Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 13, 1955
NUMBER 35, PAGE 1,13

The Yellow Tag Of Quarantine

Cecil B. Douthitt, Brownwood, Texas

Sincere brethren in Christ hold divergent views on many religious questions. A few of these brethren clearly have indicated lately that they do not want to continue to fellowship those who disagree with them on some of the issues that are disturbing the churches.

One suggested in the Gospel Advocate of December 9, that we start pinning the yellow tag of quarantine on one another. Here are his words:

"I trust you will not consider me presumptuous if I suggest that perhaps the writers for the Gospel Advocate might wisely spearhead a movement to quarantine those preachers who today are sowing seeds of discord among the brotherhood and to thus prevent further division."

This statement was given space on the editorial page of the Advocate.

What would be the result, if the writers and friends of the Gospel Advocate did "spearhead a movement to quarantine" one another? The church would split into a dozen warring factions. There would be a five-way split in the Gospel Advocate itself; for its writers hold views that are as opposite as the poles. Here, I shall point out only a few of the factions that would spring up as separate and distinct units:

Faction No. 1.

Great and good men like G. K. Wallace, Flavil Colley and scores of others believe that orphan homes, homes for the aged, and other eleemosynary institutions that receive contributions from church treasuries should be put under the control of an eldership; that those not under an eldership are parallel to a missionary society. They argue that "There is a parallel between an orphans' home that has a board of trustees other than the elders of the church to do the work of the church, and the United Christian Missionary Society." Gayle Oler, G. C. Brewer, Guy Woods and many other writers and friends of the Gospel Advocate believe that G. K. Wallace is in error in this statement. When Oler, Brewer, Woods and others hang the yellow tag of quarantine on all who are contending that church supported charity organizations must be under an eldership, then we will have a fully developed Faction No. 1.

Faction No. 2.

A few of the writers and friends of Advocate are contending that all child-caring facilities that have been made a part of the organizational set-up of a church are neither desirable nor scriptural. Brother Gayle Ole has been swinging some tough blows at Lubbock and Tipton in recent issues of the Boles Home News. Among other things, he hurls this question:

"But why should anyone deem it to be necessary or to be even desirable that any child-caring facility, public or private, be a part of the organizational set-up of the New Testament church when it is obvious that there was no such organizational set-up in the New Testament."

Is Brother Oler a hobby-rider? Is he a "church-buster"? Should he be quarantined? He is shaking his fist at all the good men in Group No. 1, and he has more bitter words in his vocabulary than any gospel preacher I know; if he keeps hurling them, he certainly will disturb Broadway in Lubbock. Does the Advocate quarantiner think it is time now to hang the yellow tag on Gayle, or should we wait till he gets in another punch or two at Lubbock and Tipton?

Of course Brother Oler knows "there was no such organizational set-up in the New Testament" as his church supported "child-caring facility" which is not under an eldership, and yet he thinks his "facility" is necessary, desirable and scriptural.

Just how hot the fight will wax between those who hold the views expressed by G. K. Wallace, and those who hold the views expressed by Gayle Oler, no man knows. But we do know, if they follow the suggestion of the Advocate editorial, and pin yellow tags of quarantine on each other, then the fur will fly.

I do not consider either of these groups to be a faction and I have no intention of participating in a quarantine of either, and I hope that brethren Wallace and Oler do not quarantine each other.

Faction No. 3.

Another faction that would develop, if the Advocate writers "spearhead a movement to quarantine those preachers" whom they call obnoxious creed-makers, would consist of those brethren who think that both Gayle and G. K. are wrong; those brethren who think it is scriptural and right for churches to include child-caring facilities in their "organizational set-up" as in Broadway in Lubbock, and that it is scriptural and right to donate funds from church treasuries to child caring organizations not under an eldership, such as Boles Home.

Some of the Advocate writers are saying some stout words about all the brethren who agree with either G. K. Wallace or Gayle Oler. Guy woods and Cecil Wright say that he who holds to one of these plans and opposes the other has:

"abandoned the role of a believer and assumed that of a legislator. He is presuming to speak where God has not spoken. He is engaged in the business of creed-making. And, his course is no less obnoxious, because his creed is unwritten, or because he is one of the brethren."

