Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 3, 1958
NUMBER 47, PAGE 3b-6a

"Intellectual Integrity" A Review Of Garrett


Before reading this review, please read the article in this issue under the above heading by Brother Leroy Garrett. His article is in reply to an editorial of mine which appeared in the January 30th issue.

In paragraph two, Brother Garrett says that I charged that he is "a modernist because he believes that one might go to heaven who has not been immersed." He knows that this is not all that was involved in my charge; it is merely one evidence of his lack of faith in what the New Testament teaches. How can he say he believes that one might go to heaven without being immersed, when there is not a shred of evidence in the divine record to support such? He simply refuses to believe such is essential and repudiates the testimony to that end.

He tells us that "if believing the pious unimmersed might ...receive clemency ...." is modernism, "...then some of the leading lights of the Restoration . . . were also modernists." There is a great deal of difference in his attitude and that of the restorers who held this particular idea, as I shall show later.

In paragraph three, he says that the discussion to which I made reference in my previous article, was "about the person who is involuntary ignorant due to illiteracy." This is not true and he knows it. Would Garrett say that Martin Luther, Tolstoy, Ghandi never obeyed the command of Christ to be baptized because they were "involuntary ignorant due to illiteracy?" What of Billy Graham, Norman Vincent Peale and others of this kind today?

In paragraph four he tells us that such is his "viewpoint as to how we might attack the problem of the pious unimmersed." Why should this present any "problem" to anyone who believes what the Bible teaches? Why does he think that Jesus commanded that the gospel be preached to "every creature" and to "all nations?" Why did Jesus command that these are to be baptized? Why would all this be necessary if there is any hope or possibility of their being saved or entering heaven without it? His is an attempt to excuse people from doing what the Lord says they must do, and to make a detour around Christ to bring the multitudes to God without their coming through or by Christ! (John 14:6.) Can people get to the Father in some other way? Garrett says they can, but Jesus positively said such could not be done. "No man" — which includes heathens, savages, Luther, Graham, Luther, Tolstoy and everyone else — "cometh unto the Father, but by me." This thing is not simply a matter of whether one must be immersed or not, but is more far-reaching than that. It has to do with the necessity of Christ as the Savior of the world and the whole plan of gospel redemption. Garrett has not simply repudiated the essentiality of immersion into Christ in order to reach heaven, but as a result of his exaltation of human wisdom and lack of faith, he has set aside the Christ and the gospel as the power to save.

Garrett says that he thinks all the so-called "pious unimmersed" might receive "clemency" — may go to heaven — even though they have not obeyed Christ. If this is so, then why not leave them in their benighted condition? How can one who thinks as Garrett does, have any real reason for or interest in trying to reach such people with the gospel?

Leroy avows that his position is in the "area of opinion." Can such a blatant state of disbelief be relegated to a place of no consequence? It is not a matter of opinion. The Bible plainly teaches that all responsible people have sinned (Rom. 3:23.) and are for this reason under condemnation. Moreover, the Bible positively teaches that these people have no hope of being saved from the guilt of these sins and finally going to heaven, except through the Christ. (John 3:16; 2 These. 1:7-9; Heb. 5:8-9.) The only problem that Christians have is getting the message of salvation to the whole world, for upon hearing and obeying this gospel their hope of heaven depends.

He talks about the "intellectual integrity" of the pioneers and says that like them we should face up to problems and not simply parrot things of former generations. I agree that we must face up to problems. They must be settled by divine revelation and not by our own human wisdom. We walk by faith. (2 Cor. 5:7.)

