"I Think the Time Is Near"

Earl Robertson
Moundsville, W. VA.

Every day's mail to my desk gives emphasis to the fact that a total apostasy among the liberal-minded and social-gospel brethren is imminent. No longer do their liberal thinking produce only Orphan Homes to be supported by the church, and an activation of the church universal through such efforts as the Herald of Truth; but, day by day their fruit is teem seen in countless other things.

The saddest thing about it all is that s many of these brethren never dreamed the movements would carry them this far awe from God and His word. Many, no doubt, are gone to walk with the Master no more l Some went away with the Orphan Home Society thinking it was all right and that the l would not go further! This is one of Satan' l oldest tricks. One doesn't leave the word f God just a little--and go no further.

Robert P. Cooper in the April 15, 1965 issue of the Bible Herald, page 5, wrote on "We Are Drifting." He said, "Gospel preachers must constantly be on guard against digression and apostasy. It should be stopped in its first stages. Many times after it has gone unchecked for years it is well nigh impossible to stop it." He was speaking about the fact that there is no New Testament authority for the church to have choirs, quartets, etc., yet, he shows that churches ha the colleges and/or Orphan homes to "p on a program in the church building" with their choirs. He showed by such practice t organ got into the worship over one hundred years ago. Brother Cooper further stated, "Brethren, let us be fair and honest about the matter. If it is proper and right to have choirs and quartets, let us use them in our services and quit criticizing the denominations for having them. It seems to me to b somewhat hypocritical to condemn the sectarians for having choirs and special singe when we have them 'just before the service starts' or 'just after the service ends."'

Now the editor, Charles J. Aebi, took exceptions to this article. He called what Cooper wrote "opinions" and said they were not necessarily his. And he asked those who disagree with Cooper's article to write to the editor! Why did not Aebi set forth in that same issue just what was wrong in the article by Brother Cooper? Did he feel it more politically safe to first feel the brotherhood's pulse, by asking that they write to him if they disagree with Cooper??

Brother Aebi is so guiding the Herald that it is a tool for the liberals. And I think that everybody in the Valley who knows New Testament teaching knows this to be true. The very principles, which led to the founding of the Christian Church, are carried over and over again with issue after issue of the Bible Herald. They recognize they can write things now that they could not a few years ago, and the "time is Near" when things which now cannot be spoken "out loud" shall be spoken from the house tops.

In the Weekly News Bulletin of the Riverside church in Wichita' Kansas for May 2, 1965, Brother Robert Meyers, the preacher and former teacher at Harding College, inserts a portion of a letter he received from a teacher of one of "our Christian Colleges," which says:

"Because I teach at I must request that you keep my name and the information of this paragraph anonymous. I think the time is near when I can write such things without fear of reprisals but for the 'present distress' must seem tacit, even if I am not taciturn."'

So there is a "present distress" which is created by such articles as the one by Brother Cooper.

I give Brother Cooper credit for writing what he thinks. But with the pressure Aebi is attempting to create, how long will brethren in the Bible Herald continue to be heard on matters of digression? Aebi could have said in the above-mentioned issue of the Herald what he believes the truth is on these matters, but he chose to first find out what the readers think!

Brothers Meyers responded to the teacher's note by saying: "Thank you sir! We understand why it is not wise to state your name in a totalitarian society from which you dissent. Like you we hope that the time is not far distant when the need for such secrecy will seem a ridiculous remnant from the remote past." There you have it, brethren, in cold hard facts. The day is coming when many things, which in the past have not been talked about in the open, shall be spoken -and who shall dare stand in the way? What shall the fence-straddlers (preachers and churches) do when the time "which now is near" becomes a reality -- when preachers and others begin to say out loud what they think?? In the language of Brother Cooper, it will be almost "impossible to stop it." We have a generation of men who are afraid-- afraid to lift up their voice in protest to the digressive trends. Preachers blush when asked what they believe on church support of institutionalism; they cavil and dodge the question instead of giving a forthright answer. But . . . remember, the time is near!

But, we ask: "The time is near when we can say what?" They are not talking about:

(1) Church support of Orphan Societies.

(2) Church support of Christian Colleges.

(3) The Colleges presenting programs to the churches, for which they are paid.

(4) Sponsoring church arrangement that involves many churches functioning thru the treasury of one church (and there is nothing like it in the New Testament).

(5) The church going into the recreation business, having its own ball clubs, etc.

(6) The church building and maintaining homes for unwed mothers.

All of these things are talked about freely. One preacher here in the Ohio Valley recently wrote in the bulletin of the church where he is preaching, under the heading "Reaching Out." He wrote of the church there: "It has reached out to Bluefield and Princeton. It has reached to Abilene and the Herald of Truth. It has reached to Quinlan and the Tipton Orphan Home. It has reached to Lebanon -- and, It is reaching to Parkersburg and the Ohio Valley College." You see these things are talked about. Now what is it that cannot be spoken just now?

This is true concerning churches just as it is with some preachers. The Hillview Faction in Moundsville which attempted to vote out the organization of this congregation by the majority vote system (and was withdrawn from for such action), has written several letters to churches of Christ begging them to loan them $30,000.0(1 so they can build them a meeting house; Now, think of it--two hundred people and cannot build their own meeting place. Some of the brethren who received a copy of their letter sent it to me. And some of the brethren who received a copy of the letter written by the faction wrote to them asking them where they stand on such matters as is mentioned above. The Hillview faction chose to be meek and quiet and "observed the passover!" I wonder why they would seek to put the churches of Christ into the loaning business, and make no scruples about; but will not answer the questions asked them by the churches they asked to loan them money?

Has the day really gone from us wherein we can give Bible authority for all that we do religiously--and that without fear? Do we have to wait and see which way the wind is blowing before we can give an answer? Let us pray that the day will come that churches and gospel preachers will have the love and conviction for truth that the apostles had (Acts 4:19, 29; 5:29). Truth has nothing to fear--the more it is rubbed, the brighter it shines.

Truth Magazine IX: 10, pp. 4-6
July 1965