Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 8, 1955
NUMBER 31, PAGE 12b,13b

Inside The Fence

Judson Woodbridge, Mulvane, Kansas

Christ prayed that his disciples be one even as he and the Father were one. (Jno. 17:21). But so-called disciples are divided. Why? I am sure that the attitude that they take toward the word of God enters into the condition that brings about this deplorable state. Some look upon the Bible as a book of general principles (nothing specific in it), and man can use his own judgment in matters of doctrine and life. This can mean nothing but division; for, the judgments of men vary. There will be almost as many ideas as there are people. If God gave a book like that, the prayer of Jesus was useless. Unity would be an impossibility among disciples.

But the Spirit's unity gives no place for human judgment in regard to the number of churches, Gods, Christs, Spirits, hopes, faiths, and baptisms. (Eph. 4:4,5). There is only ONE of each of these. There is no place for the ideas of man in doctrine; for the Apostles' doctrine is the doctrine, and it must not be changed (Gal. 1:7, 8). Man is circumscribed with a fence, which is not to be broken down. This fence is the teaching of Christ (2 Jno. 9-11). If he breaks it down, he and all who follow him, will be in the wilds of human judgment. How helpless! "0 Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." (Jer. 10:23.)

Man in his wisdom has chosen to run over God's restrictions in the matter of the name to wear, the kind of music to use in worship, the time to have the Lord's supper, church organization, church work, the way to be saved, the church to be a member of, etc. They forget that God's wisdom directs in these things.

The divided Christian church is a good example of fence breaking. Yes, it is divided, for here in our city-two Christian churches have been started. One calls itself, "The First Christian Church (Independent)"; the other, "Christian Church cooperating with the Kansas Christian Missionary Society, and the United Christian Missionary Society." How did these churches come into existence? The answer must be, "Fence breaking." Both are guilty of departing from "the faith." When the society became the central organization through which the work of the church was done, the fence was broken. When instrumental music was introduced in worship once more there was a breach. When this happened this people went on their own. At that very hour they started to walk by the judgments of men and not by the word of God. What they did, or did not do, was determined by self appointed leaders. God's will had been walked over, and no longer was it a restriction. Brethren, beware! Repair the breaches and keep up the fence that God built.

I am sure the Lord built nothing larger than the congregation through which his work is to he done. I am sure the elders, scripturally speaking, as elders cannot oversee anything more than the work of that local congregation. Centralization of a brotherhood work under one eldership looks to me like fence breaking. Sorry, brethren, if that makes me a hobbyist. I hope the Lord says, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Are there no brotherhood projects directed by the elders of one congregation? If not, then I rejoice. If there are, then I weep. Be honest, brethren: Are there brotherhood projects, directed for the churches, by one group of elders? I can only wish that my vision is obscured, and I am not seeing what I think I see.

There will be no division if we will all stay in God's pasture — inside the fence.