Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 27, 1955
NUMBER 25, PAGE 2-3b

The Quarantine In Operation

Tommy McClure, Paragould, Arkansas

On Sunday morning, May 1, 1955, I began my part of a gospel meeting with the congregation which meets at the corner of Fourth and Slicer Streets in Kennett, Missouri. At that service I preached a sermon based on 1 Tim. 4:12 where Paul instructed Timothy to be "an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." On the same day at the evening service, I preached a sermon entitled "Hindering Causes." In that sermon I stated that all hindering causes as far as the church is concerned, can be classed under two heads — external and internal. Under external causes of hindrance I discussed: (1) infidelity, atheism, evolution and modernism; (2) catholicism; and (3) denominationalism. Under internal causes of hindrance, I listed: (1) no elders and inefficient, unqualified elders; (2) untrained membership; (3) lack of genuine conversion; and (4) worldliness. On Monday evening, May 2, I continued the same line of thought and listed five more internal causes of hindrance: (1) ignorance of the Bible on the part of some members; (2) indifference, apathy, lukewarmness, etc.; (3) lack of appeal to the world; (4) doctrinal and moral softness; and (5) problem children — chronic critics and grouches. Then on Tuesday evening I preached a sermon which I call "Man's Museum Or The Museum Of Our Minds", a lesson which deals with Christian living. At the conclusion of that sermon I announced that on Wednesday evening I would deliver a lesson designed especially for members of the body of Christ entitled "Organization of The Church", and that on Thursday evening I would discuss "The Great Commission", a lesson dealing with first principles.

On Wednesday evening, May 4, I preached the sermon which I had announced the evening before and the outline that I used appears elsewhere in this issue. Several false reports have been circulated about this matter, one of which is that the Kennett elders told me not to preach the sermon and that I went ahead and preached it any way. The Kennett elders told me no such thing, and the author of that report (I know not who the author is) needs to study Rev. 21:8! About 2:30 Thursday afternoon I received a long distance telephone call from Brother F. J. Caldwell, Sr., an elder of the Kennett church (Brother Caldwell was not present, at least he was not in the auditorium, when I delivered the sermon on "Organization of The Church") telling me that the elders had met and decided to cancel my part of the meeting. I told him in substance, that I regretted they had taken that attitude but if they had decided to close my part of the meeting that was their business, and there was nothing that I could do about it. When I asked him why they had made such a decision, I was told that the elders felt I had overstepped their authority in preaching the above mentioned sermon. I denied then and I deny now that I had done any such thing. Remember please, I had announced the night before that I would preach the sermon, therefore the elders had plenty of time (almost 24 hours) to exercise their "authority" in forbidding me to preach it, but they never said a word to me about it. In the telephone conversation with Brother Caldwell, I offered to go to Kennett and go over what I had preached, item by item, and let the elders point out to me and the congregation any error which I had preached. His reply was: "The extent of the message is that your part of the meeting is closed." Since that day, Thursday, May 5, I have received no communication whatsoever from the elders at Kennett.

Then on Sunday, May 8, I preached the very same sermon at Blytheville, Arkansas (where I was located at the time) so that the elders under whose oversight I worked and the congregation of which I was a member would know just what I had preached at Kennett. In fact, I had preached the same sermon at Blytheville about 41/2 months before, December 19, 1954. In my opinion there is no congregation in the brotherhood that is more sound on the issues confronting the Lord's church than the one in Blytheville, and such is a result of open-minded diligent study — a willingness to hear both sides and weigh, in the light of God's word, all evidence presented. If every member of the body of Christ would assume that attitude, it would not be long until these problems of benevolence and congregational co-operation would be solved. But when brethren are more ready to quarantine and disfellowship than to diligently search for the truth; when they had rather be consistent with past actions than to be right; when the desire to be on the popular side overrides the desire to be on the side of the truth and right, we can rest assured that division, digression and apostasy will result.

A number of the points contained in the outline which I used at Kennett were presented many years ago by Benjamin Franklin, who was opposing the Missionary Society, and you can read them in Gospel Preacher, Vol. 2, pages 479-507. This book was copyrighted in October, 1904, and that was a long time before the Gospel Guardian was ever heard of. I make that statement to let the readers know that my sermon was not just a "Guardian sermon" and that these points are not as new as some seem to think. Nearly every point that I used in the introduction to my sermon was used by Franklin then, pages 479, 480. In the sermon at Kennett (you can read it in the outline elsewhere in this issue) I stated that there is no example of: (A) a confederation of a plurality of churches into one body, to act as a body; (B) a confederation of the elders of several churches into one body, to deliberate as a body; and (C) the elders of one congregation exercising rule in another congregation. Those very points were used by Franklin in the same book ( pages 483, 484) when he was opposing the Missionary Society and various other innovations of his day. I used those points and others which I will not take time to mention, not just because Franklin used them BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE TRUE AND NEED TO BE EMPHASIZED IN OUR DAY! In fact, to read the arguments that were made 50 years ago for and against the sponsoring church type of co-operation is truly, an eye-opener. I believe that such reading would be a great help to the elders at Kennett, and though my library doesn't contain a vast amount of material on the subject, they are welcome to read what I have.

Against the elders of the Kennett congregation I harbor no malice in my heart and I hope they feel the same way toward me. May God help all of us to realize that malice, bitterness and misrepresentation will not solve our problems. Such will only widen the breach, impair the Cause, and contribute to the destruction of precious souls.