Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 20, 1968

"In Good Faith"


We have received a considerable number of articles from brethren commenting on "that Arlington meeting." We regret that many of them (in fact, most of them) think that no real good can come from this meeting or others like it. Underneath all the uneasiness and skepticism one note seems to be sounded over and over — "they can't be trusted." It is very obvious that the wounds of the division have gone deep, and that healing will neither be fast nor easy. Many of the brethren "on the other side" betray an eerie, almost pathological, blindness as to the real issues that have been at stake. Even men of considerable ability have obviously read very, very little of what those they please to call "antis" have written on the issues. They have apparently accepted without question the prejudicial misstatements of biased men that the whole problem was with us because "some ignorant brethren are opposed to cooperation, to preaching the gospel over the radio, and to the church doing benevolence."

But, as a beautiful ray of sunshine can occasionally break through dark and forbidden clouds, so can some little glimmer of hope come now and then to brighten an otherwise very depressing scene. One such ray of sunshine appeared a few weeks ago in the bulletin of the Putnam City Church of Christ (Oklahoma City), a church which many have regarded as one of the most "liberal" in the entire Oklahoma City area. We were in Oklahoma City on May 19, and somebody handed us a copy of "The Evangelist," a weekly publication of the Putnam City congregation. Preacher for this congregation is Brother Arnott Lowder, and Lyle Brooks is listed as "Assistant Minister." Here is the quotation from the paper given us:

Public Announcements:

The elders decided in their meeting last Wednesday evening that there would be no more pleas, from the pulpit, for money for various projects outside the regular Lord's day contribution.

Promotions for these projects will be made through this publication, or through individual or group contacts, but not in the general assembly.

All recreational activities will be excluded from our public announcements. — The Elders We commend these elders for taking a step (it must have been a long, LONG step for them) in the right direction. This certainly does not "settle the problem of modernism and liberalism"; but who can deny that it is a move in the right direction.

And it is more than that. It is an evidence that these brethren are acting "in good faith" in trying to improve the general climate of the church in Oklahoma City. It would be our guess that some of the elders (maybe all of them, for all we know) had no deep conscientious convictions against the "various projects" which hitherto had been supported out of the regular Lord's day contributions. But they realized that there were certainly a considerable number of faithful Christians in Oklahoma City, and conceivable even some in the Putnam City church, who did and who do have convictions against church contributions to such projects and promotions. And, acting as faithful and godly elders should act under such circumstances, they did something about it. Maybe you think what they did is not enough, that they should have spelled out more clearly and more fully just what the "various projects" are that will no longer e supported from church funds. But will you not rejoice that at least a beginning has been made by them? They have surely demonstrated that they are acting "in good faith" in trying to move toward a better relationship with brethren from whom in the past they have been separated.

Do not let the ranting "holier than thou" attitude of a Gayle Oler or others of his disposition stand in the way of unity. When men love the Lord, and love one another, there can be no problem of any kind that can not be resolved insofar as their relationships with each other are concerned. Our problems and estrangement did not develop overnight; they will not be removed this summer. But they CAN be removed! Let no man doubt that for a moment. We do not mean at all that all the brethren, or all the congregations, who have "gone out from among us" (and we use the phrase deliberately as designating those who, in our judgment, have departed from the New Testament pattern) will return to the old paths. We are very certain that many of them (perhaps, sadly, most of them) will NOT return. But we are also strongly persuaded that an appreciable number love the Lord enough, and love their brethren enough, that they will seek "in good faith" to find a basis of unity which will be in harmony with God's road, and will be acceptable to all.

The Putnam City elders have demonstrated their faith by their action. It is a little thing, to be sure. But it is one of the most hopeful and promising omens we have seen in nearly twenty years of growing darkness and bitterness. May it be but the harbinger of many, many more such actions to come — and of an eventual healing of the breach that for so long, and to so many, has appeared beyond hope.

— — F.Y.T.