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

Pressures That Back-Fired


There are increasing signs over the nation that the "quarantine" hobbyists may be over-reaching themselves, and that a very healthy reaction to their tactics' may be in the making. As an example of what is happening, we publish in this issue an outline of the sermon recently preached by Brother Tommy McClure at Kennett, Missouri, together with a statement from him as to what happened as a result of this preaching. Be it said for the faithful Christians at Kennett, as well as for many others in the area, that there was a common sense of outrage and resentment when Brother McClure was stopped from preaching the plain and simple truth which is set forth in the outline here reproduced. If this is the kind of preaching our "centralized control" brethren are objecting to (and it is), things have indeed come to a sad pass!

The local preacher at Kennett, Brother William See, endorsed the truth which was preached by McClure. So also did the congregation as a whole. But because of the fanatical opposition of the "centralized control" institutionally-minded brethren, it became necessary for See either to withdraw his endorsement of the truth preached by McClure, or else to leave the work at Kennett. Under such conditions a man of conviction and integrity has only one course open to him. See left Kennett, and moved to the good work at Blytheville, Arkansas. We carry in this issue a short report from him concerning a special service at Blytheville when this "cooperation" issue was discussed. Although the few brethren at Kennett forced him to leave there, it is pretty evident that theirs was a Pyrrhic victory. As it becomes increasingly known that their marriage to a hobby is causing them to disfellowship faithful gospel preachers, and to oppose sound gospel preaching, their influence is certain to decline with all right-thinking brethren.

A letter from Brother Lloyd Moyer of Richmond, California, tells us of a "pressure" effort in Bakersfield, California, where he recently held a gospel meeting, which also "backfired" against those who were attempting to put the quarantine into effect. Moyer was scheduled for a meeting with the good church in East Bakersfield, where Randy Dickson is the faithful preacher. When announcements were sent to the other churches in the area, telling of the meeting, the elders of the Central Church in Bakersfield, requested a meeting with the elders of East Bakersfield. Under the influence and encouragement of their preacher, Brother J. D. Rothwell, the Central Church elders requested that East Bakersfield cancel its meeting with Moyer. When East Bakersfield elders declined to do this, Central's elders informed them that if they did not cancel, the meeting would be boycotted by Central Church; it would not be announced, nor attended, and East Bakersfield would be "disfellowshipped" by Central for the duration of the meeting!

And what was the reason Central Church gave for her attempt at intimidation? Very simple: Moyer was known as a preacher who did not support institutional orphan homes; had been known to make criticisms against Herald of Truth, and had publicly preached that it was wrong to support Christian colleges out of the church treasury! In the eyes of Central's preacher and elders, this marked Moyer as an "extremist" of the first order. He must not be allowed to come to Bakersfield!

The East Bakersfield elders thereupon informed Central's elders in kind but positive language that they were quite capable of managing their own affairs; and had neither invited nor desired Central's interference in their work. The attempted pressure back-fired on the hobbyistic brethren with such resounding impact as to be noted through all the San Joaquin Valley. Moyer came and held the meeting, one of the best in East Bakersfield's history. He left the East Bakersfield congregation united, at peace, and working happily together for the advancement of the cause of Christ in that area.

During the meeting the Central Church elders and preacher, true to their threat, did not attend or announce. Brother Moyer wrote a letter to J. D. Rothwell, asking for a discussion of the issues. His letter was not even answered. There were many fine people all over the area who had not given too much study to the issues, and had been more or less favorably disposed toward "sponsored cooperation" and the institutional arrangements. But when they saw how this new hobby was causing division within the churches, and leading those obsessed with it to attempt to pressure and coerce sister congregations, they began to awaken to the fact that this new hobby is not some innocent, harmless idea; but is a deadly menace to the peace of God's people. Even many who were previously favorable to institutionalism turned against anything that could cause any such trouble between brethren.

The incidents at Kennett, Missouri, and Bakersfield, California, are typical of many that are beginning to develop over the nation. When faithful elders and Christians generally come to realize that the "sponsoring church" type of cooperation is being advocated as the ONLY kind of cooperation taught in the Scripture (as one of the staff writers of the Gospel Advocate has recently sought to prove), and that the institutional orphan home is the ONLY scriptural way to care for orphan children (as the recent brochure put out by the sponsors of Ontario Children's Home declared), we look for a widespread reaction against such extremism and such fanaticism. The pressures which these hobbyistic brethren have been exerting against faithful churches and preachers are bound to back-fire! You may expect it in the days ahead.

-F. Y. T.