"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.VI Pg.9
January 1944

Some Ancient And Modern Charges Compared

G. K. Wallace

The editor of The Bible Banner has not asked for and needs no help in his defense of his "changed views" on the war question. However, the charge made by those who cannot defend their views is to discredit those who have changed. The following excerpt from the "Preface to the First Edition of the Christian Baptist" published August 3, 1823 by Alexander Campbell is interesting in this connection. Alexander Campbell was castigated for changing and in reply said:

"We have learned that to make truth the sole object of our inquiries, and to be disposed to obey it when known, serves more to guide us into it than all commentators. We have been taught that we are liable to err; we have found ourselves in many errors; we candidly acknowledge that we have changed our views on many subjects, and that our views have changed our practice.

"We candidly acknowledge that we have changed," said Campbell, yet the Baptist and other sects of that day made much of that fact. "Campbell has changed, Campbell has changed," they chortled. To those who did not know the issue and were governed by a party spirit, the cry of "change" carried weight. There are those today who follow slavishly the "traditions" of the elders. To them, the "voice of the pioneers" is the voice of God."

The Crime of Changing

Again Campbell said, "If it be a crime to change our views and our practice in religious concerns, we must certainly plead guilty." Campbell was guilty! Guilty of what? Guilty of the high crime of changing. To this he pleads guilty.

Who among us likes to say to the whole brotherhood; "Brethren, I am sorry, but I just did not speak the gospel truth on this question." Those who think they are big preachers would not admit a change for fear they would lose some degree of their self-assumed infallibility. But hear Campbell again, "If it be a humiliating thing to say we have been wrong in our belief and practice, we must abase ourselves thus far."

Alexander Campbell then lays down this rule: "

-Never to hold any sentiment or proposition as more certain than the evidence on which it rests; or, in other words, that our assent to any proposition should be precisely proportioned to the evidence on which it rests. All beyond this we esteem as enthusiasm—all short of it, incredulity."

Thus we see here some very fine suggestions for us all. Truth should be our guide and not man. If the evidence does not sustain our, views, let us abandon them. We should not think we are infallible—cannot make a mistake in our teaching, and we should be willing to "abase" ourselves in changing our views and practices when they are wrong.

Campbell Further Accused

Those who could not meet Campbell's arguments were not satisfied with the accusations of "changing." They were graduates from the University of Scandal. "They," said Campbell, "find it more easy to defame than to refute. And of all calumniators, they do it with the most effect, and are consequently most obnoxious to reproof, who commend that they may defame; who say such a sentiment is true, and in this he is undoubtedly right; but' (O! the tremendous "but") he is a Socinian or an

Arian.'—But by their more private innuendos and reproaches, and by whole phalanxes of omnipotent buts, like moles, work underground, and bury themselves and their followers in the heaps they rise."

The editor of the Bible Banner has been accused of many things. Yet -he has never been accused of some things of which they accused Alexander Campbell. Here are some of the things said about Campbell:

1. Horse thief.

2. Drunkard.

3. A deist.

4. Extremely immoral.

5. His ruin is certain.

Now if you think that I have overdrawn the picture about Campbell, then read his very words:

"And when this will not serve their purpose, even my moral character is assailed. In Kentucky, some time after my debate with Mr. M'Calla, it was reported I had stolen a horse; and not long since, in Illinois, it was said that I was excommunicated for drunkenness. Not far from Lake Erie, I was said to have turned deist, and by those two, who bought their sermons in Boston, and read them in Ohio; and in many places, that I was said to be an extremely immoral man in my own vicinity."

The criticism of Campbell started after his debate with M'Calla. Strange, is it not? The criticism of the editor of the Banner started just after his debate with Neal. Is this a coincidence?

"In fact, as a Doctor of Divinity told his people near Lexington, I am' a very bad man in the estimation of many, and it would afford them a satisfaction, which I trust they will never enjoy (and yet it is cruel on my part to deprive them of it) to be able to publish my fall and ruin to the utmost bounds of this union." -Christian Baptist, Page 217.

Yes, they, toward Campbell, are like some today toward the editor of the Banner, were sure that Campbell would crash like Humpty-Dumpty. Too, what joy some would get in announcing that the editor of the Banner was ruined. Their deeds and lispings avow it.

The Way You Do It

It is often said, "We do not object to what you are doing. We object to the spirit you manifest. It is the way you do it. You are utterly unschooled in the matter of diplomacy' and do not show the spirit of Christ." This charge is very old. Listen as the sects of the early day rant against Campbell:

"I have taken the Christian Baptist now from its beginning; i.e., I have read them from their first publication, and my opinion has been uniformly the same.—That, although sensible and edited with ability, it has been deficient in a very important point, a New Testament spirit." Christian Baptist, Page 227.

Now, there you have it. It was, "the way they did it." The fact is, brethren, one just cannot uproot error in a manner to please those who hold it. When the denominations approve the "spirit" of what I am doing—then I am not doing anything. That is the only spirit they approve. The spirit to let them alone, to them, is the spirit of Christ.