Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 7, 1957
NUMBER 39, PAGE 4-5b

Let Us Try To Go To Heaven


We have seen altogether too much of the kind of evil spirit which Brother Lemmons condemns. In fact, the very week his editorial appeared, we were shown the following report in a Texas religious journal:

The caption on this editorial is the same used in the New Year's editorial in another gospel journal published in the state of Texas. With both the caption and the content of that editorial we are in most hearty agreement. Here is a quotation from it:

"The practice of practical Christianity on every level from the individual to the international could turn this old world into a virtual paradise. Men could be taught to beat their swords into plowshares, and could be induced to spend their money for things other than blood and blasting powder. If there was ever an opportunity for the faithful, consecrated, sacrificing Christian, it is now. The world is tired of advice — what it needs is example.

"And we can well begin at home. The unchristian principles of hate, and jealousy, and flinty hard-hearted unconcern are all to prevalent. They manifest themselves in vitriolic speech and writing. The ability to say a thing hard and nasty has never been the badge of a Christian. The very spirit shown by one who seems to receive sadistic pleasure out of the fact that he has found some brother or some church that he can castigate publicly demonstrates itself to be of the devil rather than of God. The tendency to publish, or the tendency to enjoy, juicy morsels of slander, or bits of information designed to arouse and foment ill will among brethren is diametrically opposed to the nature and teachings of Jesus Christ.

"A constant diet of half truths, veiled threats, untrue claims, intimidating reports, unfair advantages taken, tale-bearing, deliberate misstatement of facts, and love for preeminence and power, produced Nazism's and Fascism. These tactics will produce Nazism and Fascism in the church.

"The principles of brotherly love and forgiveness must constantly permeate a congregation, else it will sooner or later be destroyed. These principles must permeate the brotherhood or else it will sooner or later be destroyed. A house divided against itself cannot stand. We must practice these principles ourselves before we can have much chance of teaching them to the world. Our practice must match our teaching. They'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day."

The truth of the above paragraphs, which were written by Brother Reuel Lemmons and published in the Firm Foundation, January 1, 1957, should be apparent to every right thinking person. There is no place in Christian journalism nor in the Christian life for the sort of "half truths, veiled threats, untrue claims, intimidating reports," etc., which Brother Lemmons so powerfully condemns. No gospel journal will under any circumstances take an "unfair advantage" of a brother in Christ, nor will such a paper print a "deliberate misstatement of facts." Free, open and brotherly discussion of issues will be presented, and the iron curtain of censorship will not be drawn against a brother to prevent his being heard in the paper.

Robert M. Alexander, McAlester, Okla., November 27: This leaves me with the church in McAlester, Oklahoma. I came here on the heels of a wreck created by one of the Gospel Guardian boys. The picture is the same wherever these fellows go. They leave the church confused, disheartened, disgusted and divided. The response to my effort for truth and harmony is very encouraging. The interest and attendance are now better than they have been in several years."

It is this sort of hate-mongering that Brother Lemmons deplores. It is this kind of "tale-bearing, and deliberate misstatement of facts" that has so nauseated faithful Christians everywhere with some gospel journals. Not many weeks ago this writer was viciously misrepresented in a Texas journal, and portrayed as one who believed and taught that elders of a congregation had the scriptural right to withdraw from a member merely by "the flip of a coin." This was obviously designed "to arouse and foment ill will," and was a sad commentary on the moral character of a brother who would write such a falsehood and the journal which would publish such. We join Brother Lemmons in his feeling that all such vitriolic speech and writing should have no place in Christian journalism. The brother and the journal guilty of that sort of "tale-bearing" and "untrue claim" may preach long and loud about love and fairness; but their voice will have little weight with faithful Christians until their "practice matches their teaching." There are many who will be disgusted at any sermon on fairness from such a source. They had rather see a sermon than to hear one any day!

There are serious problems before the Lord's church, many of them. They should be discussed and studied — openly, freely, and fully. Fairness and brotherly consideration should mark all those taking part in such a study. If a brother finds himself unable to control his temper in such an exchange, he should leave the discussion to others who have better mastery of themselves. All of us want to go to heaven; it would be a sorry thing indeed for a man to "win the fight" in his contention for scriptural principles and lose his own soul in such a battle because of the unchristian way in which he waged his warfare.