"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.11
April 1944

An Ordinary Member's Opinion

(W. L. Jamieson, in Firm Foundation)

I am not a preacher, am not even related to any preacher. I am not a real good Bible scholar. I am just what the Methodists call "an ordinary lay member" and possibly, very ordinary at that. For sometime I have been reading the arguments pro and con in the church papers about the attitude of the church of Christ and Christians toward the Government of the United States during the Second World War. I think that it is time that the ordinary lay member was heard on this question. I am going to say what I think, and I think that my attitude represents the attitude of ninety-nine percent of the members of the different congregations that make up the brotherhood.

First, I want to say that it is an individual matter to be decided by one's own conscience, and not by any set of elders, preachers, or church papers. No particular group of preachers or church papers has any New Testament authority to claim to speak for and represent the church on this matter. When any set of preachers or church paper does try this, they are trying to make a denomination out of the brotherhood and are trying to drag us down to the level of the Jehovah's Witnesses Sect and put us on record as a sect, composed of conscientious objectors to defensive war and civil government in general.

I resent this attempt of the conscientious objector group to force this silly doctrine of extreme Hindu type pacifism on us; but I also deny that the New Testament teaches any such nonsense, that the political government of the United States is of the devil, or that it is sinful for a Christian to fight for the United States Government, or to vote in our elections, serve on a jury, hold office or favor the death sentence for convicted murderers.

Now, it is admitted that the kingdom of Christ is a spiritual kingdom and its end and object is to accomplish spiritual and moral salvation for the race, and that nothing but persuasion can be employed to promote spiritual righteousness. Hence, all that Christ said exalting moral and spiritual motives above physical force comes under this head.

Jesus said in John 18:36, "My kingdom is not of this world: If my kingdom were of this world then would my servants fight." He explicitly says here that the sole and only reason that his servants did not fight to protect him is not because of the fact that fighting in self-defense is wrong but solely because of the fact that his kingdom is not of this world. He goes on and says that his servants would certainly fight if he had a worldly kingdom.

In Romans 13th chapter, 1-7 verses, the apostle Paul discusses the relation of the Christian to the civil government and tells him he is subject to and a member of the civil government. In verse 4, he speaks of the civil government bearing a sword not in vain against evildoers. Some civil governments may be corrupt, and our form of government is not perfect, but what big preacher or church paper would like to move to some other country, Germany for example. The marriage institution has been shamefully abused but does that condemn the marriage institution?

Paul says in 1 Timothy, 5th chapter, verse 8, that any Christian that provides not for his own is worse than an infidel. Provide what? Why, clothing, food, security, the essentials of life. The only way that he can provide food and clothing for his family is by work. The sole and only way that he can provide security for his family is to pay taxes and support his civil government that provides this security. If his civil government is attacked, his Christian duty is to support his civil government and fight against the invader.

Jesus used force in driving the traders out of the temple. He made a whip. What is a whip used for? It is not used to kiss people with...

Paul used force when he sent for Roman soldiers to protect him against the Jewish mob. He did not condemn them for being soldiers, he sent for them as quick as he could. He needed their help. If he had been a conscientious objector he would not have sent for them.

Would Jesus be a conscientious objector if he were living the life of a human today in this United States of 1944? He would not, for he would not rest on his pacifism and allow sinners to go to hell for protecting him and his family and loved ones against slavery and his women folk against a fate worse than death. No, he would be in the thick of the fray, if he were living the life of a human; for again and again he cast out demons who were using force to enslave people. He was not afraid of using force against them, and he employed the only force that would destroy them, his supernatural power.

I notice that one big preacher refers to the Revolutionary War and another refers to the attitude of some preachers during the Civil War. That has nothing to do with the question of 1944. It is this, Shall the Christian of this United States help protect his government and family against the Japs and Germans who would put us in slavery and rape our women, or shall he stand idly by like the Pharisee who passed by the wounded man and left him to the Good Samaritan to pick him up and take him to a hotel and have his wounds dressed. There is only one answer to such a silly, foolish question and I am glad to state that the great brotherhood of members of churches of Christ in the United States have answered this question in the right way. We have thousands of Christians serving our country today in the armed forces and less than 100 members in the conscientious objector's camps.

Here at Magnolia, Ark., we have a small congregation, but we have proudly sent our boys to the Army, Navy, Seabees, Marine Corps, Air Forces, Medical Corps, Merchant Marine. We are proud of our boys. Many of them will be killed. Many of them will lose their arms, their legs, their eyes. They will come back maimed, disfigured. They are doing what we are told to do as Christians, to lay down our lives if necessary for the other fellow.

It is a disgusting thing, humiliating and makes one think of the utter silliness of some so-called preachers for them to say, "Let me enjoy the peace and blessings of government, and the other fellow risk his life and die for it, while I keep my religion pure and holy and go to heaven in comfort and security, bought with the other fellow's blood, while he goes to hell for protecting me."

I want to especially thank Brother W. W. Otey, George B. Curtis, Foy E. Wallace, Cled Wallace, R. L. Whiteside and others who stopped this movement to turn our great brotherhood of Christians, bought and paid for with the blood of Jesus, into an unholy, denominational, Quaker-like mixture of Jehovah's Witnesses and Hindus.

I want to pay especial tribute to R. L. Whiteside. I think he is a real Bible scholar, the peer of all commentators, living or dead. I think that I am capable of deciding for myself what the Bible says, but if I ever need any man's assistance, I will call on some real Bible scholar like Brother Whiteside. I hope he lives to be 100 years old in full possession of his strength of body and intellect.