is one thing, though, that I want to say right now. I don't want to throw cold water on anything or anybody, unless I think it or he is getting too hot, and needs a sousing. Enthusiasm is a good thing in its way, but it is not everything. It is not everybody who wants to go to Africa, or Europe or Asia, that is qualified to make the trip, or do anything much after he gets there. Even Uncle Samuel recognizes this when he trains Marines. Some are rejected. Some enthusiastic youngsters, and oldsters too, among us have a spell of sea-sickness, so to speak, and interpret it as a divine call to go and preach the gospel across the sea somewhere. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. Some of us remember Hume and McHenry, who, instead of preaching to the lost fell prey to the Adventists. It is reported that some of them even saw sectarians perform some miracle in China. It might prove embarrassing to call too many names just here. I have seen a name or two in the papers lately I recognized, budding "missionaries." What I know that at least one of them did not know about the gospel not long ago, is anything but reassuring. Maybe he has learned something or will. If he hasn't, then the Lord can get along about as well in Africa without him as he can with him, and the churches should be spared the expense. Whoever is selecting these "missionaries", and I'm not on the committee, could at least be as particular in the selection of "foreign" workers, as Paul told Timothy to be in the selection of deacons. You might look it up. Brother Brewer promises his readers "more to follow." Possibly I can promise as much.


A Word To Our Subscribers

The Bible Banner has rounded out the fifth year of its publication. The present issue is Volume Six, Number One. The reception that the Bible Banner has received by thousands of loyal people in the church from the beginning has been very gratifying to us, and nothing short of amazing to others who did not believe that the Bible Banner could ever succeed. We are grateful beyond words, and as we begin the sixth year with an increasing tide of enthusiasm in responses from friends and readers over the whole nation, we pledge ourselves to an unrelenting devotion "to the defense of the church against all errors and innovations."

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In acknowledgement of the divine providence and the generous support of personal friends, which has made possible the publication of the Bible Banner, may I always be,

Faithfully and fervently yours, Foy E. Wallace Jr.