Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 29, 1964
NUMBER 25, PAGE 5,13

"The Simplicity .... In Christ"

Robert L. Love

In 2 Cor. 11:3, Paul wrote, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."

Paul's fear was well founded for even in his own day the seeds of apostasy were already being sown (2 Thess. 2:14) which resulted in the "falling away" and the development of the massive Roman Catholic Hierarchy.

In the past few years a great deal of impetus has been exerted by liberal brethren to promote that the denominational concept of greatness and the promoting of the same is a must if the cause of the Lord is advanced.

There has been a growing tendency in the church toward yearnings for bigness and depreciation of little things.

All of this is in direct opposition to God's way through the ages. He has always used small men and means (in the world's estimation) to accomplish great things. He called Moses, Saul, Gideon and the lowly fishermen.

Jesus was not unminded of little things: he used little children as an example of humility (Matt. 18:2); little birds to teach against undue anxiety (Matt. 6: 25); a little cup to show that the smallest acts would not go unrewarded (Matt. 10:42).

In His parables concerning the growth and development of the Kingdom He used the mustard seed and the leaven. In both of these parables we are taught the small beginning, the gradual progress, and glorious increase of the church. God intends for the church to grow from small beginnings to greater proportions. This requires personal imitative and individual efforts.

The liberal trend has been to reverse God's order. Brethren have gone to great extremes in their quest for bigness and desire for "a place under the sun."

Have these procedures away from "the simplicity in Christ" worked? Have they accomplished the desired end: Some, even among those of the liberal persuasion, have begun to entertain some serious misgivings about the effectiveness of such an ill-advised course.

A case in point is found in the Firm Foundation, September 22. 1964. In the column "Reader's Opinion" a letter is addressed to the editor: (We quote a part of the letter).

"Dear Brother Lemmons:

I have just read your editorial in this week's Firm Foundation entitled "Penetration" and it touches on something I have been thinking about all summer.

We have presently many "Campaigns for Christ" taking place around the country. In fact, your center spread in this same issue tells of the Dallas Evangelistic Campaign. I did not attend this meeting nor have I talked with anyone first hand who did.

I would not belittle this effort, nor any similar effort, but I have been wondering all summer if we are getting the results from these meetings that justifies the time, effort, and expenditures. Certainly, the meeting in Dallas resulted in 222 baptisms out of a total attendance of 125,000 over 15 days, or about an average of less than 15 per day out of an average attendance of over 8320 persons per day, less than .2% rate of baptisms per daily attendance.

How many of these baptisms were from children, husbands or wives of members of the church that would have been baptized in the due course anyway?

In our Campaign for Christ in Sioux Falls we had four baptisms during the week's meeting — all children of members. Much effort and expenditure was given the meeting. Much good was done to uplift the local membership and the good brethren who came from Oklahoma to help the campaign.

Perhaps we have to take the gospel to the people since they will not come to us. Would a national network television evangelistic service for four or five nights similar to a Billy Graham program be a possibility, using Pat Boone and similar personalities and our college choruses, and with our most powerful and effective preacher doing the preaching do a better job of reaching the general public?

Would a pooling of resources used in various local Campaigns for Christ used in one great national effort, backed up by local advertising and solicitation bring greater results than all of us working independently?

Would a great nationwide television program originating from Chicago or Atlantic City, or Minneapolis be more effective than one originating from Dallas or Ft. Worth where the church is already strong?

I don't know if this is the answer either, but some way we are missing out on reaching those outside the church. All of our efforts are making the church more widely known, but have not as yet, brought great crowds from outside the church.

I say, "Amen" to this editorial with a loud voice and urge leaders from all over the brotherhood to discuss this seriously at home, at lectureships, and other meetings. Perhaps a "crash" seminar to discuss this would not be out of order where all of the brains of the brotherhood could get together to explore the possibilities and come up with an idea that would set us on the right track.

Somewhere there must be an answer, because I believe we do have the true message to proclaim. Is our message too simple to be believed by those outside the church?

All that most of us can do is present our frustrations, but surely there is a program that will work beyond all of the old "clichs" we are offered about greater faith, greater personal effort, and so forth."

Roger O. Blake, Elder, Sioux Falls, South Dakota Brethren have devised every scheme and contraption imaginable to lead the church further and further away from "the Christ"; and all to no avail. By their own admission they have failed miserably and in the language of this elder, "all that most of us can do is present our frustrations..."

May God hasten the day when brethren will awaken out of their ignorant stupor, "come to themselves" and "return to the Father's house!" May we ever heed the divine admonition: "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." And, profit from Israel's failure who said: "We will not walk therein." (Jeremiah 6:16).

"Except Jehovah build the house, they labour in vain that build it." (Psa. 127:1).

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