Unity Among Brethren

N.B. Hardeman

Now let me go back and say some other things. From the beginning of the nineteenth century, or thereabout, the great Restoration of primitive affairs was, proclaimed throughout our land. It shook this old earth from center to circumference. When those principles were announced clearly, unmistakably, and without modification or apology, the world sat and trembled at the very thought that it had been in error so long regarding God's word. Men from human denominations rushed to accept a gospel restored. Together a happy, brotherhood marched do down the line. It was a solid body. It had one common objective, and every heart beat in perfect unison with the others. But, what happened? That peace and tranquillity was not for long. In 1849, in the city of Cincinnati, there was organized a human society for the making known of the wisdom of God to the world. What was that? A contravening of God's statement that by the church, God's wisdom was to be made known and that according to the eternal purpose, which He proposed in Jesus Christ our Lord. What do you find? That peace among the brotherhood was now disturbed by the organization of a human society. That's it. Then in 1859, up here at Midway, Kentucky, they brought in a little melodeon, wherewith to worship and praise God. And again, division was made to appear. And then further, in 1869, in Olive Street church house in St. Louis, an organ was brought in; and what was the result? An open rupture and a division in the body of Christ. Now, I want to ask, who's responsible for that? And I answer in concert with you all, the man that organizes a thing untaught to the Bible; the man who brought into the worship that which the Bible, does not authorize. Years went by and division appeared in Nashville. It come into this city, at Vine Street, Woodland Street, and other places, and it went throughout the region of Tennessee, and other states, until within the lifetime of some of us, we have seen the body of Christ torn asunder with open rupture, and each one going his separate way. When I oppose these diversive innovations, their proponents say: "Hardeman, don't say anything against it. You'll cause a fuss, Now isn't that ridiculous! You'll cause the fuss, "and you'll divide the body, if you don't keep quiet: " Well, I didn't keep quiet about such things. I contended earnestly for that faith once for all delivered unto the saints, and I declare again tonight that the responsibility for the division that followed rests heavily upon those brethren who introduced into the church these unscriptural things. I am neither afraid nor ashamed to declare such in the presence of any living man. After this unfortunate experience, brethren sought to cleanse the temple of God and once more worship Him as it is written. The church then had rest for several years. But alas! Within the last ten or fifteen years, p),e-millennialism has sprung up, and again, we are going through the same experience as we did with mechanical devices, and human organizations. The proponents of societies were not out open and above board declaring it, but in a secret sinister, clever manner, they went from house to house seeking whom they might devour. Finally, they got possession of the elders and then, with the legal background, they said, "If you don't like it, get out." Now you know that's the story, and I am one preacher who will tell you about it and not go behind the-door to 7 do it. . L know those are facts. They can be attested by brethren all over this land.

This pre-millennial theory is a duplicate, in principle, to the music and- society disturbance. Its apologists admit it neither essential to salvation nor to Christian living, and yet there is that continued agitation and eternal talk about these things. 'this, is not so much; in public but rather from house to house. Pre-millennialists say: The Church of God was "a spiritual contingent" - a mere accident; the kingdom o#: heaven has not yet been established upon this earth; we are not citizens of it; Jesus Christ is-not reigning on David's throne tonight; and he will not be, in fact, until he ,comes back and all Jews are physically gathered to Jerusalem and the old Davidic temple rebuilt. Friends, let me say that sympathy for this theory is expressed by finding fault, by circulating slanderous reports and by sen-, ding anonymous letters over the land. Those responsible for such nefarious doings never come out in the open, but in a cowardly manner and with a pious air, they, too, seek whom they may devour. They cry: "Don't oppose You'll hurt the church. " Brethren, those are digressive tactics to a fare-you-well but I, for one, am not easily intimidated along lines of that kind. I am amenable only to God. I don't have to answer to any synod, conference, association or convention. I propose to announce these matters with an earnest, fervent prayer that we may cease the promulgating of those things that are causing unrest, dissatisfaction, faultfinding, and criticism among brethren over matters admittedly non-essential. Now, I am perfectly willing to say this: if there is a man in the brotherhood who has, in all sincerity, believed the gospel of God's Son, genuinely and truly repented of his sins, publicly confessed the Christ, and has been buried into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, he is a Christian. If that man has an opinion as to what Christ will do when he comes again and how we shall be, and will hold the opinion to himself, I'll fellowship him. That's the principle. I know that John said, "Beloved, it does not yet appear how we shall be." I haven't heard from heaven since John wrote, but there are brethren who speak as if they have heard later messages. They think they know how it is going to be. John said, "We do not know, but one thing is certain, we know that we will be like him." Friends, that ought to be sufficient. Now, if any brother will keep his opinion to himself and advise all others so to do, all criticisms will cease. But if you continue to advocate and push that which is but a theory, you ought not to expect men who believe God's word to be silent and cease not to warn brethren night and day, even with tears, regarding the baneful results that follow. Friends, there's the ground of unity. 4n all matters, let us speak as God's Book speaks, believe what is clearly stated therein, practice only that as a matter of faith, hold all things else that are not wrong in themselves, as matters of private opinion, and let love prevail among us. The result will be that unity, that wonderful harmony, and that strength of which every child of God might be justly proud. How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Hardemanis Tabernacle Sermons, Vol. IV, pp. 80-83).

Truth Magazine XXIV: 27, p. 434
July 10, 1980