Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 9, 1964
NUMBER 9, PAGE 4,13b

Moral Anarchy


By Fanning Yater Tant

Modern denominationalism destroys the basis and undermines the actual foundation for all moral judgment and all moral standards. It is in reality a system of moral anarchy, based on the Hegelian doctrine of self-determination, which denies and invalidates the principle of authority in religion. Every denomination, and ultimately every individual, becomes an authority within itself and within himself. There is no objective standard of truth.

The Bible is the standard, the only standard, by which moral values can be determined. A thing is "right" or "wrong" because of its compliance with, or violation of, the will of God. The will of God is made known to us through the Bible. Hence our only reliable standard for judging human conduct is the Bible.

But since the days of Stone and Campbell, denominationalism has been more and more de-valuing and de-emphasizing this rule. So terrific was the impact made by the Campbell's and other reformers on the conscience of the race, so deep and powerful were the convictions wrought by their charges of denominational sin, that from their day to ours, denominational defenders have been frantically seeking some way to overcome the weight and the stinging rebuke of their indictment. Determined to defend the idea of denominationalism, these men have seen no way at all by which it can be justified by the Bible. On the contrary, it has been evident to all that the Bible condemns and abhors the very idea of denominationalism.

In view of the devastating attack on denominationalism made by the restoration leaders, entrenched error was confronted with the necessity of choosing one way or the other; she could completely abandon the denominational ship and scuttle denominationalism, or, on the other hand, she could abandon her convictions concerning the Bible and manage in a rather crippled and precarious fashion to keep denominationalism going. It is obvious that both of these courses were followed by different individuals. Thousands upon multiplied thousands broke with denominationalism, and became simple followers of Jesus Christ — Christians only. Other thousands, wedded to their idol, were unable to make the clean break, and instead threw overboard their basic convictions concerning the authority of the Bible.

The Bible condemns denominationalism. Only by a tacit position that the Bible was not, and is not authoritative could any man justify himself in continuing in a denominational church.

Thus the background developed; thus the foundation was laid for moral anarchy. For when denominational leaders began to belittle and de-value the authority of Bible teaching on positive law, they inadvertently destroyed confidence in the Bible as an authority on any moral question as well, Thinking students have recognized and commented at length on the basic loss of conviction which has paralyzed and made sterile the whole of modern denominationalism.

Consider a case in point, which will illustrate how denominational preachers have encouraged and promoted moral anarchy. The divorce evil is a fairly modern problem. A hundred years ago it was of no serious moment at all. But what has happened? For a hundred years now, millions of American people have been listening to their pastors, week after week, and month after month, explaining that the Bible does NOT mean what it says about the necessity of baptism, does NOT mean what it plainly says about baptism being a burial, does NOT mean what it says about the uniqueness of the church, does NOT mean what it says about falling from grace, the importance of the name, the final judgment, the hell of fire, etc.

Church-going people have finally been convinced. They are now fully persuaded that the Bible is NOT a book of authority; its statements and pronouncements are all only relative, tentative, subject to modification and interpretation, to be obeyed or set aside according to the rule of common-sense and good judgment. And since they are convinced concerning baptism and the positive law, they quickly apply the same principle to the teaching of the Bible concerning marriage and divorce.

When the Bible says that a woman is bound to her husband "for so long as he liveth," multitudes are willing to believe that that statement is to be taken no more seriously than the Biblical statement that "baptism doth also now save us." And since they have been taught by their clergymen that the Bible does NOT mean what it says about baptism, are they to be blamed if the reject it also in the matter of what it says about the marriage bonds?

Denominational preachers cannot escape the blame for this. By their attitude and teachings they have laid the basis for moral anarchy. They have sown the seeds of rebellion against God and His word. They have done so by belittling and denying the authority of the only standard the world has for determining what is right and what is wrong. The world is reaping, and will continue to reap, the terrible and bitter harvest from such sowing. God will not hold those guiltless who have contributed to this moral and spiritual debacle.

— F. Y. T.