Hamburgers and Missionary Societies

Leslie Diestelkamp
Rochelle, Illinois

It is common knowledge among Christians that most of the religious world has abandoned the Bible as a valid authority for religious action today. Examples of such action by leaders of the historic denominations are too numerous to mention here. A very recent illustration of this is the declaration of Bishop Thomas of Des Moines, Iowa at the United Methodist Convocation On Worship. He declared that hamburgers and soft drinks are acceptable for use in the communion. All of this is excused in order to provide that which will "have meaning in the modern world." And of course this is just another way for Bishop Thomas to say that this modern world needs- something more than the Bible as a directive for our spiritual service in the 20th century.

But this same, identical view is held today by many who claim to be only Christians and who preach where the signboard still says, "Church of Christ."

Recently one Chicago preacher told me of his experience. He heard a gospel sermon in which he said "every point was followed by verse, verse, verse." And he was literally sick of it! In fact, he said that when he left the service he felt like going out and joining a Roman Catholic Church! Now he did not try to prove the lesson false, nor did he even say it was poorly delivered. He just objected strongly to the verse, verse, verse, use of scripture as proof.

The same preacher told me frankly that every time he hears me he wants to go out and start a Missionary Society! Now he doesn't mean that my lessons make him burn up with zeal to save the lost, but rather that my emphasis of the absolute, infallible, unchangeable authority of the New Testament makes him revolt.

Another Chicago resident who claims to at least have been in the Lord's church, declared to me that there is no absolute criterion in moral matters. Even adultery, he said, cannot be declared sinful without "knowing all the facts" (the circumstances, motives, etc.).

These are unpleasant stories of the gradual but constantly increasing trend away from a scriptural emphasis. It is time that every serious child of God stands firmly in defense of Bible authority. And we must make this defense in the Body of Christ against those who arise from among ourselves to destroy the Faith. Abandonment of the Bible by the world is bad, but such desertion by God's own people can be fatal to the church in this generation.

I cannot speak for others, but I do plead with all brethren who read this: choose today! Will you follow the ancient and infallible written Word or the sophisticated, human wisdom of uninspired preachers who hearts are filled with bitterness against anything that seems old-fashioned and whose minds are burdened mostly with "situation ethics" and current theology? We have no more authority for a "Missionary Society" than for hamburger on the Lord's Table! But if some Methodists eat meat in their communion service that won't destroy the body of Christ of which they are not a part anyway. But if Christians accept the principle of Bible abandonment (such as that which is involved in the Missionary Society, Herald of Truth arrangement, human standards in moral matters, etc.), then the duty of every faithful man and woman is clear: (1) We must stand up and be counted for truth (Eph. 6:14); (2) We must "contend earnestly for the faith" (Jude 3); (3) We must "fight the good fight of faith" (1 Tim. 6:12); and (4) We must pray that the pure Word would have free course even in the hearts of all brethren (2 Thes. 3:1).

August 1969