In the eyes of some modernist it may be "inexcusable for us to impress our neighbors with the idea that we think we are right and everyone else wrong," but not to me. Verily I believe that I am right! It seems that Garrett has gotten to the place where he thinks that the only thing we can be certain about is that we must be uncertain about everything! If I did not believe that I was right in believing and practicing as I do in religion, then I would quit trying to teach anyone anything until I could decide what — if anything — I should teach them. I believe the Bible is right and I believe that I teach it just as it is written. This is not egoism nor party pride. It is not because of any confidence I have in my own ability or knowledge certainly; but it is because of my confidence in God's infallible word and the belief that it can be understood and followed. Paul thought that he was right. (Gal. 1:6-9.) Was it only to "satisfy the pride and egoism" of his own little sect that made hint so positive? Did he not "see the good in others?" Every New Testament preacher was a man of certainty and conviction. They thought that they were right and others were wrong, else why did they try to convertchange — everyone to their "little group"? The lack of conviction that is so prevalent in the religious world today can be traced right to the door of such modernistic thinking as characterizes Leroy Garrett. It has given rise to much of the doubt and uncertainty, and has caused people to accept the idea that since we can be sure about nothing why bother about anything?

It is true that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11.) and has no "pets" in that sense. But we can be "pets of heaven" in another sense. We are God's children, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. Think of all the spiritual blessings that we have and enjoy in Christ. Are we not then "pets of heaven" in this respect? If not, being a child of God has no advantage whatever.

Place Of Baptism

Yes, I would think that I was at the wrong place if I arrived to find Gandhi, Tolstoy (who read and studied the Bible, but rejected certain parts of it and much of the teaching of Jesus), Luther and others like these who had access to the word of God, but never obeyed the gospel. I think that I would be at the wrong place — I don't want to go that place! Based on God's word, I do not expect to see anyone in heaven from this dispensation except those who have obeyed the Christ. (Heb. 5:8-9; 2 Thess. 1:7-9.) I believe that only "church of Christ folk" will be there. All the saved are in the Lord's church and none but these will make it. (Acts 2:47; Acts 20:28.) This narrows it down pretty thin. (Matt. 7:14.)

No "Guardian writer" I know has ever contended that immersion must be administered by one of "our" men in order to be valid.

In paragraph two under the above sub-heading, Garrett says: "Baptism is the door by which one enters the kingdom of God on earth . . . but it is not the door or means of entering heaven!" Then he adds: "Nowhere is baptism made a means of going to heaven." Notice how he changes terms in his smooth, oily speech. No one claims that baptism has been made a means of going to heaven, as if it were some sort of "train to glory." But it is a condition or requirement that must be met. It is necessary to entering into Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27.), and Christ is the "door" to heaven — the way and the means to heaven!

According to Garrett, one must be baptized to enter the church or kingdom of God on earth, but entrance into this kingdom is not essential to entering heaven. This makes the kingdom a non-essential. He argues that baptism and being in the kingdom have "no bearing upon the question of eternal tranquility." Then the church for which Jesus died has no place in the plan to save men from sin.

Look at this wild and faithless assertion:"... God in his own goodness and mercy may offer pardon to many who have never even heard of Christ ..." This is modernism at its worst! He hereby nullifies and makes useless the whole plan of redemption which God has made possible through His Son! Garrett offers hope of pardon to many who have never even heard of Christ!

Garrett says: "... Baptism is essential for the remission of sins through Christ Jesus . . . . Now where is the passage that makes immersion essential for entrance into heaven?" In other words, he thinks obtaining "the remission of sins through Christ Jesus" is not essential for entrance into heaven! Salvation is offered apart from and without the Savior, who tasted death for every man. (Heb. 2:9.) Why did he die for all men unless all men must have the benefits of his death to be saved? Can anyone fail to see that Garrett's modernism has corrupted his faith in every fundamental of the gospel?

Look at these things he admits concerning baptism: It is essential (1) to entrance into kingdom; (2) entrance into the church; (3) it saves; (4) puts one into Christ; (5) essential to covenant relationship; (5) necessary to remission of sins through Christ; and (6) is essential to "victory through the Messiah." Then he turns around and affirms that "all of this" is removed from "the question of eternal tranquility" — is not essential for entrance into heaven. All of these things therefore must be of value in this life only. Garrett expects Gandhi, Tolstoy, Luther and nearly everyone else to get to heaven some other way than through Christ. How presumptuous can a man get?

If Brother Hardeman said and believes what Garrett attributes to him, I do not think it is modernism at all. Brother Hardeman has never and does not now hold any such ideas as Garrett sets forth in his article.

