Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 3, 1955

Who Is The Skunk?

Roy E. Cogdill

In the Christian Chronicle not too many weeks ago there appeared a cartoon in connection with an editorial that aroused my curiosity somewhat. In the picture were some pious (?) souls holding their noses and a skunk not too far away. The skunk was supposed to represent a "factionist" and was so offensive to the characters that represented the pious brethren that they could hardly bear it. The accompanying editorial supported the caricature. But who is the skunk? The dear brethren didn't say. Brother Joe Malone of Fort Worth drew the picture and the remarkable young editor of the "Christian Chronicle," promoter extraordinary, wrote the editorial. Neither of them identified just whom the skunk represented. I doubt if either of them knows what a factionist is. It would be interesting to hear them give a definition of a factionist that would fit its scriptural usage. It would also be interesting to put them on a witness stand, under oath, and ask them to whom they referred as a skunk. They are both nice boys — far too nice to be abusive — only those who oppose them are abusive and of course the "Christian Chronicle" is not controversial nor would it be abusive. Only the "Gospel Guardian" stoops to such tactics of dirty insinuation and yellow journalism to hear them tell it, and a lot of these pious (?) brethren declare that they would not read it. It is peculiar that they are able to pass judgment and always seem to know what the paper contains if they won't and don't read it.

So far as I am personally concerned I had rather call one of my brethren a "skunk" than to leave a dirty insinuation concerning some of them and let people guess about whom I was writing. To say the least of the matter one is a lot more courageous than the other and I dare say more honorable. Are these brethren too cowardly to say what they are willing to insinuate? It seems they are. Let no one claim piety too great to be abusive for them any longer. Neither let anyone magnify their courage for until they will say what and whom they mean in their dirty pictures and vile insinuations they are the sneaks that throw out their musk to offend the nostrils of all who have a sense of honor and right.

A "factionist" is one "which causes divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned." Not every one who causes division is a "factionist." Truth sometimes causes division. Upholding righteousness sometimes brings division into reality. But this is so only because someone has taught error and someone insists upon practicing unrighteousness. Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law." (Matt. 10:34-35.) Peace at any price is not worth having.

Those of our brethren who are causing division in the body of Christ today over their unscriptural methods and promotions, such as Brother Nichols and Malone, are the "factionists" for they are causing division in the body of Christ, drawing the line of fellowship, over things that are "contrary to the doctrine" which is given by the Lord. They are the creators of dissension. Brother Nichols' promotions have created more disturbance in the body of Christ than anything since the missionary society and the introduction of instrumental music. And like those who introduced these practices without scriptural authority and were responsible for the division they created, He and those who support him, are responsible for the division in the body of Christ today over human methods and institutions for which they are utterly unable to produce scriptural authority.

Who caused division? Those who preached the doctrine of "Justification by faith only" or those who opposed it?

Who caused division? Those who substituted sprinkling for immersion or those who opposed it?

Who caused division? Those who instituted the practice of infant baptism or those who opposed it?

Who caused division? Those who introduced the Missionary Society as a method of preaching the Gospel or those who opposed it?

Who caused division? Those who injected the human innovation of instrumental music into the worship of God or those who opposed it ?

Who caused division? Those who taught and preached pre-millennialism or those who opposed it?

Is it always the man who opposes something that brings on division? No, to be sure the Word of God stands in opposition to all kinds of error whether it be "binding" or "loosing." But the parallel is exact when the brethren who promote the "Herald of Truth" have to admit that there is no authority in the Bible for their practice. Brother Harper admitted it in the Lufkin debate — neither precept — approved example — or necessary inference that included it. He sought to justify it by other means. Over a thing unauthorized by the Word of God, admittedly non-essential — a matter of expediency or judgment, they are willing to divide the body of Christ from center to circumference and caricature their brethren who oppose their unscriptural promotions as "skunks." Well they had better turn the eye of investigation inward for a little while. A bad breath is never detected by the owner unless he is "told by his best friend." A drunk hardly ever realizes that he is the one who is drunk. A lunatic thinks everyone else is crazy but him. I doubt if a "skunk" despises his own odor. Anything "contrary to the doctrine" of Christ is that which is offensive to the Lord and instead of being an odor of sweet smell in His presence is a stench in His nostrils. When brethren through their own egotism, will, and conceit are willing to introduce organizations and promotions into the church of our Lord that do not have scriptural authority and destroy its unity and peace — they smell bad to the Lord whether they revel in their own odor or not.