Pages from the Past

David Lipscomb

Some of our brethren are very fearful of discussion of questions that continually arise among brethren. I'hey seem to think the time will come when there will be no difference of sentiment, no discord or jars, no need for the investigation of subjects connected with the interests of our Master's Kingdom. They seem to think if there are differences of sentiment they had better not be discussed. It makes a bad impression upon the world. Alas, that the church does not learn that the world can never be cheated or fooled into the profession of Christianity. Do you wish to make the impresson that there are no differences, when differences do exist? 'I'hat would be to prepetrate a deception upon the public, to act a falsehood. No church can afford to do this. But why anxious to make such an impression that we are all perfect in knowledge and character? If not, diversities and differences are to be expected. The pretension to extraordinary perfection, in conduct and attainment, has given the character of hypocrisy to the church and to the ministry, and the claiming of exemption from investigation for its tenets and dogmas of faith, has done more to bring the profession of Christianity into contempt than all other causes combined. Christ did not avoid investigation and discussion. The apostles did not avoid them, nor attempt to conceal the differences that arose among them. Wonder if those cautious brethren would not have been outraged, had they lived in the days of the Apostles, at the discussions and dissentions that arose on the subject of circumcising the Gentile converts? Don't they think it very imprudent of Luke to have published it to the World, and to have retailed that difference-that difficultv between Paul and Barnabas, was scandalous? Paul was a very reckless fellow, or he would never have let the world know of that difference between himself and Peter, the two chief Apostles. Ah! brethren, their object was different from ours. Their object was not to wheedle human nature into an approval of their course, not to make the impression that the road to Heaven was a smooth paved pathway, without difficulties to be met and manfully surmounted. But their object was to subject nature to the inexorable law of Jehovah. They endeavored to make the impression that mortal men must come to Christ in spite of difficulties, and they must surmount obstacles. Their object was not to attain an indolent, passive quiet in the church, but through continual and earnest striving to bring that church up to the standard of God's law. The water whose quiet is never disturbed, becomes a fetid, stagnant pond, breeding corruption and disease in its stagnation. 'I'he ocean by its ceaseless commotion, throws the froth, the foam, and putrid matter to the surface, but thereby preserves its deep waters pure. The church of Rome tolerates no discussion, evolves from its bosom no heresies or false teachings, they are left within to work their baleful influences. 'I'he result is, her mighty carcass has ever been a hold of crime and putrifyingy corruption. So it must be with every church that stifles discussion within its bosom. And yet there is a manner of conducting discussion, a proper spirit in which it must be done, in order that the greatest good may be thereby effected. Personalities, bitterness of feeleing, and unkind innundoes are unworthy of Christian men, and always harm the cause they are used to sustain. Bitterness is not force nor is personal denunciation argument. We hope our scribes will remember these things, and like David of old, forget all personal insults and indignities in their holy indignation at insulted and injured truth, and in the name of Christ, with Christ's spirit, battle manfully for the truth as it is in Christ the Lord.

Truth Magazine II:9, p. 15
June 1958