By L. A. Stauffer
One of the foundation stones in the Garrett-Ketcherside theory of fellowship can accurately be called “agnosticism.” The word is from the Greek language and basically means “unknowing,” “unknown” or “not to know.” The classical use of the word describes folks who avow that one cannot know whether God exists. Believers say “God exists” and atheists say “God does not exist.” Agnostics occupy a middle ground and argue-we cannot know.
This spirit is prominent now among many modern-day “restorationists”(?) who in effect say we cannot know the truth. It is the attitude that where we have division, one must conclude that God has not been specifically clear on the subject. Should we, for example, use mechanical instruments of music in worship? Should we have an extra-congregational apparatus through which churches can cooperatively work? Should churches build kitchens, gymnasiums, etc. as facilities available for the sponsoring of social and recreational activities? Division has existed over all these matters, therefore the Bible is not clear and “we cannot know.” So say the agnostics.
What is apparent by now is that agnostics are always on the run. They can never have any convictions. They cannot settle down and take a stand. For a while these “restorationists” were settled on baptism as immersion. The indications at this time are that some among them are loosening the stakes, preparing to move their tent over into the broad circle of “faith is the important thing.” But, “faith in what?” is the next question. Jesus as God’s Son who was raised bodily from the tomb? Can one be sure of that? “Hmm,” they must say, scratching their heads. “That does pose a problem.”
After all, many “Disciples of Christ,” who are included in the Garrett-Ketcherside fellowship, do not accept the bodily resurrection of Jesus. What the agnostics must logically do is keep running. If one cannot be sure of the resurrection, then accept faith merely in Jesus’ person-his love and goodness. But can one be certain about his love and goo . . . , etc. ad nauseam.
“Christian agnostics,” we have found, are difficult people to answer. At first it seems rather simple to point out to them that Paul said when we read what inspired men wrote we can understand the revelation of Christ (Ephesians 3: 15). The agnostics, however, reply: “How do you know that is what Paul meant? Are you sure?” “Read it!” we would say, probably getting a little huffy by this time. “Whereby,” Paul said, “when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ.” “That is what is says all right,” the agnostics would likely admit. “But everyone may not agree on what Paul meant. We just cannot be sure.” So goes the agnostic spirit. On and on they run, finding no resting place. After all, according they stop running and stand for something, become a sect with a creed.
It is really pathetic, brethren.
Truth Magazine XXI: 5, pp. 70-71
February 3, 1977