How Long Should We Wait?

Luther Blackmon
Pasadena, Texas

I listened to a radio program the other night in which a congressman was interviewed on some of the problems facing the country. Among the topics discussed was the Berlin Crisis. The news man said to the congressman, "there are a lot of people on the streets who say that we should not run the risk of getting into war over Berlin. What is your opinion?" The answer of the congressman was prompt (an unusual thing for a politician) and, I thought, quite correct. What he said amounted to this: We must not regard this issue simply a question of whether or not we will allow the communist to swallow up West Berlin. If it were only that, he said, I would not be in favor of risking an all out war to maintain the status quo of that city. But this is a question of whether we will stand up to Khruschev and stop him now, or TRY TO STOP HIND FARTHER DOWN THE ROAD. Then he reminded the audience of Hitler's tactics preceding World War II. One by one he swallowed up the smaller nations of Central Europe, with the solemn promise (which he had no intention of keeping) each time that this will be the last one. Neville Chamberlain and the people of Europe didn't want war. They wanted to believe Hitler. When it finally became evident to these wishful thinkers that this mad paper-hanger would not stop until his war machine was destroyed, it was almost too late to save the world from a terrible fate. A fellow need not be valedictorian of the class to see that International Communism has the same goals that Hitler had. Their methods of attaining these goals differ. Khruschev would rather attain them without war, but attain them he will, if he is not stopped. No normal person wants war. But it is not a question of what we want. We have a choice of three: (1) Stand up to Khruschev now and risk war. ( 2 ) Wait until it is dead certain that he holds the balance of power on his side and then fight him. (3) Plan to get whipped and be forced into communism. This article is not meant to be a statement of my convictions on the Christian and carnal warfare one way or the other.

There is tension throughout the church over the question of whether or not the church can build and support human corporations to do its benevolent work, and whether money from the treasury of hundreds of churches can be placed at the disposal of one eldership. Many of us have opposed these things for years. For this we have been called "antis", "hobbyists" and "trouble-makers." Our meetings have been canceled, we have been branded, ostracized and generally regarded by the majority of the brethren as "the filth of the world and the off-scouring of all things." A goodly number of the brethren say they know we are right in principle, and that these things cannot be defended by the scriptures, and that they themselves "don't go along" with these things, BUT they are not going to join in and help oppose them because it will result in division. Is division worse than embracing error? The people in America don't like the prospect of fighting Russia either. But the best minds in the country think that we must stand up against her aggression now or fight when she is a lot stronger than she is now.

I would ask the brethren who say, they know we have the truth, but whose association arid influence is all on the other side; and the elders who have thrown up an iron curtain and absolutely refuse to let it be discussed, where do they expect to take a stand, if ever?

As far as the majority of the churches are concerned, there is little anyone can do, even now. They have become so carried away with our importance and our strength as a people, that they are almost oblivious to such unimportant details as finding scriptural authority for things we do. The old scriptural slogan that "we speak where the Bible speaks, and are silent where the Bible is silent," has been traded in on a later model as far as the work and organization of the church is concerned. The new one is a double-barreled affair: "There is no pattern; and whatever the Christian can do as a Christian, the church can do." And now that the doors of the treasuries of the churches have been opened to the support of unauthorized human institutions by the emotional appeal of the benevolent organizations, you may expect to see marching through those doors, dressed in the garments of our new slogan, the greatest human institutions on earth. Just where along the line will my brethren who say they don't "go along" with church supported institutions, go into the fray? Will it be when the college is brought in for general church support? It is already safely settled in the treasuries of many churches. Will it be when the hospitals are built and operated by "THE CHURCH OF CHRIST?" Let us not deceive ourselves. The person who can adjust his conscience to accept one unscriptural practice will have even less trouble with the next one. The man who will not oppose error is not neutral. He is on the side of the error. Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me, He that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad."

Truth Magazine, V:12, pp. 8-9
September 1961