Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 16, 1955

Seeking The Truth

Oland Bassham, Columbia, Tennessee

The words of our Lord, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32), apply just as forcefully in the current issue of congregational cooperation as they ever applied to any other spiritual matter since man first had his being here on earth.

I, like so many other members of the church, have for some time now while the issue was being discussed, considered myself an "innocent on-looker," or what some might term "on the fence." But I recognize now that there can be no "on the fence" or permanently undecided Christians in the sight of God. We are duty bound before God to search the scriptures until we find the truth in this matter. And when we have found the truth, we must immediately get on the Lord's side, the side of truth, and contend for it with all our might.

There is one thing just as true as the stars, and let us face it, brethren: the view of "congregational cooperation" upheld by the Gospel Guardian and the views set forth by the Gospel Advocate on the same question cannot possibly both be right. It is possible that both may be wrong; but utterly impossible that both be right. Fellow members of the church, our only hope of closing the gap, and thus maintaining the much desired unity that our Lord prayed for and died for (John 17; Eph. 2:15-16) is to study as we have never studied before! And let us study with the right motive — to be "approved of God" (2 Tim. 2:15) and not to uphold some preconceived idea or opinion. As we study, let us remember that those who search for the truth are considered "noble" in the sight of God. (Acts 17:11.) Then, too, we need to pray as we have never prayed before that God may give us the wisdom to understand the truth.

Because the eternal destiny of so many precious souls is involved in this issue, I shared the feelings of distress and uneasiness that so many experienced when the idea of a "quarantine" against certain brethren was presented to us recently. The very idea of a "quarantine" serves as a rope to strangle the progress that otherwise could be made toward solving the issue. When brethren in Christ love one another and are willing to keep their minds open and sit down and reason with one another, we can have unity — not quarantine. I believe I speak the desires of a great majority of the brethren when I say "away with the "quarantine"! Let us keep our hearts full of love for one another, and our minds open to study. Let us have more Christ-like discussions of the issues in the various papers. Then some day, and not too distant, either, the mists will have been rolled away, and we shall all see clearly and unmistakably what the truth is .... the truth which will free our minds of all misunderstanding of God's plan for the cooperation of congregations. What is more, we will be free from the anxiety and distress which plagues the mind of every member of the Lord's church who desires to stand on the truth, united in love, fulfilling our mission of preaching Christ to the world. May God speed that hour.