Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 1, 1955

C. D. Plum, Columbus, Ohio

Far be it from me to enter into reckless accusations. Not being a mind reader, I could not rightly say what motives prompt others to do as often they do. The purpose of this article is to elicit thought among the honest folk who may read it. Let us think together, first, on the following:

Why I Preach

I used to teach school and preach in the summer time only. Later my time was devoted exclusively to preaching. For three years or more I traveled everywhere I was called, conducting gospel meetings. I was busy the entire year with such meetings. (There were not so many regular preachers then, and calls for meetings were many.)

Preaching the gospel is to me a soul-saving business. The saving of my soul, and the saving of the souls of lost people. I really felt way down deep in me: "Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" (I Cor. 9:16.) With this conviction I did not reason if I would be kept busy preaching. I did not reason if I were justified in giving up my job of school teaching. I did not wonder where the money was coming from to pay off a $1,700.00 mortgage on my property. I loved my family, but I never questioned where the money was coming from to feed and clothe them. My income was very meager, and at times insufficient, but when the year was up we found we ate, we slept, and were reasonably clothed, and had met our obligations. And so has every year been since then. Our prayer was, even during our many sicknesses, "Dear Lord, lead us!"

I am not fooling myself in thinking I was alone in such work. I knew better. Other preachers, young men with families, launched out about the same time, with the same trust and confidence in God as was mine. And some of them are still living and preaching; and some have gone home, but their memories linger with us yet. The Moores, McVeys, Pennell, Hutson, Fogle, George Butterfield. Martin Bankes, and others no doubt that are omitted here because of faulty memory. We all labored together peaceably, and were happy in this beautiful Ohio valley; but some of these were older than I, many of them in fact, and by some of these older preachers we younger ones were baptized.

We enjoyed each others presence and preaching. At the time I started preaching, and others started about the same time, we were bold to face the foe. Brethren wanted the preaching straight from the shoulder, and it was not uncommon to have additions to run above the fifties in these meetings. The preachers not only found many homes open to them, but oftentimes our wives were invited too. And in the midst of all this joy, there was no question in the minds of these preachers, and NO HESITANCY, concerning:

What To Preach

The one church was defended. The independence of each congregation was understood. One set of elders for one church, and not one set of elders for two or more churches (congregations) bothered us then. Sin was rebuked. Dancing and movies, gambling and drinking, were alike condemned. Then, we rejoiced in the W. W. Oteys' who led in great debates, and who fought, and still fight for the continuation of true Christianity on the earth. Often we younger preachers wrote them letters, these older preachers. Often we wanted advice. Often we praised them for the fight they were making. And, truly, I appreciated their advice, and warning. Sometimes I needed it, and was not aware of it till it came. We were mainly concerned then in giving God the glory in the church, and encouraging congregational independence, and warning against great combines, which once led into apostasy, and will do so again. We fought against uniting church and college, like we fought against uniting church and state. We opposed the missionary societies that were sapping the church treasury, and robbing God of glory in the church. Perhaps we were lax, because we did not see it so plainly then, in opposing benevolent societies (human institutions as much so as missionary societies) in doing the charity work the church should do independent of these societies of man, so God could get the glory through the church. (Eph. 3:21.)

Anyway, there is a silence that is deafening from many preachers today, a silence that did not use to be from the pulpit. I have not heard from the pulpit in these later years so much preaching along the lines of "let the church be the church," like I used to hear. Not so much preaching about the college keeping her hands out of the church treasury. And this should apply to every other human institution. Why? Have these preachers changed their faith? No! No! I feel sure they have not. Then why the change? Only these preachers know why. I am no mind reader. Could it be this silence is due to trying to "save face"? Could it be because these preachers are trying to "save jobs"? Either located work (so-called) or evangelistic work (so-called)? Have they had some meetings canceled, or been fired? Have they felt the quarantine? Have they lost the faith they had when they quit their jobs, and trusted God for meetings? I am not accusing, just interrogating, just trying to get us all to think. A self inspection is healthful.

It tries one's faith today to stand up, and cry out, like our heart, guided by God's word, tells us to. I know. I've been put on the spot. Human strength is not enough at times like these. We must pray, and trust. After trying in my weakness to discharge my duty before God, I have been greatly relieved when some have come to me, assuring me they approved one hundred percent. But often this is just private assurance, and the public approval was not given. Why? I don't know. This must be settled between the individual and God. Better by far to settle it before the judgment day. We can and do lead people by our silence. Silence is golden sometimes, but not when God expects us to speak. Truth untaught is dangerous like falsehood taught. Lord deliver us from both errors.