I Agree With Brother Lemmons
In the Firm Foundation of February 28th Brother Reuel Lemmons has an editorial with which this writer is in full accord. It is an excellent editorial (if the proper application is made), and one which merits careful and thoughtful consideration by the hobbyists among us. It is an indictment of the heretics and promoters of hobbyism in the church who would "draw away disciples after them." He did a superb job and we want to take the liberty to quote portions of it and pass them along to the "heretics" among us who may not have had the privilege of reading it in the Firm Foundation. We trust that our readers will indulge us in a comment here and there. We quote portions as follows:
"The sin of 'drawing away disciples' is the curse of the church today. There is no point in condemning the course of apostasy in the early centuries, nor the sinful practice of sectarian division in denominational circles today, when the only church for which my Lord died is cursed with sectarianism of the rankest sort. From time to time there have arisen among us teachers who have drawn away disciples after them.
"The most stinging rebuke that the apostle Paul ever delivered was against the sectarian, party spirit, which had arisen to curse the fellowship of the church at Corinth." He then quotes 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 to sustain his point.
Brother Lemmons "hit the nail on the head" in the above. During the past few years those with the "sectarian spirit" have arisen in the church in "clothing of sheep," and have drawn away many of the disciples after them. For example, the riders of just one "hobby horse" among us have in the past five years drawn away thousands of disciples after them and are now riding wild and high on a project of nationwide evangelism under the supervision and control of one eldership. This project is so dear to some of the promoters of hobbyism that they are now advocating the disfellowshiping of those who will not climb on with them. But for far more disciples than the hobbyists realize, the mountain is too high and the ride is too wild. They will not get on, even if they are disfellowshipped for refraining. Yes, Brother Lemmons, "The only church for which my Lord died is cursed with sectarianism of the rankest sort." Some are so "sectarian," in fact, that they want to take the small percentage they have convinced to ride their horse with them, and go off to themselves, dividing the only institution the world has ever known in which a man may save his soul.
But he continues: "That this spirit permeates the church today no man can deny. A condition exists among us that exactly parallel's the condition that existed in Corinth. A party spirit separates the body of Christ; love for preeminence above love for the church." How true this statement is! On every hand brethren are being ostracized and "quarantined" by other brethren; bitterness is becoming more and more evident, and churches belonging to the Lord are being split asunder by elderships and preachers who love the pre-eminence of heading brotherhood projects for which there is no New Testament authority. Fifteen years ago these centralized projects had not yet been born and there was peace and tranquility.
But with their birth came discord and strife and division because those who "loveth the pre-eminence" more than they love the church have tried to force them upon brethren. And as Brother Lemmons wrote, "There is no stronger rebuke delivered in the word of God than the rebuke against the man, or men, who would 'lead away disciples after them,' and thus create a faction within the body of Christ." This indeed applies to those in the church who are splitting the grandest institution that ever existed with their "institutional hobbyism" and unauthorized brotherhood elderships.
Editorial: "I thank God that elders are awakening to their God-given responsibilities to guard the flock against `those who sow discord among brethren'." So do I. It is true that the start was late; before many realized what was happening hundreds had already been led astray to the mountains of institutionalism, but thank God churches and elders are awakening to the monster that threatens the Body of Christ, and are taking measures to stem the tide. And by the time the brotherhood eldership and institutional "hobby riders" among us finally take their group and make the ultimate break there will be a lot fewer of the disciples that will follow them than they can possibly imagine now. We can only hope that they will come to their senses before they make that fatal, soul-destroying mistake. But from here it seems inevitable that the fruition of their persistence in riding their hobbies over the word of God and the conscience of their brethren will result in the Body of Christ being rent asunder and souls being lost. And as Brother Lemmons concludes, "In the judgment I had much rather be the one who did it ignorantly."
Yes, Brother Lemmons gave us a fine editorial. We may not have applied it as he intended, but we think ours is the proper application.