Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 18, 1969
NUMBER 20, PAGE 1-3a

"Peace Is Our Profession"

Jesse M. Kelley

Our caption may be seen on a large sign at the entrance of any of our Strategic Air Command (SAC) bases over the country. Its message is that of peace, yet it holds no hint of compromise or comfort to the enemies of this nation. It exhibits to the world our never ending search for peace, but in it is couched a grim warning to our foes that the peace we seek will not be on their terms, or at the cost of the freedoms we cherish. The men manning the terribly destructive machines of war in the peaceful settings behind these signs are men of peace who desire peace, yet when and if the need should ever arise they can unleash enough destructive power to destroy nations and obliterate societies. Their ability to destroy, however, does not make them trigger happy or diminish their desire to live in peace. As they ever remain on the alert, our Diplomatic Corps meets with the enemy and talks. Day after day, month after month, men sit down at tables in an effort to arrive at some kind of understanding where mankind can live harmoniously despite conflicting ideologies. No compromise is entertained and peace may not be achieved, but this does not invalidate the time and money spent, and the efforts put forth to bring men together. They talk, and talk, and talk, but no man in his right mind will construe this to mean that we are "going soft" and are about to sell out to the enemy. Every right thinking American wants these "talks" to continue, for when men talk not so many of them die.

In recent months the readers of this paper have been told of a desire for "peace" by the editor. He wants to talk, to reason with the brethren. Some criticism has resulted. A few even wildly imagine that the Guardian is "going soft." We hear such terms as "sell out," "compromise "and withdrawal from conflict." I would not presume to speak for the editor, nor defend him. He is quite capable of doing that for himself. But I know him and what he stands for and his dedication to revealed truth. Because a man wants to talk and not shout does not make him a weakling or a compromiser. It doesn't take much brains to jump up and down and scream. If it did, there wouldn't be nearly so much noise in the world, or the church either. Some among us seem to think that if a brother lowers his voice and tries to be reasonable, he has jumped on a toboggan slide to compromise and will surely embrace the enemy.

When God said to Israel through his prophet, "Come now, and let us reason together," He wasn't aiming to compromise with anybody, nor was He "going soft." Understanding and truth are arrived at through communication, and even though Israel had committed sin and was the guilty party, God wanted to "reason" with them. The ability to disagree without being disagreeable has always been rare — comparatively few men possess it. Like the militant Black Society, too many of us immediately view one who disagrees with us as an enemy; and there is only one way to deal with enemies, we think. It all reminds me of when I was a boy at the swimming hole up in Oklahoma with other boys. If there was a disagreement there was sure to be a fight. It usually resulted in a puffed up eye and a bleeding nose, mostly mine. Some of us seem to think we are not sound unless we are constantly having a fight with somebody. We will rush into print in a periodical or church bulletin and consign to the "liberals" anyone who hints at being out of focus in our microscopic view of things. If one tries to reason a little on the subject of "fellowship" for instance, he is branded by some as a "softie" who is unsafe. This despite the fact that he has demonstrated a thousand times that he will not fellowship error. To shake hands and talk with a man is not necessarily indicative of fellowship. But Truth ought to be fellowshipped any where it is found. I can shake hands with a Baptist preacher on the "mode" of baptism, but I will not fellowship him on its design. Likewise, I can fellowship any truth my "liberal" brother may hold, at the same time refusing to fellowship him in his error.

Here, one-sixteenth of an inch will not be given away for the sake of fellowship. When fellowship is withdrawn from a brother we are forbidden to even eat a common meal with him. So we may legitimately ask, how much fellowship have we withdrawn from our "liberal" brethren? Have we withdrawn "eatin' fellowship?" Will we shake hands (a sign of fellowship) with them? Will we refuse to sing and pray with them like we would refuse to sing to the accompaniment of the instrument with the Christian Church folk? I personally know one brother who is presently real verbal about some one fellow-shipping the liberals who a short time ago went into the home of one liberal family, visited and ate with them, then met them at the door of the meeting house, shook hands with them and called one of them "brother" and even encouraged him to lead the prayer for the service. Of course his doing this does not make it right, but it does place his foot in his mouth when he begins mouthing around about some one "fellowshipping the liberals." And when a brother begins hopping around on one foot with the other one in his mouth trying to talk about "fellowship" he looks ridiculous and sounds a lot worse.

Peace ought to be the profession of every Christian. Not peace at any price, or at the expense of Truth, but peace set out on the terms of the word of God. This peace is to be "pursued" which means "sought after." One certainly cannot withdraw himself so far that he will refuse to talk and reason to bring about peace and understanding. One cannot convert a sectarian without "talking." The one in error must be "reasoned" with, not with a frothy mouth, but sanely and sensibly. The Christian is obligated to take the "offensive" here, whether it be with a sectarian or a liberal brother.

Let not anything that is said here be construed to mean that this writer is "going soft," or that he is ready to compromise. The "fight of faith" must be fought and will be fought, but one doesn't have to always "swing from the heels" to fight, nor, does he have to get wild and make a lot of noise. Where Truth is involved there will be no retreat, ever. But in seeking peace, the "enemy" must be accorded the integrity of conviction that is due any man until he proves that he possesses no honesty or conviction, or both. "Peace is our profession." We will talk to arrive at it, or fight to preserve it, and like SAC, we have the weapon to prove it!

— P.O. Box 1511, Lufkin, Texas 75901