Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 4, 1969
NUMBER 18, PAGE 10-13

Gospel Guardian Tell-Al-Gram

The Pulse Of The Brethren — I

Wm. E. Wallace

Jet age transportation enabled this writer to meet with sizeable groups of preachers in Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Birmingham, Los Angles, San Diego, San Francisco, Phoenix and Tucson - within a three week period. These meetings along with speaking engagements at a number of churches, and numerous private conversations constituted some of the richest experiences of my life. We were tapping the sentiment of those among the cream of the crop of God's servants. We were feeling the pulse of those who stand tall and straight in the ranks of God's soldiers of faith.

Other such meetings are forthcoming and some will have already been held by the time our readers scan these lines. But we are able to offer a representation of the thinking of brethren on a number of points.

The original purpose of these trips was that of promoting The Gospel Guardian in talks on the subject, "The Gospel Guardian, Past, Present and Future." But brethren were interested at every place in the matters of fellowship with liberals and the "peace offensive," lately re-labeled as the "reasoning offensive" or something similar. All were highly interested in the plans and purposes of the Gospel Guardian for the future.

There was considerable question as to the practicality of the "reasoning offensive," as to its workability. There was some question over the implication of an article by this writer which appeared in The Gospel Guardian July 17, 1969 on "Fellowship With Liberals."

After considerable discussion on the reasoning offensive it appeared that the brethren generally are willing to "wait and see" as to achievements — achievements of the reasoning offensive, its purposes, namely the breaking down of prejudicial barriers, opening of lines of reasoning communication, and the ultimate "selling" of a unity-on-truth package to many liberals.

There was a general approval as to fellowship with some liberals, so long as compromise with them is not involved, or endorsement of their projects, or encouragement to their encroachments. However, a number of brethren were not at all receptive to the idea of fellowship or association in any form with any liberals.

If this writer reads the signs correctly, it is apparent that brethren are reconsidering and re-evaluating the whole subject of fellowship. The situation developing in liberal ranks regarding division over modernism has marked off a segment of liberals who are showing an allegiance to biblical and restoration principles, in spite of being caught up in institutional and sponsoring church arrangements.

It seems that in our making of a point concerning the bad image liberals have of "antis," the brethren were receptive to the idea of correcting this image through communication and fellowship with liberals of proper ethics and right attitudes.

The bitter experiences brethren have had in battles with liberals tend to make less receptive to any sort of friendly relations with liberals of any degree or kind or classification.

Actually the idea of fellowshipping liberals in a people-to-people situation, a person-to-person association with liberals in which there is created an understanding and an appreciation of one another as individual Christians. In this there is accomplished a breaking down of false images and wrong impressions. It is this sort of thing which is acceptable to brethren.

But any cooperative arrangement of congregations in programs or work or identification whereby "conservative" churches are absorbed in or with the "liberal" ones — this is completely unacceptable. The brethren have no inclinations toward compromise, not the least desire or reason for surrendering or mellowing in their opposition to institutionalism and sponsoring churches. There is no compromise in the air.

While there is considerable concern as to the implications of fellowshipping those in error, there is but little appreciation for excessive reaction to our "reasoning offensive" by hypercritical brethren. There is a growing realization that we all do indeed fellowship many who are unscriptural or wrong, and yet in this we do not endorse or encourage what is wrong or unscriptural. There is a realization that there exists a danger that this fellowship bit may be extended too far, beyond the limits of propriety and scriptural principle. The loose uninhibited, unscriptural fellowship espoused by the Ketcherside movement is naturally repulsive to brethren of strong convictions against institutional and sponsoring church errors.

Brethren are not generally willing to classify the institutional and sponsoring church issues in the same category as instrumental music in worship, and thus do not require disfellowshipping of the former as they do in case of the latter. There is a general recognition that some erroneous positions, false beliefs, and unscriptural practices are not of the same magnitude as others And thus the question of fellowship is to be considered in light of the nature of the issue and various circumstances involved. Further, there seems to be a general feeling that the Bible teaching on fellowship has not been adequately considered — and it has not ben satisfactorily dealt with in the various publications. It is viewed as a difficult subject and brethren appear to find it difficult to be fully consistent in fellowshipping or disfellowshipping as regards various matters of faith and conviction.

We noted a maturing situation among brethren everywhere — a maturing disposition which is bringing a more tolerant attitude regarding differences within "conservative" ranks over various issues, some of which are of considerable magnitude in implications. Divisiveness is on the wane. Yet there is no spirit of compromise in position and conviction.

We believe brethren understand that The Gospel Guardian its owner and its editor — are in no way compromising the positions we have defended in the past. Brethren seem to be grasping what we are "trying to do" in the way of opening up channels of contacts with liberals whereby brethren of good will can reason together. Brethren of perception are not hasty to suspicion softness or compromise on our part.

