Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 4, 1969
NUMBER 18, PAGE 4-5a

They See A Denomination


We have just received, and finished reading, Leroy Garrett's little journal, Restoration Review, June issue. While we "do not agree with all that appears" in his paper — ha! he has something to say about that, too — we do read it each month with interest and pleasure. Leroy may not be right, but to us, at least, he is always readable. Which is something more than we can say for some of the more orthodox scribes whose articles sometimes appear in the various journals, including this one.

But the thing that never fails to impress us in every issue of Restoration Review, and which was so very obvious in Voices of Concern is that the various brethren who write and tell of their dissatisfaction with the Church of Christ, and who are leaving the church in order to associate with denominational groups, are, without exception, men who had a false or denominational concept of the Lord's church even when they were in the very midst of it and considered "the soundest of the sound!" They grew up in the church thinking in denominational terms and concepts. And since they had so thoroughly and irrefutably pictured the church of God as "a denomination," they were simply unable to shatter that concept without publicly renouncing (or at least chiding) the church of Christ — as they conceived it to be!

Even Brother Garrett himself, with all due allowance for this current ecumenical enthusiasm, constantly reveals his heritage as a denominational product and thinker (we suppose he would not deny that he did grow up thinking of the Lord's body in denominational patterns). For instance, consider this quote from his June Restoration Review:

"Recently I was sitting with a respected preacher for Churches of Christ, who expressed regret that there was not a place among us for some of the men who have felt called upon to leave us."

Who are the "us" in Brother Garrett's regrets? Why, the church of God, of course! Except that it is NOT the church of God in Brother Garrett's mind it is the "Church of Christ!" The Church of Christ (denomination) is "us": and that is not the same as the church of God as set forth in the New Testament.

Well, maybe this writer is completely out of step with some of these "On the March" brethren (we've had that suggested to us on occasion), but it was his good fortune to grow up under far different teaching and influence. We were taught from the cradle (if we had one, which probably we didn't) that the Lord's body is NOT a denomination, but is composed of "all the saved on earth." Every truly penitent baptized believer under heaven is a part of that church; every 'born-again' person among the sons of men is a member of that church.

That is the only "US" we ever knew anything about; that is the only church of Christ we have ever known. It is made up of God's children — all of them. And there is not one saved person on this earth who is not a member of the church of Christ. Not one! That is what the church of Christ is, the body of the saved ones. "And the Lord added to the church (the church of Christ, that is!) daily such as should be saved." (Acts 2:47) He did not add them to any denomination; he added them only to his own body; they became members of the body of Christ. Simply that and nothing more.

Having said that, let us hasten to add that there are very likely many who grew up with a different concept, and who became the "Church of Christers" who are Brother Garrett's particular thorn in the flesh. By his own admission, he was one of them. So also were the men and women who wrote for "Voices of Concern " So also are a great number of those who are now growing restive and uneasy in the "Church of Christ" and who feel called upon to leave "us." Brother Garrett says the list of such is growing embarrassingly lengthy. Surely no journal now being published has been more outspoken in pointing out the denominational promotions, projects, and clap-trap now being found in many congregations than has the Gospel Guardian... We are certainly not blind to what is happening.

But it all falls into place as a part of the same mosaic — a generation growing up without adequate teaching, developing teachers who are not grounded in the fundamentals, then promotions, promotions, and all the maelstrom of denominational concepts and connections — and finally rebellion!

This is what has been happening in the Leroy Garrett "Churches of Christ;" but it has not happened, is not happening, and by God's grace will NEVER happen among that great number of humble and dedicated disciples who have been taught the way of truth by godly parents from their earliest years. They have NOT looked upon the Lord's body as a denomination; they have always known better. They have never felt fettered and frustrated by "denominational shibboleths," but have known only the restraints imposed by God's holy word. And what about the "liberals" who are making such inroads among the "Churches of Christ"? Well, so far as we can learn, their forays are mostly among the congregations, and with the people, who have grown up with this denominational idea. That there is going to be a horrendous division among many of these churches we have not a doubt in the world. And that repercussions of it and shock waves from it may even be felt among all the churches of God is very likely. There will be a "sifting" and many will be weighed and found wanting. But let no anxiety or concern unduly disturb you; there will always be a place "among us" (i.e. in God's church, among God's children) for any and all men who truly love the Lord and who are willing to be guided by his Truth.

F. Y. T.