From the Past….

There has been an ever increasing tendency in the past few years to seek a change in the methods that have formerly motivated us in our attitude toward the denominational world. Brethren have contended for a different method of approach, have urged a modified view of the relation we sustain to the world. Particularly is this true with reference to the tactics that should characterize us in discussing the differences between the New Testament church and the denominations. As a result debates with Sectarians have become unpopular, strong preaching is frowned upon, and a generally soft attitude has become the order of the day. In the field of journalism, especially, has the battle waxed warm.  It is urged that argumentation and controversy have no place in a religious journal; that it is detrimental to the Cause to hand copies of our papers containing such to friends not Christians, and that the papers should be purged of all such. It is strange that proponents of this theory do not see that their argument is equally valid against the New Testament, itself. Paul withstood Peter to the face because he was to be blamed; and later told the world about it in his epistle to the churches of Galatia. Paul and Barnabas dissented so sharply over John Mark that they parted company. Evidently, Luke did not feel the need of surpassing this interesting bit of information concerning those men. Many other similar accounts are recorded with great detail in the Book of God. Indeed, we hesitate not to assert that this freedom to investigate and criticize, is the one safeguard against corruption of doctrine and innovation in worship. Only the realization that what we write is subjected to the most minute examination and the severest investigation will keep us from apostasy in matters of doctrine. It is indeed strange that any one who has regard for the Lord and His Word would seek to surpass criticism, or lift his utterances above the level of investigation. The very attempt smacks suspiciously of the papacy.

Denominationalism is the curse and bane of the age. So long as it remains to mislead and deceive the people, our work will not be finished. It is our duty fearlessly to unsheath the Sword of the Spirit, boldly go forth to battle, and plunge it into the very heart of sectarianism, until, mangled and bleeding, it is left to die in its own shame. Let the Lord’s disciples learn that their Master came not to bring peace on the earth, but a sword. The servant is not above his master. Christianity is, in its very nature aggressive, and its friends must never succumb to that maudlin pietism that trucks to the popularity of the world. The great characters of the past who have walked pleasingly before the Lord have been men who were not afraid. Noah stirred up considerable strife before the flood, and Moses created quite a storm in Egypt. Elijah disturbed Israel, and John the Baptist was beheaded for his fearless preaching.

Guy N. Woods

“Christianity in a Changing World,” Abilene Christian College Lectures (1939), pages 56-58.