Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 6, 1959
NUMBER 13, PAGE 4-5b

Commending An Editorial


In the Firm Foundation of June 23 Brother Reuel Lemmons carried an editorial that ought to be read, studied, digested — and applied — by every elder, preacher, and Christian in the land. We carry the article in full on another page in this issue.

The question of Bible authority surely lies at the root of much of the present unrest among the churches. Very few of the brethren who are now dividing the churches with their human organizations and centralized promotions have shown more than the most casual respect for the authority of God's word. With most of them the question has been resolved with, "This is the way we've been doing it; this is the way we want it; and this is the way we are going to have it!" With such an attitude present there is little to be gained by an appeal to the Bible, or by any plea for Bible authority. When this writer had a discussion with Brother Harper at Lufkin, Texas, more than four years ago, the entire defense of the Herald of Truth cooperative arrangement was based not on any of the three recognized methods of ascertaining God's will as outlined by Brother Lemmons and as believed and taught by Bible scholars from time immemorial (command, apostolic example, necessary inference), but on a novel and hitherto unknown fourth method, designated by Brother Harper as "principle eternal". Brother Harper implicitly recognized and agreed that such an arrangement as Herald of Truth could NOT be defended from the Bible by an appeal to (a) command, (b) example, (c) necessary inference; and consequently must be sustained, if at all, by finding some other way to secure Bible sanction.

We believe that Brother Lemmons' article is in full harmony with what faithful Christians have accepted and understood all along the line. And, obviously, it is a sharp rebuke to those who are pushing their present division of the church with such phrases as, "We do many things for which we have no Bible authority, nor do we need any." We saw almost those exact words (and certainly the thought) in a letter written by one of the Herald of Truth elders some months ago when he had been questioned concerning the authority for such a cooperative arrangement. He argued that there is no authority for a Bible School, yet his questioner accepted the Bible School; and suggested that his questioner would have to go "non-Sunday School" if he were going to insist on Bible authority for everything the church did!

Brother Lemmons' editorial is an effective rejoinder to such foolish and false reasoning. Perhaps it is symptomatic of what ails the church today than an elder of the biggest "Church of Christ cooperative" among us should reveal such elementary ignorance of true Bible teaching!

But may we point out that there is a vast difference in teaching the truth on Bible authority and in applying that truth — and the paper carrying the editorial has consistently castigated and excoriated those faithful Christians who are seeking to apply that truth! For instance, Brother Harper would freely admit that the Herald of Truth cooperative "could not be proved to have the authority of the Scriptures under one of these three rules" — i.e. command, example, inference; he did not even attempt to justify it by any one of the three, but insisted on a fourth — "principle eternal". Thousands of faithful Christians and congregations believe that such an unauthorized arrangement should have "no place in the work and worship of the Lord's church".

But the Firm Foundation has consistently promoted this unauthorized association of churches, and has lashed out at those who oppose it with every kind of unbrotherly and unkindly epithet! We believe it is high time for brethren to bring their practice into some sort of consistency with their teaching.

— F. Y. T.

Worthy Appeals

We call your attention to the articles this week concerning the work of Brother Adan Pena in Pecos, Texas, and the need of the congregation in New Bern, North Carolina, for some faithful man to help them in that area.

Brother Pena's plight is such as should touch the heart of every man who loves the Lord. Congregations true to the Book need to awaken to the hardships being imposed on such men as this, and to rally to their support. Hundreds of congregations are giving hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of such men — but all of us must do more! The liberal churches will naturally cut off such men in increasing numbers as the years go by; loyal and conservative churches must make whatever sacrifice may be necessary to keep these men of God on the job. Who right now can come to the aid of Brother Pena?

Then there is the mission field of North Carolina. This writer has held numerous meetings in that state — two of them being at New Bern. This is an excellent opportunity; and the church there has fine prospects for a great and useful future. Is there not some congregation somewhere who will take an interest in supporting (or helping in the support of) a man at New Bern? Brother Ronald McRay had done a commendable work there, and the church is soundly taught. These brethren are willing to make a real sacrifice themselves, and will do so. But they need help!

Such calls as these should impress all of us with the urgency, the compelling necessity that every faithful congregation stretch herself to the very limit. Let us do more — and more — and still more! Let those who will spend their energy and their funds for institutions and camps; those who love the Lord will spend their resources in supporting gospel preachers and building congregations. The need for help in many places grows more desperate by the hour.

— F.Y.T