The Restrictive Clause - Modern Version

Bryan Vinson Sr.
Longview, Texas

Of sufficient merit and interest was it regarded by the editor of the Gospel Advocate to give the clear and comprehensive "restrictive clause" as prepared by Athens Clay Pullias on the editorial page of this paper, October 2, 1958. As in assurance of its fitness, and the confidence to be accorded it by brethren, is the fact that not only brother Pullias is president of David Lipscomb College, but also a "member of the bar." Hence, his position in both the field of higher education and the legal profession eminently qualifies him to render this much needed service to those who are desiring to protect their property against those who do not see eye to eye with these brethren -- Goodpasture and Pullias, as they seek to mold and direct the thinking of brethren after their own creedal pronouncements. There is reflected in this restriction recommended to brethren a flagrant inconsistencv as embodying those conflicting specifications which does no credit to the composer. The lack of discernment as evidenced in its composition ill-befits one of his position and prominence. Regardless of what his alms and intentions may be in this contribution to the brotherhood, it is, nonetheless, amazing that he would expose such vulnerability as resides therein.

To an examination of its five stipulations we shall proceed. First, we are told "The Holy Bible shall be accepted as the full and final revelation of God's will to man and shall be the only rule of faith and practice in religion." Second, we are told that "The teaching and practice of the New Testament shall be followed in all matters of faith, worship and works." While we might note some apparent discordancies in these two, yet they would be trivial in comparison with others demanding attention, so we shall pass them by. Substantially they are designed to restrict all teaching, faith and practice, in work and worship, to that which is written in the New Testament. This is premised on the avowed persuasion that our acquaintance with the will of God is exclusively confined thereto. Items three (3) and five (5) are specifics of this principle. They read as follows: 3. No mechanical instrument of music shall be used in the worship, 5. The doctrine of preinilleinalism shall not be taught, or otherwise approved or encouraged.

These two are specific instances wherein that which is forbidden would, in their breech, constitute, respectively, a repudiation in the worship and teaching of the principle above stated in the first two stipulations, as voicing the sufficiency and completeness of the scriptures. Hence , in the acceptance of this proposition there can be no objections registered or displeasure entertained toward these two. Of course, under this principle any number of specifications might be enumerated, but these evidently are thought to be necessary because of past experiences, and as yet offering some possible recurrence among God's children. They do correspond with the general principle avowed in the first two, and are, therefore, consistent therewith. The fourth restriction, however, is not of this class; and standing, as it does, between these two it is not congruous with them at all. They are prohibitive in a negative form of construction, whereas the fourth is prohibitive in reverse order. They are designed to prohibit that specified ; this designed to prohibit the prohibition. or opposition of that particularized.

And how exceedingly general is the specific here stipulated! Let us examine it.

4. The support of such organizations to care for orphans, dependent children, aged and sick, shall not be opposed or forbidden.

Who can afford to embody this stipulation in the restrictive clause of their deed? All those brethren who have been vehemently denying in debate that the orphan homes "among us" are organizations cannot afford to, for this is an acknowledgment that such they are. Those who affirm and hold to the position that such homes should be, and must be, under the elders of a local congregation and that is such are not organizations separate from the church, but simply a systematic arrangement of the congregation to care for children cannot use it, because it specifically surrenders this contention.

In fact, the only one of whom we have heard is the brother in Tennessee, a fellow-educator of brother Pullias, who allegedly has said a congregation can contribute to a Catholic orphanage! This proposition, as stated by this member of the bar, forbids all opposition to the support by the church of such organizations as care for orphans, dependent children, and the aged and sick. There is not an orphan home, child welfare organization, an old folks home or hospital in the world, regardless of who operates it, what religious order controls and directs it, or with which it is identified, but that can be supported out of the treasury of the congregation which has this in its deed. If one member of a congregation should propose, recommend, urge or insist on sending such a contribution to the Catholic, Baptist, or Salvation Army institutions caring for any of the above needy ones, and every other member opposed doing so, then the member so recommending could take possession of the property for the nearest congregation who approved such support! A Catholic hospital qualifies for contributions from such a church as well as one belonging to anyone else. Masonic homes could be supported this way, and all opposition thereto is strictly forbidden. Being so all-inclusive in the character of organizations rightly entitled to the support of the church makes superfluous any particularizing at all.

This same brother who under questioning stated that the church could contribute to a Catholic orphanage is credited with saying in the same connection that the church can support a college. Inasmuch, then, as it is generally believed that the President of David Lipscomb also believes in the latter, we are wondering why he did not mention such support for colleges along with these other organizations provided for. Could it be that he fears the brotherhood has not been as yet properly conditioned to accept it? That the brethren have not been sufficiently brainwashed by the Advocate to go along without dissent? When men as liberal as brethren Pullias and Goodpasture guide the thoughts of brethren, it cannot be very long until they reach this objective. Having attained such great success thus far it cannot be very far in the future until they will be able to beguile the credulous into supporting the college from the church budget. It has been attempted before, and will be again without a doubt. Would it not have been more prudent and expedient, then, to have awaited this development to put forth this restrictive clause? By so doing there would be no necessity for a future revision of this present restriction in the deed. Brother Pullias certainly has read what his uncle, C. M. Pullias, wrote in warning against an impending apostasy while preaching at the old Pearl & Bryan church in Dallas, in which he paralleled orphan homes and the missionary society. Should he express the same sentiments today in a congregation with his nephew's restrictive clause in its deed he would be acting in violation thereof, and hence be subject to ejection therefrom.

However, the contradiction which merits recognition, and thus to be warned against, is that he has affirmed the position the New Testament is to be followed in all matters of faith, worship and works, and in this fourth restriction provides for the excommunication of those who oppose supporting human organizations in the work of the church. To word number three (3) to harmonize with number four (4) he should make it read: The use of instruments of music in the worship shall not be opposed or forbidden." As thus expressed it stands related to numbers one (1) and two (2) exactly as his number four (4) does. The New Testament does not mention either the instrument or the "organizations as care for orphans, dependent children, the aged and sick." It authorizes neither, and brother Pullias knows this perfectly well. He stands, therefore, as one who, while avowing faith in the sufficiency of the Word of God, immediately rejects it in this fourth stipulation. He is inexcusable in the perpetration of such a fraudulent and misleading document and thus reflects against the bar of which he is a member, as well as against the church to which he belongs, and the gospel which he professes to espouse and proclaim.

Truth Magazine III:3, pp. 14-15
December 1958