Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 15, 1956

If The Blind Lead The Blind?

J. W. Brookshire, Morton, Texas

The church of Christ has ever been known for its open-mindedness, its willingness to allow and have a frank and open discussion of any and all issues. We have contended that such was fair to all concerned and at the same time, the most effective way of eliciting truth. Realizing that the way to freedom — freedom from sin, freedom from prejudice, freedom from error — is to know and obey the truth, several years ago I set out in search of that truth in order to obtain freedom.

Gospel preachers have condemned prejudice on the part of denominational people for many years. I am of the opinion that we should have been defining and condemning "prejudice" within itself; for the church is filled with prejudice today. Especially is this true among the elderships and preachers. The word "prejudice" is defined as; "a preconceived judgment or opinion; — an opinion or judgment formed beforehand, or without due examination." The denominations have long since learned that their causes is best defended — not by open, fair and frank discussions — but by presenting their side only, and then so stigmatizing those who differ with them as to create so much "prejudice" that their victims will not disgrace" themselves by hearing the other side.

Another thing that has been condemned by all Christians, is the making and binding of creeds by the denominational world. The very fact that their preachers must subscribe to and are bound by these creeds, is repulsive within itself. Many gospel preachers of today, like myself, left those things in years gone by, but now we find ourselves surrounded by them again.

Elders are making their own qualifications for gospel preachers, setting up their own requirements instead of those given by the Holy Spirit. Instead of preachers being urged to follow Paul "as he followed Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1) or to "declare the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:20) as did Paul; and to "reprove, rebuke and exhort" as Paul gave instructions to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:2), they are being asked to subscribe to unwritten creeds.

A number of times in recent years I have been asked the question, "Do you have any opposition to orphan homes, such as Boles Home; or The Herald of Truth and church support for colleges?" Just recently I was asked this question and then told that the elders considered it a local affair as to the support of such organizations, or in other words that such was a matter for the elders to decide in as much as they considered it a question of judgment or expediency on the part of the elders. I am told that these things are a good work but that the Bible does not furnish us as to how they are to be done. However, I am of the persuasion that Paul knew what he was talking about when the Holy Spirit guided him to declare that the scriptures "completely furnish the man of God unto every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16-17.) Could it be that brethren have decided that the Bible is not infallible, that it was not given for every century in the Christian age, and that the church (or should I say the elders) is the authority today? As for me I will take the word of inspiration.

It seems to me that the thing needed is not a "quarantine" by any individual or group of individuals, but a fair, frank and open discussion of these matters to elicit truth. Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32.) Paul declared that the elders are to "be able to exhort in sound doctrine and to convict the gainsayer." (Titus 1:9.) Therefore, elders should be willing and glad for the congregation to hear both sides of any question. Then if the elders meet the qualifications as given by the Holy Spirit, they can separate the truth from error and lead the congregation in paths of righteousness.

The only way to learn the truth concerning any question is to hear all the testimony. If elders refuse to hear both sides and then refuse the congregation that privilege, the result is partial ignorance. The church is divided all over the country concerning Orphan Homes, Herald of Truth and methods of doing mission work. Many faithful brethren have not had the opportunity to study all the issues involved but have blindly followed the decisions of the elders relative to such matters. When elders refuse to study such problems and do not allow such things discussed, are they not "blind guides of the blind"? If the elders are wrong in their decisions concerning such matters, will not they and those whom they lead "both fall into the ditch"?

People naturally follow the individual in whom they have confidence. If a congregation is kept in ignorance concerning these grave questions, and division comes within that congregation; the average member will not follow after the authority of God's Word, but will follow after the one in whom he has the most confidence.

Brethren, let us not be "blind guides leading the blind," but let us "study to show ourselves approved of God." Let us settle our problems by a "thus saith the Lord" and not by "quarantine" and unwritten creeds. May the Lord have mercy on those elders who are constantly attempting to make hypocrites out of gospel preachers by requesting that they not preach those things they believe to be true. If you know they are wrong, why not do them as Aquila and Priscilla did Apollos, or as Paul did Peter when he "withstood him face to face.