Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 20, 1969
NUMBER 45, PAGE 4,6a

"Is It Nothing To You, All Ye That Pass By?"


With this plaintive question Jeremiah bewailed the fate of captive Zion. God's people were alone and comfortless, "She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are upon her cheeks All her friends have dealt treacherously with her: they are become her enemies." We could not but recall Jeremiah's lament and utter loneliness as we read Brother Leroy Garrett's report of the two Christmas week gatherings in Dallas — some 12,000 young people gathered for the "Campus Evangelism" sponsored by Broadway Church of Christ, and about a hundred other 'Church of Christ folk' (to use Garrett's phrase) gathered in the same city at the same time for the "Holy Spirit retreat."

Everyone knows, of course, that Brother Garrett is an extremist, and perhaps his descriptions are a bit more lurid than the facts would warrant. He is not widely known as a man who exercises great restraint either in what he says or how he says it. But, giving full allowance for exaggeration and distortion, it must be abundantly clear to any thinking Christian that an amazing thing was happening in Dallas that last week in December...speaking in tongues...interpretations... gifts of healing...casting out of demons...on and on the story went!

We think it will be well for readers to remember that there were TWO meetings going on simultaneously. Reading Brother Garrett carefully, it would seem that the "miraculous" manifestations (tongues, demon exorcisings, etc.) took place not in the Campus Evangelism meetings, but in the "Holy Spirit retreat" meetings. But the meetings were so much of the same spirit and atmosphere, so completely dominated by the overwhelming desire for personal, immediate, and extra-Biblical communications from God to the worshippers that there can be little question that the Campus Evangelism meetings are but a fore-runner and a precursor of the "Holy Spirit retreat" phenomena. Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas, is once again leading the way into a new phase and a new era of church history. As she took the lead in the "sponsoring church" cooperatives a quarter century ago, she is now breaking new ground, and opening up the way for an entirely NEW and DIFFERENT "Church of Christ" on the American scene in the 1970's and 1980's. "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" Are members of the body of Christ going to sit by complacently, shaking their heads in disapproval, of course, but doing nothing? Will they go along with this new apostasy as docilely and submissively as they did twenty-five years ago?

The answer is a thunderous YES!! That is, for the majority of them. For there has been such a tremendous anesthetic administered to the church these past two decades that most members are past all feeling. The anesthetic has been S-U-C-C-E-S-S. Our brethren have gone wild over "success." If anything works, if it gets the crowd, if it gets the job done, it is accepted and received as a veritable gift from heaven! "You can't argue with success" is an old, old bromide; but with the vast majority of present day Christians, it is profoundly true. Well, when 12,000 young people give up their Christmas holidays at home to go to a Campus Evangelism meeting in Dallas, we think that is about as much "success" as anybody could expect! And if tongue -speaking, demon exorcising, and miraculous healings get the crowds, that will be almost as good as Pat Boone or Billie Sol Estes — maybe better.

The Bible? Who needs the Bible? Bible authority? Don't be ridiculous." We do many things for which we have no Bible authority." Where is any Bible authority for drinking fountains, or rest rooms, or fertilizer on the preacher's lawn? "Where there is no pattern," we use our sanctified common sense. And if tongue-speaking and demon-exorcising are the "in" thing, why, we'd better get hep — or is it hip? Anyhow, it is something other than what we are, or were, or have been — and you can lay your bottom dollar on that, dear frenzied friends!

Well, here is one old stick-in-the-mud who is not impressed by all these wild goings-on. Frankly, we find it a bit difficult to stifle a yawn. You see, much of our childhood was spent among the hillbillies in the mountains of Arkansas and with the cotton-picking negroes (you call them "blacks" now) of Mississippi. And the "out-pourings of the Spirit" about which Brother Garrett waxes so lyrical, and which reduce some contemporary "Church of Christers" to a quivering mass of emotional jelly, are old hat to us. We have seen a three-hundred pound black female "jump for joy" when she "got it" with a frenzy that sent hair-pins flying in every direction, and popped six buttons at a time from her too tightly imprisoned torso. Brother Garrett really "hasn't seen anything" until he has attended a back country holy-roller meeting!! That Dallas affair would look like a meeting of inhibited Quaker spinsters with paralytic arthritis in comparison.

But, "Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?" Are you not concerned for the future of God's church? Do you feel no sense of outrage at this blasphemous perversion of the gospel of Christ? Are the hard fought battles of yesterday and yester-year to go for naught? Shall the truth of Christ be trampled beneath the feet of emotionally unstable fanatics who obviously have neither understanding of nor respect for those fundamentals of the gospel which Paul preached to the Corinthians, and "which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved..."?

We shall have more to say on this subject next week when we present the second half of Brother Garrett's report.

— F. Y. T.