Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 19, 1967
NUMBER 36, PAGE 1-2a

Chickens Come Home To Roost

Herschel E. Patton

This expression suggests the same thought as "reaping what you sow". Frequently the reaping or roosting is not anticipated or expected, but the seed sown or the thing hatched develops after its kind. Parents fail to teach and influence their children along spiritual and moral lines. Eventually, the children are found to be irreligious and immoral, and we say "the chickens have come home to roost" or they are "reaping what they sowed."

In the October, 1966 issue of the Gospel Defender, a paper edited by Barry L. Anderson in Florence, Ala. , three writers--Alan Highers, Albert Hill, and Anderson---lament a liberalism now being manifested by some preachers in the church. The Gospel Advocate and Firm Foundation have also sounded the same lament.

These liberal preachers are accused of teaching that Christians can and should pray for the Holy Spirit without giving any scriptural proof for the contention. Albert Hill asks, "How many scriptures did brother Lovell use to prove his contention?"; then answers "Not one!". He goes on to say that this liberal preacher brands those who oppose him as "anti Holy Spirit brethren, apparently believing that "A man is against the Holy Spirit if he does not go along with his views."

Alan Highers writes about two preachers who have embraced error concerning the Holy Spirit and who take the position that it makes no difference when one observes the Lord's supper--that one is liberty to take it on any day of the week. Brother Highers says "all of us need to understand that some are drifting from the 'Old Paths. 'Anti-ism, which fought orphan homes and opposed church cooperation, was a threat to the church, but it did not present one-tenth of the danger that we will face in the next few years from liberalism, softness, and compromise."

The "Gospel Defender" was started several years ago for the purpose of promoting "institutions" for orphan care and the "sponsoring church" type of cooperation, and to oppose objectors to these things, whom they branded as "Antis". From the very beginning, the writers of this paper sowed the seed of justification without one scripture authorizing their practice. Repeatedly, they were asked--Where is the scripture (precept, example, or necessary inference) that authorized any organization other than a local congregation through which churches may do their work? --that authorized a church to send funds to another church except when the church is in want? No scripture was ever found. The opponents were simply called "anti" and accused of not believing in helping poor little orphans or in cooperation. Perhaps the liberal preachers "The Defender" now opposes, who teach error concerning the Holy Spirit, learned to accuse their objectors of being opposed to the Holy Spirit (anti-Holy Spirit) from "Defenders" writers!

In showing that the "institutional" and "sponsoring church" types of functioning are contrary to the scriptures, attention has been called to the apostolic examples of the Jerusalem church meeting the needs of its widows (Acts 6:1-5); the church at Antioch sending relief to needy saints in Judea, delivering the relief to the elders where the need existed (Acts 11:27-30); the churches in Macedonia and Achaia sending relief, by the hand of messengers chosen by the relief to the elders where the need existed (Acts 11:27-30); the churches in Macedonia and Achaia sending relief, by the hand of messengers chosen by each sending church, to poor saints in Jerusalem (1 Cor.15:1,2, 2 Cor.8, Rom.15:26-28); churches sending wages to Paul when he preached at Corinth (2 Cor. 11:8); and the Philippian church sending "once and again" unto Paul (Phil. 4:15-16). Thus, apostolic example rules out the "institutional" and "sponsoring church" types of benevolence and evangelism. The reply to this was to belittle and even deny the binding force of apostolic example. Then, some of us pointed out that if apostolic example is rejected, there is no authority for observing the Lord's supper on the first day of the week since the only New Testament passage as to "when" is the example of Acts 20:7. Being unwilling to abide by apostolic example in matters of church benevolence and evangelism, some followed the logical and natural course of rejecting the Lord's supper on the first day of the week. Such "liberalism" is the product of the seed sown by those who reject apostolic example.

Indeed, the chickens have come and are coming home to roost, but what monsters they have become since they were first hatched! Unscriptural beliefs about the Holy Spirit, no certain time for observing the Lord's supper, fraternizing with the denominations, acceptance of social drinking, dancing, and gambling, etc., are results of the "no scripture needed, examples not binding, no pattern," seed that has been sown by numerous preachers and such publications as the Gospel Defender, Gospel Advocate, Firm Foundation, and others as they promoted institutionalism and the sponsoring church.