Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 17, 1960

Fellow Travelers

James L. Denison, Boling, Texas

"Fellow travelers" is a term which we see and hear the reporters use quite a lot today. This term is generally used in reference to Communism. It is used to describe those who disavow being Communists or having Communistic connections, but who nevertheless by word and action favor and aid Communism. They associate with known Communists. They support any legislation that favors Communism and oppose all which is detrimental to Communism. They praise those who favor any action that benefits Communism, and bitterly castigate those whose words and actions oppose Communism, and who seek to curb its influence and power.

A "fellow traveler" is dangerous, perhaps more so than a Communist himself. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing. His motives will not be as readily suspected as would those of a known Communist. Since he disavows any connection with the Communists, he will be able to reach and influence those whom an avowed Communist could not. Not openly being a Communist, he can say that all he is interested in is seeing that everybody gets a fair chance — an equal chance — which, according to him, is being denied the Communists. Those whom a Communist could not himself convince by such reasoning, the "fellow traveler" can.

Though the term 'fellow traveler" is generally used in reference to Communism, you can also have "fellow travelers" in reference to Democrats and Republicans. Suppose one who claims to be a Democrat, who is registered as a Democrat, consistently favors Republican legislation and votes against his Democratic colleagues in the legislature or congress. Suppose that in the national elections he consistently votes for Republican candidates instead of those of his own party. Suppose he consistently praises the leaders, candidates, etc., of the Republican Party, but severely criticizes those of his own Democratic Party. Surely, such an individual is a "fellow traveler" to Republicanism.

Just as there are "fellow travelers" in the political realm, so there are 'fellow travelers" in the spiritual realm. One of the greatest dangers that has faced the church in a long time is the liberalistic and institutionalistic trends of today. There are a great host of brethren who disavow any liberalistic and institutionalistic attitudes; they claim that liberalism and institutionalism are wrong, contrary to the scriptures, and that they oppose it. Yet, let a paper, a preacher, an elder, or someone else, raise his voice against liberalism and institutionalism in the church, and they severely criticize him! Yet they will offer no protest when those of liberalistic and institutionalistic attitudes express their views. They constantly hobnob with those who openly avow institutionalism and liberalistic trends. The "fellow traveler" claims he wants peace. (Obviously, peace at any price). He claims that the way to peace is simply to have no opposition to liberalism and institutionalism. Such a one is surely a "fellow traveler" to institutionalism and liberalism. He is dangerous. Why? Because he will he able to influence those whom the avowed liberalist and institutionalist could not. By opposing all opposition to liberalism and institutionalism, but remaining quiet concerning any pro-liberal or pro-institutional statements or acts, and influencing others to so act, he opens the floodgate for apostasy, while claiming to be a friend of New Testament orthodoxy. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing (Mat. 7:15). Beware of the "fellow traveler"!