By Greg Gwin
While attending the recent Nashville Meeting, many of us were continually amazed by statements made by our institutional brethren. The views they expressed and the positions they defended were simply incredible. The meeting served as a shocking demonstration of the true differences that exist between us. For years we have said that these brethren lack respect for Bible authority. It can now be said that such an explanation is a considerable understatement. It is obvious at this point that these brethren not only lack respect for Bible authority, but in many cases there is an obvious lack of basic comprehension of the whole subject of Bible authority. We were even treated to attacks against the text and canon of the Scriptures. Others will, no doubt, have much to say and write about these important matters. But, I have something else in mind.
During the meeting it was not difficult to see the lines of division between the two opposing factions. The rift is deep and wide – and apparently growing. Even a casual observer can detect these clear differences. But, it has not always been so clear.
In the early years of this controversy the issues were not so easily defined. The first steps in this digression were subtle and calculated. Our brethren were not so blatant in their statements; not so bold in their attacks; not so obvious in their errors. Many brethren, in fact, most brethren could not see the dangers associated with the course that these innovators were following. Sadly, many were led into sin.
Yet, there were those who could see where this all would lead. They were careful students of the word, and capable in wielding the sword of the Spirit. They could grasp the biblical principles at stake, and they could foresee the errors and their consequences. And so, they spoke, and wrote, and warned – even when doing so brought reproach and persecution and alienation upon themselves. At this point they would be well justified in proclaiming a loud, “We told you so!”
Some of the names of these defenders of the faith are well known. Some of the famous battlefields are well remembered. Far more of the names and places have all but faded from memory. But we are indebted to them all. Without their keen perception of these matters we might all have been swept away by the tide of these compounding errors. There are many in the Lord’s church today, even in conservative congregations, that were not present to observe when these battles were being fought. Yet, in a very significant way, our present stand for truth is founded on the work those men did years ago. It is not too late to say, “Thank you!”
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 2, p. 36
January 19, 1989