Vol.V No.VIII Pg.6
October 1968

Two Interpretations?

Robert F. Turner

With this, we have quoted from A. W Fortunes THE DISCIPLES IN KENTUCKY, for five consecutive issues. For all who want to see the truth, the parallel of yesterdays and todays digression is obvious. Remember, Fortune wrote as one advocating and promoting institutionalism. Note his analysis of the conflicting interpretations which were the basis for division in his day — and we believe, now.

There were two different interpretations of the church which inevitably came into conflict. There were those who believed the church should move on with the world and adapt the spirit of the New Testament to conditions that were ever changing. They held that, when not forbidden by the New Testament, they were free to adapt their program to changing needs.

On the other hand, there were those who believed the pattern of the church was fixed for all time, and the fact that certain things were not sanctioned was sufficient ground for rejecting them. The men on both sides were equally honest, but they had a different approach to these issues that were raised. (Pp. 364)

That Method Fallacy

The controversies through which the Disciples have passed from the beginning to the present time have been the result of two different interpretations of their mission. There have been those who believed it is the spirit of the New Testament Church that should be restored, and in our method of working the church must adapt itself to changing conditions There have been those who regarded the New Testament Church as a fixed pattern for all time, and our business is to hold rigidly to that pattern regardless of consequences. Because of these two attitudes conflicts were inevitable. (Pp. 383)

Open Door To Modernism

Two points of view were in conflict. One point of view held rigidly to the past and insisted that there should be no change in interpretation The other faced the future and believed that the past must be reevaluated in the light of all knowledge. This controversy was bitterly waged in the press, in the college, in the conventions, in the churches, and wherever Disciples met. (Pp. 379)

The above comment was made in the course of discussing a protest which some brethren made against certain teachers in the College of the Bible, Lexington. Professors Fortune, Bower, Snoddy, and the President of the College of the Bible, Pres. Crossfield, were charged with teaching heretical doctrines, accepting the theory of evolution, denying the inerrancy of the Scriptures, or the infallible authority of all parts of it.

As you can see, the same two methods of interpretation or attitudes toward the Scriptures, which made the differences among brethren re. Missionary Societies , Instrumental Music, and the Work of the church; also extended to modernism. None are so blind as those who will not see.