Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 29, 1951

What Is The Matter With Brother Brewer?

C. D. Crouch, Trumann, Arkansas

In response to a query from brother Huey G. Holcomb of Guin, Ala., brother Brewer writes in the Gospel Advocate of March 1, 1951, under the caption: Will God Hear A Sinner's Prayer? Brother Holcomb was "greatly confused as to what the Meaning of John 9:31 is." He had thought the sinner of that passage was an alien sinner until he read an article from R. L. Whiteside, in Queries and Answers department of Gospel Advocate, which appeared in the Advocate September 3, 1936. He quotes the query and Whiteside's answer, and thinks "brother Whiteside missed the meaning of the passage" and asked brother Brewer for his "views" on the meaning of said passage.

The article which was so "confusing" to brother Holcomb follows:

Does God Hear A Sinner's Prayer?

" 'Does God teach us in John 9:31 that he does not hear a sinner's prayer?—X, Tennessee.'

"John 9:31: 'We know that God heareth not sinners; but if any man be a worshipper of God, and do his will, him he heareth.' People who apply this verse to an alien sinner fail to realize that an alien sinner was not under consideration. Jesus had restored sight to a blind man. Every party in the controversy knew that Jesus was born into covenant relationship with God, but the rulers regarded him as a sinful Jew. They said: 'We know that this man is a sinner.' (verse 24) Among other things, the blind man spoke the words in question. And many people quote his words as if he were an inspired prophet or apostle. He was no more inspired than were the rulers who said: 'We know that this man is a sinner.'

The blind man was more correct in his conclusions than were the rulers; yet he was merely expressing the conclusions of an uninspired man. It is astonishing that any Bible reader will quote his words as if he spoke by inspiration. It is a wonder that some one does not quote the words of the rulers to prove that Jesus was a sinner! God is not the author of the words in John 9:31.

But who is a sinner? One who sins. If a man repents of his sins, puts sin out of his heart, and resolves to live right, is he a sinner? He may not yet be forgiven, but he is not a sinner. When Saul started to Damascus, he was a sinner; but when he reached Damascus, he was not a sinner—he had quit sinning; yet he had not been pardoned. Hence, when he prayed in the highway, 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' he prayed an acceptable prayer. 'If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear'."

Brother Brewer then proceeds to write under the subheading, "Comments." "It seems that brother Whiteside intended to discourage the brethren from using the passage in the way that we mentioned in the first part of this article." He then says he was correct in that. Well, well. Does Brewer mean to imply that he could not tell for sure what Whiteside meant? "It seems!"

Or was he preparing to make the outright misrepresentation which he does make in the next paragraph?

Note the following from Brewer, and then reread what brother Whiteside said and see if you can find in Whiteside's statement what Brewer says Whiteside said:

"Brother Whiteside was unfortunate in two of his statements. First, in arguing that Christ could not be considered an alien, because he was a Jew, and then implying that Saul was an alien when he left Jerusalem for Damascus. Saul was also a Jew, and a very religious Jew.

Second, in placing the blind man's statement on a par with the statement of those mocking rulers, and in saying that brethren might as well quote the rulers as to quote the blind man. That is a serious error."

David Lipscomb said in answer to a query about John 9:31 (P 341, Queries and Answers — Shepherd) "When the man born blind said, 'God heareth not sinners,' (John 9:31) he was speaking of Jewish sinners, who were not aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, but members of the family of Abraham." Then unless Lipscomb, too was "unfortunate" in that statement, we may assume that brother Whiteside was not "unfortunate" in saying the same thing. Then, wherein is the "unfortunate" part of the "FIRST" statement that was "unfortunate?" In the second paragraph of the Whiteside article he is discussing the "sinner," without any regard to whether he is "alien" or otherwise. He defines "sinner" as "one who sins." In discussing Saul he said he was a sinner when he started from Jerusalem to Damascus; he stopped sinning on the way, and was forgiven when he reached Damascus. The "alien sinner" element here that was so "unfortunate" from brother Brewer's point of view, consists in the fact that Brewer knows that Saul was an "alien sinner" when he left Jerusalem for Damascus. Notwithstanding the fact that he was a Jew, "and a very religious Jew," the "Old Covenant' 'had been abolished, Christ had become "surety of a better covenant" and Saul was not in covenant relationship with Christ. He was then, an alien sinner, and Brewer knows that to be a fact. But, brother Whiteside did not say it, nor is there anything in his language to indicate that he had that idea in mind.

. But, second, brother Whiteside "was unfortunate" "in placing the blind man's statement on par with the statement of those mocking rulers." That is the first part of the so-called second "unfortunate statement." Whiteside said that neither of them was inspired. Of course, we might have expected brother Brewer to agree that the "mocking rulers" were not inspired. But in the third paragraph of his "Comments" he says right out, in so many words: "The blind man was not inspired." Well! Then, Brewer agrees with Whiteside that the statements of both the blind man and the rulers were uninspired statements. They are "on a par" in that respect, and that was all that brother Whiteside said about it. He said that both statements were conclusions of uninspired men. However, he was careful to say: "The blind man was more correct in his conclusions than were the rulers." And yet, in the face of that plain statement, Brewer says, in the second part of Whiteside's second "unfortunate" statement: "Saying that brethren might as well quote the rulers as to quote the blind man. That is a serious error." Please read again what brother Whiteside said, and see if you can find anything like what Brewer says that he said. Again, I ask, what is the matter with brother Brewer? He has me wondering.