Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 5, 1961

The Cleavage Widens

Cecil B. Douthitt, Fort Smith, Arkansas

Two Schools Of Thought

The church now is composed of two distinct schools of thought. They are not speaking the same thing; they are not of the same mind and judgment. They are called by various names, and in many instances prejudical appellations are being hurled. One is called "liberalism", the other "conservatism"; one "institutionalism", the other "antiism"; N. B. Hardeman used to call them "Federalists" and "antiFederalists" — "strict constructionists" and "loose constructionists"; each calls the other "hobby riders."

One school says, "We do not have to have scriptural authority for all we do; we do many things for which there is no scriptural authority." The other says, "We must have scriptural authority for all we do." One says, "We have no scriptural authority for seats, meeting house, baptistries, Bible classes, communion cups, and many other things." The other replies that there are two kinds of scriptural authority; one is specific and the other is general authority, and that we have general authority for some things and specific authority for other things.

When a religious group launches out on the theory that we do not have to have scriptural authority for all we do, there is no stopping place this side of Rome; the flood gate is open wide. This is the theory that produced the Roman Hierarchy in the early centuries of the church; that caused Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli to go their separate ways; that caused the digression of the 19th century; that has divided the church in the past decade.

Division is here; the cleavage is widening by the hour; it is almost identical with the apostasy of one hundred years ago, and why those who have studied the history of other departures from the old paths cannot see it is strange to me. The point of no return has been reached. Now we must try to restore individuals one by one.

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How Silly Can One Get?

In a sermon on "Sprinkling," a preacher once argued that the Jordan River at the place where Jesus was baptized was so small that a man once had put his foot in it and stopped it up. One of his listeners said afterward, "I have always wanted to see where my Lord was baptized, but now I think I had rather see that foot than to see the Jordan River."

In a sermon on the "Sponsoring Church" type of "Cooperation," a preacher once argued that the churches in Maccedonia that sent funds to the church in Jerusalem Mr the poor saints there were in deeper poverty than the Jerusalem church that received the donations. How silly can the perverters of God's word get?

The church in Jerusalem could not provide for its own indigent, much less make donations of money to other churches. While the churches in Macedonia not only had "power" to take care of their own poor, but also they were able to contribute for the poor in another church. "For according to their power, I bear witness, yea and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord." (2 Cor. 8:3) They were in deep poverty themselves, but they had "power" to give. They were not objects of charity. The Jerusalem church had not that "power"; it was an object of charity. A careful reading of the scriptures would prevent many ridiculous interpretations.

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Regardless of how hard one may try to be on time at all church services, things may happen once in a great while which compel one to be late. However, some people come in ten minutes late every time they attend a meeting of the church. They are late because they plan it that way.

Wilful tardiness at a dinner engagement or other social function is disconcerting and shows a lack of consideration for the hostess who devoted much work and expense in the preparation of the dinner for her invited guests. Wilful tardiness at any appointment is ill-mannered and unfair to all who are kept waiting for the arrival of the late-comer. Wilful tardiness at the meetings of the church is disturbing to other worshippers and a manifestation of indifference and lukewarmness toward the Lord and the work and worship of His church.

If a person is on time at his work every morning at 8:30 throughout the week, and is ten minutes late for the religious services every Sunday morning throughout the year, it is because he planned and made arrangements beforehand for it to be that way.

Be punctual at all your engagements, especially at your appointments with the Lord.