Vol.IV No.III Pg.1
May 1967

Where Is Your Influence?

Robert F. Turner

A short time back bro. Ferrel Jenkins visited with an aged disciple, bro. Henry S. Ficklin, who studied at the feet of J.W. McGarvey years ago. We let bro. Jenkins tell the story.

"In the 19th century when the church was divided over the use of instrumental music and the missionary society, McGarvey took what might be described as a "middle-of-the-road" position. He opposed the use of the instrument but favored the society. Even though he opposed the organ in worship and moved his membership when the Broadway church, Lexington, Ky., adopted the organ by majority vote, he continued to fraternize with those who used it. What about his students whom he taught that the instrument in worship was wrong? Did they follow his scriptural advice? No! Bro. Ficklin commented that McGarvey's influence went with his fellowship and not with his teaching."

In 1950 bro. J.P. Sewell, in a Harding College lecture, recalled the following advice, given to him by bro. McGarvey away back in 1902. It is advice preachers today might ponder. "You are on the right road, and whatever you do, don't let anybody persuade you that you can successfully combat error by fellowshipping it and going along with it. I have tried it. I believed at the start that was the only way to do it. I've never held membership in a congregation that uses instrumental music. I have, however, accepted invitations to preach without distinction between churches that used it and churches that didn't. I've gone along with their papers and magazines and things of that sort. During all these years I have taught the truth as the NT teaches it to every young preacher who has passes through the College of the Bible. Yet, I do not know of more than six of those men who are preaching the truth today. It won't work"

Our influence goes with what we do rather than with what we say. Ponder this well, you preachers, elders, and members who give your presence, support, and silent acquiescence to practices you know to be without divine authority. You hope to teach them? Do you know more about teaching than J.W. McGarvey and the Lord?? (Matt. 12:30)