Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 2, 1956

A Premium On Stubbornness

W. Woodrow Allen, Ventura, California

In the April issue of The Home Journal, published at Wichita, Kansas, Brother Cleon Lyles has an article entitled "It is not Wrong to Change" in which he makes some rather misleading statements about those who are today questioning some of the methods being used by the church to preach the gospel and to care for orphans. I believe that Brother Lyles knows better, but I wonder if he will be willing to admit his false statements.

May I say, first of all, that Brother Lyles does not know me, though I have heard him preach on two different occasions and he did a fine job of preaching the gospel. I appreciate the good work he has done, and is doing, but am sorry that he is unwilling to face the real issues in the present controversy and hides behind half-truths such as he used in this article.

Paragraph one states that the only case one who "changes" has is the "virtue of change." Evidently he believes in placing a premium on "stubbornness," and in so doing condemns many of the pioneers, as well as most gospel preachers, of being unsafe because they have changed so much. He suggests, in paragraph two, that one who changes very much should not teach while changing. So Brethren Campbell, Stone, O'Kelly, and others of Restoration glory should not have done any teaching during the time they were changing. Honestly, Brother Lyles, do you think we have arrived at the place where we can say WE HAVE ALL THE TRUTH? The willingness of men to change, to give up error, restored the church to the world, and that same willingness today will help us to do the will of the Lord more perfectly.

In paragraph three he talks about those who receive training at one of the schools operated by our brethren, but who turn against them and believe "they do a lot of harm to the cause." I wonder how many brethren he can name in this group! He knows that the number is small, but he also knows, I am persuaded, that there is a danger present with us when schools become large and powerful. The schools have helped us in "bringing up our children," but the church is not dependent upon them, or any other man-made organization for its existence.

Paragraph four is another misstatement of what some believe. He says there "is the fellow who believes it was possible for churches to work together without losing their autonomy," but who decides that "churches cannot cooperate." I challenge him to produce one person who believes such a thing. Name and address, please? Is it because Brother Lyles has no scriptural authority for some cooperation practices now popular that he has to misrepresent the position of the opposition?

Paragraph five begins with anther statement calculated to prejudice the reader. He says there is another "who believed for many years in helping orphan children," but who now believes "all the work that has been done through the years has been wrong." The implication here is that any opposition to certain methods in vogue at present is proof that the opposer does not believe in "helping orphan children." Surely you know better, Brother Lyles.

It is a sad day for the church if the time has come when brethren are unwilling to study prayerfully what the Lord's will is in all these matters. And it is even sadder if we have placed a premium on stubbornness and have anathematized those who dare to question long standing practices. God give us open minds to know thy will!