Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 20, 1958

Nonprogressive, Or Anti? I've Been Called Names Before

Pryde E. Hinton, Dora, Alabama

In the late "twenties," while I was attending Atlanta Institute of Speech & Expression, Dr. James F. Watson, the president, came to East Point Church to hear me preach. Losing his way from the car stop, he came to the Christian Church building. Many were there, just before time for service. But only one or two spoke to him. The next day at class Dr. Watson told how when he inquired if I preached there, he was told that I preached at the "little nonprogressive church" down the street. When he arrived at our place of meeting, he was surrounded by more than a score of people who were all eager to greet him. He was impressed by what he called "a real, old-fashioned Sunday school." where the Bible was really studied. He told the class that we did not use any musical accompaniment to our singing, and added, "and they don't need any". Dr. Watson emphatically said that his informant was wrong: the first congregation he came to was the nonprogressive one, in spite of their finer building and larger numbers.

In the August issue of Christian Leader, Brother Anguish writes: an Open Letter to Pat Boone," in which he points out with some shame that a brother "with a small mind and a leather lung killed what might have become a real basis of operations for the Lord." This brother criticized what Brother Anguish called an "upsurge of unity in the northern part of the state of Ohio, Then about a dozen churches scheduled a "cavalcade" of meetings, that wound up with a big dinner and program. More than 200 met in a restaurant in Akron, he says: All went well until this small-minded, leather-lunged brother said that we were starting a dangerous trend". This "ill-informed, narrow minded person, pretending to speak as the oracles of God" further said that "this business of getting together — of getting to know each other better — of pooling information so as to serve the Lord better — smacked of the denominations," according to Brother Anguish's report to Pat Boone.

Then Brother Anguish writes in parentheses: "(we have some who crawl in windows because the denominations use doors, you know.)" That is an old and "low punch," Brother Anguish, that I've taken from "The Progressives" and the denominational world many times during the last 39 years. But it still doesn't knock the breath out of me; I can still "take it". Yes, I join the "man with a small mind and a leather lung" in warning that such meetings, or cavalcade of meetings, are a dangerous trend. Now really, Brother Anguish, are such inter-congregational meetings for the purpose of "pooling information so as to serve the Lord better"? Is it really necessary to have such inter-congregational conferences or conventions in order to pool information "so as to serve the Lord better"?

So for as inter-congregational conferences being necessary in order "to know each other better" is concerned, that church with 1,200 members might find, upon investigation, that there are hundreds among their own membership who don't "know each other" at all. Brother Anguish proved (?) that big congregations and big programs are best by telling about a "sot-in-his-way brother" who said about the church with 1,200 members: "That's a big 'un, ain't it?" Then Brother Anguish says he remarked to Brother Burton Coffman: "You can't preach the truth to more than a thousand people." So everybody who is of the opinion that smaller churches are better for the cause and the individual Christians is a "sot-in-his-way brother," and invariably says "a big 'un," "ain't," and such like. That's a good method to cast suspicion in the direction of everybody who is of like judgment and conviction. I wish with all my heart that brethren would stop such slurring, and in spite of differences, "love as brethren". May God hasten the day!