Since today is Veterans Day, I thought it would be appropriate to allow a few “Soldiers of the Cross” to speak once again. They are like righteous Abel, “who being dead, still speaks” (Hebrews 11:4). Though they have passed from this earthly scene, it is to our benefit if we will listen to them. It is not necessary to agree with everything they did or said, but their words of wisdom merit our attention. The language they used may be a little different from what we are using, but I think we can understand what they were saying.
“That this society formed for the sole purpose of promoting simple evangelical Christianity, shall, to the utmost of his power, countenance and support such ministers, and such only, as exhibit a manifest conformity to the Original Standard, in conversation and doctrine, in zeal and diligence; only such as reduce to practice the simple original form of Christianity, expressly exhibited upon the sacred page, without attempting to inculcate anything of human authority, of private opinion, or inventions of men, as having any place in the constitution, faith, or worship of the Christian church, or anything as a matter of Christian faith or duty for which there cannot be produced a ‘thus saith the Lord,’ either in express terms or approved precedent.” (Campbell, italics in original).
“It is not concerning things that are commanded or approved in the Bible that controversy and divisions exist. On these believers in the Bible are agreed. If Christians will just confine their faith and practice to the things written, approved and required in the Bible, they will not require no other efforts at union; they cannot separate. The only cure for division is to add nothing to the things revealed and approved in the Bible. The Bible is at once the guide and limit of the faith and actions of the Christian.” (Lipscomb, 26-262).
“Association of thought has much to do in shaping our lives. It takes association of thought to make the communion of the body and blood of the Lord, real and spiritual in its nature. Association of thought in baptism makes the act valid. It depends much on what the candidate is thinking as to whether his being dipped in water is real scriptural baptism. The very motive in offering prayer may have much to do in determining its genuineness or its vanity. It will depend much as to what our brethren are thinking about now, as to whether we shall have use for the meeting house in the next generation. When the house is packed night after night in a protracted meeting and only a very small fraction meet in the prayer or midweek meeting, it is not a good sign of future prosperity of the cause. How to awaken this general and continued interest is a problem. If people do not associate their thought with the work of the church in the middle of the week as well as on ‘SUNDAY’ they are not likely to attend the prayer meeting.” (Hutson, 2).
“Any effort to secure apparent unity in sentiment and organization apart from the doctrine of Christ is wholly unworthy of the endorsement of any one who professes to acknowledge the sovereignty of our Lord and Savior. Neither the unity for which he so fervently prayed, nor the organization which meets his approval, nor the Spirit of his life, can be obtained by rejecting the doctrine of Christ. The Spirit and life of the Christ cannot be manifest in the individual or the organization of individuals unless there first be the doctrine of Christ. All talk therefore about accomplishing a union in spirit and organization without appealing to all to obey the Gospel of Christ, is a cheat, a fraud, a deception, a device of Satan to deceive the unwary. It is a conglomerate farcical union for the purpose, chiefly, to bring the Church of Christ into a compromising position and thus break the force of the distinctive Gospel which she preaches, or to make her so odious in the sight of all denominations for not uniting in the Movement that all will shun her. In seeking a basis of union and inventing ways to bring about a unity, one class of official Christians and their faith and practice are almost always left out of the consideration. We are accused of ‘wanting everybody to come to us’ to bring about Bible unity; but while that is an error for which there is little excuse, we confess to pleading with all people to become one in faith and practice with the apostles and first Christians. It is very important that we all be in fellowship with the apostles if we wish to be in fellowship with God and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another that the blood of Christ may cleanse us from all our sins. Fellowship with one another may secure peace among us and yet at the same time we would not be in the fellowship of God and Christ. Unity in error is not what Jesus so fervently and earnestly prayed for. To bring about the kind of unity heaven desires, we must set up before us as a model someone or more who in faith and practice were or are approved of God. Shortsightedness or the inability to ‘see afar off, but only the things that are near,’ may lead to a failure to see the proper model and will lead to ‘measuring ourselves by ourselves, and comparing ourselves with ourselves,’ which is not recommended as a wise thing to do. The proper model is pointed out to us: ‘That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld concerning the Word life, that which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you also, that ye also may have fellowship with us, yea, and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ’ – 1 John 1:1-3).” (Moore, 4, italics in original).
Campbell, Thomas. Declaration and Address. St.Louis: The Mission Messenger.
Hutson, Thad. “Considerations” Christian Leader (October 1, 1935): 2.
Lipscomb, David. Salvation from Sin. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1913.
Moore, Ira C. “More About the ‘Interchurch World Movement” Christian Leader (March 23, 1920):4.