Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 21, 1957
NUMBER 41, PAGE 1,9b-10

"You Cannot Argue With A Demonstration"

Bryan Vinson, Houston, Texas

After The Jerusalem Church Had Set Up And Implemented A Systematic Method Of Relieving The Poor, The Holy Spirit Said: "And The Word Of God Increased And The Number Of The Disciples Multiplied In Jerusalem Exceedingly." (Acts 6:7.) When The Church Today Engages Noticeably In Such Benevolence, "Men May See Your Good Works And Glorify Your Father Which Is In Heaven." (Matt. 6:16.)

This Is Possibly The Most Glaring Weakness In The Program Of The Church Of Christ Today: Its Unconcern Over The Manner Of Life Of Their Lord And Master Of Whom It Was Pointedly Said: "He Went About Doing Good." You Can Remember This: A Religion That Does Not Involve Itself Mightily In Visiting The Fatherless And Widows In Their Affliction Is Considered By Neither God Nor Man As Pure And Undefiled.

This Fact Is Self Evident: A Religion That Will Let A Man Forget His Unfortunate Brother Is Not From The Father, And You Can Spend Millions Of Dollars With But Little Success In Trying To Convert The World To That Brand Of Religion. Alexander Campbell Defeated The Catholics In Debate, And Did It Well. But There Are Today More Catholics Than Ever In This Land Where They Met Such Defeat. They Lost In Polemics, But They Won In Practice. They Have Hospitalized More Sick People, And Cared For More Homeless Children Than Any Other Religious Body In America. They Have Had Tremendous Opposition And Prejudice To Overcome, But Through Their Ministries They Have Made Phenomenal Headway. And Those Who Have Directly Or Indirectly Been Touched By Such Ministry Are Certainly Slow To Be Persuaded That The Dogma Of Catholicism Is In Error.

The World Is Very Little Concerned With The Religious Professions Of A Church That Does Not Practice What It Preaches. Jesus Said, "By Their Fruit Ye Shall Know Them," And That Is Exactly The Yardstick The World Applies To The Church Of Christ. And All Too Often The World Turns Away In Disgust With The Same Disgust With Which Jesus Appraised The Pharisees When He Said: "They Say And Do Not."

And That Is The Same Yardstick With Which The People In Your Community Are Measuring Catholicism And All Other "Isms." So Far The World Has Shown Little Interest In A Doctrine That Does Not Doctor, In A Preachment That Does Not Practice. In A Message Without Mercy. To The World It Makes No Difference Whether We Call Ourselves Protestant, Catholic Or Christian, Each Man And His Religion Are Going To Be Judged By God And Man Alike: "According To What He Hath Done, Whether It Be Good Or Bad." (II. Cor. 5:10.)

If Our Religion Does Not Meet The Needs Of Suffering, Benighted And Sin- Sick Humanity, The World Will Have None Of It.

When Jesus Said, "By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them, It Was Just Another Way Of Saying What Is Often Said Today: "You Just Cannot Argue With A Demonstration." One Thing The Church Of Our Lord Can Well Be Dead- Sure Of: We Had Better Give The World A Good, Vigorous, Clean-Cut Demonstration — A Demonstration Of Our Love Of God, Of Brethren, Of All Men, Especially With Mercy And Sympathy Toward The Fatherless And Widows And The Sick. We Had Better Give A Demonstration Of The Attitude, Sympathies And Atmosphere In The Life Of Him Who Once Said: "By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them."

The Above Article Appeared In The Boles Home News Of December 10Th, Of Which Brother Gayle Oler Is The Editor. It Presents A Contrast Between The Church Of Christ And The Catholic Church, With The Latter Being Held Forth In A Favorable Light And The Former Discreditably Portrayed In Comparison Therewith. Brother Oler, Suffering From A Condition Of Spiritual Imbalance Brought About By An Obsession He Has Developed For His Baby, Boles Home, Has Really Placed Himself In A Most Embarrassing Position By This Article. I Wonder How Those Who Have Heretofore Subsisted On The Diet Prescribed By Him For Them In This Paper Will React To This Article. Has He Conditioned Them So They Will Swallow Anything He Sees Fit To Hand Out? That Most Of His Supporters Are Woefully Lacking In Their Powers Of Spiritual Discernment Is Acknowledged, But That They Are Ready To Accept This Fulsome Praise Of Catholicism And Corresponding Censure Of The Church Is More Than I Can Now Believe.

