Sighting-In On What Others Say
"Shootin' Preachers and "Suein" Lawyers"
A well-known lawyer of Houston, Texas, who in his spare time also preaches and writes some for religious papers, has recently written an extravagant tirade against "shootin' preachers." He means, of course, those of us who support our sons in their right to enter the armed forces of our country. His theory is that they are murderers, on the road to hell, and we in supporting them are moved and controlled by the devil. On Sundays when law offices are closed and courts are not in session, he goes among the churches "shootin" off his mouth at "shootin' preachers" and other Christians "who become a part of the military force of the government." On one such occasion, it is reported, that one good mother who has a son in the armed forces, fainted dead away. It is quite a pity that the Christian mothers of soldiers have to suffer such at the hands of Christian lawyers when they go out to worship on the Lord's Day. But it may be wondered what this preachin' lawyer does during the week, during work hours when he is not preachin.' He takes care of a list of clients. He makes them aware of their legal rights and advocates them before the courts. He preaches to 'em on Sundays and sues 'em through the week. He's a preachin' lawyer on Sundays and a suein' lawyer through the week. Being a lawyer, he votes and takes some part in politics. As a Christian he must "love them," "forgive them," "pray for them" and "do good to them" but as a lawyer he must also sue some of them. And the judgment of the court is backed up by armed force. Some "shootin' preachers" may need shootin' at but when a suein' lawyer pulls the trigger the gun kicks as hard as it shoots. In fact this one took one shot and threw the rest of his cartridges away in these words:
"There is no conflict whatever between Civil Government and the kingdom of Christ, they are complementary to each other. A Christian can go to hell for violating the laws of the Civil Government just as he would for violating the laws of the kingdom of Christ. God ordained both governments. Each operates in its orbit just as does the Solar System, which was also ordained of God."
Now there you have it. If "Civil Government" is ordained of God, its legitimate functions are right and a Christian may participate in them. He does not have to be, but he may even be a lawyer. He does not have to be, but he may be a soldier. It is bordering on the ridiculous when a Christian lawyer pokes out his tongue at a Christian soldier. The lawyer stays at home, votes, pays taxes and buys bonds to pay for what the soldier shoots with, just like some of us preachers do. It would be more becoming for this particular lawyer to keep his tongue in his cheek.
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Mr. Fosdick To "The Unknown Soldier"
It will be recalled that recently the editor of the Gospel Advocate inserted on his editorial page some utterances of Harry Emerson Fosdick on war. Mr. Fosdick is quite famous as a modernist. His sentiments against war were expressed a number of years ago when the country was at peace. They are reputed to have found their way into the Congressional Record. Mr. Fosdick vividly described the horrors of war, and perfervidly and dramatically pledged "the unknown soldier" that he would never, never, directly or indirectly lend a mite of his influence to another. Mr. Fosdick has doubtless changed his mind. He did not know at the time of the sinister plans of Germany and Japan to brutalize the world, including our own nation, by force of arms. Nor did he know that German and Japanese agents were at that time fostering societies in this country to preach the very sentiments Mr. Fosdick expressed. They went a long way in keeping our country unprepared for a period that was almost fatal. Our own Texas Senator, Tom Connally, is reputed to have declared that he would never vote to send a single American soldier to foreign soil. He changed his mind in a crisis and very properly so. When faced with his former sentiments he honestly declared that he was developing a voracious appetite for eating some of his former words. This nation has a right to defend itself. What defense could it have against Germany and Japan except war--with all its horrors? Simply none at all. The sentiments Mr. Fosdick expressed years ago, are obviously the sentiments the editor of the Advocate still entertains; else why insert those words on the editorial page of the Gospel Advocate at this time? The logic of them would be that the government should disband its army and demilitarize its navy. The issue the Advocate has raised by its use of Mr. Fosdick goes far beyond the mere question of a Christian's relation to his government. Nothing would suit the purposes of Hitler and Hirohito better than for this country to adopt the principles expressed by Mr. Fosdick years ago and held by the editor of the Gospel Advocate now. It is not expected that the editor will change, or eat any of his words. He is blindly headstrong in that respect, but fortunately he is too small a potato to count in this situation. This country is being defended in the only way it can be and God is not marching with Hitler.
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A Piece of Prophetic Wisdom
A brother from Harding College gets off this piece of prophetic and speculative wisdom in a recent issue of the Firm Foundation:
"Now just what does this passage mean? The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.' Just what it says, no more, no less. The subjects of all earthly kingdoms have changed their allegiance. They have become converted by the gospel and are citizens of the kingdom of God. And there remains no territory-people, to make up an earthly kingdom. Those who practice the golden rule do not need jails, police, armies, prisons or even laws of men. When these things are taken away from, out of, earthly kingdoms, what is left of them if anything?"
