"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.IX Pg.10
April 1944

A Challenge To Debate The War Question

T. B. Wilkinson

Eugene S. Smith wants to debate the war question. He has even framed the proposition which he wants his opponent to affirm. As usual in such cases the proposition does not state the issue fairly. It is customary in debate for each man to frame his own proposition, and he is required by the rules to define the terms of it so clearly there can be no misunderstanding what he means to affirm.

I suppose the editorial in which the challenge appears is a sample of the kind of argument Smith means to use in the debate. Such debates are supposed to be a search for truth, and when held between brethren at least the debaters are supposed to meet upon terms of equality. But he evidently does not esteem his would-be opponent very highly regardless of whom it might be. They are "false teachers who crept in, and despising the souls of men, and loving the praise of man, they have deceived many." Further, "they fear the weight of public opinion engendered by mammoth governmental propaganda; they have taught Christian boys to march away with smoking guns seeking the lives of the enemies;" and all of this is unchristian, and contrary to the will of God." Furthermore, "these few war-minded preachers are riding the crest of public sentiment, and are filled with the spirit of war instead of the Spirit of Christ, and are misleading these Christian boys into the conflict as combatants, and this is not the spirit of Christ. These false teachers are responsible, but if the blind lead the blind, all will fall into the pit together."

The pit, of course, means hell, and if this editor is correct all the preachers on the opposite side of the question from him, and all the boys who bear arms for the government, are sure for hell.

For fear that this stern rebuke might pass over the heads of some he wishes to chastise, he names two of them personally, and points out their particular sins. Brother Flavil Colley is one, and he holds him up as a good example of Satan's angels being transformed into ministers of light; while Foy E. Wallace Jr., is not honest and does not even believe in what he is preaching. This he proves by some un-named sister who told him Wallace did not believe what he is teaching, and he says that he has contended this all the time.

It is very nice of him to grant Brother Wallace the privilege of selecting some one else to conduct his side of the debate, but I suppose since they are all one of a kind, false teachers crept in, ministers of Satan, and sure for the pit, it would not make much difference which one was selected for the slaughter. But a man filled with the spirit of Christ, so humble, and with a spirit so gentle as this editor manifests in his editorial to have to debate with any of them will be a trial of his faith, and a blot on the mantle of charity. Charity we know is kind, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, thinketh no evil, and is not easily provoked. It beareth all things, hopeth all things, believeth all things, endureth all things. Is it not possible to mistake a hothead for the spirit of Christ? And an over-developed egotism for Christian zeal?

I am not angry with this brother in spite of the things he shows in this editorial that he thinks of men who believe like I do. I think he is misguided in his thinking, and does not know what he is talking about. Men who have papers of their own, supported by the sufferance of the brotherhood can rush into print with half-baked ideas, and prove to their own satisfaction that the whole church has gone astray, and I, even I alone, am left, and they seek my life. I do not think these men are willfully corrupt, they are just immature, and when they grow older they will learn better.

Old preachers have most of them been young preachers at one time, and should be able to remember the time when they felt like the whole cause rested upon their feeble shoulders. They felt very important to the cause in those days, and even wondered how the church managed without them before they were born, or what it would do when they were gone. Most young preachers have to pass through a stage like that and with some old brother telling him that he is the greatest preacher since the days of Campbell, and good-looking sisters flattering him, it is not a wonder that many of them lose their heads. If they could have been born sooner, and could have been born in quadruplets, it would have been such a blessing. But the church got along without any of us preachers once, old and young alike, and it will still be here when we are gone, so we might as well keep our shirts on.

In one editorial this editor proved to his own satisfaction that all the preachers on the side opposite to him on the government question are premillennialists. I don't think he proved it, especially against such men as C. R. Nichol, Foy E. Wallace Jr., R. L. Whiteside, and dozens of others, who were exposing premillennialism when Eugene Smith was in knee pants, and even further back than that. And these men knew what it was and how to fight it. All the editor proved was that he knew as little about premillennialism as he does about the war question.

About that challenge and the proposition. It does not even state the issue. None of us believe in war, or believe that God gave any nation the right to wage war on other nations. Wars are inspired by the devil, and are an evil, and the only kind of war that God ordained is one which executes wrath upon him that doeth evil. No Christian could fight with Japan in her evil war of murder, robbery, and torture, and not be guilty of her crimes. I could not affirm a proposition which would make me endorse that kind of war for I don't believe it.

But I am glad to defend the use our government is making of the sword in this war against Japan and Germany, for that is the very thing God ordained, and why he gave us the sword. The Lord never has ordained that which is wrong, and he did ordain the use of the sword to execute wrath upon them that do evil. Will the Lord ordain for man to use the sword in executing wrath upon evil doers and then send him to hell for doing the very thing he ordained he should do?

The war that Japan and Germany is waging is evil and is the very thing the Lord ordained the use of the sword to prevent, or if not able to prevent it, then to execute wrath upon the evil doers. Our boys, that he mentioned, who marched away with guns are standing between their mothers, sisters, wives, children, and homes, and as bloody a band of murderers as ever cursed the earth with evil. They are using those guns for the very purpose God ordained they should be used, to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil, and they are God's ministers when they so use them.

All wars are evil, this war is evil, and it was inspired of Satan, and we did everything humanly possible to prevent it, even to feeding the rapacious appetites of the beasts of Berlin and Japan, to satiate their ambitions. Are their ambitions wicked, and therefore evil? Then God gave us the sword to execute wrath upon them, and if we failed, or refused, we would fail the Lord, and Paul says we would bring upon ourselves damnation. This is how I feel towards this war, and I believe it properly represents the feelings of those who are my brethren in the fight for truth on this and all other questions.