"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.IV No.VI Pg.12-15
January 1942


The Swing Of The Pendulum --Fanning Yater Tant

"I thank heaven for a man like Adolph Hitler." So spoke the founder of Buchmanism to a New York reporter in 1937. And these words have had no little part in proving the undoing of the movement started in the 1920s by Dr. Frank Buchman, baldish, plump, Pennsylvania-born Lutheran. The sect has been known under many names, among, them being "Buchmanism," "First Century Christian Fellowship," "Oxford Groups," and "Moral Rearmament."

There have been persistent rumors that Vidkun Quisling, the Norwegian traitor, as well as Rudolph Hess, who lately 'sailed against England,' and certain others high in the Nazi party were either members of, or sympathetic to, the Oxford Groups. This was partly brought out in a recent debate in the British House of Commons, when the Hon. A. P. Herbert remarked that Buchman had never publicly condemned Hitler. "He loves Hitler as well as he loves us," said the Britisher, "and there is in all his preaching a strange tendency toward flabbiness and fascism." The issue of the debate was whether the Buchmanite "lay preachers" would be granted military exemption. They weren't.

With practically the whole world regarding Hitler as the arch-enemy of all civilized values, and all decency and honor in both individual and national relationships, it is understandable that Dr. Buchman's impetuous admiration for Der Fuehrer should come back to haunt him. His movement, which spread like a house afire through the Protestant world about a decade ago, has gone into an eclipse which promises to be even more spectacular than its rise. In New York City on November 8th, Dr. Samuel M. Shoemaker, rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, and leading American exponent of Buchmanism, wrote a letter to his parishioners explaining his withdrawal from the movement, and denying the Buchmanites any further use of his parish house which had been their headquarters. His action was typical of that being taken by prominent Buchmanites all over the nation. And now the retreat from "Moral Re-Armament" threatens to become a debacle.

Swing of the Pendulum

Buchmanism, like, nearly every false doctrine that has cursed the earth since the day of the apostles, represented a "swing of the pendulum" movement. One has but to look into church history to discover what a large proportion of heretical movements have had their genesis in the same sort of situation that brought the "Groupers" into existence. It has been the practical neglect of some phase or section of Christian doctrine, followed by a long felt need for the thing being stressed, then the emergency of someone to emphasize that particular thing, with a consequent over-emphasis which amounts to heresy.

For example, can there be any doubt that the reformation started by Martin Luther, with its heretical overemphasis on "faith" (salvation by faith only) was a swing of the pendulum away from the Catholic church's neglect of that doctrine? Because Catholicism had virtually eliminated personal faith, and had made salvation dependent almost entirely on doing the "works" of the church, Luther found a fertile soil for his emphatic preaching on the importance of faith.

Then there was Calvinism with its heretical overemphasis on the sovereignty of God. In rebellion against the accepted idea that mankind could work out his own scheme of redemption, and that careful observance of the decrees of "the church" would bring salvation, Calvin declared the whole thing was in the hands of God. Not only could man not save himself, he couldn't even help to save himself. Before time began, God had settled everything by his divine decree. All was predestinated and foreordained according to his will.

Later on, Wesley came with his enthusiastic emotionalized version of "whop-'em-up" religion. Which was a clear case of the "swing of the pendulum" away from the cold formalism of the Anglican church. His movement resulted in a heretical over-emphasis on the "feeling" side of religion.

In our own country Mary Baker Eddy secured a tremendous following by putting great emphasis on a phase of Christian doctrine that was very generally over looked and neglected--meditation and prayer. By staking her so-called "Christian Science" on these two points, and building her whole cult around them, she was able to snare a large number of people who had felt there was something lacking in their denominational teaching, without knowing exactly what it was that was absent. This writer has yet to meet a Christian Scientist who was not a member of some other denomination before he fell under the wiles of Mrs. Eddy.

