By John McCort
The question of Ecumenicalism and Fellowship before the church is one of awful moment. For my part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards the church, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
Brethren, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not the things which so dearly concern their salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which to guide my feet; and that is the lamp of God’s Word. I know of no way to judge the future but by the Word. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with the kiss of loving words and promises of peace and unity. We have held the subject up in every light which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not already been exhausted? Let us not, I beseech, deceive ourselves any longer. We have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now upon us.
In vain, after these things, may we indulge in the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for compromise. If we wish to be free from apostasy; if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending; if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained-we must fight.
Shall we gather strength by irresolution or inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying serenely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? We have no alternative. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery to apostasy. Our chains are forged. Their clanking can be hear throughout the brotherhood. It is in vain to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry peace, peace-but there is no peace. Why stand we idle? What is it we wish? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of apostasy and eternal destruction? Forbid it, Almighty God!!
(Note: The preceding was adapted from Patrick Henry’s famous “Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death” oration.)
Truth Magazine XIX: 47, p. 743
October 9, 1975