It is a fanciful and also a fantastic idea that if all the people of the earth were Christians there would be no need for civil government. Christians as we know them now are somewhat human and far from perfect. Even the best of us need some civil regulation. I take it that when the time comes the brother envisages, there will be no need of stop signs and traffic lights. The New Testament is a perfect law to govern the church, but when the time comes that jails, police, armies and prisons are no longer needed, what about transportation, commerce and communications? Shall we have church ownership and direction of railroads, highways and post offices? Or shall we dispense with all such? Or shall we run them according to the New Testament? I am under the impression that Brother Armstrong believes that Christ will be on earth in person to set up this heavenly government. If I am mistaken in this I am willing to be corrected. It ought to be obvious that as long as men are men and Christ is in heaven, we must have both church and state and they should be kept separate in their functions, even if all members of the state are also members of the church. If the good brother really thinks the passage he quotes means "just what it says, no more, no less" he should let it remain that way and not go gallivanting into the fields of speculative fantasy. The text certainly does not say anything like near all that the brother says it means.
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Response To Personal
Los Angeles, California Oct. 14, 1943
Dear Brother Wallace:
With deep emotion I read the statement of your appreciation of me, in Bible Banner of September 1943. As I read there trooped out of memory's store-house remembrances pleasant, as well as hallowed, of days in our lives.
I think you know there has not been a moment since I met your father that I have not stood ready to render any service I could to him, or his family.
Because of my personal attachment for you I was deeply wounded when you allowed the personal, discreditable, reflection to me made on my character in your paper, the Bible Banner.
I cannot recall when I have not believed the right will ultimately prevail; and not for a moment has there been in my heart other than the view that in time you would see the article was a gross injustice to me, and that you were in the wrong in permitting your paper to be used for such a purpose; and that you would have the courage to say you made a mistake in publishing the attack on my character, without mincing words, expressing your regrets.
Foy, you will find the same welcome in my home, the Christian hospitality and congenial fellowship we have enjoyed together in the past-days we each treasure. You will command me for any service I can lend you.
Whatever wrong you may have done me, though unintentional, or whatever wrong I have imagined you have done me, in allowing the article appearing in your paper, it is all dismissed from my heart-gone like the "sped arrow."
May your days be many, your ability increased, and your opportunities for doing good multiplied, as we together labor to advance the Cause we love.
Yours in The Christ, C. R. Nichol.
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A Christian Church Preacher Obeys The Gospel
R. L. Colley
On Sunday night the 3rd of October R. H. Askew resigned as Pastor of the Highland Street Christian church, with a statement to them that he was leaving the Christian church to come to the church of Christ because that he had been convinced that the Christian church was not pleasing to the Lord and not in harmony with the New Testament.
Brother Douglas H. Perkins, had taught Brother Askew, pointing out the errors of his way, and helped him to reach this conclusion. Brother Askew thought his baptism was all right and told brother Perkins and the brethren at the Coleman church that he was "satisfied that it was all right." I had quite a talk with Brother Askew on Friday night afterward, and he told me that he was baptized by a Baptist preacher when he was fourteen years old, then joined the Presbyterian church, preached for them about eight years, later joined the Christian church, and preached some years for them--but had never been "re-baptized." He said that he immersed people while he was a Presbyterian preacher, and had always taught immersion.
I called his attention to the fact that Baptists do not baptize "for the remission of sins," and told him the best I could the difference between what he had done and the Lord's teaching upon the subject, and asked him to consider these truths. He said he would, and said that he might call me the next day (Saturday) and get either Brother Perkins or me to baptize him. He called me Saturday and asked me to call Brother Perkins and tell him that he had decided to be baptized by one of us and at the place that we would decide upon. I called Brother Perkins, and we decided to baptize him in the Normal Avenue church building; and for me to baptize him. A few brethren met us there at one o'clock, and I baptized him into Christ.
Brother Askew is well prepared educationally, and in my judgment, in faith. It is my conviction after talking to him freely of his past and his present plans that he is morally good, doctrinally sound and financially honest. He is well trained and learned, and a fluent speaker. I believe that he not only has saved himself in obeying the truth but that he will be a great power in teaching and leading others to the truth. I hope the brethren will use him; and turn his great ability into the Lord's service. His address is: R. H. Askew, 3415 Prescott Circle South, Memphis, Tenn. You will do him a brotherly kindness to write him and encourage him in this noble step.