Cardinal Points of Buchmanism

In much the same way, Dr. Buchman in the '20s and '30s pounced upon certain phases of Christian doctrine which were largely being neglected, and with these as a frame work, built up an impressive following among religious people in nearly all the larger denominations. A study of the cardinal points of his teaching will show them to have been nothing more nor less than an over-emphasis on parts of the Christian religion which had been long ignored and abused:

1. The "quiet time." This is the name the Buchmanites gave to a period of meditation and earnest devotion which they pledged themselves to observe each day. Usually it is early in the morning. This time may be spent partly in prayer, and partly in an inner searching of the soul. Devout men have long since recognized that our modern high pressure living has practically eliminated this sort of experience from the life of the average Christian. And successful Christian living simply isn't possible without it. Every soul must have some method of retreat and withdrawal from the noisy clatter and swift rush of daily living. Because our generation has virtually lost this technique of Christian living, the Buchmanites were able to capitalize on it. The result was an over-emphasis that made of the "quiet time" a sort of mystical, unearthly, experience in which the "Grouper" thought he would receive a direct message (guidance) from the Holy Spirit.

2. "Sharing" was the word the Buchmanite used to describe his attitude toward others in the movement. In "sharing" he purged his soul by a confession of sins. Nothing was kept back. Everything from the most trivial peccadilloes of behavior to the most revolting of crimes was laid bare. Again, thoughtful men have long recognized the actual, psychological, prophylactic value of a full and free - confession. Modern Christianity has seemed much more willing to confess the faults of others than its own guilt. But Christ and the apostles taught, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another," (Jas. 5:16) and "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us, our sins," (I Jno.1:9). Dr. Buchman was quick to sense the weakness in the modern attitude, and to emphasize this neglected portion of the gospel. But, as is usual with such "swing of the pendulum" movements, he over-emphasized the idea to the point of heresy.

3. Individual evangelism. Because modern denominationalism is frozen in its stiff formality of "called" and "ordained" clergymen, the Buchmanites saw a golden opportunity to return to the primitive conception of every member being an evangelist for the movement. In this attitude and conception Dr. Buchman gave a tremendous emphasis to a long neglected teaching of the scripture that--it is the solemn duty of every disciple to teach and influence all he meets to accept the new doctrine. But here, once more, the pious doctor went beyond the truth in his over-emphasis of this neglected principle. He has tried to make all his movement dependent on the work of the "lay preachers"--giving no place at all to evangelists or teachers whose sole duty would be to spread the teaching.

How the Church can Profit

Although Buchmanism is clearly a heretical movement, it has none-the-less certain points well worth the Christian's sober consideration. Can anyone deny that the church of Christ would profit immeasurably if all the members would give greater emphasis to the cardinal points of the "Groupers"--periods of meditation and prayer, honest confession of faults, and intense, flaming, individual evangelism? Not because Dr. B. taught them, but because Jesus Christ himself taught them.

The chief value of Dr. Buchman to us moderns has been to show us that the plan of Christ works. Even handicapped as it was by all the errors and wrong ideas of denominational teachings, it was undoubtedly the zealous individual evangelism of Buchman's followers that made hundreds of thousands of converts to his movement within a short decade. And if the church of Christ in our day could develop the same intensity of enthusiasm on the part of every member that characterized the Buchmanites, who can say how rapid would be her growth throughout the world?

Dr. Buchman's admiration for the goose-stepping Nazis and his lack of any solid doctrinal framework has doubtless doomed his movement to an early extinction. But the incredible speed with which his "Moral Rearmament" swept the world has been one of the outstanding religious phenomena of our day. It shocked and astonished our easy-going religionists into stupefied wonder. Two things were clearly demonstrated: first, our sophisticated twentieth century is certainly not hardened and immune to all religious influence; second, if people, are won to a new religious life it must be by a return to the flaming, passionate intensity or individual evangelism which characterized the church in the first century. The way of Christ and the apostles the way of the early disciples--is the way that get results. Let the church of Christ take notice!

Only to the extent that the church is kept militant (not in the persons of her preachers and leaders, but in the rank and file of her membership) can we hope for the church to become triumphant.


