Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 16, 1949

The Basis Of Union

Cled E. Wallace

According to the Christian Observer, "The Basis of Union" has been drawn up and approved by the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches. "The union will be the largest Church merger in a decade. The combined wealth of the new denomination is estimated at 258,000,000 dollars." There will be nine thousand congregations with churches in every state, and a total membership of nearly 2,000,000. The name of this new Church will be "The United Church of Christ".

United on what? The General Synod of the Evangelical and Reformed Church acted for that body with "249 in favor of the union to forty-two opposed". The General Council of the Congregational Christian Churches acted for that body and "adopted a set of interpretations" which are to become a part of the basis of union. If anything has been said about the New Testament or "the faith once for all delivered to the saints" the Christian Observer doesn't mention it. That ancient book was pretty much ignored in all these modern goings-on. There is nothing in it about General Councils and Synods merging Churches and adopting sets of interpretations as a basis of union. It certainly is not the simplicity that is in Christ, Paul so feared the disciples of his day would drift away from, and by the craftiness of the devil. In fact the devil is more obvious than Paul in these modern mergers, even if he is dressed up like an angel of light.

How is this "new denomination" to be governed? By the New Testament? By the apostles' doctrine? Nay, verily! "About 350 delegates from each denomination will be named to meet as a governing body for the new Church and consummate the union." It will not be identical with the New Testament church in doctrine, organization, worship or practice. The modern trend is to dilute doctrine to the vanishing point and emphasize social service. This expanded, if not bloated, affair will have nothing more to offer than the Y. M. C. A. expanded to include all ages and both sexes. Emphasis on the fundamentals that led the early church to world-wide victory will be absent. The modernistic wing of the Christian Church will be right in the middle of it. "A set of interpretations" drawn up and adopted by a governing body of delegates will be the law of a new and bigger denomination. History bears witness to what synods, Conventions and Councils can and actually do to the New Testament. That worthy volume which represents the supreme authority of Jesus Christ does not have a chance in any synod of Doctors, Reverends, Fathers, Priests or Rabbis.

This "United Church of Christ" will not be the body of Christ including all Christians we read about in the New Testament, even if it does boast of nine thousand congregations, a membership of 2,000,000 and $258,000,000 in money. Such mergers do not add up to the unity Jesus prayed for and the New Testament teaches. The name is a misnomer, even if it does sound somewhat scriptural and fools some people. "All that glitters is not gold."

A Flippant Title

A Baptist preacher in the Baptist and Reflector speaks his mind on "The Use of Titles" "when referring to Baptist ministers". He prefers the title "Pastor" and has never felt that he "ought to be called 'Reverend' ". He expresses the opinion that "the flippant title 'Preacher' is undesirable, yet highly preferred to 'Reverend' ". The gentleman is doing some hard thinking along the right lines but is somewhat mixed up according to my lights. The New Testament is my main book of reference in matters religious. I have found nothing in it about Baptist churches or Baptist pastors and the like. The churches of Christ had their pastors, or elders or bishops, a plurality in each congregation. I cannot find any evidence that they worried much about official titles. It was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe. The Lord appointed Paul "a preacher". Men had to believe before they could call on the name of the Lord and be saved, faith came by hearing the gospel and they could not hear without a preacher. Peter called Noah "a preacher of righteousness". There is nothing "flippant" about "preacher" in the New Testament. The Baptist brother ought not to allow himself to be more influenced by the abuses of men and the fact that some Baptist "pastors" can't preach, than he is by what the New Testament teaches. I can go along with him on this "Reverend" business which is bandied about so loosely and flippantly, but I am a preacher. "Good morning, preacher" thrills me as much as he says "Good morning, Pastor" thrills him. I suggest to him that if he will quit trying so hard to be a good Baptist and employ his talents toward being a good Christian, he will possibly be a better preacher.