Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 4, 1956

From "What Then" To The Ridiculous

Harvey Pearson

Were it not for the fact that Brother Tant believes firmly in the policy of the right of both sides to be heard, this article would not be in this issue of the Gospel Guardian.

In the July 19, 1956 issue of this paper there appeared in the editorial section an article by Peter Wilson, with the heading, "IF THEY ARE EXPEDIENT, WHAT THEN?" Brother Tant says that the article "strikes at the very heart of current controversies." If I understand this statement, Brother Tant means that some are willing to divide the church over what they believe to be "expedients." Thus the purpose of the article and Brother Tant's plea, is for the church to lay aside those "human methods and means" which might offend sincere brethren, in order to have unity. My question is this: "Wouldn't such a philosophy force us to the ridiculous?" Allow me to give one quotation from Brother Tant concerning this article, and then one paragraph from Brother Wilson's article. Then we shall proceed to what would seem to be the logical outcome of such a course.

"The highest sanction that anybody has ever claimed for present-day promotions such as Herald of Truth, institutional orphanages, church contributions to the colleges, etc., has been that these things are 'expedients,' that is, they are PERMISSIBLE." (Editor's note.)

"The ominous clouds of division that have gathered on the brotherhood horizon have been minimized and tossed off by saying: 'they are just arguments over methods and means.' Brethren, are you aware of the implications of that admission? Are these human methods and means more dear to your heart than the blood bought institution of our Lord? Will you accept alienation from those with whom you have fought side by side for the faith of the gospel by imposing your methods and your means upon sincere brethren who believe such methods are wrong? If there are 'methods and means' agreeable to all and upon which we can unite, does not the law of love demand that you forget that which you conceive to be your 'liberty' for the sake of the peace and harmony of the Lord's church?"

Should this policy be followed, it is my conviction that disaster would result. You can find sincere brethren, opposed to almost anything. Notice:

1. "The highest sanction that anybody has ever claimed for INDIVIDUAL COMMUNION CUPS has been that they are 'expedients,' that is, they are PERMISSIBLE."

Sincere brethren are opposed to this method or means of communing. We COULD use one container. Therefore, in harmony with this philosophy, we ought to unite with our brethren who oppose individual containers.

2. "The highest sanction that anybody has ever claimed for BAPTISTRIES has been that they are 'expedients,' that is, they are PERMISSIBLE."

Sincere brethren can be found who oppose baptistries. Brother Wilson quoted Brother Moses E. Lard. Using Brother Wilson's introduction of Brother Lard, we too shall quote this grand soldier of the cross. "The words of Moses E. Lard are as needed today as they were almost 100 years ago when he said:" (Brother Wilson's introduction) "Dr. Tidymus has also called on me to insist that my house will be utterly incomplete without a baptistry. I agreed with the Doctor, and added that, besides, I could make a baptistry a source of revenue to the church by using it as a pond in which to breed fishes for Jews, and frogs for Frenchmen. This he took in high dudgeon and left muttering something about ill-breeding or the like." (Moses E. Lard, "My Church" in New Testament Christianity, Vol. III, Z. T. Sweeney.)

There are brethren today opposed to baptistries. Why offend their conscience by taking a part of the money which they contribute to build and maintain these baptistries. It is right to use "running water" in a field.

I've had experience with sincere brethren who oppose the use of radio, who oppose a preacher playing basket ball, who oppose Christians going to any kind of athletic event, who oppose Christians voting, etc. How far would this kind of policy take us, if we begin to drop everything that some Christian sincerely believes to be wrong?