Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 29, 1955

"Only In An Emergency"

John T. Lewis, Birmingham, Alabama

I have recently read two very learned (?) dissertations on "Emergency", one in the Firm Foundation, of July 26, 1955, and the other in the Gospel Advocate of August 18, 1955. They do credit to neither paper, because they are absolutely void of reason or revelation. The Firm Foundation, says "The thought is left that the laws of God that govern normal relations can be set aside in favor of something else if there is an emergency. Since when does God have two sets of laws; one for normal conditions and another for emergencies. And who among us did God make the judge and decider as to what constitutes an emergency?" In reply to the first statement in the above, I will say: "The thought left", was a good one, and I will give some illustrations that I hope the Firm Foundation can understand. We have recently had one of the greatest devastating floods in the history of our country, in some of our Eastern states. The President of the United States left his summer home in Colorado, flew over the territory, went to Washington, consulted with the leaders of Congress, and ordered one hundred million dollars for rehabilitation, and the Red Cross raised its appeal from five hundred million to eight hundred million dollars. That was "An Emergency". And no body but a simpleton — one who is gullible — would argue that the President, and the Red Cross would have taken such action in "normal relations", or conditions.

Again the Firm Foundation asked: "Since when does God have two sets of laws; one for normal conditions and another for emergencies?" The answer is, ever since man has been upon the earth. To illustrate, suppose a farmer near Austin, Texas, was sick in the spring and not able to plant his crop, his neighbors get together come in and plant his crop for him. The next spring he is not sick; but being under the influence of the Firm Foundation, he rents a much larger farm and expects his neighbors to come in and plant it for him. What would his neighbors think, or do about it? Will the Firm Foundation answer this question? The above examples represent the difference between "normal conditions" and "emergencies". Are they "two sets of laws"? The next question of the Firm Foundation, was: "And who among us did God make the judge and decider as to what constitutes an emergency?" In case of the above mentioned flood every body with common sense knows that the flood brought about the emergency; but the President and Congress of the United States became the "judge and decider" for appropriating one hundred million dollars "emergency" fund. In case of the farmer it was the humanity and common sense of the farmers that became the "judge and decider" of planting their neighbor's crop. What the President, the United States Congress, and the farmers did in the above "emergencies" was definitely right; but in normal conditions it would have been wrong and unthinkable. Now read the Firm Foundation's Solomonic question: "Since when did emergency make wrong right?"

Again the Firm Foundation says: "The very offering of the argument sets aside the Bible example in favor of something else, and the excuse is that was an emergency". Why didn't the Firm Foundation tell us what "Bible example" was set aside? And what was the "something else"? If he had given a "Bible example", it would have shown that the emergencies in New Testament times brought about the Bible Cooperation in caring for the needy. Since the Firm Foundation quoted no scripture to prove its harangue, I have quoted none in my reply.

In the Gospel Advocate of August 18, 1955, pages 724 and 725, Brother Sterl A. Watson had an article on "Emergencies". He took the position that everything connected with the work of the church is an "emergency"; but he never even referred to the scriptures to prove his assertion. I subscribed to the Gospel Advocate in 1897 and had it sent to my only sister till she married and left home; I then had it sent to my mother till she died in April 1937. Thus, for fifty seven years I have been paying subscriptions to the Gospel Advocate, and a good part of that time I was paying for two subscriptions. I take it that any reasonable person would think that I liked the Gospel Advocate; but I do not think enough of it, or of any gospel preacher to accept its or his, ipse dixit on Bible subjects without Bible proof.

More than fifty years ago, that rare specimen of humanity, Price Billingsley, was preaching at the Nashville Bible School, he was riding high the clouds of poetic eloquence, quoting from the outstanding poets of the passing ages. After his oration, Sister Lipscomb in her quiet unassuming way, suggested to him that his sermons would do more good if he would quote some scripture. So the next time he delivers himself, in the Gospel Advocate, on "Splinter Parties and the Lunatic Fringe" I hope he will follow Sister Lipscomb's advice, I am sure he remembers it. I make this suggestion because the elders of all the churches that are "On The March", see to it that every member of the congregation gets the Gospel Advocate, and if all the outstanding writers of the Advocate would back up their arguments (?) with quotations and examples from the Bible the churches certainly would become stronger in the faith, if not in horn tooting.