Pollution in the Valley
The Ohio Valley is still one of the most beautiful places on God's good earth. It is rather frightening when one thinks of all that man has done to mar its beauty. The river is so polluted that the fish are too poison to eat. The plants have belched chemicals and dust into the air until it is a common sight in some places to see dead trees on the hills, even during the growing season.
These things are somewhat frightening because that which benefits mankind so much is being destroyed. However, the physical pollution of the valley is not the pollution that is heaviest on my thoughts. (This was written some time ago while I lived at Paden City in the Ohio Valley.) The spiritual pollution is the greatest tragedy. Souls, not the physical body, are the most valuable objects of poisoning.
The Ohio Valley, and the area nearby, is thickly speckled with buildings and signs which in some way indicate the church of Christ meets there. Many of these churches are polluted with the modern theories of man. As there are causes behind the physical pollution, mainly plants, cities and people; there are also causes behind the spiritual pollution, namely elders, preachers and publications.
One paper or publication has contributed greatly to this sad circumstance. Bible Herald now speaks of the "sponsoring church" as if it were authorized in the Bible. Its editor has upheld the church support of benevolent and evangelistic organizations. Brother Inman, the editor, can write excellent articles on Bible authority, but contradicts his own articles in practice and publication.
Preachers must bear a great amount of the blame. The Valley has many churches that are not large enough to support a located preacher, and therefore depend on the appointment preachers, and those who hold their meetings, for their spiritual diet. Let it be understood that I do not condone the congregational dependence to being spoon-fed; nevertheless that is the situation in all too many places. Many of the older preachers have ignored the issues of institutionalism, and thereby allowed younger preachers the opportunity to come in and subvert whole churches. Some of these older Valley preachers would not want to he labeled "liberal," but that is the side of the fence on which their influence lies. Age is mentioned because of the influence of a few, in this category who are involved. If more of them had stood as C.D. Plum has stood, the spiritual pollution would have been cut to a trickle.
There are a few appointment preachers that I do not understand. They will go out and preach the truth "in principle" even on the issues of institutionalism, and sometimes they will make the application publicly. These men will teach the truth privately without hesitation. What is the problem with these men? When not preaching they worship with, give aid and comfort to, and bid Godspeed to a "liberal" church. Their influence for truth, as far as I can tell, is nil where they are well known.
Elders must answer for their great part in the trend toward digression (denominationalism). These are the men who watch for the souls of saints. Because of a lack of study, devotion to their work and backbone, they have let the wolves in. Some of the wolves (polluters) have gone even beyond the institutional (and no-pattern) doctrines. The teaching that one can partake of the Lord's Supper anytime is being sounded. One preacher has said God could have taken the sperm from Joseph and placed it in Mary. It may be that this bolder and open approach to what these polluters really believe will have its good effects. Those who are sincere may see where the trends they have been following will lead, and come out from among them. I pray they will come out of this spiritual pollution before it is too late. The elders and every sincere Christian should have known enough to stop much of this while it was in the bud.
I wonder when brother Inman and other preachers who dropped the flood gap to begin with are going to really say something about these Q believe some call them modernist) ideas. They are not willing to go that far yet, but it is doubtful that they will come back to the truth either.
When I Pet. 4: 11 is followed there is no spiritual pollution. The physical pollution will have to be controlled by man-made remedies.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 22, pp. 11-12