He Sets Forth The Thought That A Religion Which Does Not Involve Itself Mightily In Visiting The Fatherless And Widows In Their Affliction Is Considered By Neither Man Nor God. Thus He Unites And Identifies As The Same The Judgment Of Man And God In The Appraisal Of A Religion, Suspending The Judgment Thus Formed On The Point Of Benevolence Mightily Engaged In. It Isn't Sufficient For The Church To Operate Within The Restricted Limits Of The New Testament Economy, But It Must Expand Its Operation Mightily, Or Else It Falls Under The Censure And Rejection Of Man, Of God, And, Yes, Brother Oler, Too. We Should Regret Sincerely The Censure Of Our Fellowman, More So The Reprobation Of Our Brother But Supremely So The Disfavor Of Our God. This Expressed Concern For, And Evident Acceptance Of, The World's Judgment By. Brother Oler As A Criterion Of Our Religion May Be Granted; But That His And Their Judgment Is Also God's Is Another Matter. A Program Of The Church Of Christ Comparable To The Operations Of The Catholic Church Appears To Be What Is Wanting, And In The Absence Of Such We Are Revealing A Most Glaring Weakness. We Need To Overcome This Weakness In Order That We Can Demonstrate To The World That Our Religion Is Pure And Undefiled, As The Catholics Have Done. But The Church In The First Century Was Also Meet By This Same Fundamental Weakness Which Stands In Contrast To The General Organization And Functioning Of The Papacy. As Such, Therefore, It Was In No Condition To 'Demonstrate" As The Latter Does That Pure And Undefiled Religion Which, In Brother Oler's Mind, Appears To Be Principally The Caring For The Fatherless Children Of The World. His Reference To The Campbell-Purcell Debate Merits Some Notice. This Discussion Occurred In Cincinnati More Than A Century Ago, And While Conceding That At That Time, And In That Engagement, Campbell Won A Victory, He, Nevertheless, Credits The Catholics With Having Subsequently Won That Which They Then Lost. What Did Campbell Then Win And Purcell Lose That By Reason Of The Benevolent Activities Of The Catholics Has Been Reversed? That Is, Was Campbell's Contention Then Right And Later Was Demonstrated To Be Wrong; Whereas The Catholics Then Proven Wrong But Now, With The Force Of A Demonstration, Proven To Be Right? If This Isn't The Implication Of His Language It Is Misleading, Yet I Do Not Think Brother Oler Will Affirm That They Have Established They Are Right In That For Which Purcell Contended. Purcell Contended That The Roman Catholic Church Is The Holy, Apostolic Church Of Christ, Identical With The Church Of The New Testament. His Effort Was Weak Because His Position Was Weak; Campbell Was Strong, Because He Had The Truth Then, And That Which Was The Truth Then Is The Truth Now. Since They Have Demonstrated Their Religion Through Their Benevolent Operations, And We "Cannot Argue With A Demonstration" We Cannot Even Debate With The Catholics Today, Should They Be Willing. If Campbell Were Alive Today, He Couldn't Meet A Purcell Or A Sheen Because They Have Demonstrated Their Religion Mightily, And We Cannot Argue With A Demonstration. Brother Oler Do You Believe Catholicism Is Wrong, A System Of Religious Error Beset By Corruption? If So, What Does The Demonstration You Refer To Prove? If It Proves Them Right You Should Become A Catholic; If It Doesn't Prove Them Right, Then A Similar Demonstration Of Mighty Benevolence By The Church Of Christ Would Not Prove Us Right! Then Your Catholic Demonstration Demonstrates Nothing As Related To The Truth Of Any Religion.

