Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 15, 1962
NUMBER 44, PAGE 8,13b

The Determination To Form A Sect

Reuel Lemmons

One of the most heart-breaking things that has happened in this generation is the determined effort of Brother Yater Tant and the Gospel Guardian to split off a faction and to sever its fellowship with the body of Christ. We repeatedly have expressed on these pages more faith in him than that. Yet it seems that he is determined to make himself a place in history as the founder of a sect.

We have seen repeated references to the "loyal church," and the "loyal brethren," and have read with pain repeated insinuations that all the brotherhood was headed for hell except the few that follow the Gospel Guardian line. We have refused to believe that anyone would do such a thing as try to carve a separate fellowship out of the body of Christ that would parrot a party Shibboleth. We pray that the following editorial from the Guardian, Nov. 23, 1961, does not mean what it sounds like:

Where To Worship When Travelling

"For many years now we have carried a full page each week in the Guardian under the above caption listing churches in various parts of the nation where faithful Christians might attend worship when they are away from home. We planned this page in the hope of providing information for thousands of people who travel....and who are sincerely reluctant to be constantly harassed and hounded with pleas to support "our institutions" when they have come to a place to worship God. In short, we had hoped to provide a listing of churches to which a worshipper might come, where he might worship God according to the Bible, and where he might give of his means without any anxiety as to whether his contribution would be used for the promotion of things he conscientiously opposed as church work.

From time to time, it has been called to our attention that we have listed some church that is of the "institutional-promotional" character, and brethren at-tenting services there have been disappointed. Indeed, we have heard of one such church that boasted that it was receiving very generous contributions from visiting worshippers (far more than the modest $6.00 per month they paid for the listing) who told them "we came here because we saw your advertisement in the Gospel Guardian" — and then prided itself in promoting nearly everything in the catalogue, from institutional benevolent societies, to summer recreational camps, to national advertising agencies for the churches, etc.! That congregation was dropped from our listing. As any other will be if we find it such that we cannot recommend it to our readers. After all, a journal like this does have the right to refuse space for advertising, the same as it has the right to sell it.

Brethren will be shocked, we believe, to see this brazen effort to split off a group and give them such a separate listing and "closed-communion" designation. The aim is quite clear. If they cannot be deterred from their purpose, then the sooner brethren know what they are up to, the fewer churches they will have an opportunity to split.

In the same issue appears another article headed CHURCH OF CHRIST — WACO, TEXAS. The article begins:

"We, the members of the church of Christ in Waco are endeavoring to obtain the services of a full time preacher of the gospel. We are making this appeal to the loyal congregations, or individuals, who are able and willing to help in this great undertaking. This is a mission field, as there are, at present only five members, two men and three women, meeting in a vacant residence....

Later in the article the writer says "... there is no loyal church in this section of the state."

Imagine Waco, Texas, a mission field! It reminds us of Cleburne, where the Caprock Church in Lubbock, the Westside Church in Fort Worth and the Central Church in Beaumont now "cooperate" with each other (while they preach against it) to support a missionary in Cleburne. Imagine a missionary in Cleburne! Cleburne is a little city of 11,000 people. It already has four white, one colored, and two anti-Sunday School congregations. And now, self-righteous Pharisaism sends Cleburne a missionary!

These brethren are not interested in lost souls in Cleburne or in Waco. They are interested in perpetrating a faction and splitting the body of Christ.

Many of these factious groups are being subsidized in Texas by the vast resources of the Aiken Foundation, administered by Bryan Vinson, and his "board" and by the private resources of another wealthy man. Some of them are boasting that they "only have to provide a building in which to meet; they don't have to pay the preacher; somebody else will do that." Several gospel preachers have so preached themselves out of faithful churches that if it were not for these sugar-teats to which they could hold they would be without support. Several papers exist the same way.

The bitter rantings and unbrotherly raving that fills certain papers and church bulletins is a disgrace to the cause of Christ. Even if brethren with such a spirit had the truth, the very nature of their presentation would be a foul odor in the nostrils of both God and man. We have never seen such frantic striving to tear and rend the body of Christ. Brethren, is there no longer any concern for the body of Christ, and is there no longer any shame attached to tearing it to pieces? Will one's hands no longer be bloody as he stands gloating over a division he is responsible for?

A sect is like a wasp; it is larger at the time it is born than it is at any other time. Trace any factious split-off suffered by brethren since the Restoration Movement gained prominence and you will find this to be true. Zeal is good. And apostasy of every kind should be opposed. But in the church of my Lord one does not have a right to pick up his marbles and go home just because everybody doesn't play the game exactly to his liking. This is the narrow, sectarian spirit. It is the spirit all of us have fought. We must still oppose it.

The church is not a carnal thing — run by a bunch of men. It is a spiritual organism — the body of Christ. Jesus is the head, and the only head. We need no human popes. The hand can't say to the foot, "I don't need you — and I'll pick out a list of 'loyal churches,' and we'll excommunicate the rest."

Brethren, where has Christianity disappeared to? Has the frost bitten brotherly love? Have we forgotten, or don't we care any longer about First Corinthians One? No man can ever help the body of Christ by splitting a faction off of it.

With Brother Tant, and with all others who are participating in this disgraceful affair, we earnestly plead that you do not do it. But if you MUST do it, then in the words of Jesus to Judas, "That thou doest, do quickly."