Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 19, 1970

Crumbling Convictions

Sewell Hall

Recently Pat Boone, well-known entertainer, has appeared on television in obvious fellowship with popular denominational preachers, including faith healer (?) Oral Roberts. Since Pat has widely stated his claim to membership in the church of Christ, several gospel preachers have been critical of his action. In response to a letter and article by Brother Foy L. Smith, Pat wrote the following letter:

Dear Brother Foy:

I appreciate the concern that prompted your letter and article. I received a lot of reaction, pro and con, since the television appearances. My aim, of course, was to make my own Christian statement and affirm my faith in Jesus before some estimated five million people. I felt this opportunity was too momentous to pass up because of some doctrinal difference I might have with Oral. In addition to this, my father-in-law, the late Red Foley, has been a long time personal friend of Oral's and Oral asked me to come on to tell my feelings about Red and discuss our warm relationship that began with my courtship of his daughter.

I say again, I understand your concern and I share some of it with you, but personally I've quit assuming that I know God's mind so intimately that I can say with assurance what He is or is not pleased with (emphasis mine SH). If you remember, Jesus refused His disciples' request to forbid others who were preaching in His name because the disciples said "they are not of us." I certainly would differ with Oral on some points, but I cannot tell you that God is displeased with him for his beliefs, or with me for being on Oral's show, for the simple reason that I am not God.

It was with the prayerful consent of my elders that I made this appearance and we have all earnestly prayed that God would use this appearance for good. s/ Pat Boone

We publish this letter, not so much because Pat wrote it as for the fact that it contains such a classic statement of current thinking, both in and out of the church.

Many will think Pat's letter commendable. It suggests a spirit of courtesy, sincerity, and above all, humility. But at the same time, we believe it reflects a diminishing faith in God and the Bible, and a total collapse of conviction. Key sentence in the letter is the one we have underlined. Consider some of its consequences:

If we do not know the mind of God, it is either that He has failed to reveal His mind or that we have failed to comprehend the revelation. I Corinthians 2:9-16 clearly states that the mind of God has been revealed in the apostles' teaching. Some, of course, will allow that God's mind has been revealed, but they feel that humility forbids "assuming that I know God's mind." Yet, if God's mind has been revealed to man, it is no lack of humility to assume that we know it — this is His purpose in revealing it. "Wherefore be ye not foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is."(Ephesians 5:17).

If I cannot "say with assurance what He is or is not pleased with," then I can do nothing by faith. I cannot be sure God is pleased with my baptism, with my worship on the first day of the week, with my wearing the name Christian. After all, many good and intelligent people disagree with me on these things and on every other thing I practice religiously. But if I cannot do these things by faith, they become sin. Speaking of eating meat, the Spirit says, "He that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin." Romans 14:23.

If I cannot "say with assurance what He is or is not pleased with," then I cannot speak out with assurance against any practice, moral or religious, in our world today. I cannot preach with assurance against bowing to images, worship of Mary, infant baptism, denominationalism, drunkenness, murder, adultery, or any other practice. To do so would be to assume that I know what God is displeased with and, according to Pat, it would be making myself God.

I am not God. This being so, I "must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient." (II Tim. 2:42) When I attempt to restore the erring, I must do so "in the spirit of meekness, considering" myself lest I also be tempted. (Gal. 6:1) Yet I must teach, and I must restore. I must contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 3) and I must reprove, rebuke, and exhort. (I Tim. 4:2) A failure to do so is not meekness but weakness. It is not humility, but lack of conviction. It will sap my own spiritual energy and as it becomes more common, it will destroy the church.

People were impressed with the preaching of Jesus lor he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes." (Matthew 7:29) God has delivered his oracles into the hands of his disciples today with these instructions: "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority." (Titus 2:15) To do this will be to preach as Jesus preached — with power. But to preach with uncertainty about what God is pleased or displeased with, is to return to the insipid and unsound mouthings of the scribes — an approach which was and is without power to save a lost world. If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3).

108 French Way Athens, Alabama