"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.VIII No.V Pg.6-7
June 1946

That New Voice Crying In The Wilderness

Cled E. Wallace

Among his other worries, Brother G. C. Brewer has Brother Earnest Beam on his hands. It seems that Beam takes hold and sticks tighter than anything Brewer has had to contend with including the Sommer boys. Brother Brewer did not want to get rough with him but had plans for sparing him, hoping for some signs of repentance. But Brother Beam does not want to be spared. He is actually hungry to be sacrificed. A paid emissary of digression could not do a better job of heckling in every controversy that arises than Brother Beam is doing in such instances as Brother Brewer cites. "Spare" him? Why, let him have it in the same place you are accustomed to castigating digressives. Don't wait on endorsement. You have mine, at least for that job. I think that is all you need.

Brother Brewer wants "the backing of the colleges, of the papers, and of the brethren in general." That is more backing than I'd want for a big job. Surely Brother Brewer does not need that much backing to dig a small potato like Brother Beam. I may decide to take a few pecks at him myself without any backing. Exposing his "fallacy" couldn't be anything but a warmed over job. He has nothing that digressives have not been jabbering about for lo, these many years. He is pestering me too. I have a five-page letter from him asking more questions than a kindergarten class at a zoo. He takes time out to deliver his opinion of me and all my works as though I did not already know and as though I cared. He considers my editorial conduct "shameful," accuses me of "whittling away upon these little issues by which your souls dry up." I haven't asked his endorsement of anything I do or say and don't want it. When a fellow works himself up into the kind of lather Brother Beam has, and thinks it is spiritual richness breaking out on him, there is not much that I can or care to do about it, except possibly hang a few warning signs on him for the good of others.

Sometimes when a voice begins to cry in the wilderness there isn't much to do except let him cry it out, especially if he happens to be somewhat of a cry-baby to begin with. I wouldn't worry about a battle with Bro. Beam. He is no "Goliath." Just go ahead and give him a spanking and turn him loose and let him cry some more. You won't even need the colleges and the papers and the brethren generally to hold him for you. He doesn't rate that much attention. He rates more as a nuisance than a threat.

In view of Brother Beam's expressed opinion of me, I am under no personal obligation whatever to answer any of his questions either publicly or privately. However, I feel no irritation or resentment, only wonder and regret, that a gospel preacher can allow himself to get in the state of mind Brother Beam is in. Without much thought of controversy or "battle" I may decide to hang a few helpful thoughts on the pegs of Brother Beam's aberrations. Brother Beam possibly will not like it and will probably tell me so. Since he has a very low opinion of me already as a Christian and a brother, it really doesn't make any difference.

First, Brother Beam is anxious for everybody to know who he is and tells them at every opportunity He tells me as though I hadn't seen it a dozen times before in various connections.

" For the record may I say in passing I am not a member of the anti-communion cup group, nor the anti-college group, nor the anti-class group, nor the anti-regular preaching party, nor the anti-orphan home party, nor the anti-premillennial party, nor any other anti-party."

Now that is clear isn't it? Brother Beam is not anti-anything but pro-everything including digression if Brother Brewer represents him correctly. Bro. Beam seems to be obsessed with the idea that a man who is nothing but a Christian and belongs to nothing but the church cannot preach the gospel and oppose error without becoming a factionist or building up a "party." Yet, strange as it may seem he is eternally spoiling for a fight with anybody who doesn't sing to the tune of his own hobby. He even has Brother Brewer excited over the prospect of coming "battle" which will be so near the size of Armageddon that Brother Brewer wants the backing of the schools, papers and brethren generally, as though the outcome of the battle would depend on all that gang holding up his hands.

If I had that much support I'd be a little afraid there was something wrong with me. Too much endorsement might be embarrassing. Suppose it became necessary to spank some of the endorsees? Sometimes they need it and I wouldn't want my hands tied. I'll endorse Brother Brewer to meet Bro. Beam, but understand I'm not guaranteeing that he won't pull some sort of a bonehead before he gets it over with. And I didn't mean that as harsh criticism or lack of confidence. He is either smarter than I am, or I am smarter than he is. Sometimes he does and says things which do not exactly suit me.

But back to Brother Beam, Says he:

"You say Brewer teaches there are Christians in the denominations. Now so does Beam. So did Larimore. So did Campbell. So did Lipscomb. So did Sewell. So did about everyone yesterday in this brotherhood of which I am still a part. But evidently in your new party you have also separated yourselves from this doctrine.

Here is the question: If a man hears the same gospel you and I have heard, believes it with the same sincerity with which we believed it, shows that faith by confession, repentance and immersion, just as we did--tell me now: when he thus yields himself does he become a member of any church or not? Which one? Is it true in his case or not, "He that believeth and is baptized" exactly as it is true for us? If there be no Christians in the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and other such churches, are there any in the following sectarian churches: Anti-cup separate communion? Anti-college separate communion? Anti-premillennial separate communion? Anti-class separate communion? Anti-orphan separate communion? Anti-regular preaching separate communion? Anti this and anti separatists?"

The brother is confused to the point of being beside himself. I have no new party and belong to nothing of the kind I am a Christian, a member of the body of Christ and have never belonged to anything else. If I am a member of any sort of sectarian setup I didn't go to do it. I am not even awed by big names. Beam, Brewer, Campbell, Lipscomb, Larimore, they are not the source of my authority in religion. All I know for sure about such matters is what I read in the New Testament. Paul did not hold to the doctrine that there are Christians in such denominations as Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian "and other such churches" because there were no such denominations back there for them to get into. Bro. Beam wants me to tell him now. All right I'll tell him now that if a man obeys the gospel as the New Testament teaches he becomes a member of the body of Christ, the family of God, the only church we read about in the New Testament. Such obedience does not make Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterians or any other sort of sectarian. Such set-ups are human affairs without New Testament endorsement. Brother Beam is certain that there are Christians among them. Brother Brewer is reported to have said that there are excellent Christians among them. Since I get my information from the New Testament and it is silent on some matters, I cannot be as dogmatic as Brother Beam and Bro. Brewer seem to be on the matter.

If there are Christians in the denominations, they went in after they became Christians and are where they have no right to be. I'll admit that Christians, not the best variety of course, are eternally getting into things they ought to stay out of and that would be eminently true in this hypothetical case. Just how much of that sort of foolishness the Lord is going to put up with I'm not prepared to say just now, but if they get to heaven it looks like a hard race and a tight squeeze from here. If a sheep wanders around among the goats, he doesn't have too much to gripe about if he is overlooked and not counted in the roundup. I wouldn't classify him as an "excellent" Christian. He reminds me of Brother Caskey's sheep who lost his bell and shed his fleece and ran with the goats so long he didn't know sneeze-weed from clover.

You know there is such a thing as apostatizing, being cut-off, being spewed out of the Lord's mouth and the like. Some of the brethren, including me and Brother Brewer, are getting a little uneasy about Brother Beam. One reason I have always been slow about disfellowshiping brethren is the fact that I can't always tell just how long the Lord will put up with them, and I don't want to give them up until He does. If Brother Beam can find any Christians among the denominations and is sure of their identity, he ought to spend part of his time getting them back where they belong and let up on his nagging of some of the rest of us who are contending for the faith and serving the Lord as it is written. He is getting to be as quarrelsome as a shrew.

" This now will do for this time, Brother Beam observes toward the close of five pages of rambling and ranting. I have had about all I want of him at one sitting. If I think it worth while I may answer some more of the questions he considers so killing. Or I may just turn him over to Brother Brewer in case the colleges, papers and brethren generally give him the needed endorsement.