The History And Activity Of Catholicism Demonstrates Something Indeed. It Proves The Inerrancy And Inspiration Of The Prophetic Description Of The Man Of Sin By Paul As Fulfilling The Predictive Language Of The Apostle. The Catholics Demonstrate The Corruption Born Of Union Of State And Church; They Demonstrate Great Political Acumen And Their Power To Control Governments, Secure Unfair Advantages Over Other Religions, Enjoy Tax-Free Privileges, Secure Immunity For Gambling And Other Immoral And Unholy Activities Engaged In Under The Guise Of Religion. They Demonstrate Their Ability To Control And Regulate To An Alarming Degree The Supposed Free Press Of America. Their Organized Strength In The Social, Economic, Benevolent And Religious Life Of America Is But A Reflection Of Their Political Acumen And Manipulations Palmed Off On An Indifferent And Credulous Public. They Are Able To Stick Their Greedy Hands Into The Funds Of The Community Chest And Similar Organizations, And The People Who Aren't Catholics Are Foolish Enough To Allow It. Does Brother Oler Favor Boles Home Getting Its Fingers Into This Kettle Of Money? Does He Look With Favor The Building Up Of Huge Wealth In Land And Other Property By The Catholic Church, And Does This Stimulate His Appeal For Folks To Will Their Estates To Boles Home, So The Church Of Christ "Institutions" Can Also Become Able To "Demonstrate" Their Religion To The World On A Benevolent Basis So As To Secure The Approbatory Judgment Of The World?

If The Apostle Paul Were Living And Should See This Article By Brother Oler Extolling The Judgment Of The World As A Criterion Of Our Religion, He Would Likely Say What He Did Say While Here: "But With Me It Is A Very Small Thing That I Should Be Judged Of You, Or Of Man's Judgment; Yea, I Judge Not Mine Own Self." (I Cor. 4:3.) Even The Brethren's Judgment, Not To Mention Man's Judgment, Generally Was Lightly Regarded By Paul. Of Course, If Man's And God's Judgment Were The Same Or Identical, Then Paul Would Have Tendered Equal Respect To Both, But Be Said The Lord Judgeth Him. Paul Also Said The Natural Man Knows Not The Things Of God, Whereas He That Is Spiritual Judgeth, Or Discerneth, All Things. The World, Ignorant Of The Word Of God, Occupies The Status Of The Natural Man Who By His Own Resources Cannot Know God, And The Spiritual Man In Contradistinction Thereto Knows The Things Of The Spirit By Virtue Of Revelation; Consequently, He Is Able To Discern Between Truth And Error. God Has Delegated All Authority To Execute Judgment To Christ Because He Is The Son Of Man, And His Judgment Is Just Because He Seeks Not His Own Will But The Will Of His Rather Who Sent Him. Hence, Our Judgment And Discernment Can Only Be Just Proportionate To Our Devotion To The Will Of God In Preference To Our Own. I Strongly Suspect Brother Oler's Judgment And Discernment Of The Truth Would Be Greatly Improved By An Increased Addiction And Devotion To God's Will In Preference To A Course Of Self-Justification. He Is Too Involved In The Fate And Fortune Of A Human Institution Endowed With The Mission Of Doing What He Regards As The Work Of The Church, And Depending On And Seeking The Patronage And Support Of The Church, To See Things In The Unobstructed Light Of God's Word. A Is My Sincere Prayer That He Shall Be Delivered From This Delusion.

I Have Reliable Information Of A Situation Which Did Exist, And Possibly Continues To, Involving Two Congregations In A Texas City. In One There Is A Deacon Who Had A Widowed Mother And Some Dependent Brothers And Sisters. His Congregation Is One Of The Big, Supporting Of-Institutions And Brotherhood-Operating Congregations Whereas The Other Was Content To Do Its Own Work And Sustained The Needs Of This Mother And Her Fatherless Children. In Addition Thereto This Latter One Has Expended Thousands Of Dollars In Preaching The Gospel By Supporting Several Preachers Through A Period Of Years. They Have Thus Cared For The Widows And Orphans And Preached The Gospel, While The Deacon In The Other Congregation, As A Member Thereof, Devoted His And Their Interests In Contributing To Brotherhood Projects. Thus The One Wrought Scripturally And The Other Contributes Pitifully Toward The Grand Objective Of Accomplishing Mightily. Personally, I Think Even The People Of The World, Living In That Community, Would Rightly Judge The Relative Merits Of These Contrasting Congregation's Actions; And Of The Lord's Judgment I Have No Doubt Whatsoever, Do You, Brother Oler?

