Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 26, 1951

How Far Can They Go?

George T. Jones, Nacogdoches, Texas

Under the heading "First Christian Church Will Observe Women's Day' Sunday," The Daily Sentinel of November 30, 1950 carried a news story of the services to be held at the Christian Church here in Nacogdoches on December 3, 1950. We are quoting some excerpts from this news item.

"Offering Sunday morning will be used for missions when the entire service will be conducted by the women at the First Christian Church."

"The first Sunday in December is known officially as Women's Day and every year the loose offering goes for missions."

The next paragraph describes the speaker for this occasion: "Mrs. Hearne has been a leader in the women's work of the Christian Church in Texas for many years. Rev. Hearne, a minister, now is connected with Texas Christian University."

More than one hundred and fifty years ago devout men became disgusted with the prevalent religion of that generation. Roman Catholicism had received a severe blow from the Protestant Reformation but the protestant world was divided into a host of warring camps, each zealous for its particular creed. Actually these protestant bodies could make no real fight against the tenets of Catholicism because they were holding to forms and ceremonies and subscribing to creeds just as anti-scriptural as the doctrines of Rome. A host of men from among these protestant sects determined upon a course of action to restore Christianity as it was preached and practiced in the first century A.D. They said: "Where the Scriptures Speak, We Speak; Where the Scriptures Are Silent, We Are Silent." Thus the great movement to preach the Gospel of Christ in its ancient purity was launched. Among people who had been sickened by the insipid brand of religion that was being preached and practiced, this theme was given wide reception. Thousands heard the pure gospel, believed and obeyed. They were Christians only—just what God's people were called in the first century.

For about fifty years nothing was able to impede the progress of the restoration work. After about a half century, however, a defection came in this great movement. Some of the leading lights were willing to cast off the scriptural principles upon which the movement had been inaugurated. The above-quoted slogan is the attitude the Lord requires men to have toward His Word, the Bible. In order to give sanction to the unscriptural Missionary Society and a little later the Mechanical Instruments of Music in worship, the "digressive" element within the movement renounced this scriptural attitude in favor of one that accepted everything the Lord had not specifically condemned. The adoption of this attitude by the "digressives" resulted in a split in restoration ranks and the formation of a denomination destined to take its place among her sister denominations. The Christian Church of today had been born!

In the light of these historical events, the news item quoted above is not surprising. Such is only the inevitable result of the adoption of this un-scriptural attitude now held by the Christian Church. Where does the Scripture mention any such thing as a day known "officially" as "Women's Day?" What can one say of "Rev. Hearne, a minister," a woman preacher who filled the local Christian Church pulpit in the light of what Paul wrote? "Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness." (I Tim. 2:11, 12) What difference does it make whether it is Missionary Societies, Mechanical Instruments of Music, Women's Day Observances or Women Preachers? Any one of these is equally unscriptural as the other. But when the attitude toward the Word of God that these people have is adopted, there is room for anything that man wants.

Frequently these people tell us there is no difference between the Christian Church and the church of Christ except instrumental music. This is simply untrue! Nothing could be farther from the truth. These people have adopted an attitude toward the Bible which makes it no rule of faith and practice, while churches of Christ are continuing to call for a "thus saith the Lord" for all that is preached and practiced. Too, this attitude of theirs toward the Bible has led them into Modernism of the rankest form. It is not very uncommon to find one of their preachers who denies the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, or some other of the miracles. So, in addition to their adopting the practices of their sister denominations, they have also drifted into Modernism.

Hence, we ask how far can they go? They have completely renounced the principles upon which Restoration was made possible. They do not condemn denominations. Rather, they condone it! They fellowship denominationalists. They endorse those who sprinkle for baptism and who practice infant church membership. We have evidence that they even have women preachers. Yea, verily, when restraint is cast off as it was by the "digressives" a hundred years ago, there is no stopping place. None can predict where or how far they will go. Their only law is their own wishes, for they countenance everything the Word of God does not specifically condemn.

In this connection, it seems that a word of caution would be in order for those among us who are guilty of the practice of "shaking in" members of the Christian Church. Now we would not presume to say that a man who had been baptized for the remission sins needs to do it again! But though a man once obeyed the gospel, if he has worshipped with and been a part of this "digressive" element, he needs to do more than "place his membership" and be given a royal welcome to fellowship loyal brethren. In worshipping with the "digressives" he has been in sin! He needs to repent genuinely of that sin and renounce it, just as a brother who had committed adultery, lied, or gotten drunk. There should be a great deal more to renouncing these digressive practices than placing membership with a church of Christ.