Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 16, 1967
NUMBER 44, PAGE 4-5a

New Look In The Church Of Christ


"The daring young princes among us have crossed their Rubicon, and there is no evidence that they plan to turn back." With this glowing and enthusiastic hurrah Brother Leroy Garrett welcomes what he calls "The New Look in the Church of Christ." We want every single reader of the Gospel Guardian to read Brother Garrett's editorial, which we publish on the front page this week. We believe it will come as quite a shock to the average reader of this journal. This "new look" about which our brother Leroy waxes so lyrical and which leaves him well-nigh light-headed (more so than ordinary, we mean) with joy is really an old, old, old look so far as liberal denominationalism is concerned. The only thing "new" about it is that it has invaded and seems destined to take over a considerable segment of "the Church of Christ."

We were intrigued by Brother Garrett's comment that: "The 'Old Guard' was conspicuously absent. The big evangelists and editors who serve as the watchdogs of the brotherhood slept through this one. The 'keepers of orthodoxy' just weren't there, which is just too bad, for they would have seen a preview of what the next generation is going to do to their ecclesiastical playhouse. Even the Dallas clergy of the Church of Christ, who along with the Nashville hierarchy represents the most traditional element among us, was not there."

You know something? Brother Garrett is as right as he can be about what the next generation is going to do to the "traditional element" as represented by the "Dallas clergy of the Church of Christ," and the "Nashville Hierarchy". He is NOT referring to those conservative Christians and congregations who are endeavoring to follow the old paths which our fathers trod, and give "book, chapter, and verse" for all they do in religion; these people are hopelessly legalistic and out of step with modern progress in Brother Garrett's eyes. He is referring to the "on the march" brethren who are trying so desperately to bring off an incredible and preposterous circus trick of riding two horses -- going in opposite directions! They are hopelessly confused and frustrated in trying to cling to the "old time preaching" and conjoin with it the organizational, promotional, and social gospel features of modern denominationalism.

Brother Garrett is perceptive enough to realize that this is utterly impossible, and he rejoices to see the liberalistic "denominational" horse gradually taking control. He realizes that sooner or later (and it will be far sooner than many suspect) the traditional preaching will wither away and fade. And the "new" Church of Christ will proudly take its place as an aggressive, twentieth-century denomination; it will accept itself as a denomination without shame or defense. It will have surrendered completely what Brother Garrett calls a "stupid and irresponsible exclusivism" --- but which our fathers boldly proclaimed over all this land as "A Way That Is Right And Cannot Be Wrong!"

Meanwhile, many thousands of humble and sincere Christians will continue, as in the past, to "walk by faith" and to "make all things according to the pattern." Two basic concepts shape their lives; two fundamental convictions rule and guide them: (1) the Bible is absolutely authoritative, and (2) the Bible CAN be understood. Consequently, when any question of difference or divergence seems to threaten their unity, they immediately go to the Bible, the source of all scriptural knowledge, and study it with eager and receptive hearts. They continue that study until there is an understanding of the Bible teaching; and once they know clearly what the Bible truly teaches, they accept its teaching as final and authoritative.

To Brother Garrett (and the "new look" Church of Christ brethren) both of these concepts are open to challenge. They clearly reject the authority of the Sacred Scriptures in that they "recognize as a brother and as belonging to the same body of Christ as ourselves" a devout Baptist (and we presume the same would apply to a sincere Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian or Catholic) who has NOT been "baptized into Christ", and who would tell you most emphatically he was baptized into the Baptist church, not into Christ. Paul said, "If any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema." But Brother Garrett rejoices to call such a false teacher his "brother in Christ" and to bid him Godspeed in his error. We sorrow to be forced to take issue with Brother Garrett so bluntly, but "we could not love you, friend, so much loved we not Jesus more. "As servants of Christ we must follow him, no matter how deeply our heart may yearn and our love reach out to dear friends and loved one enmenshed [sic] in Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, or "new look" Church of Christ error.

It has been quite evident for several years now that a major cleavage is well under way among the Churches of Christ. Brother David Edwin Harrell's articles outlined the three-way split rather clearly in recent issues of this journal. As the years roll by (perhaps two more decades will tell the story fully) it will be abundantly clear that Brother Leroy Garrett and Brother Carl Ketcherside are indeed and in truth "the wave of the future" so far as the liberalistic Churches of Christ are concerned. There will be some foot-dragging, of course; and we think it highly improbable that either Editor Goodpasture (of the Gospel Advocate) or Editor Lemmons (of the Firm Foundation) will go even as far as Brother Garrett is now. But make no mistake about it; these two journals have sowed the seeds of liberalism! The harvest is certain and inevitable; it cannot be avoided, nor escaped, nor evaded. They have tried to encourage gospel preaching and denominational practices. It cannot be done. What they DO has belied what they SAY.

Brother Garrett knows it --- and rejoices. Others of us know it --- and weep. Our tears, however, shed in sorrow and heartbreak for those whom we have known and loved through the years, serve but to water our determination to "hold fast the pattern of sound words." Let us be therefore "steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord."

-F. Y. T.