Brother Oler's Statement That To The World It Makes No Difference Whether We Call Ourselves Protestant, Catholic Or Christian, Each Man And His Religion Are Going To Be Judged Alike By Man And God: "According To What He Hath Done, Whether It Be Good Or Bad," Is A Most Astonishing One. It Sounds Like The Language Of A Very Broad-Minded Sectarian, Or Even A Moralist As Distinguished From A Religionist. Certainly Many People In The World Don't Care Whether A Man Is A Protestant, A Catholic Or A Christian, But They So Feel Because They Think The Former Two Are Also The Latter. 'Brother Oler Doesn'T. God Doesn'T. Hence, To Make This Judgment As The Judgment Of The World, And In It Identify Such As Being, The Judgment Of God Also Is Shocking, Indeed, From A Gospel Preacher. Does He Think With God Is Wholly A Matter Of What We Do Apart From Who We Are? If God Is Going To Suspend Our Eternal Destiny On The Sole Factor Of Caring For The Fatherless, And Other Needy Persons, Then We Can Be Saved In One Church As Well As In Any Other, Or Even Without Being A Member Of Any. Then Salvation Is Not In Christ, His Body, The Church.

While Believing As Strongly As Brother Oler In The Obligation To Care For Those In Need, In Our Individual Capacity, And That Such Is Taken Into Account By Our Lord, Yet To Assign Such Paramount Importance To Benevolent Deeds Of A Material Nature As He Does Will Make A Saint Out Of Robert G. Ingersoll, And Constitute Robert Owen, The Infidel With Whom Campbell Debated, One Of The Redeemed. On, The Same Principle Which, Demonstrably Establishes The Claims Of Catholicism Can We Say That The Philanthropic And Humanistic Benignity Of Owen Made Him Victor Over Campbell. As A Matter Of Fact, The Church Of Christ Is Not A General Welfare Institution, Designed To Relieve The Impoverished Conditions Of Destitute Humanity. The Systematic Arrangement And Performance Of Benevolence Alluded To By Brother Oler In The Opening Statement Of This Article Was Related Solely To Meeting The Exigencies Then Confronting The Church, And Has No Application To, Such As He Is Today Pleading For. This He Should Know.

Finally, Brother Oler informs us the world has little use for the doctrine which does not doctor and the preachment that does not practice. Thus we would be led to the conclusion that the doctrine of Christ is to be regarded as the panacea for the physical and material afflictions and., deficiencies of mankind. Christ rebuked the multitude with: "Ye seek me, not because you saw the miracles, but because ye did eat the loaves and were filled." (John 6:26.) The continuing force of this rebuke is unmistakable, and we should learn the lesson it teaches; that is, we cannot, nor should attempt, to convert the world through the stomach. The distressing thing today is, not that the gospel of Christ will not cure the sin-sick souls of men, but that some who are entrusted with it are endeavoring to pervert it into a "social gospel" and adapt it to the "whole man" concept. It will behoove Brother Oler to quit worrying about the doctrine not doctoring, and, too, which is supremely serious, cease endeavoring to doctor the doctrine to suit his institutional arrangement and centralized operation of church work. All the demonstrations he may introduce from alien sources will, contribute nothing toward establishing the scripturalness of that which he is doing, and a euphonious arrangement of words (doctor and doctrine, preachment and practice) will be equally destitute of all legitimate force to such an end. Let our appeal be to the good sense and faith of God's people, addressed to the scriptures, rather than to sound and emotions.