The Beginning Of Disfellowshipping
Note: After reading this selection please read the article by Cecil Douthitt which follows. Brother Douthitt's response to the "quarantine" appeared in The Gospel Guardian, January 13,1955.
In the Gospel Advocate of November 18, 1954 editor B. C. Goodpasture printed a letter from a "well-known" elder concerning alleged hairsplitters, hobby riders, and chronic church-busters. In the Gospel Advocate of December 9, 1954, the editor printed three of a "number of letters" commending the letter of the November 18 issue. One of these letters in the December 9 editorial page suggested:
"I trust you will not consider me presumptuous if I suggest that perhaps the writers of the Gospel Advocate might wisely spearhead a movement to `quarantine' those preachers of today who are sowing seeds of discord among the brotherhood and to thus prevent further division."
This suggestion appearing on the editorial page of the Gospel Advocate, with the apparent endorsement of the editor, sparked a general cross-the-country disfellowshipping, by Gospel Advocate influenced churches, of those not in agreement with Gospel Advocate positions on institutional and sponsoring church issues.
Cecil Douthitt responded to the "quarantine" suggestion in an article entitled "The Yellow Tag of Quarantine" in the Gospel Guardian of January 13, 1955, showing the evil of the policy and exposing its inconsistencies.
The institutions and sponsoring churches implemented the quarantine lending their power and influence to it. Thus division came.
There had been local church disturbances and divisions over the "issues" before the call for quarantine, and considerable polemic activity had appeared in the papers from the late 1940's. But the beginning of disfellowshipping on a brotherhood scale, over the "issues" is to be dated to the call for quarantine in the Gospel Advocate of December 9, 1954. The quarantine erroneously stereotyped all dissenting brethren as members of a "wrecking crew" and failed to give attention to "liberal" brethren who were instigating local divisions by forcing policies into congregations without regard to dissenting voices.