Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 5, 1956
NUMBER 47, PAGE 10-11a

"Church Of Christ Number Two" ... Says Degroot

Luther W. Martin, St. James, Missouri

The subject of this article is a booklet entitled, "Detour From Unity, Church of Christ Number Two", written by A. T. DeGroot, of Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. Primarily, the author bemoans the divided condition in the ranks of the Disciples of Christ. His first paragraph reads:

"The die is cast — there is to be a second division in the ranks of the Disciples of Christ, a second falling away from the 'Reformation for Christian Unity."

"Like the first separation from the movement of the nineteenth century reformers, that of the Churches of Christ (anti-organ and anti-missionary society) in 1906, this second schism results from a lack of faith in the primary goal of the Disciples of Christ. . . .

"Lancelot Oliver, an English leader, has clearly epitomized this fact in his article in the Bible Advocate, May 6, 1910:

" `We have never held that a return to New Testament Christianity and acceptance of what we think constitutes it, are necessarily one and the same thing; and at needed moments the fact has been recalled that we must ever be ready to diminish or enlarge, as further truth breaks forth from God's word.'

"The brethren who moved apart in 1906 and took the United States Census designation as 'Churches of Christ' were those of the Restoration Movement who did not care to follow this principle, but preferred to fix unchangeable demands upon their partisans on, among other things, a topic not even mentioned in the New Testament, that of acapella singing.

"And now, in 1955, a second schism is clearly being demanded by some (not all) of the leaders of a conservative faction in the Disciples of Christ brotherhood. With the assumed blessing of the Christian Standard notice is carried in that paper, Feb. 19, 1955, that Mr. Vernon M. Newland, of Rolla, Missouri, will issue a "Directory of the Ministry," with a supplement listing missions, Bible colleges, conventions, rallies, Christian Service Camps, evangelistic teams, and other associations — all of these being screened upon the basis of certain doctrinal standards determined at Rolla, Mo. . .."

Points Of Disagreement On Material Quoted

1. Mr. DeGroot first assumes that which was NOT true, i.e., that the brethren who continued to worship as they always had, were the one who 'fell away'. The FALLING AWAY was occasioned by the alteration, addition and change in belief, doctrine and practice. Obviously, those who made NO ALTERATION, NO ADDITION or NO CHANGE in their BELIEF,

DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE . . . did NOT FALL AWAY! Those who altered 'God's plan in preaching the gospel through such human agencies as Missionary Societies, FELL AWAY! Those who added to God's revealed and ordained manner of musical worship, with man-made instruments of music, were the ones who FELL AWAY!

2. We also emphatically deny that the 'first schism' as Mr. DeGroot terms it, 'in 1906' resulted from a lack of "FAITH IN THE PRIMARY GOAL OF THE DISCIPLES OF CHRIST." (Disciples of Christ was capitalized. L.W.M.) My brethren are not interested in the least, in having 'FAITH' in any particular `Goal' of any denomination. Now if Mr. DeGroot speaks of FAITH IN CHRIST . . . then he's talking about an entirely different subject ... a subject in which my brethren ARE vitally interested. In fact, we are willing to make the counter-charge (and it can be proven), that the 'FALLING AWAY' aptly applies to those who either substituted the Missionary Society FOR the church, or added it TO the church; and, to those who added the mechanical instrument TO the prescribed manner of New Testament worship, i.e., SINGING PRAISE UNTO GOD!

3. Similarly, we also deny that the brethren who took the 1906 Census designation as 'Churches of Christ', 'MOVED' apart! The 'MOVING' (change of position or practice) occurred upon the part of the 'Disciples'. And, as regards 'unchangeable demands' . . the demands, commands or requirements of the word of God, have remained fixed and unchangeable since John penned the book of Revelation.

4. Whatever the New Testament stated New Testament, we mean its component books ...whatever it stated in 100 AD., it still TEACHES IN 1956 A.D.

The last vehement denial which we make in reference to the author's assertions, deals with the following quotation: ". . . a topic not even mentioned in the New Testament, that of acapella singing." If the writer will look up the definitions of "acapella singing" he will learn that this phrase refers to "vocal music, unaccompanied by a mechanical instrument". This is exactly the kind of musical worship that was engaged in by the Christians of New Testament days. Therefore, those of us who insist upon following THAT kind, type or manner of musical worship ... have not DEPARTED, have not MOVED APART, but have REMAINED in exactly the same position as was set forth by inspiration.