God's Call To Expansion Homer Hailey

The Bible continues ever fresh and adaptable to man in all ages; containing its message to all classes of men, and to men under all kinds of conditions. Solomon said, "there is no new thing under the sun;" and experience verifies the claim. If we delve deeply into the distant past, we find conditions and experiences coming and going about the same as today. Our study of the Bible should therefore reveal to us that which meets the need of the hour, then with the issue clearly before us, we should be able to meet it with all our might.

During a particular period of Israel's history the people could not help being very disheartened. Sin had robbed them of power, and at the moment Sennacherib stood on the threshold of the land with his Assyrian army, threatening to wipe out the national life of Judah. The days of which I speak were the gloomy days of 701 B. C. In the midst of those trying times, Isaiah stood as the gigantic representative of Jehovah among the people, preaching, pleading, denouncing, threatening. Yet in the midst of his declarations of impending punishment and suffering, he encouraged them with promises and exhortations of the future.

In the fifty-third chapter of his book, the prophet pictures for Judah and Jerusalem the suffering Messiah, which he followed with a picture of glorified Zion in the days of that Messiah, following His suffering. "Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith Jehovah. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare not: lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes. For thou shalt spread abroad on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall possess the nations, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited." (Isa. 54:1-3).

One need not speculate here, for Paul quotes the first verse in Galatians 4:27, applying the promise to the children of the new covenant, the covenant of promise. The fulfillment of the promise is realized in the church; and it is the church that should find inspiration in such a promise and command even now, as it faces its present day task and mission in the world. Amidst trying times the church was established, and when driven from Jerusalem by the enemies of truth did "spare not," but "lengthened the cords" and "strengthened the stakes" till they had "spread abroad on the right hand and on the left," "possessing the nations" and "making the desolate cities to be inhabited."

And now, today, when God's people are again threatened, this time by the spiritual "Assyrians" led by the various "Sennacheribs" of the hosts of darkness, shall she withdraw from the conflict, to leave the field to others? Or shall she put the utmost faith in God, and "spare not," but "lengthen the cords, and strengthen the stakes," in anticipation of ultimate victory when the thousands of Sennacherib's host shall lie prostrate in death, slain by "the breath of Jehovah, like a stream of brimstone?" The very spirit, thinking, and tendencies of the times are going to have their influence upon the church and its life today, which influence will be felt for years to come.

The present war is purely an economic war; but involved in it are moral and spiritual values. The primary concern today is for material things; but to the Christian the concern must be for the things eternal. The spirit of war tends to do two things: (1) draw men into a superficial alliance, in which for the moment differences that previously existed are laid aside. This is to be commended and wished for, if there are no principles involved in the compromise. (2) At the same time it breeds suspicion toward all who differ with them in their spirit, and develop hatreds for enemies, and unbalanced thinking in vital matters. Hatred, suspicion, compromise of principles, are all contrary to the Spirit of Christ, and the Christian calling. In the midst of these conditions and dispositions there is going to be the constant temptation to compromise convictions and positions by alliances with denominations in various movements and efforts, and to slacken the fight against sin "in the high places."

Our question in the affairs of the day is, what is the place of the church and the Christian life in the midst of such conditions? The reply: The church must be a rock of refuge in the midst of the storm. It must be the preserver of faith and righteousness at all costs, as it loses not its bearing, but constantly holds forth "the word of life" in the "midst of a crooked and perverse generation." It must be the "leaven" hidden in the three measures of meal, working always to influence lives for good. Our task is the same as always, the removing of hatreds, suspicions, and malice by changing the hearts of people through the gospel; planting in the stead of these the principles of Jesus Christ. This presents the challenge of the prophet of long ago, as he cried "Enlarge the place of thy tent... stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations; spare not: lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes."

