Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 17, 1958
NUMBER 11, PAGE 2-3b

The Answer?

Lloyd Barker, Searcy, Arkansas

A debate on Benevolent Societies was held here in "Preachers' Club" about two months ago. Two preachers told me that they were converted to the New Testament pattern as a result of the debate. Two other preachers said they still thought that the brotherhood orphanages were right but admitted that institutionalism definitely took a defeat. It is odd for the opposition to admit defeat. A preacher who is about fifty years old was asked by those in charge of the club to come and "review" the debate. He finally stopped when it was pointed out how unfair it was and how bad it looked on our brother who defended the organizations for someone else to try and "patch" things up.

Maybe as a result of this debate, about twenty preachers here who oppose these societies and many others who admit they know not where to stand, the "Preachers' Club," decided to get Cleon Lyles to come and discuss how to deal with present issues in the church. Much has been written about liberalism but a short summary of Brother Lyles' speech may be of interest, especially to any who doubt that many are drifting.

A tape of the speech has been checked and in the speech, which lasted over an hour, there were 36 jokes and humorous illustrations, many of which were obviously efforts to make any opposition to him look like fools. Other "cracks" and cute phrases were not counted in the above 36. From this one can see that a great effort was made to laugh the problems off, and to prejudice all against any who stand for sound doctrine. In this same speech, our brother used two scriptures and referred to the moral problem at Corinth and two other problems that the early church had with no discussion. He definitely perverted the reference to the moral problem at Corinth. The conclusion was that Paul did not tell the church to divide. Anyone can see Paul did say to divide from the guilty one and the principle would be the same whether there were one or a dozen.

The voice of the brotherhood or church was appealed to over and over. It was said that a preacher should preach the Gospel and not hurt anyone and he won't have any trouble or split any churches. It was repeated often that division in the church was a result of a "lack of respect for the church." It was greatly emphasized that if we love the church we won't cause the church "any harm at all." Lyles said, "I don't believe that there is a problem in the world tonight or in the church that is worth dividing the church over." It is a shame that Paul didn't use his head (as we were repeatedly told would answer our problems) in II Thess. 3:6 when he advocated "hurting" the church by commanding division by saying... "that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly . . ." and the same teaching is given in Rom. 16:17 and 1 Cor. 5. Jesus contradicts the philosophy of Brother Lyles in Rev. 2 and 3 where He promised to divide the church and even spew some out of His mouth unless they repent (Rev. 3:16). Christ even told the church at Pergamos that unless they repented, He would "fight against them" but our brother "used his head? ?" and rebuked our Lord by saying the proper love and respect for the church would keep us from hurting or causing any harm (division) at all to the brotherhood. One can see that this is appealing to the "voice or practice of the church" for truth just like the Roman Catholics have always done.

It is strange how much emphasis is given to being kind and loving your brother and never criticizing anyone, and then a preacher is called to come who gives one of the most abusive speeches condemning many brethren that we have ever heard. One faculty member and the president of "Preachers' Club" said that he went too far with abusive language. This should be proof enough to show that this article is not a matter of one student just jumping at conclusions. Speaking of a "hobby rider" near Little Rock, Brother Lyles said the only way to get rid of the fellow is to kill him. He said, "I don't know whether the Lord would care or not, but the government doesn't like that." This is strange strong language for one who just said the proper love and respect for the church would keep a preacher from hurting anyone at all. Also, it was stated that all "hobby riders" that he knew were liars. This was repeated before about 40 students and others after the speech was over. Nine times he said that these issues were started by "soured" old brethren who did not believe what they started and that young brethren thought that the issues were over doctrinal matters. Several times it was affirmed that "disgruntled" brethren got all this started and that about all the churches that had quit "cooperating" had never cooperated anyway. Is this being kind and loving and not criticizing as is often emphasized?

Many will be glad to know that this problem of "how" to care for orphans is not a new problem as some have tried to say. Lyles said brethren had squabbled over it for the last several generations and had in fact since the church was established. The "Iron Curtain" of Nashville should give heed to this.

The young preacher here were told to leave problems to the local preacher. Our brother said it was a lot of "fiddle-faddle" and "Tomfoolery" for someone to get convictions on "cooperation" and orphanages and have to preach it. He said he advised a preacher in Little Rock not to preach in favor of these things and he himself wouldn't. Seems strange that he would come to Searcy and preach over an hour on these issues ... which he will not preach on in Little Rock.

After the speech was over, the question was asked how did he exclude a Missionary Society and yet say a Benevolent Society is authorized because no "how" is given. After saying a lot that answered nothing, he finally said that the Bible says "how" to preach the Gospel but doesn't say "how" to care for orphans. Some logic that finds a "how" in Matt. 28:18-20 but demands that there is none in Jas. 1:27!

Another new "argument" was given to justify setting up boards to provide homes for little children. The question was asked why the churches could set up organizations to care for their needy but could not set up a similar organization to train preachers. Lyles' reply was that the church is commanded to care for orphans but isn't to train preachers. It was good to hear one of the Bible teachers here say that Brother Lyles did not use good reasoning and that the Bible does command the church to train not only preachers but all of the members.

Let no one say that this published summary of Bro. Lyles' speech is not being kind to him and will do no good. Within the above mentioned speech it was clearly stated that one should not mind being written up in any of the papers because it is good — may be introduced to someone you never knew before. For this reason, certainly he will consider this article a great favor to him and let others know how to "use their head" and follow his "answer" (?) to the solution of all problems in the body of Christ.