By Ward Hogland
Brother Reuel Lemmons gave three big cheers for the pope in his March article in Action, a paper published on the West coast by Jimmie Lovell. He said, “Critical Cardinals have jumped all over the pope for his laudatory assessment of Martin Luther’s work, and his announced plans to preach in a Lutheran church.” He went on to say the cranky Cardinals have circulated a letter condemning the pope. What Reuel didn’t tell is that those so-called “cranky Cardinals” didn’t condemn the pope for speaking in a Lutheran church but for giving encouragement to Lutheran doctrine! Even the “critical Cardinals” knew that one cannot fit the round peg of Catholicism into the square hole of Lutheranism. On this basis I beg to differ with brother Lemmons. Instead of giving the pope three cheers I think he needs three kicks in the seat of the pants! There is a vast difference in preaching in a building and giving aid to the enemy by acquiescing to his doctrine.
After giving three cheers to the pope, he turned on his own brethren by making three serious charges. He condemned all Christians who claim we are the only Christians. He said, “The self assumed claim that we are the only Christians. ” Second, “We have arrived at ultimate truth, and if others want it they can come to us and get it.” Third, “The right to determine who is a Christian.” To justify his position, he used the old cliche “We are not that perfect in all our judgments.” Kind friend, have we drifted so far that we cannot identify a Christian? Have we become so bent by the logomachy of Calvinism that we stand for nothing? Brother Lemmons talked about Christians having the truth and others having to come to us to get it. The first part of his statement is truth; the second part is prejudicial! Who ever claimed that people have to come to us for truth? Kind friend, the truth is in the Bible.
He bemoans the fact we are the only Christians. Was the Lord the only true Lord? Was Noah and his family the only ones saved in the ark? Were the apostles the only ones to impart gifts of the Spirit? Is there only one true church? Is there only one Spirit, God, Body, Lord, Faith and Hope? If my brethren would stop giving cheers to the pope long enough to study their Bibles, they would find the word only is not so bad! You know, I do not know everything, neither am I perfect but one thing I know and that is that I must know the truth in order to be free. So at least, I can know something. Several years ago an infidel told me, “Hogland, we don’t know anything for sure.” I laugh at the time but now my brethren are telling me the same! Kind friend, you are not perfect but you had better know that baptism is essential to salvation, that the Lord’s Supper is to be observed every Sunday, that it is wrong to lie, steal and commit adultery, that the Lord established one church, that there is a God in heaven who loves you and wants you saved, and that he has given you the power of choice.
I differ with brother Lemmons on all three points. First, I believe Christians are the only ones to be saved. Second I believe we can know the identity of a Christian and third I believe the Christian must know the truth in order to be saved. Think it over because it is later than you think.
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 10, p. 305
May 17, 1984