Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 30, 1950

We Are Dedicated

Cled E. Wallace

After I got through reading one of my articles and started to read it again I happened to notice that line of fine print under that plough share with a handle on it, lying on a slab of something that might have been intended for a shield. It says: "Dedicated to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity." That must be a sly way of telling us that sword and shield is the proper interpretation of that work of art. Real art must be interpreted. If it is too obvious, it isn't art.

So we are properly dedicated whether we live up to it or not. Whether for use or nuisance everything's got to be dedicated to even start right. It is a sort of mark of legitimacy like being born in due season and according to recognized circumstances. In our case it is pointed toward high and holy aims.

The artist evidently intended to convey the idea that the sword belongs to the "Propagation" department, while the shield is designed to "quench" whatever the enemy has to offer in his efforts to stop us. It is a good idea, so good in fact that it is scriptural "Withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God . . . " (Eph. 6:16,17.) If the picture is not as good as the scripture, remember that the artist was not inspired and just had to do the best he could. Besides that sword may be sharper than it looks. It worked wonders when the church was new and stood for "the simplicity that is in Christ." It was the weapon the Spirit used in killing sinners and creating them into saints. There is still plenty of that sort of work to do. Sinners are too plentiful and saints are too scarce. If we are able to kill off the sinners things could be improved by being better balanced. It looked like an uneven fight with a short sword for the early Christians, but they managed to carve some good churches right out of the middle of Satan's kingdom with the weapons our artist made a noble effort to signify.

That word "Propagation" is a mighty suggestive word when used in connection with "New Testament Christianity" and when you get down to the bottom of things there isn't any other kind. Anything else is a perverted gospel which is just no gospel at all. It is a word with an evil smell when it becomes the sort of propaganda so often palmed off on an unsuspecting public.

When good people build up a community, a town, a city, or a nation, they are propagating. When a farmer sows a sack of seed and gathers in a harvest and keeps his soil built up for future productivity, he is propagating. If he finds time off to raise a family of a dozen children he is still propagating. "Propagation" is carrying on and increasing. "The seed is the word of God," so when the gospel is preached, people are built up in the faith and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ "Propagation of New Testament Christianity" is going on. The number of disciples is multiplied, people become obedient to the faith and churches spring up everywhere. The kingdom is spreading. Where does the sword come in? That is an apt figure of speech. The whole process is warfare. It cannot be done without a fight. There are a lot of things that have to be killed off in "the Propagation of New Testament Christianity."

"New Testament Christianity" suffers at times unduly and needlessly in the house of its friends. They need to be nipped a little with something sharp just to remind them to be sound in the faith and not be gallavantin' around after foreign notions in religion. Israel was, and some brethren are, pretty bad at it. The impression appears to be deepening that "we" have to have about everything everybody else has, and look about like everybody else does, whether it is scriptural or not. The alarming increase in unscriptural nomenclature suggests that there is also a corresponding increase in unscriptural ideas.

When even a smart man can bring himself to write three and a half pages in an old established paper trying to prove that a certain practice is in line with the traditional habits of the brethren, it is in order for somebody to stick him with the business end of the sword or wham a shield over his head. The only time the traditional habits of the brethren deserve even three columns from anybody is when some honest soul tries to win them from tradition and plant them on the scriptures.