May We Suggest

Lewis Willis
Greencastle, Indiana

The history of the church is spotted with many joyful incidents as well as many controversies. The time with which we are more familiar is around the beginning of the nineteenth century. The "restoration movement" of this time experienced great growth but it was destined to be shipwrecked not long afterward due to the desire of the brethren to be "like the nations round about them". They sought to improve upon God's orderly and successful organization and these steps led to a general deterioration of respect for the authority of the Bible. Israel was troubled greatly over this attitude. So much, in fact, that there resulted the formation of another denomination (the Christian Church) to be added to the scroll of unauthorized plants, doomed to be rooted up by Almighty God. Many books have been written about this period in the history of the church. Biographies are available about men who were prominent during these difficult times, but in them, more emphasis has been placed on the labors of the men than is placed on the general attitudes in the brotherhood at this time.

About ten years ago, there appeared on the market, two books authored by brother Earl West in which he sought to present an overall view of the effect that the Christian Church apostasy had upon the brotherhood. A detailed study was made by brother West of the religious periodicals of that day. With this material at his disposal, he was able to survey those troublesome times, giving brief and interesting biographies of the prominent preachers, journals, and congregations involved in the controversy. Such names as David Lipscomb, E. G. Sewell, John F. Rowe, Ben Franklin, Tolbert Fanning, Isaac Errett, W. K. Pendleton, Thomas and Alexander Campbell are mentioned in connection with the time of their labors. I suppose the greatest value of these books is the marked similarity in the principles they treat, and the present controversy over institutionalism that is now raging in the church. Where possible brother West quoted from the journals, and the brethren involved are thus allowed to speak for themselves. Enlightening ourselves on this period of history can do much in establishing us against any and all errors of the same nature. Bro. Homer Hailey, when writing the introduction to the second volume written by brother West said, "Enlightenment is one of the greatest bulwarks against error." Therefore, May We Suggest that you add to your library, bro. Earl West's, The Search For The Ancient Order. Having read them, we feel certain that they will serve you greatly in the perilous days ahead. This work, dealing with the years 1849-1906, comes in two volumes that cost $4 each. You may order them from Truth Magazine Book Store, P.O. Box 7245, Akron 6, Ohio.

Truth Magazine VII: 8, pp. 7
May 1963