Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 5, 1956
NUMBER 47, PAGE 12-13a

It Is A Scheme

Joe R. Hunter, Kermit, Texas

Seems like everybody is quoting someone to their own advantage; Luther, Calvin, Zwingly, Campbell, McGarvey and others too numerous to mention. Yet some quote no one, just drive their "own point" of "opinion" stating that it is expedient for the present, and what they have to say is "THE LAW". We are reminded of what Jesus spoke in Matt. 15:9. "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men," also forgetting the principle involved in 1 John 4:1, "believe not every spirit (teaching) but try them and see whether they be of God". There is this to contend with; those of tomorrow may take the opinions of man as the law of God without question. Just as one member of the church so recently said, "Remember the scripture that said, where the Bible speaks we speak, and where the Bible is silent we are silent." Well the Bible nowhere states what the brother believed it to say. Evidently someone made the statement in the presence of this brother, and he took it as scripture. In matters of faith this will hold true, but in the realm of opinion this is not always true. A state of confusion is so easy to get up when brethren are prone to let someone else do their thinking and reading of the scriptures for them.

The situation as of now is nothing more nor less than a "take off" from the early church when she began to lose her autonomy, have her power usurped, and fell prey to blind guidance. This in time brought on the dark ages, of which we are not too well acquainted. Preceding this age, we note that the church fell prey to, or into a state of over-zealousness. They were desirous of getting things done, giving no thought as to who or how these things should be done; little by little a great darkness came upon the land. Today we as a people are interested in doing things in a big way rather than a BIBLE WAY, or at least some give this evidence by their plea as they cry, "hold up our hands while we do your work for you." We know and you know that the work is too great for us, but you just send us the money and everything will turn out just fine, as long as you don't attempt to tell us what to do. Do you, my dear reader, not see the workings of ROME in the background? Please remember that the votaries of Rome have nothing to do but furnish the cash to carry on the workings of the MAN OF SIN. We are concerned, deeply so, over the success of the church, and know that the gates of hell shall not prevail against her, for Christ so stated; but why try to impeach the church and the cause for which she stands with some of the whims and fancies of the day? Yes, as Israel said, "we want a king," because those round about us have kings, and we want to be in style. Is not this the attitude of many of our brethren today? Let not over-zealousness run riot. The words of the great Apostle Paul are in order here, "I bear them record, they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge." Does not this strike at the tap root of the sponsoring church "doin's" of today? Let us hear Brother Paul once more, "let all things be done decently and in order." Our sponsoring church brethren will give this movement a decent burial covered by the scriptures, when they have converged on "THE PATTERN" given in the book of Acts, chapter 11, I Cor. 16, and II Cor. chapters 8 and 9. All brethren everywhere are to be commended for doing good, but only when it is meet for the MASTER.

The onset of digression was a gradual thing, nothing of a sweeping nature, just one "little" thing after another. Then, too, these small things were sinister in that not too many were prepared to unmask them for what they were, evil to the core in their background. Furthermore. in the early church it was a disarming process as it is now. In every concept the plan was laid out so that it would be pleasing to the pride. Is not the same to be said for present day tendencies?

Going back for almost a hundred years, we hear Moses E. Lard, "The prudent man, who has the care of a family, watches well the first symptoms of disease. He does not wait till his wife is helpless, and his children prostrated. He has learned that early cures are easy cures, while late ones often fail. On this experience he resolutely acts, and the world applauds his wisdom. Why should not the judicious policy be acted upon in the weighty matters of religion? All must say it should. Now that we, as a religious people, may be better prepared to adopt it and act upon it, it may be well to take a brief account of our work and selves just at this particular time." Truer words were never spoken, for we will account not only here, but at that great bar of justice, in the great day of judgment.

The results of digression are horrifying; it has divided the children of God, it has set brother against brother, it has divided homes, it has wrought havoc in the church and has caused deep distrust all the way around the world. It has had a disquieting effect, turmoil and strife are to be seen on every hand. It was disastrous long ago, and it is disastrous now. Jesus prayed "not my will be done but thine." Should we not all pray "THY WILL BE DONE"? The year 1875 was fraught with the results of digression. This thing did not happen all at once, it was long in the making. Missionary Societies and music were not all that was involved in the disruption of the church of the past century; it was a disavowal of God's word and a holding of the thinking of man. It has been said "A safe maxim for life is, profound confidence in the Lord's plan for Christianizing the world, and devotion thereto with a whole single heart, but deep distrust and a jealous watchfulness of all human expedients to aid that plan."

As to the present state of affairs, this might be said, there are some who are in a complete state of ignorance as to what is going on in this great brotherhood. Then there is that great number of brethren who are the willing ones, that is they are in a state of complacency, abiding the wishes of those who are to be looked up to. Then there is the other group that is willing to be looked up to, and they are doing their best to be the REGENT that they are supposed to be. They think that all those who would stand in their way are uncouth, unlearned, have no care for the orphan, nor are they mindful of the aged, (sic). These are only smoke screens for signal calling. Also they charge that those who oppose are "trying to split the Church," "stop all good works" and no end to all the incriminations.

The attitude pro and con may be seen in the following incident. While preaching in Kansas I had some very interesting studies with a preacher of the Christian Church who said he knew the Church of Christ was right; but, in "his" church he had the ladies aid and missionary societies to work with, and he could do a greater work there so he would just stay where he was. I wonder if some of our "great" thinkers are not in the same position as this fellow? I wonder how far amiss DeGroot was when he said "there is now the beginning of a missionary society in the church of Christ"? Brethren what do we have when quarantine signs have gone up all over the country? Are these brethren afraid to be inoculated with the serum of truth? The whole woof and warp of this magic carpet is out of kilter, that is, sponsoring cooperative methods. Hear this sage of old, "It is a fact that it stands before the brotherhood as a semi-political institution, and is coveting the control of interests which do not legitimately belong to it — this is what causes brethren to distrust it and stand aloof from it." Lard thus spoke on the society. He further states "There is a deep and well-founded aversion in the minds of our brethren to building up in our midst a great ecclesiastic society, endowed and independent, such as our great general society seems anxious to become. Under this head we have not forgotten the lessons of church history. Never till the church became corrupt did she sanction the formation of these great bodies; and never did corruption flow into the church as fast from any other sources as from these bodies. I have no faith in them, but an abiding fear that they will prove the curse of the Reformation, as they did the curse to the primitive church." "But let no mutually binding obligation be entered into. Let the fatal experience of past ages be our warning here; and let no steps he taken or measures inaugurated which shall in any degree interfere with the perfect independence of the churches and the perfect freedom of all the children of God. On these points let us be jealous and reserved."

As of this very good day, there are yet many who have not bowed the knee to all the innovations, nor to the rewards that are so lavishly handed out to the ones who will serve an unrighteous cause.

With this quotation we close; "In conclusion, I trust our brethren will reject this whole scheme of co-operation. It is a scheme of centralization, which can end in no good."