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

My Earnest Plea

W. W. Otey, Winfield, Kansas

My best judgment is that the articles appearing in the Gospel Guardian have been on the highest level of fairness, gospel dignity and spirit, the most logical and scriptural of any discussions among brethren who differ than any that I have ever read. With a very few regrettable exceptions, the manner of spirit has been commendable... But our brethren who are so zealously defending human institutions through which the churches are to do their work are becoming past masters in misrepresentation, and in stigmatizing all those who call in question the institutions they are promoting. They seem to have employed about every ugly epithet that innovators invented and used many years ago. They have even thought up some new names to call their brethren.

Here is my plea: Do not meet such unChristian tactics by replying in kind! Brethren, our behavior must be as much above that manifested by the "institutional" brethren as our position in defense of the church against all innovations is above their position. Expose error; blast sophistry with all the clearness and force at your command. Spare not to oppose every teaching and practice not found in the word of the Lord. Expose dodging and quibbling. But do not fall to the level of calling names and trying to discredit men. Nothing would please those in error more than for us to drop to that level, and pitch the controversy on that plane. And nothing would hurt the cause of truth more than for us to do that.

This is not a battle between men. Some might like to pitch it on that level; but we cannot allow them to do so. This is a battle that has been in progress from the very beginning of the church upon the earth. Briefly put, the question is: Is the church as God gave it to the world the best medium to the performing of the work God wants done; or can we best accomplish God's work by multiplying institutions to supplement (and eventually supplant) the church?

This battle will not end next week, or next month. This generation is not likely to see its finish. But when the Lord returns for the final accounting, each of us as an individual will be judged not by whether truth or error was victorious in the battle; but by our own teaching and practice. Do not try to win the battle by any unChristian tactic. You may win a point, but you will lose your own soul by doing so.