"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.VII Pg.15
February 1942

America's First Line Of Defense

Luther G. Roberts

In January of 1941 I received a pamphlet from a preacher of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), C. C. Klingman of Comanche, Texas. -- The main part of the tract was an article on, "The Bible, America's First Line of Defense." This to me was a fine thought. The Bible accepted and practiced is the best defense against war, crime, sin, superstition, ignorance, etc., that there is. I was disappointed, however, in reading the tract to learn that the writer of it did not believe the Bible. The Bible must be studied, believed and practiced before it can be a real line of defense in America. But the writer of the pamphlet thinks that heaven and hell are myths. He does not believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; he does not believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. He thinks that the prophets of the Old Testament were the "forerunners of the modern sociologists."

When one does not believe these truths how can he expect the Bible to be a deterrent against crime, war and sin? If one does not believe that there is a Savior to save from sin, does he hesitate to sin? If one does not believe that there is a hell where unforgiven sins are to be punished after death, will he be deterred from sin as much as he would otherwise? If one does not believe that there is a heaven, to gain, will there be the same high and holy incentive to live the righteous life? To show that I am not misrepresenting the writer, and the things that he does not believe, at least some of them, I quote from the article. He raises certain questions which show that he does not believe the Bible, and from some deductions we easily, naturally, reach the conclusion that he does not believe that Jesus is the Christ the Divine Son of God. He asks, "Did He (Jesus) say, for example, 'I will give you rest' if you believe that Joshua made the sun stand still till he could butcher his neighbors? Or did he say: "Ye shall know the truth, etc.' provided you believe that Jonah literally swallowed a whale or vice versa? Did He promise His peace only to those who say they believe in His Virgin Birth, His literal second coming, etc? To raise such questions would be irreverent if it were not for the fact that such things have been made tests of Christian fellowship,. " Little wonder that he mentions, or that it came to his mind about the questions being irreverent! Any body who has an ounce of respect for God, Christ and the Bible, who reads the questions and sees the scoffing, and sneering at the events mentioned would realize the irreverence displayed. The man does not believe the historical event recorded about Joshua commanding the sun to stand still while the enemies of God were overthrown. Jehovah killed more of the Amorites with hailstones than the children of Israel slew with the sword. Of course, that would be rejected as too absurd to believe. He does not believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. He thinks he was just a man, born not of the Virgin, nor begotten of God. He does not believe that the whale swallowed Jonah. (If the Bible had said that Jonah swallowed a whale a man with faith in God would believe that too! But Jesus approves as true that Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale (Matt. 12:39-41). As surely as Jesus was in the heart of the earth three days and three nights, and was raised the third day, so surely was Jonah in the belly of the whale three days and three nights. A man who rejects the authority and testimony of Jesus on any subject cannot believe that he is the sinless Son of God. How would he answer this fact? By denying that Jesus was ever raised from the dead at all. If the event concerning Jonah did not happen, and Jesus referred to it as an actual event of history, then Jesus was not infallible, he made a mistake, he was not then what he claimed to be. But Jesus did refer to the fact of Jonah's being in the whale as a sign, a proof that he would be buried and resurrected. Therefore, he thought it occurred, and he is not the Son of God if it did not actually happen. But Mr. Klingman would save you the trouble of arguing about the matter I am sure, by saying that he does not believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God. Of course, a person who denies these facts does not believe in the second coming of Christ as the New Testament quotes Christ as saying he would come. How can such a person have "hope in Christ"! The above things being true there is no "hope in Christ," for "strength, peace, and joy" at Christmas or of any other time.

To argue for the Bible as America's first line of defense, and in the same breath to deny the Bible as true is an anomaly. For a man, posing as a minister of the gospel, to deny the virgin birth of Christ, and then to plead for ethical teaching of Christ is to plead for the teaching of some philosopher, with no more assurance that he is right in his ethical teaching than Zoroaster was in his teaching. Such a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. Such a modernist does not believe in the first principles of the gospel, not in the items of Christian worship. Yet he poses as a spiritual leader of people who claim to believe in the first principles of the religion of Christ, at least. Why does a man who denies that any of these things are essential to salvation, write about Christ, to say nothing of the "spirit of Christ"! The apostles of Christ, inspired by the Holy Spirit, demanded of people who wanted to accept Jesus as the Christ, that they confess him as the Son of God. According to this man, who wrote this tract, they were required to confess, to put it mildly, an untruth, that is a lie. They demanded of sinners that made this confession that they be baptized for the remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ. They should have known the "spirit of Christ" too well to have made baptism a test of fellowship, or to have required the confession of a thing not true, and to have made that a test of fellowship also!

Two little school girls were discussing their progress in school, and one of them mentioned that in her class they had passed multiplication. The other girl replied, "That's nothing, our Sunday School teacher said we were beyond redemption." It may be that the brethren have decided that this man is beyond redemption. This may account for the fact that his book, "Christianity Through The Centuries," and this pamphlet, have not been reviewed and answered.

This book was published in 1936. Under "Unit I-Christian Ancestry," the author ascribes many of the basic ideas of Christianity to "Persian Heritage," or to the philosophy of Zoroaster. The ideas of heaven, hell, the devil, miracles, and paradise, are among the 'Magi' or `Wise men from the East,' who brought their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Bethlehem's manger at Jesus' birth were Zoroastrian priests. At His death Jesus said to the thief on the cross, `This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.' Thus both at His birth and at His death, Jesus moved much more in the mental climate and atmosphere of Zoroaster's teaching than He did in the mental climate and atmosphere of either Moses or Abraham." There is more to the same strain. To state his sentiments is sufficient. They stand self-refuted. How can a man, who attributes the teaching of the Bible, and particularly the teaching of Christ, to influence of a Persian philosopher, who lived 660-583 B.C., recommend the "Bible as America's First Line of Defense"?