By Dan Walters
Brother Leroy Garrett wrote an article in the November 1979 issue of his paper, Restoration Review, entitled “Priests Instead of Prophets.” He says that he has “susbstantial evidence” that many leaders in the church “basically agree” with the unity-in-diversity position held by Garrett, Ketcherside, Kilpatrick, Scott, and others. These leaders include editors of leading journals, administrators and professors in “Christian” colleges, elders, deacons, Sunday School teachers, and ministers of some of “the largest and most influential churches.” The unity-in-diversity position includes the following points: (1) that the church of Christ is not the only true church,, 2) that there are faithful Christians among the denunciations, (3) that the New Testament church has not or cannot be restored, (4) that instrumental music in the assemblies is not sinful, (5) that fellowship should be extended to all baptized believers who are not morally degenerate and to many of those in the denominations, (6) that salvation by grace and faith demands that God accept those believers in Christ who do not follow the New Testament pattern of doctrine.
I have known for many years that Garrett is correct about the convictions of these leaders he speaks of. He gives them a mild rebuke for remaining “in the closet” instead of openly affirming their beliefs. It is true that the unity-in-diversity men, in spite of their false doctrine, are worthy of more respect than the hypocrites who agree with them but who are afraid to come out into the open for fear of losing their positions. Garrett claims that he can name scores of these brethren “from Tennessee to Texas to California,” who have revealed their positions privately, but never publicly.
There was an old radio show about a man named Fibber McGee and his wife Molly. Fibber McGee’s closet was so full of junk that every time someone opened it a mountain of assorted items poured out into the room. It is evident that the “mainline” church of Christ today is a colossal “Fibber McGee’s closet” just waiting for someone to open it. When they do, so many cowardly “fibbers” will pour out that it will be a stupendous shock to those brethren who have isolated themselves from reality for so long.
However, this is the way apostasy has always developed. If false teachers immediately declared their objectives, they would be marked and avoided. But if they work gradually, they can be assimiliated into the brotherhood and can attain positions of authority. In this way they can corrupt large portions of the church. Garrett says that these diggressives could come out of the closet now because brethren have “ripened for the change . . .” Unfortunately, he is again correct. The kind of teaching done in “Christian” colleges and in many churches during the last few years has softened the brethren and has prepared them for a radical change. The defenders of orthodoxy among the more liberal churches had better start asking questions and find out who is hiding in Fibber McGee’s closet!
Truth Magazine XXIV: 30, p. 490
July 31, 1980