Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 5, 1956

Attitudes Toward The Word Of God

Luther Blackmon, Houston, Texas

A. W. Fortune, prominent Christian Preacher and once pastor of the Central Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky, gives the following reason for the controversies that finally gave birth to the denomination called the Christian Church:

"The controversies through which the Disciples have passed, from the beginning until now, have been the result of two different interpretations of their mission. First, there have been those who believe that it is the spirit of the New Testament that should be restored and in our method of working the church should adapt itself to the changing times and conditions. (emphasis mine L.B.) Again, there have been those who regard the New Testament as a fixed pattern for all time, and our business is to hold rigidly to that pattern regardless of the consequences. Because of these two attitudes conflicts were inevitable". (Disciples In Kentucky Page 383.)

Now I have been under the impression all along that my brethren considered themselves in the class last mentioned. That is, "those who regard the New Testament as a fixed pattern for all time.... But I'm learning. We no longer have to have a command, example or necessary inference for what we do. We can prove it now by the "principle eternal." New Testament examples of church cooperation in preaching the gospel (such as Philippians 4:15-16 and II Cor. 11:8) are antiquated. One elder thinks we have a "better way to do it." A Houston preacher solves the whole controversy over "Herald of Truth" with the announcement that "they didn't have radio in New Testament times." Another well known preacher says an example doesn't mean that you cannot do it some other way. It only means that that is one way to do it, and that examples are "never exclusive." Move over, Brother Fortune, and let us sup together!

One of three things must be true, either (a) God did not anticipate changing times and conditions such as the coming of radio and television; or, (b) He did anticipate it and still did not make any provision for a central agency through which all the churches could "cooperate". In which case we must conclude that he did not deem it best for the churches to "cooperate" in that fashion; or, (c) Knowing these changes would come he left the church to "adapt itself to changing times and conditions in its method of working," and that according to human wisdom. The Christian Church chooses the last one. Which one will you have?