Fellowship with the Liberals

Bill Cavender
Port Arthur, Texas

I probably don't keep up with brotherhood events as much as some preachers. I learned a long time ago that one can waste a lot of time trying to find out and listen to all the tales and events that travel the grapevine regarding churches, preachers and brethren in general. And I read brotherhood papers less now and my Bible more. I found out that is more profitable. And I don't circulate among the churches as much as some do. I preach a few meetings each year and do my work here at home. I try to attend to my own business and work as I have enough to keep me occupied. However, sometimes I get accused otherwise I must admit.

Anyway, from what little I do hear, and from what little I do read of brotherhood affairs, and what little I pick up from traveling among the churches and brethren, I am hearing things and reading things that more and more disturb me. I have reference to the seemingly-becoming-more popular idea of faithful brethren and churches fellowshipping the liberals who have gone out from us because they were not of us.

All of my preaching life (22 years) has been spent in a life and death struggle with error, both within and without the church. In my generation I have seen churches divided, friends and brethren alienated; hatred and ill-will replace brotherly love, and brethren turn to the weak and beggarly elements of humanism, popularity, majority rule, and human pride rather than to the authority of Christ and his word for all that is taught and practiced in religious matters. I have seen in 22 years many brethren and churches learn to love men anti their praises and their ideas more than God. I have seen brethren willing to divide churches over so-called orphan homes, unwed mothers homes, Herald of Truth, colleges, church kitchens, fellowship with denominations and all kinds of area-wide, state-wide and nation-wide meetings. These human traditions mean more to their advocates than does the unity of brethren, brotherly love, and all of us being united together under Jesus Christ, speaking as one man in the gospel and standing together against every foe. Instead of fighting error without, we have had to spend (our) time fighting error within and trying to save a remnant.

It seems to be that some evidently have grown weary in the fight, (and others who have never really been in the fight because they are too young in the work to have gone through the bitter years,) and they are deciding that NOW we would do better if we would play down our differences, rather emphasize our points of agreement, throw the mantle of charity (?) over errors, announce the meetings of the liberals, call upon them for prayer when they come around and honor us with their presence, and cease calling them what they are {i.e. "liberals"), Several meetings among some liberal and "anti" preachers took place. They were productive of no good. All they did was to cause trouble in some faithful churches and questionings among faithful brethren. The liberals couldn't care less. Some preachers have lost their influence for good, and in some cities the cause of Christ has been hurt by this attitude of compromise. One editor of what used to be a good paper and carried on a militant fight against error now embraces this idea of magnifying our agreements, minimizing our differences and winning the fight for truth that way. And some young preachers are going about the country parroting this theme and calling on the liberals who come around to their services.

If this is the way to save erring brethren and win a battle for righteousness, I have been reading the wrong book. These false ideas of fellowship some so-called conservative brethren are advocating will ruin the cause of Christ for which we have fought so long and so hard. It will divide faithful brethren and churches and alienate us one from another. 2 John 9-11; Galatians 1:6-9; Matthew 15: 1 - 15 and other such passages are still true and brethren need to learn they can't improve on the Lord's way. If we still all preach the gospel without fear or favor, if we will expose error within and without the church, if we wilt speak boldly and plainly, the question and matter of fellowship will take care of itself. Those who love the truth will be of one mind in it. Those who don't love the truth will go out from us as they have always done. And if the truth of God won't hold them, all of the pseudo-platforms and ideas for a false unity that editors, preachers and brethren can concoct will do absolutely no good. Brethren would spend their time far more profitably preaching the gospel and building the cause of Christ and saving souls, rather than spending their time trying to figure out how they can obtain rapport with the liberals--who don't want rapport anyway and who could care less.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: There is an indirect reference in this article to THE ARLINGTON MEETING. If you would like to read an account of the speeches made in that meeting, you may do so NOW. These speeches have been printed in a 408 page book, THE ARLINGTON MEETING, which may be ordered from TRUTH MAGAZINE BOOKSTORE).


December 4, 1969