Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 20, 1968
NUMBER 8, PAGE 2b,5b-6a

Joining Denominationalism

Donald P. Ames

For some time gospel preachers have been busy pointing out that the purpose of the church is spiritual (II Cor. 10:3-6: Eph. 6:12). We have objected to those who would entangle it in the affairs of this world by engaging in such things as special marches for some physical goal, crusades with other denominations against products of this world, and the ministerial alliance and its fellowships. Some have attempted to enlist the church per se against the TV networks to have a more powerful voice than individuals objecting to programs. These things, however, are not the work of the church (I Tim. 3:15), and as a whole, preachers of the gospel have abstained from such. If positions were taken in letters, etc., they were taken as individuals, and certainly not as religious leaders nor in any way to reflect a position involving the church in such activities.

Some have been wondering, with the trend toward denominationalism, just how long this separation would last. Bro. Cecil Willis, editor of Truth Magazine has pointed out several violations of such, as Toni O'Neal in Searching The Scriptures' and Yater Tant here in the Guardian' have also done. But, rather than take warning, our liberal brethren either ignore the signs, or attempt to justify them under cover of secular employment and thus being okay to compromise their religious positions for secular advancement. They fail to realize that engaging in religious activities with denominationalism — without objecting to errors therein — is not only lending endorsement, but is destroying the barriers of fellowship in the minds of many of the unconverted. We are reaping this destruction on many fronts of the liberal element today.

Another classic example of this very thing crossed my desk this past week. Announcing a "Strategy For Awakening: Recruit and Train Hundreds of Preachers for Anti-Communist Leadership in 1968," Mr. Billy James Hargis of Tulsa, Oklahoma (Editor of Christian Crusade Magazine), has announced his plans to unite ministers across the nation to oppose Communism and the liberal efforts here in America. Note some of the following from his announcement letter of April 1968:

We are shocked and shamed as we witness on American television so-called religious leaders burning "Old Glory," leading "draft card burnings," insulting the God of our Fathers and attacking the Spiritual, moral and constitutional traditions of the Godly men and women who sacrificed for this Republic and her religious institutions. My greatest satisfaction is the hundreds of Bible-believing, independent churches that have started across the nation as a result of our "warning" and our ministry ... From across the nation I am receiving letters that dissatisfied Bible-believing ministers are breaking all ties with the liberal denominations in the National Council of Churches to take their stand in their community as a pastor of an independent Bible church offering leadership to the community for Christ and country ... Ministers and laymen are pulling out of liberal denominations, determined to go all the way for God and country ... The Cathedral is completed and stands on the plains of Oklahoma like a sentinel of hope for all men of God! Now is the time to bring those ministers here for training, inspiration, challenge and patriotic motivation ... Give me 200 - 300 - 400 500 of your pastors from as many communities as there are men and I will guarantee you that we will shake this nation for Christ, constitutional government and against the communist-socialist-liberal alliance before this fall!

Now I have no basic complaints against part of the work he is doing. As an American, certainly I'm concerned about the inroads of communism and liberalism into our constitutional way of government! But, let us note something else: his is a RELIGIO-POLITICAL movement, a combination of both religion and politics (doubt it, read Christian Crusade). He preaches and makes his religious ministry a very personal part of his conservative efforts as well. Note that he is even gratified over the churches he has help to get started to take a stand for God AND COUNTRY! Obviously, then, for a Christian to become involved is going to lend an endorsement to a lot more than just a conservative political movement, or just an education on the threat of communism and what Christians can teach about this God-denying philosophy.

But let us not be deceived into thinking all "thinking Christians" can see what is so obvious.

We have already noted that he plans to unite ministers all across the nation in this effort, regardless of religious affiliation, and naturally his "ministry" is going to grow in effectiveness as a result. In fact, this "First National Convention of Conservative-Orthodox Preachers" is just that — "The first of a series of annual conventions." It has certain qualifications to even attend:

To attend, a full-time religious worker must be: (1) an ordained or licensed pastor, evangelist, teacher or missionary. The requirement for attendance is simple — the delegate must be a pastor of a church or be active in some field of full-time Christian service...evangelism, Christian education, missionary, etc, etc,; (2) an anti-communist politically and philosophically and (3) orthodox or short, true to the Bible and opposed to religious liberalism as advocated by the heretical National Council of Churches.

Sort of sounds like a glorified ministerial alliance with yearly conventions, doesn't it? Or maybe a rival organization to the National Council of Churches? All "delegates" are to receive a "FREE PATRIOTIC LIBRARY TO TAKE HOME WITH THEM SO THAT THEY CAN CONTINUE THEIR STUDIES AND FULFILL THEIR DIVINE ROLE AS THE "VOICE OF FREEDOM" IN THEIR COMMUNITIES!" This library is to consist of 24 books they have already selected to insure the fact this "is the greatest investment we could possibly make to save this country." Included in the pleas for donations to help with this great interdenominational ministerial convention is a bonus of the "Crusaders Chorus — an album of favorite hymns and patriotic classics" to those so desiring who contribute over $5.00.

The front of the letter shows a group headed toward the Cathedral where he regularly preaches, carrying signs representing Independent Presbyterians, Independent Episcopalian, Independent Christian Churches, Bible Baptist, Nazarene, Pentecostal, Baptist, Independent Methodist, Lutheran, Bible Churches, New Testament Churches ... AND THE CHURCH OF CHRIST! Yes, represented by one of the speakers, none other than "Dr. James Bales, that brilliant Church of Christ minister and professor at Harding College, Searcy, Arkansas."

And then we criticize Catholic Priests for leading in marches, and object to the ministerial alliance, etc.! Of course, this is anti-communism, so that must make it okay, even if it is part of a ministerial action and carries obvious religious AND political overtones! And how will the liberals defend this action? Purely religious training — hardly, and certainly not in this company. Purely education training — same reply.

I love America and the freedom we enjoy as much as the next person, and I'm equally concerned about the inroads of socialism. But, as a Christian, I also recognize that my-first allegiance is to God and not the "unfruitful works of darkness." I cannot join with the forces of falsehood and help them in their goals, including working for new churches, etc., and still remain true to the charge I have received from God. But then, the liberals can enjoy a lot I can't in that I still seek God's authority for ALL my religious activities.

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