Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 12, 1963

Two Schools Of Thought

Cecil B. Douthitt

The church now is composed of two distinct schools of thought. Wherever this condition exists division is inevitable. Brethren must speak the same thing and be of the same mind and of the same judgment in order for unity to be possible. (1 Cor. 1:10)

These two schools are not speaking the same thing; they are not of the same mind and the same judgment. They are called by various names, and in many instances prejudicial appellations are being hurled. One is called "liberalism," the other "conservatism"; one "institutionalism," the other "anti-ism." N. B. Hardeman used to call these two groups "Federalists" and "anti-federalists," or "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, because we do many things for which there is no scriptural authority." They argue that they have no scriptural authority for seats, meeting houses, baptistries, Bible classes, communion cups, and many other things; therefore, they conclude, we do not have to have scriptural authority for missionary and benevolent societies through which to do the work of the church, or for anything else that somebody thinks might be a good thing.

The other school says, "We must have scriptural authority for all we do in the work and worship of the church." They explain that there are two kinds of authority: one is specific and the other is general; there is general authority for everything necessary in carrying out the commandments of God, and that there must be specific authority for the work and the way it is done.

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 let in the organ and 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. They have gone out from us "but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that they might he made manifest that they all are not of us." (1 John 2:19) This does not mean that they never were "of us"; for they were "of us," until they were led astray from the faith by the liberal school of thought, and their minds were corrupted to such a degree that they could swallow the putrid doctrine that we do not have to have scriptural authority for all we do in the work and worship of the church. Then, of course, they were not of us.

— 1901 Haldeman Avenue, Louisville, Ken.