Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 1, 1962
NUMBER 42, PAGE 5,10a


John D. Barnes, Coffeyville, Ala.

A few years ago, when the medical profession discovered virus, and began to give shots for it, every person who had a common cold or a running nose, had the "virus" and was given a shot in the arm for it. I once had a tooth extracted, and was given a shot of penicillin. A few days later, I began to swell up and break out all over with a rash. I was rushed to the hospital and was treated for a virus. But after a more thorough examination, it was determined that I was allergic to penicillin, and did not have the virus after all.

This illustration describes the condition that exists in the church of our Lord today. Anybody whose writings or teachings differ with a certain paper, or certain preacher's present position, on the all-sufficiency of the church of our Lord to carry out God's eternal purpose, is given a shot of penicillin ("yellow-tag") and branded as virus ("anti").

I speak of the Gospel Advocate's present position on the church of our Lord carrying out God's eternal purpose. John T. Lewis, who writes and teaches now just what he has for the past 50 years or more, has not been permitted to write in the Gospel Advocate for the past several years, and has been branded by that paper as an anti. E. R. Harper's present position, brands every preacher and teacher that differs with him, as an "anti," and accuses them of teaching and preaching "anti-ism."

I am not saying that there is no such thing as virus, neither am I saying that anti-ism has not affected the church, the spiritual body of Christ. But I am saying that every bodily ailment is not caused by some virus. Neither am I saying that every spiritual ailment in the body of Christ, the church, is caused by some paper, or "great" preacher, getting his "yellow-tag" and branding-iron, and labeling any and everybody who differs as an "anti."

But what is anti-ism? This is a good question and one should know the answer, before he uses his branding-irons and yellow-tags. To many uninformed and deceived people, the word anti is some kind of a "cuss" word, and has reference to a prig or a prude, with a flaw in his understanding and a warp in his brain, and one to be avoided at all times.

A few years ago, in the Pacific Northwest, two preachers exchanged pulpits and one faithful (?) family drove 125 miles to the nearest faithful (?) church, to avoid this "anti" preacher. A certain gospel preacher was visiting relatives in that same faithful (?) church just a few months back, and the present preacher, called a special meeting with the elders, got out his branding-irons and yellow tags, and informed the elders that they could not invite this visitor to preach. He was a "strong anti" and would split the church wide open! The elders agreed to this, and took their penicillin and gave this visiting preacher a shot in the arm, and sent him back to his seat. I suppose this poor old branded preacher just sat in his seat feeling like he was a misfit against society and intelligent people.

But back to our question — what is anti-ism? In Roget's International Thesaurus, p. 494, section 708.4, "anti" means: "oppositional, opposing, unfriendly, at issue, at war with in controversy, etc." So an "anti" is not such a terribly bad fellow after all.

Jesus Christ Himself was an anti. In fact, He was about the "strongest anti" that ever lived. He was anti sin and everything that looked like sin. He spent His entire life "in opposition to, opposing, at issue, at war with un-friendly, and in controversy" with sin. He died a terrible death on the cross that He might put to death sin. Not only that, He commanded His apostles to become "strong anti's." They, as did He, spent their entire lifetime opposing sin and "such like," and were not only branded, but were put to death also.

They too, commanded others "to go thou and do likewise." In his epistle to Timothy, Paul said:

"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." (2 Tim. 4:1-5)

Timothy was as true to that charge as the needle is to the magnetic pole, and he instructed other faithful men to do the same thing.

"Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also." (2 Tim. 2:1-2)

Brother E. R Harper is an "anti." He is anti-Harper. In his present position he is "at war" with E. R. Harper of 35 years ago when he was much younger. Then he knew that the church was the Lord's ONLY missionary society, but NOW in his present position he says that the Lord has another missionary society — the Herald of Truth radio society.

All during his "three great days" in Portland, Ore. last December, he kept harping for "those boys" to come back home. Where is home, Bro. Harper? Just where must "those boys" come back to? Back to where you stood 35 years ago, or back to 1950, when you were an "anti"? Or must we come back to 1952 when you picked up your branding irons and yellow tags, or must "those boys" come back to 1960 to Portland, Ore. to your present position? Maybe, if I borrow some "promotional eyeglasses" I can see the answer to this question, but as I try to use the inspired telescope of the apostles of Christ, I cannot see just where "those boys" are to come, nor how far "they" should come. Now since the Herald of Truth cannot be seen through the inspired telescope of the apostles, it is not to 1952, nor to Portland, Ore., to your present position "those boys" are to come, so it must be back to the beginning, back to Pentecost of Acts 2, when the church of our Lord, "which was the only missionary society the Lord had," operated in its own sphere, carried the gospel of our Lord to the lost of the earth.

In his "great" speeches at Portland, brother Harper had much to say about people changing sides. I wonder if he was attempting to prove the Herald of Truth to be scriptural by the number of changes people had made? If he can prove it scriptural by preachers changing positions, I can, by the very same method, prove it unscriptural, E. R. Harper is my witness. He said in his first "great" speech in Portland, Ore., Dec. 7, 1960:

"Now he did not organize a missionary society to evangelize the world. He organized the church, and as WE USED TO SAY WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, the church is the Lord's only missionary society." (emp. mine — JDB)

In his effort to prove the Herald of Truth scriptural, he asked a question. He felt safe in asking this question, because he knew that no one in Portland would get an opportunity to reply, or answer this question, hence he asked this question several times: When does it become a sin? In the back of the auditorium? Outside the building? Outside the city? Outside the state, or just when does it become a sin? I wonder if brother Harper really meant that? Has he deceived himself so long that he doesn't know the meaning of sin? But if he does not know what sin is, let John tell him.

"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4)

Here John tells us just exactly what sin is, and just exactly when a thing becomes a sin. But let us find out the meaning of the word transgress. Transgression is defined as "disobey," "violate," "break," "infringe," "set authority at naught," "trample underfoot," "take the law into one's own hands." (Roget's International Thesaurus, pages 519-520, sec. 742.4)

So, I am certain that brother Harper can answer his own question. In fact, he has answered it — in his same series of "great" sermons in Portland. He said: "As we used to say when I was younger, the church is the Lord's only missionary society, and it's the duty, it's the obligation of the church of the living God to send the gospel of our Lord to the lost of the earth."

So, in all fairness to brother Harper, he himself has "set authority at naught" and has "taken the law into his own hands" and given us another missionary society, the H. of T. to carry the gospel of our Lord to the lost of the earth. And so, in answer to his question, I say, it did not become a sin, it started as sin. It is an infringement upon God's authority, a certain paper and a certain preacher's present position notwithstanding.