Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 29, 1957
NUMBER 17, PAGE 10-11b

"Sword Swipes"

Wm. E. Wallace, Owensboro, Kentucky

"Sword Swipes" brings to mind the efficient thrusts in the past writings of Cled E. Wallace. Far be it from me to try to match his ability, but I'll try a few "swipes" anyway.

The Infiltration Of Philosophy

"Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ:" (Colossians 1:8)

What concord hath the gospel with philosophy? And what agreement hath the wisdom of God with the wisdom of men? Children of God walk in the wisdom of God and God is our Father, we are his children. Come ye out from among philosophical deceit and be ye separate.

One does not have to get outside the confines of the body of Christ nowadays to find situations where preachers are unequally yoked together with philosophy. I have wondered what prompts a preacher of the gospel to seek a high education in the field of philosophy when it is quite certain that the gospel of Christ, that which the preacher must preach, stands diametrically opposed to the "higher" human wisdom, that which is known as philosophy. Someone hastens to answer, "You've got to know something about Baptist doctrine in order to coin-bat it, and the same thing holds true with philosophy — you must know something about it in order to oppose it." Yes, I guess so, but there is such a thing as being yoked with Baptist doctrine, and with philosophy. A few years ago over in the Carolinas where I was working, a preacher announced in a "lectureship" that he had found a "new truth" about the operation of the Holy Spirit and he proceeded to set forth the doctrine that the Holy Spirit did operate separate and apart from the Word in conversion. He was very elaborate in his presentation. He thought he had something. After the lesson was over, one of the older, settled preachers remarked to the gent, "Why, that's nothing new, the Baptists have been preaching that for years!"

It seems someone had become so wrapped up in certain denominational doctrines that some of it had rubbed off on him. I can see why a preacher would want to spend considerable time in denominational theological studies, I can see why he might want to spend considerable time learning of the theories of Kant, Nietzsche, Rosseau, et cetera, but it seems fair to be naturally suspicious of the gospel preacher who gets his basic education in the field of philosophy. It seems inevitably that some of it will rub off on him, and in turn he will rub some of it off on others. There just may be a place for Christian philosophers in the church — I don't know for sure — but in view of Paul's warning in Colossians 2:8 there isn't any place in the pulpit for that which Paul warned against.

I think it boils down to this: The study of philosophy is worthwhile, but to become a philosopher while at the same time maintaining a place as a preacher or teacher of Bible involves a situation sort of like the little boy who wanted to be General Custer and Chief Sitting Bull at the same time.

I see where some are crying about the need of higher education and big degrees for gospel preachers. I suppose there is a place for all that. But trouble arises when some of these fellows get top heavy with degrees. They get the idea that God wants them to lead the church out of the woods. They seem willing to forget the nature of the church and of its membership 1900 years ago, and want to remodel the Lord's church to meet the demands of this modern philosophical age. It has been a well known fact for a time longer than the age spans of our higher educators that the gospel is simple enough for a man who never heard of Ph. D degree — he can understand it, and obey it. And the brethren who love the higher degrees are still quite willing to receive considerable support from folk who are a long way down the ladder in scholastic attainment.

Now some will likely reply that Wallace doesn't have a Ph. D, so he takes it out on those who do. Maybe so. I suspect I'd get one of those things if I had the time and money, but after I got it I'd hide the thing under a bushel basket as long as I professed to be a preacher of the gospel. I just wouldn't feel right being called "Doctor" when the Saviour I serve couldn't get much more out of folk than "teacher" or "Rabbi." I remember what a speech professor said to the class one day about Ph. D's — he didn't have one, he was just a lowly M. A. Said he, "The trouble with getting a Ph. D is, it's a political thing. You've got to politic with those who are in in order to graduate from being without." I don't know how true that is, but I do know that if a preacher is going to preach the Bible instead of philosophy he ought to be a master of the Bible rather than of philosophy.

When preachers are unequally yoked together with the wisdom of men they are going to be injecting the stuff into the sermons. When teachers in schools are obsessed with the teachings of George Berkeley and all the other eccentric and confused geniuses of the philosophical world, some of the preacher boys are going to be effected in a catastrophic way.

All this is not meant as a reflection on the integrity of scholars among us. It's merely a warning against spoiling the faith of Christians, especially young ones of the preacher boy species, through philosophy and vain deceit.

"Church Of Christ Number Two"

The "Disciples of Christ" are lamenting the emergence of a schism in their ranks. It seems the liberalism of the Disciples, relative to streamlining the work of the churches with societies, conventions and organizations, has lead to the formation of a separate group which the disciples label "Church of Christ Number Two." "Church of Christ Number Two" is in rebellion, and rightly so, against the organizational innovations of the "Disciples." What Disciple A. T. DeGroot has to say about the future of this "Church of Christ Number Two" is of special interest to what he calls "Church of Christ Number One" — that's us. Hear him: "As to other avenues for fellowship certainly the Church of Christ Number One will offer no welcoming hand unless the Church of Christ Number Two will forswear instrumental music. They might not be obligated to renounce missionary societies, for Church of Christ Number One is developing the first forms of these very rapidly — one of which spends over $1,000,000 annually on broadcasting sermons. But fellowship with Church of Christ Number One would not mean unity, for that body is actually in many disfellowshipped fragments. In April, 1955, one Church of Christ (Number One) minister debated another at Lufkin, Texas on the subject of missionary societies which have emerged in Church of Christ Number One." — "Church of Christ Number Two" by A. T. DeGroot, Press of The Birmingham Printers, Ltd., England, 1956, page 10).

Well, we don't want this "Church of Christ Number Two" with its instrumental music, that is, the Lord does not want them with that innovation. Note that the viewpoint of the outsiders regarding missionary societies among us, shows that they can see what is going on a lot better than some of our own brethren. These "first forms" among our brethren give us such a liberal appearance the most conservative branch of the "Christian Church" movement wouldn't want anything to do with us!