Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 15, 1951

Is Ernest Beam Fair?

James R. Cope, Tampa, Florida

Editor Ernest Beam of Christian Forum wants to debate. He wants to discuss the "fellowship" issue. He wants to fellowship the Christian Church and premillennialists and does not like anybody else to disfellowship them, yet he declares that he will not be led into a discussion of instrumental music in worship or premillennialism.

In a previous article I presented the thought that Beam was ignoring the basic cause of fellowship. I believe that the use of mechanical instruments in the worship is sinful and the digressives' insistence upon having them is the cause of disfellowship. This he denies but will not discuss it.

When I refused to confine my writing on the fellowship issue exclusively to Beam's own paper or guarantee him space in other papers over which I have no control he refused me further space in his paper. He "disfellowshipped" my writing from the pages of Christian Forum. But in the same article he told about my "unfairness" he endeavors to prove that instrumental music is no part of the worship—not an addition—but purely an expedient on a parallel with a song leader! I raise the question: Is this a "fair" representation of the position of those who through the years have opposed the instrument?

Ernest Beam knows that the digressives have tried to defend the instrument in worship, and not as an expedient. He further knows that upon this ground battle after battle has been fought by faithful brethren in their efforts to keep the church free from human innovations. Now at this late date for him to ignore all this and cast the issue upon a ground everybody knows has rarely, if ever, been occupied until within the last few months, has no semblance of fairness about it. Is it fair to represent brethren as occupying a position of opposition to a practice that even the exponents of the position did not argue?

It now appears that the digressives have had to wait for a man who says he is opposed to the use of instrumental music to find a "scriptural" basis upon which to justify its use. Ernest Beam says he is not going to debate the instrumental music question and classifies it among "husks" and "peripheral matters," ("Fellowship" is much more important than such, he declares) yet he uses almost a full page in the January Forum to prove the instrument is strictly an expedient. This is a new turn on the mechanical instrument. Does Editor Beam really mean what he says about it? If so, we herewith give him opportunity to prove it and submit the following proposition which is believed to be a fair statement of his newly espoused position:

"Mechanical instrumental music in connection with worship is strictly an expedient and is, therefore, scriptural."



James R. Cope If this proposition is true, then those of us opposed to instrumental music in connection with worship are wrong in our opposition and it follows that, nothing else preventing, the right hand of fellowship should be extended those who employ it strictly on this basis.

Editor Beam now has opportunity to discuss an issue which even the rankest opponents of his fellowship will agree to be a fair statement of the cause of division. Will he discuss it? We shall see. He may be a little late in getting this proposition since it will reach him via the Gospel Guardian or Firm Foundation but maybe he will eventually see it. You know, kind readers, my writings have been "disfellowshipped" from the Christian Forum. The "Great Change" about which the editor has been prophesying has already taken place with reference to me. For one issue of the Forum I was inside looking in and out; now I am wholly on the outside looking in.