Vol. 1 - No. 7
There Delay Has Been Too Long
by Robert L. McDonald
We have noticed the past few years the tremendous fear of some of the "middle‑of‑the‑road" brethren of those now being identified (by them) as "liberal." I have personally talked with some who show a grave concern with those who have embraced the "Crossroads philosophy" and making overtures to the sectarians for a fellowship with them. We are hearing more and more of some speaking to Christian Churches and participating in their "unity forums." We should not be surprised when any of these with liberal attitudes toward the Word of God do such things.
I recall during the mid‑50's, when so many debates were being conducted over the issues of institutionalism, that warnings were falling on deaf ears. Cecil Douthitt warned during the South Houston debate that the position (the sponsoring church) advanced by Tom Warren would eventully lead to Rome. During the Jersey Village discussion (1957) Roy Deaver took the position that Churches of Christ could scripturally send contributions to a hospital set up in organization like Boles Home. Since that day, there have been far more than hospitals set up as a burden to Churches of Christ. The door of apostasy was left ajar by these two preachers who are now trying to warn others of dangers and by their refusal to take a stand for truth, as well as so many others, every sort of innovation has entered churches all across this land.
Look at what is happening to churches! Calvinistic philosophy has been a problem in some quarters resulting in churches being swept away from the faith of the gospel. Churches have built and supported so many different human institutions, such as homes for unwed mothers, homes for children, colleges, et al. Then there have been the summer camps. Recreational activities have been pressed to the forefront of importance. Puppet shows and secular movies are frequent. The concept of church government has been lost by the acceptance of the sponsoring church. Some churches of Christ have allowed the instrument of music to be used in the worship. Others have embraced sectarianism with its tongue speaking, spontaneous singing, hand‑holding during prayers, claims of the direct operation of the holy spirit and other expressions of pentecostalism. And the end is not in sight.
With all of these symptoms of a terrible spiritual disease, is there any wonder that brethren, who have drifted along with the tide of digression, begin to raise a voice of concern and proclaim, "We have gone far enough!" But this has been the plea of brethren who have demanded Bible authority for their every action over the past thirty years during all of those days of controversy over institutionalism.
A word to those "middle‑of‑the‑road" preachers who are pointing an accusing finger at those "liberals" (far to the left) and warning brethren against them. Your words will become as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal when you try to warn your members of the fullscale apostasy soon to overwhelm them. You see, they cannot understand why it is alright to engage in some unscriptural practices, as they have been doing for these many years, and condemn others for their unscriptural practices. Instead of surrendering any, they will embrace all of them. You have waited too long to take a stand for the truth!
The basic problem with which we have been faced for years is not the unscriptural practices as listed above, neither is it worldliness, unscriptural marriage relationships, or centralized control of church resources. All of these are but symptoms of the real disease within the church, that is, the wrong attitude toward the Word of God. One has a proper attitude when his every action is governed by divine authority. The apostle Peter wrote, "if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" (L Peter 4:11) Paul warned the Corinthians, "that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written" (l Corinthians 4:6). Then John penned these sobering words, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God" (2 John 9). Such words of inspiration should cause each of us to think more seriously on any issue to come before us. The day we brush aside divine authority for any action we do, we take the first step of complete apostasy and eventually eternal damnation.