Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 28, 1964
NUMBER 4, PAGE 4,12b-13a

"Life Is A Mirror"


"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte: and when he is become so, ye make him twofold more a son of hell than yourselves." (Mt. 23:15) These words of Christ, spoken in condemnation of the unrighteous men of his day, have a significant application to certain men in every generation and in every nation. Like begets like; hypocrisy generates hypocrisy; hatred invites being hated in return. As a poet of a past generation observed:

"For life is a mirror of king and slave,

'Tis just what we are and do;

Then give to the world the best you have And the best will come back to you."

— Madeline S. Bridges We have lived long enough to see it happen many times ...the friendly man finds practically all the congregations he may visit to be made up of friendly, gracious, warm-hearted people. The surly, suspicious, and selfish man, visiting these same congregations, will have unending criticism for their coldness, their indifference to the visitors, and their self-centered smugness.

These thoughts keep crowding our mind in late weeks as we see the new controversy developing within the brotherhood....the battle over the inclusion of schools and colleges in the budgets of the churches. For whatever "deal" may, or may not, have been made to silence the Firm Foundation in its opposition to such a development, and to soft-pedal the Gospel Advocate's promotion of the idea, we think it inevitable that sooner or later the controversy break out in virulence and vituperation. For both of these journals have been for many years filled with what might be described as "hate propaganda" against those faithful and conscientious brethren whom they have tried to stigmatize as "antis"....i.e. brethren who are "anti" certain types of congregational cooperative combines in the fields of benevolence and evangelism. We believe it virtually impossible for men to give sanctuary in their hearts to such sentiments as have so often seen the light of day on the pages of these two journals (sentiments of contempt and disgust and general toward brethren in Christ) without eventually finding their own lives corroded and encrusted with the festering sores engendered by such malignancies. Hatred is far more destructive to the man who entertains and harbors it in his heart than it is to the object of his scorn! If you don't believe it, just take a look at the miserably unhappy lives of some of the greatest "haters" of all time. Mark Twain is a classic example. His life was embittered and almost unbearable during his final years. For in spite of the rich humor of much of his work (like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer), one finds a great deal of deep hatred in many of the things he wrote.... his barbed wit wounded rather than amused. The acid of sarcasm was poured on to add to the discomfiture of his victims.

The Lord's church has not been without its quota of these unhappy often gifted in rhetoric and logic, but whose hearts held a brooding melancholia because of their animosity toward others. They may excite our compassion, even while we realize that they have brought their woes upon themselves. They are men who need help...the help of humble Christians as well as the help of God. For however right such men may be in their contentions (and they often are NOT right), their attitude is destructive of all that is pure and sacred and worthy in any congregation and among any group of people. We feel that the orgy of hatred which has engulfed our brotherhood in recent years in certain to bring a harvest of tears and sorrow and bitter regrets. For the ruthless effort of many of the "Great Preachers" among us as well as the "Trained Thinkers" to steam-roller the opposition and "read out of the church" many thousands of faithful Christians who honestly and sincerely opposed their promotions cannot but bear fruit. For a dozen years and more now we have been hearing that the "antis" are "withering on the vine" (Harper's repeated triumphant assertion in the 1955 Lufkin and Abilene debates), that they are "about dead" and "will soon be but an unhappy memory," that they are "just about finished" (G.H.P. Showalter in 1952), ad infinitum ad nauseam.

We cannot honestly say that those brethren branded as "antis" have always been as patient and longsuffering under these taunts as they might have been. Too often they have reacted with heat and resentment. But, be it also said to their credit, that great numbers of them have quietly gone about their business, unswervingly loyal to their honest convictions as to the teaching of God's word. They have truly followed the example of the blessed Paul, who could say, "being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure, being defamed we entreat." Such is as it ought to be.

We shall watch with interest and concern as the battle develops these next dozen years. As of now we would opine that the "pros" (those favoring church support of the colleges) are in the majority; but their lead over the "antis" (those opposed to church support of the colleges) is so slim that they could not promote their project at this time without a terribly bitter fight. The longer the battle is postponed, however, the stronger grow the "pros" (their doctrine is being taught in practically ALL the colleges operated by liberal brethren) and the weaker grow the "antis." But both the "pros" and the "antis" have had long and unhealthy experience in the practice of generating tension, opposition, and hatred — their attacks in the past being directed toward the conservative brethren opposing evangelistic and benevolent cooperative combines of churches. They have developed an atmosphere of hysteria in the church, a climate of contempt for brethren, a complex of animosity, ill-will, and vituperative excoriation against those whom they despise.

And now that terrific reservoir of unholy hatred, seething and boiling, is beginning to show signs of turning inward. And the hard and haggard visage of evil will be staring back at those who have instigated it. For indeed "life is a mirror!"