Vernon M. Newland, Et Al, Reject Public Discussions

The gentleman that Mr. DeGroot accuses of being a major contributor to what DeGroot terms the formation of the "Church of Christ No. 2", is Mr. Vernon M. Newland, formerly of Rolla, Mo. Yet, Mr. Newland is not so sure, steadfast and firm in his own convictions that he is willing to actually defend his practices in a public discussion.

On April 6, 1954, Brother L. O . Sanderson of Springfield, Missouri, wrote to Mr. Newland and challenged him to publicly discuss his beliefs and practices in regard to the use of the instrument.

On January 3, 1954, yours truly also corresponded with Mr. Newland's brother-in-law, Mr. Neal M. Lovell, who at that time was the 'Pastor' of the First Christian Church of Rolla, Mo. The occasion of my challenge to Mr. Lovell AND Mr. Newland, was the public announcement by Mr. Newland, that during an evangelistic meeting which he was conducting in Rolla, he would discuss the following sermon subject: "What the Bible teaches About Instrumental Music in worship".

Needless to say, Mr. Lovell replied for himself AND Mr. Newland, to the effect that possibly at some future date, Mr. Newland might engage in such an exchange of discussions. It was then three months later, that Brother Sanderson contacted Mr. Newland directly. In reply to Brother Sanderson's challenge, Mr. Newland began to lay down some specifications as to the 'qualifications' of his proposed opponent in any discussion. (1) The opponent must be within 15 years of Mr. Newland's age. (2) The opponent must be a college graduate.

Subsequent to this correspondence, Mr. Newland taught school during the 1954-55 school-year in the Rolla, Mo., school system. But never once, did he approach me with the subject of the proposed discussion.

Perhaps, by this time, our readers are wondering . .. "Just why devote so much space to the subject of Mr. Newland?" To answer such a question, we copy below, Mr. Newland's mimeographed CLAIM:

"THE FOLLOWING CLAIM has been made PUBLICLY over SEVERAL YEARS, and in SEVERAL STATES, without the slightest efforts on the part of anyone to say to the writer (Mr. Newland, L.W.M.) that it is not true: (a) There is NOT ONE WORD ANYWHERE IN THE BIBLE AGAINST INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN THE WORSHIP, but (b) on the contrary, it is specifically mentioned SCORES OF TIMES IN THE BIBLE (in both Old and New Testaments), and wherever mentioned it is, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, either a command of God to use the instruments, or their use in worship is commended by the Scriptures."

The above CLAIM was DENIED in 1954, both by Brother L. O. Sanderson and by myself, but Mr. Newland never condescended to submit his CLAIM to an investigation with an open Bible, before the public. If this is an example of the LACK OF ABILITY or DEFENSELESSNESS of the position and practice of the CONSERVATIVE 'Disciples' what more can be expected from the more LIBERAL 'Disciples'?

One Embarrassing Paragraph

Mr. DeGroot does have an embarrassing paragraph on the last page of his booklet. It reads:

"Certainly the Church of Christ Number 1 (My brethren, L.W.M.) will offer no welcoming hand of fellowship unless the Church of Christ Number 2 (Conservative Disciples or Christian Church, such as Mr. Newland's associates, L.W.M.) will forswear instrumental music. They might not be obliged to renounce missionary societies, for Church of Christ Number 1 is developing the first forms of these very rapidly — one of which spends over $1,000,000 annually on broadcasting sermons. But fellowship with Church of Christ Number 1 would not mean unity, for that body is actually in many disfellowshipped fragments. In April and in June, 1955, (Mr. DeGroot wrote prior to the Lufkin Debate. L.W.M.) one Church of Christ (Number 1) minister will debate another at Lufkin and at Abilene, Texas, on the subject of missionary societies which have emerged in Church of Christ Number 1."

We would like to point out to Mr. DeGroot, that the only 'disfellowshiping' that may have occurred in the ranks of my brethren, whom Mr. DeGroot chooses to disparage with the term "Church of Christ Number 1" has been in instances where individual congregations have elected not to use the services of preachers who are known or have been known to question the current practice of some churches in being designated as a "sponsoring church" or a "contributing church".

Therefore, once again, the question resolves itself to one of standing where the apostles stood, teaching what the apostles taught, and practicing what the New Testament Christians practiced. Any addition, deletion or alteration brands the perpetrator thereof, as one or ones who have CHANGED!