Leroy frequently uses the word "clemency." I know what the word means and accept the fact that it is the right of the judge to extend such. No one denies "the judge of all men his right of clemency" or anything else. I do object to some modernist trying to "sit in" for the Judge and tell us to whom and under what circumstances the Judge will exercise clemency! No one knows this and there is nothing in God's word to indicate the kind of clemency for which Garrett contends. I had as soon be presumptuous enough to deny the clemency of God altogether, as to try to tell Him how and when to extend it! Garrett's kind of thinkers (rationalists) say that it is only reasonable and right to expect Him (the Judge of all the earth) to set aside His law, "to which compliance has not been made," and offer "clemency" (pardon or salvation) to the multitudes who have never obeyed Christ. This is judging God by their own standard — making God in their image!

If the word "clemency" is used only to mean that the ignorant masses — those who have never had a chance to know the truth — will not be punished to the same extent or degree as those who knowingly and willfully refused to obey, then I accept such. I believe that the Bible teaches this. Responsibility is increased with knowledge and opportunity. One is answerable to the extent of responsibility. But Leroy does not use the word in this sense.

It is true that God will judge all such people; in fact, through Christ He will judge all nations. Let us leave the judgment to Him. Let us stay out of His field in extending clemency to those who have not obeyed Him, and thereby offer hope to nearly all men. It is our job to proclaim the gospel, which is His power to save; to teach His law and uphold its requirements. I am responsible for declaring it as it is written and telling people that there is no hope or promise to any save those that obey. (Heb. 6:8-9.)

I do not believe that people are "lost because they haven't been baptized." They are lost because of sin — their own sins!

What Does The Bible Say?

Under this heading Garrett tells us that if he is a modernist, then the pioneers of the restoration were also. This is as false as can be and he is trying to hide his true colors behind such a lie. The pioneers were not like Garrett — they had no such attitude nor ideas as he holds. They were coming out of darkness into light; from error to truth; from the wilderness of denominationalism to the kingdom of light. As they learned the truth they accepted it and the consequences thereof. They were coming to such a place; whereas, Garrett is going from the truth and its consequences. They were tightening up but Leroy is loosening up. Maybe I should say that he is "all shook up!"

Leroy measures God by his own ideas when he says: "Who can believe that God will reject them because they never lived to realize the great restoration truths that wehave found?" Who can believe anything else? The testimony of God's word is too clear upon this point. One may not believe it, but God's word offers absolutely no hope of heaven to any one (responsible) who has not obeyed the truth. (John 8:32; 1 Pet. 1:22.)

Leroy tells us that he will go to the Bible itself for the "grounds for conviction." He has not found any "grounds" in God's word for such "conviction" — he should say lack of conviction — as he has.

In 1 Tim. 1:13, Paul had no "principle" in view. He just stated the facts. While he was "ignorantly in unbelief," were his actions accepted or even excused by God? Did he need the mercy he received or could he have been saved by God's clemency even if he had never learned of the error of his way?

Garrett thinks that he finds some distinction between "unbelief" and "disbelief." If there is any distinction it is too subtle for me to find it. He asks for the passage where God damns (condemns) the unbeliever. There are many passages which teach that the unbeliever is condemned; but I cite a few for his benefit: Rom. 11:20; Heb. 3:12; John 8:24; John 3:16-18; and Rev. 21:8.

Acts 14:16-17 does not teach what Leroy would seek to deduce from it. Paul was not discussing a "natural revelation" from which the people could know of God and learn His will. I deny that the word "gladness" in the passage has reference to "nourishment for the soul" or that through the works of nature alone God has ever sought to "nourish" the soul of anyone. Paul was talking about the temporal blessings that God had bestowed upon all.

Garrett asks this: "Is it unreasonable to suppose that God worked through teachers, poets, and philosophers to reveal truths regarding himself and thus make human hearts glad?" Here he leaves the Bible and seeks refuge in what appears reasonable to him and he lets his "sup-poser" run away with his faith. "We walk by faith" — not by human reason or supposition. Does Leroy really believe that God "worked through" teachers, poets and philosophers (and he has no reference to inspired men; such as the apostles were) to "reveal truths about self ?" God speaks to this dispensation through His Son and apart from the divine revelation (Bible) no "truths" regarding God can be known. Nature confirms this revelation, but nature alone — in the absence of — cannot reveal any "truths" regarding God and His will for man. (John 1:17; 1 Cor. 1:21)

Acts 17:27-28 does not teach nor show "how people apart from the gospel `might feel after him and find him'." If so, why preach the gospel to such people? Why did Christ come and die to bring the gospel into existence if "people apart from (and without) the gospel" might be saved?

