Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity

Why Shouldn't It Be Called "Anti?"

Robert H. Farish, Lufkin, Texas

Brother Reuel Lemmons defends the current use of the term "anti" among those who claim to be brethren. His defense of the word "anti" is in an editorial in the Firm Foundation of Nov. 29, 1960. The title is, "Why shouldn't it be called Anti?" The title reveals that he thinks that there is no reason to object to calling it "anti". If the title fits the editorial, we can expect some arguments in justification of the practice of labeling as "anti" those brethren who oppose "sponsoring churches," "benevolent societies" and "centralized control." This turns out to be the case for the efforts made in the body of the editorial are all in defense of the use being made of the term "anti." The editor is all for it.

Brother Lemmons asserts that, "It is not used in derision." But in the judgment of many brethren, it is used in derision. Many believe that the specific design in the use of the term is to prejudice people against those designated as "anti," causing them to be held in contempt, thus destroying their influence. This business of name calling is a satanic device which is utilized by some people in an attempt to evade their responsibility of giving answer to every man who asketh a reason. It is much easier to prejudice people than it is to convict them. Some people are so lacking in virtue that they are unable to hold out against ridicule, and hence, can be frightened "into line" by the threat of being labeled "anti." This has some good effects in that it purges out moral cowards and those who prize the praise of men more than the glory of God.

Personally, I have no objection to being classified as "anti" so long as I am not misrepresented. It is when we are misrepresented as being against things which are scriptural that objections are raised. Seventy-five years ago the brethren were engaged in a controversy over the missionary society and then, as now, brethren sought to win a victory by unfairly representing those who opposed the co-operation "project." Brother J. H. Berry wrote, "A few of the preachers have unfurled the 'anti- mission banner!' God forgive them!" Brother J. W. McGarvey, who tried to be a "middle of the road" traveler (he was for the society, but anti-organ) did not defend the wickedness of brother Berry, but rather rebuked him. He said, "We know of no anti-mission men among us, and do not believe there are such." Brother McGarvey closes his rebuke with these words, "Let us be just, even to those who differ from us." AMEN! Our present day brother who has a fondness for the "middle of the road" should have known that there are no "anti-co-operation" men among us and should have, in this case followed the example of his "middle of the road" predecessor, by rebuking those who are not just.

The editor of the Firm Foundation is anti-U. C. M. S. Does this make him "anti-co-operation"? We frankly acknowledge that we are anti-"Herald of Truth," but this no more makes us "anti-co-operation" than brother Lemmons being anti-United Christian Missionary Society makes him "anti-co-operation." Brother Lemmons is anti some of the "projects" which are being promoted in the church today. Let him attack any one of them with vigor and see how quickly the Gospel Advocate will label him "anti." 0 yes, we know that he occasionally takes times off from being anti "anti" to take a little tap at church support of colleges, but we are talking about a real sustained attack that will be felt by those who are pushing such things. The Gospel Advocate will allow the editor to take a little pot shot at the "college in the budget" every now and then, just so long as he keeps up a steady barrage of ridicule against the editor and writers of the Gospel Guardian. To merely say, "we are strongly opposed to it," is not enough. Let the editor get in there and really oppose it and see what he gets! After brother Woods gets through either "straightening him out" or getting the quarantine tag pinned on him, we will be happy to read his defense of "quarantine" as a worthy substitute for reasoning. He can call that editorial, "Why not quarantine them?"

In the editorial in which brother Lemmons undertakes to prove that we are "anti," and thereby justify the current use of the word "anti" as descriptive of those who oppose the "sponsoring church," "centralized control" and "benevolent societies," the use of "loaded expressions" is condemned. He is evidently anti-"loaded expressions," but only when his opponent uses expressions which brother Lemmons deems loaded. He apparently is all for "loaded expressions" for his personal use. He refers to us as "these fellows," "hobbyist," "anti" and "splinter groups." He surely had the grace to blush, at least a faint pink, when he pulled that graceful trick! I have heard brethren talk a great deal about brother Lemmon's contradictory course, as he tries to drive down the middle of the road. This editorial is an example of his contradictory course. His theory and practice are badly at odds.

More later, the Lord willing.