This writer is impressed above all by the signs of great numerical and spiritual strength in what I have sometimes called the "conservative brotherhood." There is evidence on every hand of a maturing, growing and strengthening brotherhood of Christians intent on displaying real New Testament Christianity in 20th century America.

On The West Coast: Our experiences in California brought pleasant surprise. We saw very little indication of divisiveness. Contrary to my expectations, I found brethren in good spirits toward one another in spite of differences over issues, such as marriage, divorce and remarriage, Sunday evening communion, and others. The differences and attitudes did not appear to be any greater than those found regarding other issues in other parts of the country. Conservative brethren are getting along well with one another and sound churches are active and flourishing. I remember a report several years ago from the Firm Foundation which represented "anti-ism" in California as weak and waning. The reporter's contacts must have been quite limited. The cause of soundness in California is strong numerically and spiritually, exceedingly so.

At this writing we have not completed our visit in Arizona, so will report on this visit next week.

WEST CORRESPONDENT: We are pleased to report that Bob Bolton, 126 West "E" St., Ontario, California 91761 will serve as our West coast news man. He will gather news and notes from the West Coast and write a regular news column for the Gospel Guardian. We welcome Bob Bolton to service with this paper — he is a good man who will do a good job. Would you send him your bulletins, and keep him informed on newsworthy matters?

REVOLT AGAINST PARENTAL AUTHORITY: A sermon delivered at the Florida College Lecture Program by Lloyd Moyer, January 26, 1966. Hundreds of requests for the lesson in written resulted in the publication of the tract. 25 cents each, $20.00 per hundred. Order from the Gospel Guardian. Churches will do well to distribute this tract widely. — Revolt Against Parental Authority.

MEETING IN MANSFIELD, OHIO September 22-28 with Ellis Webb of the West Broad Street church in Columbus, Ohio doing the preaching.

A REPORT FROM JACK GIBBERT ON EAST COAST WORK: "I'm committed to move to Virginia Beach the first of October. The work is a very similar to Myrtle Beach (S.C.) in that it is largely military but unlike Myrtle Beach it has an unlimited civilian potential. The population of the Virginia Beach area exceeds a million. There will be two civilian families to start with (three with my family). They will be unable to help in my support at all as they are in the process of getting some land and planning to build. I don't have a dime of support promised at the time of this writing. I have been up there to look the possibilities over and know I will need at least $700 a month to make a go there...The work at Myrtle Beach continues to be a military work. I feel the men stationed here will be able to carry on the work without me. I know they would like to get a man to work with them but while they are looking they will benefit from the shouldering of more responsibility. Thought you might be interested to know that I have had opportunity to teach the truth on current problems to two colored congregations, one in the town of Andrews, S. C. and the other in Kingstree, S. C. I preached for both and have taught dozens of lessons on authority and current problems. We had a meeting with brother Sam Turrentine of N. J. this summer in the city of Conway and had as many as 25 colored out to the tent (not members) on one night. If any congregation is looking for a good sound colored preacher, Sam is the man. He also preached for Andrew two Sundays while he was here. Faithful preachers are welcome at both Andrews and Kingstree any time. Andrews has a Sunday morning attendance of over 80 and Kingstree about 30. I believe we have overlooked a great potential 'mission' field with the colored right here in the USA. They have shown me they are anxious to hear the truth, and they repented and gave up a number of unscriptural practices during the time I spent among them. The liberals won't say anything to them about their practices because they are only a few steps more digressive than the liberals...I've-found the colored brethren truly love me for pointing out their errors. It's a vast field for some congregations to begin to consider." 107 Scott Drive, Myrtle Beach, S.C. 29577 WHAT W. W. OTEY SAID ABOUT DANIEL SOMMER: Allen R. Sommer, son of Daniel,

was a little disappointed that we didn't get the following letter from W. W. Otey in the biography of Daniel Sommer. Otey wrote, "Daniel Sommer read the Bible more and became more familiar with the text than has any other man of the Restoration. Scarcely could a question be asked or an incident related that failed to bring forth a Scripture quotation bearing directly on the matter involved. Undoubtedly he travelled, preached and wrote more than any other man in the church during his nearly 70 years of activity...Unquestionably he was the first man of great strength openly, aggressively and with great power to oppose and hurl back the onrush of innovations that finally developed into the 'Christian Church.' This he began about 1885, and for at least a quarter of a century he was the mightiest force among men in staying their encroachments, and evidently did more than any other man to save so many from apostasy. Every unkind critic of this man should ponder seriously the debt owed him for his mighty work during a quarter of a century or more, in staying the flood of innovations. The man who read the Bible more, preached more, wrote more of the Gospel, perhaps, than did any other man in any religious communion in America during the same period...a man who reverenced the Bible as few have done."