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

Is This "Our Peace?"

Pat Hardeman, Tampa, Florida

Roy Key, a liberalistic preacher from Chicago and graduate of Pepperdine College, has written two articles, "He Is Our Peace" (I, II), in the December and January issues of The Christian Forum (Ernest Beam's digressive journal) in which he seeks to prove that all of us have had the wrong plan for unity through the years. This is not a new attempt, but its significance lies in its source, the liberalism emanating from George Pepperdine College, and in particular, Ralph G. Wilburn. If Roy has not misrepresented things, his "present insights" were first brother Wilburn's, then "mine through his." Be this as it may, (brother Wilburn can speak for himself, and many brethren wish he would on these issues) Roy is anxious to defend brother Wilburn from all charges of liberalism. As a matter of fact Roy even desires to protect the neo-orthodox Karl Barth and E. Brunner from any accusation of unbelief. (More on this later.)

It appears that the battle with liberalism is now in full swing in the church of the Lord. Formerly when modernists arose in the church, they found things incompatible and sought havens in modernistic sects. It portends dangers for Israel now that they are seeking to win the church to their modernism. I pray that brethren all over the land will arise to battle, and "stand."

Inside The Fence

Brother Key just cannot stand the thought of Divine restrictions imposed on the church. He looks on the plea of the Restoration Movement as affording a fellowship which "is their agreement to stay inside the fence." This, says Roy, makes unity "something external, some fence that hedges people about . . ." I wonder what objection Roy has to being "hedged about?" Seems to me I read once of some people that were condemned for not counting their "fence" as a blessing. Isaiah 5:2 says, "And he fenced it." Then, if memory is faithful, brother Key is not the first to complain about hedges. I believe it was the progenitor of Roy's liberalism who complained to Jehovah concerning a man of God: "Hast thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?" It is that hedge, that fence that brother Key cannot leap over. After all, is not this the very stumbling block of liberalism? Roy cannot jump the fence, so he tries to trample it down. Be careful, brother, this is one of those fences that will be higher on its side than it was standing up. It doesn't trample easily.

Dime-A-Dozen Plans

Brother Key says even "good plans are a dime-a-dozen." I take it he would classify the Bible plan as one of the "good plans." But it never occurred to the "superficial" and "uncritical" among us that Bible plans were "a dime-a-dozen." The fact is most of us had always thought, till brother Key came along, that Bible "plans" were pretty costly and very rare, in fact, only one in existence. But then, remember, these are only "insights" which brother Key has received secondhand. Honestly, brethren, it is a tragedy that various papers are still advertising the school in which brother Key was taught this infidelity as "A Christian Environment" and offering "Christian Education." I am aware that some will view my criticisms of the Key-Wilburn-Pepperdine-Chicago relationship as a "school" fight. However, I am humbly confident that those who know me will reject this charge and I pray that strangers to me will examine the arguments before accepting this way out. Those in error usually find it easier to make some such charge than to meet the issues.

Brother Key really does find "plans" repulsive. He spues them out of his mouth with such adjectives as "inanimate," "dime-a-dozen," "worthless." If he says all this about human plans, we agree. But he makes it plain: "There is no plan that can keep them (God's people) true to His Love." Even a good plan, the Bible plan, is worthless, inanimate, in short—"good propaganda." Roy, we pray you will leave this unbelief and come out from among the unbelievers.

The Hand-Washing Step

Brother Key says that preaching a plan takes us "to the hand-washing step." I guess this is some of that language which Roy says the untutored cannot grasp. What kind of "hand-washing" does he mean? Certainly not the kind that the Pharisees did, for brother Key would be the last to raise his voice over a slight innovation like hand-washing. It would, with him, smack of "programs" or "plans" if he opposed that kind of hand-washing. I am equally confident that brother Key is not charging us with Pilate's brand of hand-washing, for there are many among us who have not said, "see ye to it" concerning the liberalism Roy Advocates. They intend to "see to it" themselves. And as to whether we claim the innocence of Pilate in the divisions that exist, brother Key, please explain how those who oppose innovations are guilty of the division. I am afraid brother Key's explanation of this would read exactly like the digressive "apologies" of seventy-five years ago. Maybe he intends to charge us with just "not caring whether divisions are perpetuated." Tell us, Roy, would not your course be the same as ours if you were convinced that digression, premillennialism. etc., are really violations of the Lord's will? If it would not, something is wrong with you besides infidelity. If it would, then you need to teach us that these errors are inconsequential. Will you, like Ernest Beam, evade the real issues?

Creating A Conscience

Roy says, "A conscience must be created on this matter of disunity." Brother, we agree with you. The tremendous difference, however, is that you and Ernest Beam blame those who oppose innovations as "conscienceless" In this matter, while we as sincerely believe the conscience needs to be created on the part of those who have rent asunder the body of Christ with their innovations. Do those who follow the Bible cause the divisions, or those who "add to" the Bible? Roy is not your real objection an objection to the "blue print" idea of Christianity—i.e., that there is a Divine Pattern which is unchangeable and to be held inviolate? I know this is the real stumbling block in your path, and I pray you will "grind it to powder" with the "hammer" of God's word. I wish I could hope these admonitions are not too late. And I am not alone in this wish.

No Legal Enactment

Roy declares "no legal enactment makes men one, but only the creation of good will in their hearts." Suppose ten thousand people sought Christian Unity. Where would they go? Not to "faith only" but "good will" only, brother Key would say. Well, suppose these ten thousand experienced this "creation of good will." Does this automatically unite them? On what basis Brother Key says only on the basis of their faith in Christ. "In Him we join hands with all who accept Him as Lord." What if one accepts Jesus as "Lord" but does not accept the virgin birth, brother Key? Why don't you get "your head and heart with the Lord" and enlighten the readers of the Forum with an article on whether one can reject the virgin birth and still be a Christian? And naturally, along with the one who denies the virgin birth, the one who denies the present reign of Christ on David's throne would he in good standing and "united" with the rest.

Now about this "legal enactment business"—I always thought there were some right "legal" enactments in Christ's religion. "For this cause he is the mediator of the new testament . . ." If this one won't work try Romans 7:1-4. If this is the "legalism" you object to, woe be unto you. I imagine, however, the legalism you hate is that which brother Wilburn said "primitive Christianity struggled to free itself from" when Christianity finally "did come to birth as a religion of the Spirit" "through the efforts mainly of the Apostle Paul." (Christianity Versus Legalism, p. 5) Oh yes, this was during "the first major theological crisis of the Christian movement." (Ibid.) And this is the kind of legalism which brother Wilburn says is a necessary part of the Christian life. He says, "Each individual Christian in his own religious experience is obliged to pass through a legalistic phase of development in the struggle upwards towards the light. Some bog down and remain throughout life children of Hagar . . . The Christian search is indeed a perennial quest to find and to fulfill the freedom of the Spirit which transcends the religion of the law." (Ibid.) Well, according to "the efforts of Paul" in Galatians "each individual Christian is obliged to "full from grace" when he "bogs down" and remains with Hagar. Roy, is this some of the "technical" lam-maze of your teacher which you are sure we cannot understand? Is this a sample of scripture interpretation which brother Wilburn does in "the Christian environment" at Pepperdine? My "perennial quest" is to "fulfill"—I have already found it in the New Testament—"the freedom of the Spirit." and to reclaim these lost souls who have gone—or are going—back to walk no more "in the old paths." May "the God of all grace . . . establish. strengthen settle" us in the faith!