In his recent inaugural address as professor of historical theology at the College of the Bible, Brother Ralph G. Wilburn spoke of the spirit of "jubilation" with which he viewed the "ecumenical movement" in contemporary denominationalism. Brother Wilburn's wild retreat from the simple truths of New Testament Christianity and his joining in with the forces of Digression we believe entitles him to' be known as the "General Jubilation T. Cornpone" of the Restoration Movement.
No paper next week
In keeping with our long established practice we publish no paper the last week in December. But we will be back with you on January 2. A number of excellent articles are in store for the first part of the year. Check your label to see if the expiration date is near at hand. Renew without delay, and don't miss a single issue.
Language of Ashdod
We have been impressed with the extent to which the "language of Ashdod" is creeping into common usage among the brethren. For instance, in one advertising folder used recently by a Texas church we find that the visiting preacher has preached in many "revival" meetings, has served as a "counselor at one of the brotherhood youth encampments," and is to be helped in the "revival" by another brother who is the "educational director and youth director" for a well-known Texas church, and who has also been quite active in the "brotherhood youth encampments." What is a "brotherhood youth encampment," anyhow?
Several people have called our attention to a gem of exegetical preaching which they heard (and saw) over the Herald of Truth television program some months ago. Explaining the meaning of David's statement, "Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me,"
(Psalm 51:5) the speaker advanced the idea that David was an illegitimate child, a bastard, his mother and father never having married! Well, David's parents had seven sons older than David (I Samuel 16:10), and if our Abilene exegete is correct, then the whole family were bastards. Wow! And this is the kind of scholarship (?) that is dividing the churches of Christ all over the nation! Oh, yes, the Highland elders read and approved the script before it was put on the air ... (so they say).
Sort of disappointing?
We wonder if the drum-beating the Gospel Advocate has been doing to get brethren to send in their "confessions of error" to that journal hasn't been a bit disappointing to them. So far they have netted only three fish of any size who would come across with a "mea culpa" — John D. Cox who insists he has not changed doctrinally, Earl West who also insists he has not changed doctrinally (both claim only on a "change in application" of the doctrine), and Jack Meyer whose "confession" was of a doctrinal change — from the Firm Foundation error to the Gospel Advocate error! Unless the campaign drums up something more than that, it's liable to be a fizzle.
Brother N. W. Allphin of Tahoka, Texas, sends us the story of a worried school teacher who was about to resign. Asked why, he replied: "Well, the teachers are afraid of the principal, the principal is afraid of the superintendent, the superintendent is afraid of the School Board, the School Board is afraid of the parents, the parents are afraid of the children — and the children are afraid of nobody!"
"Total situation" — unchanged
Also from Brother Allphin comes the story of the neighbor who was miserable with marital troubles. He said, "We've been married nearIy ten years; and at first when I came home from work, my wife brought me my slippers, and the dog would bark at me. Now, when I come in, my dog brings the slippers, and my wife barks at me." His friend replied, "Well, what room have you to complain? You are still getting the same service, aren't you? The 'total situation' still has the same 'constituent elements'!"
Then there was that Texas town in which the "promotin' " brethren decided that they would show "every consideration" to their brethren who could not in good conscience contribute their money to support Boles Home. They were told they could have their choice: (1) either support Boles Home, or (2) be disfellowshipped. We opine that the leader of these "promotin' " brethren must be the same man who served once on a Texas jury, which, after many hours of deliberation finally filed back into the courtroom. "Have you reached a verdict?" asked the judge. "We have, your honor," replied the foreman, "but in order to make this trial as fair and agreeable as possible, and to show every consideration to the defendant, the jury would like to ask him one question." Then turning to the defendant, "Do you prefer AC or DC current?"
Brother Gene Frost and Brother Donald Wills have secured copies of the charters of nearly all the Orphan Homes and Homes For The Aged which are supported by various congregations. They have mimeographed this material on 40 pages, legal size, single space, and make it available to all who desire it for $1.50. Write Gospel Anchor, Box 10081, Houston 18, Texas.
Progress in error
Quite in line with what has been prophesied, some of our "social gospel, promotional, institutional" brethren are now relaxing their doctrinal stand along other lines as well as the institutional. We have lately found some of them advocating that "anybody who has been immersed for remission of sins" is a member of the Lord's church. They quite frankly include in that number not only the Disciples of Christ group, but certain Baptists, Mormons, Jehovah's' Witnesses, Greek Catholics, and many others. If the Masons should decide to have "immersion for remission of sins" as an initiatory rite admitting
to their order, this too would be defended as making one a member of the body of Christ! These brethren ignore Acts 19 — John's disciples had been "immersed for the remission of sins;" but they had to be baptized into Christ.
Some gospel preachers have in recent years gone in for a vast program of "pastoral counseling," doling out medical and psychiatric advice (usually amateurish and incompetent) to people who will take it. There is such a thing as mental sickness, and there is also such a thing as spiritual sickness, and they are not synonymous. Gospel preachers should leave the mental cases to the medical men, and stop trying to act as amateur "head-shrinkers" in their work of preaching.
They are willing to accept into full fellowship Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Greek Catholics, Baptists and Digressives (anybody who has been "immersed for the remission of sins"), but some of these same people are trying to draw up a charter to incorporate their congregation (in southeast Texas), refusing membership to anybody who does not support Herald of Truth!