Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 28, 1952
NUMBER 17, PAGE 4-5b

"By Their Fruits"


On another page in this issue is an article, "The One Church" by brother James A. Warren of Chicago. We suggest that you read that brief article before reading this editorial.

We believe no true Christian can read what brother Warren has written without being deeply disturbed. For we have here the spectacle of an earnest and eloquent gospel preacher, reared in one of the finest Christian homes in the land, attending school at more than one of "our Christian colleges," preaching for one of the best congregations in the great Chicago area — and writing an article that is simply filled with the most dangerous and subtle kind of modernism one could imagine! One has but to read the article to see how far, far astray its author has gone down the slippery road to eventual ruin. Unless he can fight his way back to the simple faith of the gospel, he is utterly lost and will most certainly abandon the Lord's church to affiliate with some of the ultra liberal denominational groups. His direction is too obvious; we have seen it happen too many times before — witness Carl Etter, W. P. Reedy, Ernest Beam, and Ralph Wilburn.

Brother Warren holds the church of Christ, as we know it, in contempt. For one to claim membership in the simple church of the New Testament, untainted by the errors of denominationalism, marks that man in brother Warren's sight as one who is insufferably arrogant and blind. He feels we should be "ashamed to claim that we are the only people in the world with the intellectual insight and moral character to interpret the Bible aright."

That from a gospel preacher is simply astounding! Is it to be the fashion now to cease and desist in all efforts to win people from their various denominational affiliations and persuade them to be "baptized into Christ," thus being added to Christ's church? Are we now to presume that maybe the Methodists and Baptists are as nearly right as we are, and that we have no moral right to try to win people away from those denominations? Such is exactly the implication of brother Warren's article!

For many months the Guardian has been seeking (not without some success to awaken interest in the dangerous threat that is posed to the purity of the New Testament church by a small group of brethren on the west coast centering in and about Pepperdine College. The influence of these brethren, limited though it has been, can be distinctly traced in the lives of fine young gospel preachers whose careers of usefulness in the cause of Christ have been blighted, if not blasted, by the withering destruction of the Pepperdine liberalism. It will be no surprise to our readers to know that James A. Warren is a product of Pepperdine College. The silly and vapid modernism of his "The One Church" article reads more like Ralph Wilburn than some of Wilburn's own writings! This is the sort of things young preachers in that institution have been taught and have imbibed.

"By their fruits ye shall know them." And James A. Warren is a typical product of Pepperdine College. More than some others he has absorbed and partaken of the spirit and philosophy of his teachers; he did not resist and fight against that teaching as did men like John Wolfe, Otis Gatewood, Hoyt Houchen, and Floyd Thompson. The imprint of his teachers can be seen in almost every line of his essay. It is their ideas he is advancing; their attitude he is advocating; their philosophy of religion he is promoting; their concept of the New Testament church he is setting forth. Brother Beam correctly reported Hubert Derrick of the Pepperdine faculty as saying "Why we are for the thing you are working for. We think we have a better way to bring it about." And what is it that brother Beam and brother Derrick and the Pepperdine faculty and brother Warren are working for? Why it is obvious: they are working to break down the attitude of aloofness ("arrogance" brother Warren would call it) that has kept the church of Christ from fraternal and familiar association with the denominations as one among equals!

This is the thing we are set to oppose; this is the compromising, mutual concession, give-and-take attitude of our new crop of young liberals which we believe with all our heart would be absolutely fatal to the purity of the New Testament order. We believe the denominations are wrong — ALL of them are wrong collectively; each of them is wrong individually; and every single doctrine they hold, either as a church or as members of a church, which is not taught in the pages of God's word is wrong, wrong, wrong!!! And it doesn't embarrass us one bit in the world to say so. We cannot, and we will not, ignore their false teachings and fraternize with them (as brother Pullias does); we cannot, and we will not, concede (as per brother Warren's claim) that there is the least doubt under heaven as to "which church is the New Testament church"! For brother Warren even to ask such a question shows how far astray he has gone. If he is not sure in his own heart as to "which is the right church," how under heaven can he teach an alien sinner which church is right?

Yes, we know full well that there is strong backing for the liberal element among us. We continue to see the advertisements of Pepperdine College carried in gospel papers over the land; and we are not unaware of the efforts that are being made, and will be made, to dismiss the whole affair as "a tempest in a tea-pot."

But just go back and read brother Warren's article again. And remember where he got those sectarian, denominational, modernistic ideas. By their fruits ye shall know them. When Pepperdine College can boast of that kind of fruit — well, we think it's time for brethren everywhere to be warned and on their guard.

Brother Pullias still hasn't answered our questions. He still has not confessed that he sinned in affiliating for six years with an apostate church. Nor, in our opinion, will he so confess; for he does not believe that he did. And if he could do so without going on public record in the matter, it is known by those who have been with him for many years that he would give one hundred per-cent endorsement to the Warren article, "The One Church."