Are Guy and Cecil ready to hang the yellow tag of quarantine on G. K. and Gayle? If they do, we cannot expect G. K. and Gayle to do less than hang the same tag on Guy and Cecil, then they all will be quarantined.

Faction No. 4.

A few brethren teach that church donations to Bible colleges are scriptural. Occasionally one in this group gets all wrought up and calls the brethren who disagree with him, "half-baked Sommerites,' "Johnnys come lately," and many other unbrotherly appellations.

If the advice of the Advocate editorial is followed then N. B. Hardeman, G. C. Brewer, Sterl Watson and all who think it is scriptural for churches to give money from their treasuries to Bible colleges must hang the yellow tag of quarantine on James Cope, Cecil Douthitt, L. R Wilson, Rex Turner, E. R. Harper and all who teach that it is unscriptural for churches to contribute to Bible colleges. Then we must hang the quarantine tag on Hardeman, Brewer and all who teach as they do on this question Then we all will be duly tagged, branded, labeled and quarantined, and brethren everywhere can tell at a glance to which faction each belongs.

Time would fail me, if I should tell of the warring factions that would result from a quarantining of brethren who hold different views on centralized oversight, remote control, ecumenical institutions for brotherhood action and a dozen other issues that are with us always.

I do not believe that the groups described above are factions yet; I have set forth merely what I think would result, if we start a disfellowshiping campaign among ourselves.

This business of quarantining one another is a game that more than one can play "at." It might turn out to be a boomerang. The evangelist, or elder, or editor, who undertakes to hang a yellow tag of quarantine on all who do not agree with him, might return home 'with more quarantine tags hanging on his own coat tail than he was able to pin on others.

For example, how many churches would invite E. R. Harper, James Cope or Cecil Douthitt to come among them, if they thought we would try to quarantine every one we met, who did not agree with us that it is unscriptural for churches to give money to Bible colleges? During the past six months, I have had more invitations for meetings, received more letters asking if I would consider working permanently with other churches, and bigger financial offers, than I have ever had during any other six month period in the forty years that I have been trying to preach. These brethren who invited me know just where I stand on everything, and some of them do not agree with me on some things; but I do not think any of them would want me, if I went about advocating a quarantining of brethren on issues that do not justify a severance of fellowship. Some issues do justify it; but these issues do not yet.

Yes, this thing could be a boomerang. I remember reading somewhere of a man named Haman who built a gallows fifty cubits high on which to hang Mordecai. Haman thought that he was so strong and influential that he could treat the other fellow any way he wished, and get away with it. "And Haman recounted unto them the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king." So, with a feeling of absolute security Haman made that gallows. But "they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai." God had a way of making that thing backfire, and Haman himself "got it in the neck."

Somewhere I remember reading of a Pharisee who trusted in himself that he was righteous, "and set all others at nought." But Jesus said that this man and all others like him "shall be humbled." I believe Jesus meant it; I believe his warnings; I believe his promises. The Lord has a way of giving all Hamans and all self righteous people a dose of their own medicine.

There is not a religious paper of any size among us, whose writers agree on everything. And if any editor thinks his paper is so mighty and influential that he can launch a quarantine campaign against all who do not agree with him on the way the churches should do their work, and not produce a multiple split among his own supporters, just let him launch it, and learn the hard way. Haman thought he was mighty, influential and secure. But his neck was no harder for God to break, than the neck of a mouse.

Quarantine or suppression or an iron curtain is not the solution to our problems as they exist at this time; nor are all these things combined the solution. The only right course is the one pursued by the brethren as recorded in Acts 15. They engaged in an open and honorable discussion of the issue that troubled them. Speeches were made by men on both sides. There was "much questioning," and this "much questioning" was not done by one side only. No one was suppressed. When every body had had his say, James made a speech and read Amos 9:11,12, and that determined the matter. The issue was settled by the truth of God's word as it appeared in Amos 9:11,12, and not by quarantine, iron curtain on suppression of brethren who were sincere and wanted to be heard. Why can't we settle our differences the same way? Why can't we meet in honorable and orderly discussion, and settle our differences by the truth of God's word, as our brethren did in Jerusalem nineteen hundred years ago? The truth never suffers in honorable discussion. The truth itself is antidote to all the poisonous error presented in debate. Isn't our history since Pentecost an everlasting monument to that fact?

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah." (Isaiah 1:18.)