Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 19, 1951
NUMBER 11, PAGE 1,5b

Modernistic "Trends" -- How To Meet Them

Rufus Clifford, Old Hickory, Tennessee

The influence of modernistic preachers among us, and especially teachers, is being felt in many places. Young men who come under the influence of such preachers and teachers are doing, and will continue to do, their deadly work in undermining the very foundations of the structure of truth and of the church: It was my sad lot to witness a few months ago the shameful scene in a certain congregation where a modernistic preacher had got in his deadly work. The church was in a pitiable state of division, brought about by his modernistic teachings. I saw sisters line up and swing their bodies together and cry out against such defenders of the faith as Hugo McCord, James R. Cope, Eugene Clevenger, J. T. Marlin, and others. "Throw them out,' they cried almost hysterically. James P. Miller had practically the same treatment there. I saw a member beat a faithful gospel preacher in the back the whole length of the large auditorium. And every bit of that shameful and disgraceful scene could be traced straight to the vicious modernism that had been preached from that pulpit.

We see dangerous trends in the church on every hand in the direction of modernism and liberalism. In one of the Bible colleges, operated and supported by Christian people, a teacher taught the young preachers not to use Mark 16:15, 16 in a debate. This school is located at Nashville, Tennessee: From that same school, a vice-president wrote an article which was printed on the front page of a Nashville newspaper recommending Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (one of the rankest of the denominational modernists) to the people. We see gospel preachers in most of the schools operated by the brethren wearing titles, and teaching the students to refer to them by their academic titles. What will the next generation of preachers and church members do?

We read in the gospel papers where noted preachers (known by all to be modernists) have spoken in the schools, but we do not read where one word has been spoken in warning against their modernistic lectures. These noted preachers are invited to speak, but faithful gospel preachers whose loyalty to the truth has never been questioned are not welcome to speak on the lecture programs, nor are they wanted in the chapel meetings of these schools.

We have papers among us whose editors (even when they refer to their periodical as "old reliable') will print about anything these modernistic preachers and school men send in—and especially do they seem anxious to print articles that reflect upon preachers who defend the truth and editors whose papers seek to point out the dangerous trends and unscriptural practices in vogue.. These same editors can never see any dangers in the church, but they will work zealously to stir up agitation over certain issues, and then will bemoan the actions of "these brethren who are always looking for something to fight and who stir up trouble in the church!' We have "pious preachers' and teachers among us who will deplore the attitude of the "fighters,' and then turn around and use bitter language in their scathing denunciations of these brethren.

Meeting The Threat

Now, how can the threat of modernism in the church be met and overcome? The answer is simple. We can meet and overcome it just like we meet and conquer every other menace to the church—by standing four-square for "the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.' We must oppose and combat every error that would destroy or weaken the faith of the saints. We must develop preachers whose loyalty to the word is known to all. We must teach our children to know, to love, and to reverence the Bible with that fervent spirit which will fill their hearts with abhorrence at any attack made upon it. We should not send our children to schools, even those operated by our own brethren, that are tolerant of modernism. To do so is to cooperate with the devil in his efforts to destroy their faith. Someone has well said, "Any institution that will tolerate modernistic teachers and teaching is unworthy of the support and patronage of people who believe the Bible.' Parents who are themselves children of God should support to the extent of their ability loyal and faithful schools (such as Florida Christian College, where this lecture is being delivered); and should refuse to give any help or any encouragement to any school which will not take a forthright stand for the truth.

Modernism is an enemy of God's word, an enemy of the church, and enemy of the truth, an enemy of the home, and an enemy of the soul. Let us arise in the strength of Israel's God, and go forth to meet the challenge and to turn back this menace. Let us say with our lips and mean in our hearts that phrase used so effectively by brother Wallace in his valiant battle against those in the past who were enemies of the purity of the church, "THEY SHALL NOT PASS?'