Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 27, 1955

Clearing Up Misunderstandings

Guthrie D. Dean, Malvern, Arkansas

It seems as though the denominations misunderstand us on everything we teach. We teach the truth on repentance and baptism, and they accuse us of not believing in salvation by faith. We teach the Bible on obedience and they accuse us of trying to earn our salvation. We teach the truth about Christ being the Saviour of the church and they yell, "church salvation." We teach that saving faith is a working faith and they accuse us of denying Jno. 3:16. We teach the importance of taking the Lord's Supper each week and they accuse us of teaching transubstantiation. We emphasize the Bible doctrine of baptism being a burial, and they accuse us of being formalistic. We teach that the Lord adds the saved to the church; they accuse us of denying that there are any good and honest people outside of the church of Christ. After listening to these and dozens of other kindred misunderstandings presented by our denominational friends we patiently shrug our shoulders and sympathetically say to ourselves, "Oh well, they just don't know any better."

But now-a-days there seems to be some misunderstandings among brethren in Christ. At. least I hope they are just misunderstandings. A brother can say, "I don't believe the church is obligated to support institutional orphan homes"; and as surely as you live the second brother will go away and say, "Brother so and so doesn't believe in taking care of the orphans." That reminds me of the way the denominations do us. You oppose a Catholic's confession booth and he cries, "Oh, you don't believe in confession, do you?" You oppose the Holiness mourner's bench and he cries, "Oh, you folks don't believe in mourning, do you?" See the comparison, brethren? According to the Catholic, one can't confess without a confession booth. According to the Holiness one can't mourn without a mourner's bench. And according to some brethren one can't take care of the orphans without an orphan's home. And if you oppose their way of doing it, you are opposed to orphans. Personally I am not opposed to orphan's homes provided they do their own work and provided they are supported by individuals and not churches. But we don't necessarily have to have orphan homes to take care of the orphans.

Another misunderstanding arises over cooperation of churches. If someone says, "I don't believe it's right for all the churches to pool their funds into one single church treasury and have the elders of that one church oversee the work for all the churches," invariably the second brother will go away and say, "Brother so and so doesn't believe that churches ought to cooperate. He's afraid they will lose their autonomy. Etc., etc." Sometimes we wonder if the denominations don't really know better about some of the things of which they accuse the church of Christ. And personally I think they sometimes misrepresent our position because they can't answer it. And I would hate to think that our own brethren would be guilty of misrepresenting one another on some of these current issues. I would much rather think that "Oh well, they just don't know any better." We should all prayerfully seek to understand each other; and regardless of our personal conviction on these matters let us be as charitable and as honest as possible.