Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 25, 1971
NUMBER 45, PAGE 4,5b

"None Has Merited My Fear"


"In masks outrageous and austere

The years go by in single file;

But none has merited my fear,

And none has quite escaped my smile."

This brief stanza from Elinor Wylie grows ever more meaningful as "the years go by." For, in truth, there is nothing to fear — nothing for the Christian to fear, that is. As Napoleon Hill once said to Franklin Roosevelt, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." FDR used this in his famed speech seeking to halt the hysteria that had gripped the nation in the great Depression, and succeeded in part by calling attention to the fact. But long centuries before either Hill or Roosevelt had ever breathed the air of life, one greater than either of them had written, "perfect love casteth out fear." And a greater still had said, "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul."

We begin this week a lengthy series of articles (eleven in all) by Colly Caldwell, tracing the history of "the cooperation controversy" as it developed in The Restoration Movement. We believe the reading of this story will be a healthy antidote to any fears or uneasiness brethren may have felt over the course of our current problems. For here in outline as clear and specific as could be imagined we see the forecasting of present day difficulties — and we can read on the pages of history what happened. Brother Caldwell has done a truly fine job of research, and has carefully documented the entire project. For the sake of students who may wish to do further reading on the subject, and for the help of future historians, we carry the full reference citations at the end of each article. We solicit for the series a most careful and prayerful reading; these articles are immensely enlightening.

We are disturbed and distressed, of course, by what has happened in our day. But fearful, or frightened at the prospects of the future? Not a bit of it! What is happening is what has happened from time immemorial. "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you," was the way Peter wrote it so many years ago. It happened in his generation; it has happened many times since then; it is happening in our generation. And it will continue till the end of time. There will always be apostasies; from which there will either be a faithful remnant to survive; or else in course of time God's word will find a place in honest and good hearts and bring another group to obedience. These will walk "in the light" for a generation, or two, or maybe three or four — then another apostasy!

God does not desire it so; but human nature seems to make it so. The faithful Christian's reaction when this happens is one of sorrow and regret, accompanied by heartache at the loss of so many friends and loved ones — but an adamant and unyielding determination to "stand fast in the faith." He may stand alone (and often does in the church, in the community, and even in his own family) but he is not afraid! He has found that friend "that sticketh closer than a brother" and nothing daunts him. No matter how "outrageous and austere" the hurrying years may be, neither friend nor foe can shake the calm confidence and total certainty of him who has put his trust in the Lord.

"And none has quite escaped my smile," the poet wrote of these by-passing years. Well, there are all kinds of smiles. They can run the whole gamut of human emotions, amused, wry, wistful, sad, greedy, supercilious, tender, loving, eager, or maybe even that enigmatic smile of Mona Lisa. But as we read these articles from Colly Caldwell, more than once we were aware of a half-smile (at least a half, maybe more) trying to break the frown of concentration. "That's exactly what Tom Warren said in his debate with Cecil Douthitt," flitted through our mind as we read of some early defense of the "cooperatives"; or, "That sounds like E. R. Harper in the Abilene debate"; or "This is precisely the defense Guy N. Woods made of Herald of Truth in his debate with Cogdill." Over and over again, we found the same arguments, sometimes in almost the same words. It was uncanny (at times downright eerie!!) to find the arguments of Thomas and Totty, Woods and Warren, and other defenders of the modern "cooperatives" stated so clearly and so convincingly by these earlier brethren who had become enamored of the Missionary Societies. How has it been possible for good men (and they ARE good men) to be so utterly blind to history? to repeat the same hideous mistakes of our fathers, and to go down the same well-worn paths to denominationalism they trod?

Anyhow, we do commend to you the articles by Brother Caldwell. He has done an outstanding job of research and analysis. You will find the series informative and helpful in every way.

— F. Y. T.