Spare Not

The definite goal of the church must be one of "all out for Christ." The world today is stopping at no cost to gain victory; should the church with a vastly greater responsibility than that of any secular power, be miserly in its effort? Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth;" salt is consumed in accomplishing its purpose. Jesus further said, "Ye are the light of the world;" the light burns itself out giving light to others. It is consumed in its task, in achieving its objective. Both of these illustrations of Jesus intimate the accomplishment of Christianity at the cost of self.

Paul said, "I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls;" this must be the "spare not" spirit of the church today, if a remnant is to be salvaged from the spiritual chaos of the times. This may demand suffering, but Peter said, "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened to you: but inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, rejoice." (1 Peter 4:12, 13) Suffering has ever been the common lot of Christians in all ages; we need expect no less today.

Lengthen thy Cords

The scope of the church's service must be enlarged to include all men. If such a catastrophe as is at present befalling humanity is to be averted in another generation, the hearts of men must be changed by the gospel. The whole world of unredeemed becomes our challenge. "The World is the field," said Jesus; while the Prophet visualized Him as a King ruling a "dominion...from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth." This not in a "future dispensation" from the present, but now.

The church possesses all the essentials for the accomplishment of the task, unless it be one: the realization of the magnitude of its task and responsibility. It possesses the gospel, "which is the power;" the promise of God's presence at all times, "For himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee;" and the promise that our labor shall "not be in vain in the Lord." The thing needful then, is greater vision and harder work. Standing on the threshold of a new year, with far-reaching challenges before us, every congregation should "lengthen thy cords" to the very limit.

Strengthen thy Stakes

But it must not build loosely, rather, it must build for permanence. Stability is the thing that counts in a storm, not size. While stretching out in various directions, the stakes must be driven deep. There must be the development of a right conception of God if permanence is to be secured. God is not a tribal deity, interested in one race because of color more than in another; He is universal, interested in righteousness and faithfulness rather than color and race. Neither is He interested in the mere ritual of outward worship; He delights in sincerity and truth.

There must be home training, where principles of righteousness and loyalty to the truth are instilled from childhood. The sanctity of the home, and the integrity of the church must be emphasized if the stakes are to be strengthened.

Then, there is ever the dire need for thorough indoctrination in the fundamental principles of redemption. Catholicism is going to make a tremendous effort to "come back" out of the chaos of the day. Protestantism has failed, its compromising and modernistic tendencies have proved its undoing. In the midst of these facts, it is still true that only the truth can make men free. The church must "strengthen the stakes" as it prepares for the real shock of frenzied feelings, hatreds, and suspicions of coming days, and for the aftermath of present conditions.


Musings From The Motor City-- A. B. Keenan

"The restoration of the primitive church is neither possible nor desirable." This pearl of worldly wisdom, Satan inspired, is from the hand of a learned divine associated with the extreme broad-gauge wing of the Christian Church. If it is not representative of the philosophy of that denomination as a whole, it is at least typical of what that communion breeds and too frequently tries to tolerate. It is, of course, the counsel of despair on the part of those who have sought for unity in the Church, but have sought for it, naturally without success, in the wrong place. They have tried to remove "bones of contention," they have attempted fraternization they have tried to impress the impressible with tomes of stodgy "research," they have tried to keep "up with the Joneses" on the fashionable avenues, they have robed their "clergy" and bedecked their choirs, they have precluded and postcluded, and all in vain. Their fielders have let the ball drop between them. They have sought the Lord in the wrong place. They could have with as much success looked for oysters in the Sahara. The Lord prayed for the unity of believers. The Apostles preached one doctrine, and the immersed became members of one church. Both Paul and John pronounced anathemas on any who should alter the sacred teaching delivered unto them. The whole tenor of the New Testament from Matt. 1:1 to Rev. 22:21 is the oneness of Christ's teaching, church, and work among men. Restoration of the church of Christ is not only possible, but in the face of the punishment incumbent upon our failure to do so most desirable indeed. An' we don't mean maybe.

