Going Down the Valley-the Ohio Valley-That Is
C. D. Plum
Parkersburg, West Virginia
The beautiful Ohio valley was the place of my birth, residence, schooling, and obedience to the gospel. Naturally, then, it can be expected that here are endearing and enduring memories to me. And add to this the fact that, if we live till March 29, 1967 it will be the place of our Golden Wedding Anniversary. At that time I shall have been married fifty years to one of the best preachers' wives that ever graced the footstool of God. Neither one of us claim full perfection during these fifty years, but through sunshine and shadows, heart with heart, and hand in hand we have lived in happiness, in sorrow, and in tears. We hope to make the other shore together. God help us!
Forty-eight years of my sixty-eight years I have spent in going down, up, in, and around the Ohio valley in preaching the gospel of Christ. The $12.00 1 received for my first gospel meeting effort, even though near $5.00 of this went for train fare, did not discourage me.
From Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Portsmouth, Ohio I roamed and preached, traveling horseback, sled, wagon, buggy, bus, car, and train. I have even walked through rain and snow for miles to keep preaching appointments when brethren forgot to meet the train, each one thinking that "George" was going to meet the preacher. The creeks I could not jump I had to wade. The hills were steep, the valleys deep, the water cold, but my heart was light. The following list of congregations as we go down the Ohio valley is doubtless incomplete because of the frailty of human memory, but here are the most of them: Pittsburgh, Pa.; Chester, W. Va.; East Liverpool, Ohio; Weirton, W. Va.; Steubenville, Ohio; Wellsburg, W. Va.; Martins Ferry, Ohio; Wheeling, W. Va.; McMechen, W. Va.; Shadyside, Ohio; Moundsville, W. Va.; Clarington, Ohio; New Martinsville, W. Va.; Steelton, W. Va.; Duffy, Ohio; Powhatan Point, Ohio; Sardis, Ohio; Paden City, W. Va.; Sisterville, W. Va.: Friendly, W. Va.; New Matamoras, Ohio-, St. Marys, W. Va.; Waverly, W. Va.; Marietta, Ohio; Williamstown, W. Va.; Vienna, W. Va.; Parkersburg, W. Va.; Belpre, Ohio: Reedsville, Ohio; Long Bottom, Ohio; Ravenswood, W. Va.; Mud Run, W. Va.; Point Pleasant, W. Va.; Gallipolis, Ohio; Athalia, Ohio; Huntington, W. Va.; Rome, Ohio: South Point, Ohio; Ironton, Ohio; and Portsmouth, Ohio. Of course these are just the river cities, towns, and villages where congregations are.
In Parkersburg, W. Va. alone there are a number of congregations. And it is about Parkersburg mainly that I wish to direct our thinking, at this time. The heart breaking part about almost all of these congregations is (Parkersburg included) they are a party to the new "departure from the faith" (I Tim. 4:1) favoring and advocating church treasury support for human institutions. The congregations' attitude seems to be: "you organize it and the church treasury will support it." This has not always been true of these congregations, and it is not 1009o' true now, but it is by far mostly so. The trouble makers in the churches in the Ohio Valley (and elsewhere) are those who introduce these unscriptural practices (Gal. 1:6-9). And gospel preachers who fail to raise their voices against such departures are not free or "pure from the blood of all men" (Acts 20:26-27).
The Marrtown Church of Christ, just outside the city limits of Parkersburg, and possibly five miles from the center of Parkersburg, is now standing firmly against these institutional raids upon her. There was a fight to hold the line, and many scars were received in the battle to do so, but thank God that line still holds.
The liberal churches in this area are departing fast from the faith. One church has been in the "rental business." Also this church is supporting and sponsoring a secular "KINDERGARTEN" right in the meetinghouse. Right in this secular school business up to the neck. What is the difference in the church supporting a little secular school? None, absolutely none.
I There are those who are advocating the "kitchen" in the meeting house. It will come. The trend away seldom comes to a halt, especially when one is withdrawn from who scripturally opposed a kitchen in a meeting house.
The Ohio Valley College is by actions at least encouraging the departure from the faith in the Ohio valley. Many of the college people advocate church treasury support for human institutions. Colleges have endorsed the church supported, secular kindergarten, here in Parkersburg. At least once that I know of a contribution was taken up at the regular Wednesday evening church service in Ohio for the college here. What is the difference between this and taking money from the church treasury? None, so far as I can see. On two different occasions a preacher was allowed to preach in favor of church treasury support for colleges during the college meetings. A sort of softening up process. Is it true or false that from the President down in 0. V. C. many privately believe it is right to take money from the church treasury to support colleges? I hear it is true, and I have heard no denials. Having sectarians to be advisers to the President is not conducive for members of the Lord's church to be sound in the faith. For the President's wife and other preachers' wives to accept a "tea" invitation from the wives of the ministers in the Ministerial Association is not conducive to preserving the true faith in this area. For a faculty members of O. V. C. and his wife to entertain at the Presbyterian Church is a poor example for a sound church in the Ohio valley. And for the President of O. V. C. to preach for the Presbyterians encourages the weak in the valley to go farther and farther away from New Testament truth. The following article (news report) appeared in the Parkersburg Sentinel on Nov. 29, 1966:
"Dr. Powell to Speak at First Presbyterian"
"Dr. J. M. Powell, newly installed President of Ohio Valley College, will speak to the first of two Advent Services at First United Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, November 30, at 7 p.m. A covered dish dinner will precede this event at 6:15 in the Fellowship Hall."
The above news report made me sick at heart. What an example to the students of 0. V. C. to compromise. What a-sound-in-the-faith (?) atmosphere this -will encourage among our boys and girls? Is this the so called Christian atmosphere? If it is some changes need to be made fast. Twenty-five or less years ago such as this would have caused my preaching brethren in the Ohio valley to have unitedly raised to heaven a protest as one man. With words and ink we would have used pulpit and paper to denounce such. Where are my dear fighting preaching brethren of the past: Dennis, Butterfield, Taylor, etc.? The Lord needs you to do battle as, in days of yore. If you don't it could well be that the next twenty-five years you cannot find a recognizable church of Christ in the valley. How will you like to stand in the judgment on that?
We are not going to surrender, not as long as we live. There needs to be a true conservative church in Parkersburg. Marrtown is just outside the city limits. If the members in Parkersburg who see this want to go to heaven bad enough, and want to meet loyal and true soldiers of the Lord who have gone on before, bad enough, and if you love the Lord well enough, and if you wish to suffer some persecution for Jesus sake we can have a true church in Parkersburg. We will worship like the New Testament says, we will work like the New Testament says, and the church treasury will not be connected with any human organization at all. In fact it will be just like the true church used to be in Parkersburg when I was a young man and preacher. Don't be deceived in thinking I am looking for a job of regular preaching here. I am not so looking. I am concerned only in the fact that if the Lord has a remnant here I want him to know I am willing to try to gather it together. If you are interested and if you know anyone who is interested in such a move I'd be glad to hear from you. I live in Parkersburg, W. Va.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XI: 5, pp. 16-17