By Earl Robertson
Recently the Gospel Advocate carried an article by Richard Black, in which he says, “When brethren endeavored a quarter-century ago to bind where God had not legislated, valiant soldiers met Anti-ism head on and it careened into death throes. Only a remnant operating underground remains. Victors, in some quarters, became enchanted with success to the extent that they now march under the banner: Anything goes! The philosophical, enigmatical errors of liberalism intended to sweep as a tide.”
Black, like others of his thinking, has the foolish notion that one can keep his cake and eat it, too. The brethren a quarter-century ago were not trying to bind where God had not bound; they were trying to get men like Black to cease and desist in spiritual efforts which transgressed the law of God (2 John 9). Those brethren could not abide within the word of God and at the same time cause the church of Christ to engage in the works they so strongly desired. They chose to go beyond the word of God and do as they pleased in the matter. When faithful men of God stood in the way and asked for Bible authority for churches of Christ to be so engaged in them, they received no verses from the word of God, but were simply called “Anti.” To be called such was not a proper response, and neither did it solve the problem created by the liberal. Others think, like Black, that liberalism conquered the plea of God’s men who stood crying for Bible to support the practice of the churches; that they went into “death throes”; that “only a remnant operating underground remains.” This is what Rubel Shelly thinks. (See Freed-Hardeman Lectures, 1970, p. 33.) But more knowledgeable men say, “A substantial number of churches have come to oppose such cooperative programs of evangelism as the Herald of Truth and the homes for orphans and aged, as they are presently organized . . . . This is the most serious division, numbers-wise, that churches of Christ have suffered” (Bill Humble, The Story of the Restoration, p. 74).
Liberalism’s problem now is, anything goes! How true it is! If one opposed the efforts of liberalism in the churches he would be an “Anti”! Perish the thought. They cannot stop the onward digressive march liberalism is making in the churches and they know it. Black is whistling in the dark. How much better to have stayed with the truth.
Truth Magazine XXIV: 42, p. 678
October 23, 1980