Leroy perverts Rom. 1:19-23. This passage does not teach nor from it are we to "conclude that the millions living today are exposed to a revelation of God despite the fact that they may never hear the gospel." Is there and can there be a "revelation of God" apart from the Bible? Was Paul mistaken when he wrote that those "who know not God and obey not the gospel" will be "punished with everlasting destruction"? (2 Thess. 1:7-9.) Garrett says that he was. This is but further evidence of his modernistic (unbelieving) human reasoning. The Bible nowhere remotely indicates any such "conclusions" as Leroy holds.

The process and ultimate consequences of such modernistic thinking as Garrett has espoused, result in the complete overthrow of God's revelation — the Bible — and all that He has done to save men from sin in and through Christ. This is modernism at work. Garrett but represents a large number in "our" ranks who are afflicted with this disease. There is no way to know the number that he may lead into such paths of destruction. It seems that he has thus led W. Carl Ketcherside, Buff Scott (judging by their writings) and numerous others. Leroy is an advanced case, but there are hundreds of others among us not far behind him. They can be found in "our" schools and in the pulpits. The evidences of such an attitude are on every hand. The "general looseness in attitude toward conformity, a non-strictness in regard to essentials" is one of the first signs that one has this malignant disease. It is past time that the people of God were waking up to the danger we face along this line.


It is a shame that Leroy has lost his faith and I do so wish that I could help him. He is too far gone, too far removed from what is written, for me to make any appeal to him. When men give up faith in God's word as the infallible standard and the only criterion for spiritual matters, then there is nothing left with which to appeal to them.

Leroy charges in a condescending fashion that I need more of what he calls "intellectual integrity." I suppose that he means by this that I am not intellectually qualified to discuss such matters with him, and lack the honesty to face up to problems such as characterizes great thinkers — such as he is! Well, I have never made any kind of claim to being any sort of intellectual giant, but I do think myself honest. I am more concerned with faith than with reason. I am not so smart nor educated in the philosophy and reasoning of men that I question or doubt in the least what God's word says. I am dumb enough to believe and accept what the Bible teaches.

I have not taken advantage of Leroy and I believe that I am being longsuffering in teaching. But this does not mean that I shall let error go unchallenged and sit by while men attempt to overthrow divine truths with their human reasoning.

I deny that I put the "worst possible construction upon his words and actions," or that I "lifted from the tape those statements" that I felt would put him in the worst possible light . The article written by Leroy which appears in this paper should be enough to show that I did not misrepresent him and it confirms the fact that I have not over-stated the case. Leroy has printed his article in his paper — Bible Talk. Now I wonder if he will be as fair to me as I have been to him and print this reply in the next issue of his paper? We shall see.

In the last paragraph of his article he launches into the same sort of talk and use of expressions that have characterized every modernist who has lost his faith and left the Lord's people. Such "Shibboleths" are on the lips of all who have bowed the knee to human wisdom and would broaden out the narrow way that leads to life. They profess great "intellectual integrity" and praise themselves for being "free" men who have thrown off all "traditions" (Bible law) and "partyism" (the church of God). They talk much about "legalism" and call everyone "arrogant" who dares to contend for what the Bible teaches.

So in the path of destruction Leroy has chosen to walk, and because of his own pride in his intellectual attainments and his being overwhelmed in human philosophy, he has made shipwreck of his faith and is beyond help. What a pathetic sight. Such brings sadness to all of us. It would be terrible enough if he were the only one thus afflicted, but he is only an advanced case of the modernistic thinking that is so prevalent today. May God grant that it may be a means of helping us to wake up to what is going on and the dangers we face along this line. — C. A. H.