Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 4, 1962
NUMBER 22, PAGE 8,12-13a

Shall I Join The Ministerial Alliance?

A. C. Grider

1308 Sheldon El Dorado, Kansas

February 2, 1962 Leon H. Hayen

439 Eunice El Dorado, Kansas

Dear Mr. Hayen:

Thank you for your letter of January 29 in reference to the El Dorado Ministerial Alliance. Also thank you for the enclosed address lists and the postcard. Since I am writing a letter, I will return the card.

In your letter you say "If there is a reason why you cannot or would not want to be a member of the Alliance, we'd appreciate knowing why, and we'll be understanding too, whatever the reason." Thank you for your courtesy, and I hasten to take advantage of the invitation to tell why I cannot be a member of the Alliance. I am taking the liberty to make mimeographed copies of this letter and distribute them to the addresses you sent. I do not ask that you (and all who receive a copy of this letter) agree with me, but only that you read closely, consider the passages to which I refer, and examine each statement objectively and without bias. For that kind of fair investigation on your part I express my appreciation in advance.

I cannot be a member of the Ministerial Alliance because it is a symbol of a unity which does not actually exist. The Bible talks about UNITY, not UNION. The Lord prayed that believers might be one — John 17:2021; this is possible if we speak the same thing and walk by the same rule — Phil. 3:16; 1 Cor. 1:10.

The Alliance lends its influence to the popular misconception that there is no real tangible religious truth upon which all can unite, and none for each individual except as it is revealed to him in particular (this misconception being expressed by such statements as "it matters not what a person believes, so long as he is sincere and honest"). The truth is that man cannot direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23); thus he needs a Divine revelation, which God gave in the writings of the apostles of Christ. (John 16:13-15; 1 Cor. 14:37; John 12'48; Rev. 20:12) Notice from comparing the last two passages cited that the Word of Christ, by which we will be judged is WRITTEN. It is not revealed directly to each individual; neither is it, since the days of the apostles, handed down as oral tradition. This written Word is to be our guide in faith and practice. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

I cannot give my sympathy and support to the cause of those who teach doctrines which contradict the Word of God, and which even contradict doctrines taught by other members of the Alliance. For example, some of you believe the doctrine of faith only, others do not, some of you say baptism can be performed by sprinkling, pouring, or immersion, while others insist that it must be immersion only; some of you believe in modern Divine healing, while others do not; etc. I stand opposed to you, not personally (please believe this), but to your teaching. I must continue to oppose you as long as you continue to oppose New Testament truth.

This does not mean that I or those of like persuasion with me think we have a monopoly on truth. No, we want everyone to have it and abide by it, but at all costs we want truth. (John 8:32) I cannot encourage the weak soft attitude toward truth manifested by those who refuse to recognize division as the abominable sin it is, and who are not willing to resolve our differences by the Bible rather than to cover up in a mere symbol of togetherness, such as the Alliance.

Members of the Lord's church are ready to discuss these matters privately or publicly — not to brag or display any supposed superior knowledge, but because we love souls and want to be right, and because we are desperately serious in contending that the only way to be right is to follow the Bible without addition, subtraction, or alteration. We are willing to "trade truths" with anyone. Let us mutually consent to drop all error and accept all truth; this will bring us together in true unity. The only way it can be so is for us to admit honestly that we are divided and then engage in full, free, open-minded study and discussion. The elders of the church of Christ have authorized me to state that we will open our pulpit to any preacher in the city who thinks he can take the Bible and show us something we have not yet accepted as truth, or prove by the Bible that we believe and practice that which is unscriptural. Also, we extend an open invitation to all religious bodies in the city to engage with us in honorable public discussion of any and every Bible subject upon which we differ. Truth has nothing to fear from full investigation. Those who fear and avoid controversy are different from the Lord and the apostles. (Jude 3; Acts 6:9-10; 19:8-9; Matt. 22) The spirit of true fellowship is to be desired and sought after diligently, but the spirit of compromise is unknown to Paul's preaching and to the preaching of those who follow his instructions. (2 Tim. 4:1-2)

I cannot join those who will not join me in speaking as the oracles of God. (1 Pet. 4:11) Even an angel from heaven would have no right to teach anything different from or contrary to that taught by the apostles. (Gal. 1:8-9; Rev. 22:18-19; 2 Tim. 4:3-4)

If all would make this scriptural plea we would need no artificial, superficial, mock semblance of union; we would have real unity in Christ and in the one body of Christ. (Eph. 2:14-16)

I do not find it to my personal liking to oppose the majority, but I must respect God's truth and authority no matter whom this course causes me to oppose. (Gal. 2:11; 2 John 9-11) The very fact that a Ministerial Affiance exists is evidence that the members of that Alliance have glossed over and ignored the only scriptural basis for unity, this basis being found in Eph. 4:3-6. It would be a real move toward unity if all of you would throw away your man-made creed books and take the Bible as the sufficient, therefore only, guide. (John 12:48) and if you would discard all human denominational names and all sectarian phraseology. (1 Pet. 4:11)

When you men are ready to turn from human teaching (Matt. 15:9), obey the gospel and stand against all departures from God's Word in work and worship and do and be just what His word reveals, we will not be Allied — we will be brethren! This is the condition I desire and for which I pray. I have no interest in encouraging any other. These matters I have been discussing on Sunday mornings, 9:00-9:30, on the local radio station. I would appreciate your listening to that broadcast, and I encourage you to feel free to offer any objection or criticism you feel is justified. On a temporary basis we would be willing, in the interest of truth, to relinquish half our time on KBTO to any church in the city wishing to pay for fifteen minutes in which to expose what they believe to be error in my teaching.

The Lord's church never has been and is not today Roman Catholic or Protestant. It IS catholic in that it is universal. It IS protestant in that it protests against all unscripturalness and all division among professed followers of Christ. We cannot walk together (even in an Alliance) unless we axe AGREED. (Amos 3;3) If we were all in agreement I would be most happy to visit and work with all of you. However, we would not then have a Ministerial Alliance, for such a body, even among those who have forsaken denominationalism and are Christians only, is wholly unauthorized by the Word. You see, the Bible concept is that there must be authority from God in His written word (book, chapter, and verse) for everything we believe and do in His service.

Are all of you willing to take the steps which will lead to true, scriptural unity? They are: 1. Forthrightly face the fact that there is unscriptural division and that it does not remedy the situation to build an unscriptural Alliance; 2. Place all personalities and personal interests in the background and engage in open, calm, dignified, full, free, frank study and discussion of every point of controversy; 3. Make truth the object of the search and be willing to leave behind all preconceived ideas and denominational peculiarities not revealed in the Bible, and accept all truth as it is revealed, without reservation.

Let us strike hands across the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice. God's will for us can be understood. (Matt. 11:25; Eph. 5:17) If we all understand and follow His will we will be exactly alike for we will be united. If you desire to see that scriptural condition brought into this city I am set to cooperate with you and to labor toward that goal. I have no interest in and no sympathy for, and will continue to oppose, any effort which will tend to maintain the current unscriptural condition.

Thank you for your patient perusal of this letter. My prayer is that it will lead you, through study of the truth, to occupy scriptural ground. If I can be of service, I am at your command.

Yours in the interest of truth,

Derrel W. Shaw