Voices from the Past - 1
It is never proper to quote men, however holy and informed they may be, as authority in religion. We have however, in the church today, a new generation, many of whom are unfamiliar with the battles waged in the past against digression and the tendencies that developed into it. They appear to be blind to any dangers, and like Galileo of old, "care for none of these things." Some, who by reason of age and experience, ought to know better, appear to be in this class. Some voices from the past are significant, in view of some problems the church faces today. Enthusiasts, hot-heads and the generally forward, are making and putting plans into operation that make it necessary to fight over again the battles of the past. The lessons of the past are forgotten and history repeats itself.
In the Gospel Advocate, 1910, page 364, David Lipscomb had this to say about a situation that today looks very familiar in Texas.
Regarding this, Brother F. B. Srygley commented in the Gospel Advocate June 4, 1931.
As Glenn says to me, I say to you, Brethren "please use reason." Is a thing like that any safer in Lubbock and Brownfield today, than it was in Dallas a generation ago? One preacher writes me: "You may feel that the church will go to ruin and commit suicide if you don't ride herd on it." That sort of thing moves me not at all, except that it demonstrates the very need of what I am trying to say. I'm prepared to receive and read, without batting an eye, all the hysterical, ugly and intemperate letters, some sort of spirit moves some brethren to write. Get it out of your system and look for the next issue of the paper.
Brother Lipscomb said with reference to Brother McCaleb when he went to Japan:
Again he said:
Along the same line E. A. Elam said in the Gospel Advocate of 1897, page 358:
These brethren gave abundant evidence from the scriptures to sustain their positions. These scriptures are still in the New Testament, and we stand with these brethren in maintaining this position. The attitude of the opposition then was that we needed something more effectire, and centralization and digression followed. Is history repeating itself? Enthusiasts and hot-heads wrote the same sort of letters then that they are writing us now. They did not move them, and they will not move us.
Some brethren are so excited, they are casting off their garments, and throwing dust in the air, so to speak. It might help them to cool off, if they began a search for just one example in the New Testament where one church planned an extensive program in some far-away field, and became a clearing-house for funds sent in from churches over a wide area, in their prosecution of that program. When somebody thinks he has found it, we will be prompt in our examination of it. It will take more than the charge that we are opposing. a good work to settle this issue. The digressives wore that one to a frazzle before I was born.
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