Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity

A Report From Pensacola

Billy Duncan

"This is written in the interest of many desiring to know of the churches of Christ in the Pensacola area regarding the issues. There are two congregations with 'anti' leaders and preachers at the present time: the East Hill congregation on Alcestis Street and the Myrtle Grove congregation on the Lillian Highway in the Myrtle Grove area. It is our prayer that the members of these congregations, who do not condone nor follow those men who teach and practice anti orphan home and church cooperation support, will soon rid themselves of such who divide the body of Christ." — Johnny Nixon, Gospel Advocate, May 21, 1964.

This report by brother Nixon who preaches for the West Hill congregation of Pensacola, is of interest from several standpoints. Its implications and brother Nixon's subsequent refusals indicate a departure from basic principles of the New Testament order and restoration plea.

Consider the nature of the prayer. Is the prayer that those supposedly in error will learn the truth? No? Why is it that brother Nixon did not pray for this? It's because he is more willing to see men divided than to see them learn the truth? This suggests a lack of love for the souls of those with whom brother Nixon disagrees. He was contacted over the phone and personally, but refuses to discuss these matters, either publicly or privately. If he considers us to be in error, why does he not obey II Tim. 2:25, "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves: if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth."?

Consider also that this "riddance" is the subject of brother Nixon's prayer. One should not pray for something for which he is unwilling to work, for prayer obligates us to do what we can with God's help, and trust Him for the rest. Will brother Nixon work for the fulfillment of his prayer? He will not discuss the issues In an effort to convert us. Will his efforts be underhanded? Will he try to sow discord apart from instruction? Let us hope not.

Are taking potshots at one another, but at a distance, and debating so long as the opposition is absent, marks of the New Testament order? The Bible favors honorable controversy. Gospel preachers must be "sent for the defense of the gospel," and ready to withstand "to the face" those who are in error. Elders must be "able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers." In this "they watch for . . . souls, as they that must give account."

Truth has no fear of open opposition nor of honest investigation. "The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully, What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord." (Jer. 23:28).

Let us pray for proper investigations and discussions of the issues, and that apart from personalities, so that differences may be dissolved. Let us pray that "our" preachers will not use sectarian dodges, but will defend their convictions, and be willing to discuss and to give answer,

— 1300 East Moreno St., Pensacola, Florida 32503