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"Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free." One of the beauties of New Testament Christianity is that, under God, we are responsible to no one, that is no synod, board, group, clique, claque, publishing house, editor, paper, or leaflet. We heard a good brother remark the other day that such-and-such a commentary was good, but put out by "sectarians." Now we're not here taking up your time reading this column with the recommendation of the least jot or tittle that's sectarian. But what a pretty picture we'd have in the Church if the only thing we dared to read was something that bore the official imprimatur of authorities at A.... or N.... (or save the mark!) L........ Of all the insane things among the brethren an index expurgatorious would, if you don't mind the French, be the most indubitable. In the search for truth, we're at liberty to take a leaf from any man's book. In our study to show ourselves approved unto God, that we may be unashamed workmen, let us bring to bear on the subject of the meaning of the Bible anything that will help us--from any quarter, including the Roman Catholic,--though we grant you, that might be rare. Let us keep the good and cast the bad away. Let our first study be the Sacred Books themselves. In their light let us cautiously use whatever helps are thrown our way. We said cautiously. Another brother, in pique or desperation, recently averred, "No commentaries are of any value," but did not realize that his own was thereby included. Let us listen, read and learn all we can. By the way have you reviewed your Neal-Wallace debate recently? Therein the bastions of righteousness truly withstand the aerial blitz of error.

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"No doubt some adults who have a mind-set induced by training in religious argumentation will give a legalistic interpretation of the 'forerunner'." (Statement discovered

in a Christian Board of Publication quarterly.) We surmise that no one quite dreads the descent of a discussion into the "realm of mere argument" quite the way one who has nothing upon which to support his religious position does. Isn't it the perspicacious editor of this periodical who frequently allows in his preaching that hornless cows are most averse to any kind of hooking? "Mind-set:" now that's a good one, isn't it? Anybody who disagrees with me, --I should conclude the argument involved to be--, is suffering from an idee fixee. Or to vary it: "My position is right because my mind is open. Your position is wrong, and therefore you have a closed mind, to wit, a 'mindset'." And then some more: "Training in religious argumentation." If we were of a betting disposition, we would gladly wager our last thin dime that that fellow, whoever he may be, has been worsted at one time or another by one or more of the brethren. But again: "A legalistic interpretation." That expression to this scribe's knowledge is used as a two-directional club only by embattled Christian Church-men, and that when they have to beat down Judaism's advances upon them through the avenues of Roman Catholicism and conventional Protestantism, proposing infant "baptism," say, on the one hand, and unadulterated New Testament Christianity's assaults from the other side because of their extra-marital relationships with interpretation will stick to loyal brethren like feathers to a flat car. We'll beat them backward home on whatever unscriptural proposition they elect to defend. Yes, of course they'll holler, but it's not unamusing to see them run off like whipped mongrels, emitting whelps with every bound.

Preaching: when is it mere entertainment? In every city which can boast more than one faithful congregation of the Lord's people, a certain type of brother makes him self sooner or later conspicuous, both by what he does and by what he doesn't. This type is a lover of sound preaching, eloquently delivered; a lover of excitement and something (although the figure is unlovely) of a campfollower. What we mean is this: Whenever a visiting preacher comes to a neighboring congregation, or to neighboring congregations, this unstable brother immediately betakes himself to the place most likely to provide the best entertainment for the day, or days. If the work in his own local church depended upon him and his ilk, we'd give it until next Tuesday night to survive. No, this high-minded brother would never think of agreeing to take a Bible school class or in any other way, shape, or form, assuming responsibility for something specific. He must keep himself free from entangling alliances,--for what? That he might skip with the light heartedness of a zephyr from place to place, --wherever the work for him will be the lightest and the entertainment the best. Would this brother, having moved into a community, ever identify himself with a local church and come under the oversight of local elders? It's a cold day in June when he does. When he does dain to visit you, he exudes patronage: why he knows the best preachers, he's heard so-and-so-and-so-and-so-and-so-and-so preach. As a matter of fact, his grandpappy on his mother's side was a pioneer preacher, and two of his brothers were preachers before entering the real estate business. Say, gentle reader, this nimble Jack couldn't be you, now or could it?