Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 28, 1960

Beyond The Horizons

By Wm. E. Wallace, Box 399, McAlester, Oklahoma

Presbyterian Blow-Up In Korea

In Korea, September 28, 1959, the General Assembly of the Korean Presbyterian Church ended in turmoil. The Presbyterians, constituting the largest denomination in Korea, composing half of the Protestant force, have experienced explosive disruptions. The strength of the Presbyterians in Korea is now broken up into hostile factions. Behind the break-up of solidarity lies bitter national experiences of the Korean people, religio-political aspects, ecclesiastical pressures from Presbyterian forces in America, and tension between conservative and liberal elements.

The Christian Century, December 16, 1959, reports that "Division was forced by the efforts of a group called the National Association of Evangelicals to capture the assembly from the group that the N.A.E. designates the 'ecumenical party,' whose policy is to retain ties with the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A." The same writer comments further; "Another major factor in the disruption is the extreme theological conservatism of Korean Christianity."

In this Korean Presbyterian division two things are of particular interest to us. The breaking of ties with American Presbyterian boards indicates an awakening relative to the consequences and evil of denominational organizations and organisms. And, the mention of "conservatism" offers us hope that there is a strong force for fundamental and authoritative Christianity in Korea. I am not acquainted with the nature and status of churches of Christ in Korea, but I know our brethren are active in Korea.

It would seem that this breaking down of Presbyterian strength, this rebellion against denominational organizations, this conservative outlook would offer special opportunities for our brethren to get a word in for the principle of "speaking as the oracles of God". Perhaps a fruitful field for New Testament Christianity is opening up in Korea.

But our Korean brethren will need to avoid the same sort of trends and influences among American churches of Christ which even in their infancy smack of the Presbyterian problems.

The Capital Problems

The governments of the world are concerned with the nuclear crisis. The religious world is concerned with the destructive effects of division. Churches of Christ are engaged in a resistance movement against various modern influences which endanger their distinctiveness.

The super-bombs and the ICBM are "capable of turning this green earth into one vast inferno to the devastation of mankind." The radio-active fallout from the tests and experiments alone could create health hazards of extreme world wide coverage. A scientist is quoted as saying that "Our missile program is the swan song of a dying civilization. We don't need better missiles to destroy each other — the ones that we have will do the job adequately." The statesmen are moved to work toward disarmament. So long as they move in that direction, no matter how slow the action may be, we have reason to be hopeful.

Ecclesiastics are talking more and more of religious unity. The 1950's will go down in history as a decade of denominational union. Old denominations lost distinctiveness and merged with others to form still another. 1960 is to be an important year for the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox branch. Protestant organizations will move more closely to each other, and where union is desired more than orthodoxy, mergers will result. Unity is a commodity to be desired, but we fear that denominational unity will create adverse conditions similar to those which existed under the merger of the beast of the sea and the beast of the earth as described in the book of Revelation.

As for the Lord's church we are concerned with the influences which are leading brethren toward and into the denominational drift of things. It appears that our present difficulties of deteriorating distinctiveness are due to increasing lethargy or apathy in the field of Biblical authority. We are also plagued with the partisan attitude which exalts party movements and party loyalties over the thrust of Bible conformity. As to the solution, it remains for the historian a hundred years from now to observe what we should have done, and what we could have been.

Perhaps the long-range solution lies in the effects of continual Bible centered preaching which is described as "the type wherein the preacher exhausts the text, which may be a rather long passage, and uses it as the basic structure for all his sermonizing. He spends his whole sermon in exegesis and exposition, bringing illustrations from daily life to help make the connection between Bible times and ours, or to help in the process of exposition." It appears that the only sure course of keeping our distinctiveness is Bible-centered preaching and teaching.

So while the world rocks on in disarmament efforts, while the denominations engage in unity dialogues, it is necessary that we keep our fingers pointed to what the Bible says.