An Open Letter To Claude A. Guild
Your report, "California Christian", June, 1959, of W. F. Cawyer's visit to the Northwest is enlightening, encouraging, discouraging and confusing. In other words, Claude, it goes in all directions at the same time.
It is indeed encouraging to learn by your report of "an outstanding job stirring congregations to become interested in others and especially the lost." If that statement means anything, it means the congregations referred to were not interested in others and especially the lost until Bro. W. F. arrived and gave them a stirring. He stirred and it caused them "to become interested in others and especially the lost," you unequivocally stated. It was discouraging to learn of this condition. I didn't know there was a church on earth which had no interest in others and especially the lost. I have always accepted you as a fellow who does his dead level best to keep the record straight, but don't you reckon you were mistaken, Claude? To say that churches of Christ are not interested in others and especially the lost is one of the gravest charges I ever heard. Now, I could expect a prejudicial misrepresentation from some whose fruits show that they have greater strength in prejudicing the minds of some honest people than in giving scriptural authority for some of their organizations, but you always appeared to be a preacher whose integrity and ability were transcendent of such denominational drivel. So, by your own admission, if W. F. hadn't gone Northwest a bunch of you fellows would have gone to hell for having no interest in others and especially the lost. Well, they say something about an honest confession being good for the soul.
You then wrote, "His visit has helped dampen the little bonfires of anti-cooperation in this section." Do you mean, Claude, that there are really and truly some church members in that section who are anti-cooperation? I never heard of the like! I've been around a good while now, and I've been preaching the gospel for more than twenty years, but I can honestly say I have never run across a single church member who was "anti-cooperation." It discourages me to learn that such unchristian church members exist. But it is encouraging to hear that those "little bonfires have been dampened." Candidly, you boys ought to wake up, Claude, and start preaching with power the apostolic way of life! You are acquainted with the New Testament, Claude, and you ought to be preaching with all your might about the way the Word spread into all the world in apostolic times without the aid of an organization of any kind but the church — not a single man-made society was used. I'm persuaded that if you fellows had been doing that the appalling condition of churches with no interest in others and especially the lost just couldn't have built a bonfire in the whole Northwest. But it is good that W. F. came to your aid, searching out those "anti-cooperation bonfires" and dampening them for you fellows. Now you fellows get busy and increase your gain.
The confusing part now comes. You wrote: "A contribution was taken for the Herald of Truth and forwarded to this great work. I consider the opposition to the Herald of Truth and other good cooperative works, a blessing ... 'Opposition is the true mark of accomplishment' "
It appears to me that these statements have you "gwine and comin' " at the same time You were taking me along with the idea that you had some awful "anti-cooperationists" in your section, and then right quick like you change colors and offer praise for the Herald of Truth Organization and condemn anyone who opposes it. This makes me wonder if you meant only "anti-Herald of Truth-cooperation" by a misuse of the broad term "anti-cooperation." I thought better of you! You don't mean that I am to think that you, Claude Guild, have been backed into E. R. Harper's corner of helplessness by having accepted an organization it is impossible to justify by scripture, and that you are misusing the term "anti-cooperation" to try becloud an issue! What in the world has happened to honorable polemics?
I sincerely "amen" your idea of "good cooperative works." There is a place for them in the language of the New Testament. Paul said it, I believe and accept it! All Scripture inspired of God is all-sufficient, "that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." All good works can be done without departing from the Scripture. But right at the same place, Claude, you get to talking on out of the other side of your mouth about the great and good work of Herald of Truth, the likes of which nobody has ever produced a scintilla of scriptural authority for. You're confusing! Or maybe you have found scriptural authority for the Herald of Truth setup. If you have, Claude, I'd like to be your opponent in a discussion while you use it to "dampen the bonfires" of "anti-Herald of Truth-cooperation". I think it could be a written affair, from my side of the matter. Now your "bonfire" extinguisher, W. F., refused to enter such a discussion.
That "opposition is the true mark of accomplishment" business, it appears to me, took you for another whirl, Claude. What kind of accomplishment are you talking about? Gospel preachers have been opposing denominational doctrines and practices since the errors came into being. What kind of accomplishment did this prove for the denominations? You see, Claude, you mix a fellow up!
Then you write "big": "If we were not doing something the old devil wouldn't be interested in resisting us." Do you mean that I (and others who resist the Herald of Truth Organization) am the old devil? Do you mean that if you were idle "us devils" wouldn't bother you? I don't know, Claude, What was Eve doing when the "boogerman" got after her? And I recollect reading somewhere, "Idleness is the devil's workshop." So I just reckon, idle or busy, the "old scratch" is always trying to get us to do things for him and according to his way, and accomplishment, as I see it from where I am, can therefore be for the devil or for the Lord. You reckon I'm in the wrong place to see it right?
You know, Claude, brother James said, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." I'm resisting your position, and you declare the old devil is resisting you. James says God does some resisting, too, so we'd better make sure from whence the resistance, don't you think, Claude? But since the devil will flee when he is resisted, and we have opportunity to test for the fleet-footed "resistor", we can thus determine just where God and Satan are by the results. Now Claude, if you hunt up Harper and hide with him, I just reckon open-minded people will have a good idea whose camp the "old Scratch" is in!