Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 1, 1951
NUMBER 42, PAGE 8-9b

Foundations Under Fire

Pat Hardeman, Tampa, Florida

Among those who are supporting the liberal views of Ernest Beam in the (Christian Forum (the open forum which was closed to brother James R. Cope) is brother Roy Key, a graduate of Pepperdine and ardent advocate of this "liberalism" in his own right. His two articles on He Is Our Peace, published in the Forum, contain more incipient (and some well developed) modernism than is often seen even in Methodist papers. Just here, in view of their assertions that they (Beam, Key, et al) are the only "open-minded" ones in the church, I want to assure them that my mind is wide open to any truth from God's word, and that I "care" about divisions in the church and out. I believe brethren Beam, Key and others should be "open-minded" to the possibility that those whom they are attacking are sincere in their "concern" over the innovations dividing the body of Christ. I know of no "Phariseeism" worse than that which denies all sincerity to those who differ. Yet the Forum has been filled with arrows of "carelessness," "pride," "self-righteousness," "sectarianism," "failure to take 'the Bible alone," "disdain," "overbearance" aimed at those who have fought innovations.

The significance of brother Key's views is that they are the expression of a liberalistic attitude toward the Bible that has been crystallizing for years in the Pepperdine-Chicago areas. Whether or not these brethren ever admit the sincerity and truth of my opposition to their errors, I want them to know once and for all that I pray and have prayed for their restoration and that all the "concern" and "care" for unity is not on their side. It grieves my heart to see "disfellowshipping" just as much as it does theirs. But my grief over the "disfellowshipping" concerns those who make disfellowshipping necessary, not those who practice it scripturally. All of the Forum's talk about our not wanting or "caring" for unity is either an ignorant or a deliberate appeal to prejudice. No true Christian wants to see "a weak brother" perish for whom Christ died." "However, these liberal brethren know full well that it is the conviction of those whom they oppose (and that their opponents will uphold the conviction in an honorable way) that the innovations opposed are not expedients but errors in the realm of faith. This is the very principle these brethren refuse to discuss, but still raise their cry of "disfellowshipping." As Roy Key put it, we should "recognize no lines except where the Foundation of the Christian Faith is endangered." This is the very point, brethren. In the liberal views of the Forum many of us see that "the Foundation of the Christian Faith is endangered." To indicate the magnitude of these dangers let us hear brother Key's perversions (however sincere he is) of the Foundations.

(1) How can we know "what is the Foundation of the Christian Religion ?"

. This is an excellent question, for brother Key admits we must use this Foundation as a basis for unity.

But hear his answers!

(a) "These answers cannot be creedal." If brother Key means by this that no human creed is the foundation of the Christian faith or the basis for unity—every one says: Fine! However, in the light of later statements, we may have doubts that this is his meaning.

(b) "They (the answers to his question above, P. H.) must not come in authoritative statements." One can hardly tell whether brother Key objects to the "authoritative" or to the "statements" part of it. If he objects to the authority, does he mean human or Divine authority? If he means that the Foundation cannot be revealed through human authority, we agree heartily; but if he objects to Divine authority in the Bible, he is convicted of rebellion or infidelity. I hope, for the church and for his sake, he objects simply to human authority. But if brother Key objects to the "statements" part, or to both the authority and the statements (he says, "authoritative statements"), which "statements" does he have in mind? If he means human statements, he has the approbation of all; if he means the statements of inspired men, he is convicted of outright infidelity. Let us hope and pray that he objects only to human statements.

(c) "They must come in the authoritative accents of a Divine Voice and in the unspeakable love of a Divine Face." This sounds pretty good. I take it that brother Key distinguishes between the "authoritative accents" here and the "authoritative statements" above. Does he mean by the "authoritative accents of a Divine Voice" those "accents" that are sounded from Matthew to Revelation; and by the "unspeakable love of a Divine Face," does he mean that "love" and that "face" that are reflected in the New Testament Scriptures? If he means this, one could object to nothing more serious than lack of clarity, but when brother Key writes his next sentence, his choice in the alternate meanings listed above becomes all too clear!

(d) "Not your plan nor mine, not our fathers, not one we think we have figured out from what God has said in the Bible—this is not the answer." May the Lord help us to use every means to bring this brother back from infidelity to faith in His inspired word. Nothing could possibly loom as a more ominous danger to the church than for such writing to be circulated, and endorsed editorially by brother Beam, among the churches of the Lord. Brethren everywhere will be justified in writing brother Beam not to send this infidel literature (it is as if the whole Forum were committed to it—for the editor endorses brother Key's articles, saying: "the... writer has his head and heart with the Lord as he writes.") to the congregation where they worship. Brother Key puts "your plan," "mine" and "our fathers" on the same plane as one "figured out from what God has said in the Bible." What can our brother mean? If brother Key is the most sincere person in all the world, he still writes infidelity, and brother Beam and the brotherhood should know it (following charity, I'll pray that it was an oversight when brother Key's article received editorial endorsement). Maybe brother Key means that we and "our fathers" in the Restoration movement just "figured out from what God has said in the Bible" the wrong plan. If he means this, then he should be willing to debate that plan with us. But that this is not his meaning is evident from (1) the fact that elsewhere (He Is Our Peace II) he says "men and God" joined hands in the Restoration movement and "great things began to happen." So "our fathers" "figured" pretty well. (2) That brother Key does not object simply to "our plan," but rather to any plan, even the Bible plan, is evident from the following statements:

a. "No plan can make us care."

b. "There is no plan that can (blackface mine - PH) keep them (God's people) true to his love." (He Is Our Peace II) Hear brother further on "plans." "They have in themselves no life, no power to transform." Then hear Paul, Heb. 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." "The words I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." (John 6:63) Brother Key says, plans "cannot make us see." The psalmist replies, "The entrance of thy word giveth light." Brethren, the word of God gives life, transforms you, makes you care and makes you see, unless "your eyes, they are closed lest..."

I pray that God may cause his humble people to rise in a mighty phalanx against this new type of infidelity and cause it to retreat to its fortress, the world, saving those who will surrender as the retreat goes on, "pulling them out of the fire." (Other articles will follow.)