"CONSISTENCY! WHERE ART THOU?"
January 1, 1944 Issue
by Ervin Waters
In the October issue of the Church Messenger Bro. Paul S. Knight reports a debate between Bro. N. E. Rhodes and Bro. Voyd N. Ballard on the Sunday School question. Following are excerpts from that report with some of my observations. These observations are not made with any intent to provoke animosity, or to call in question Bro. Knight's sincerity, but rather to point out his inconsistency, and to help him and others to correct it.
Bro. Knight reports that Pro. N.E. Rhodes was closing a meeting at Booneville, Ark., "When one of the members from the congregation here, which has the Sunday School, got up one night, during the course of Bro. Rhodes' sermon, and wanted to know if we would meet the issue. We assured them that we would defend our practice, which is as follows:
'It is Scriptural, when the church is assembled, for one to speak at a time, when addressing the entire assembly, and in such assembly the women remain silent.'
"Those who had insisted that we meet the issue would not sign the proposition in the negative, admitting that our practice was Scriptural. Our practice goes unchallenged. Their practice of dividing the assembly into classes, using a plurality of teachers, including women, was the issue."
We readily affirm that the above proposition is true and just as readily deny that the Sunday School system is Scripturally authorized; Now, there is a difference between us and Bro. Knight's brethren on the number of cups to be used in an assembly for the communion. He said that the S. S. brethren would not deny the above proposition and in such refusal admitted the practice to be Scriptural, thereby making the S. S. system the issue causing division. I wonder if Bro. Knight will apply this same reasoning to the issue between us. Perhaps he has not so tried. We will defend our practice (in accordance with his reasoning) which is as follows:
"It is Scriptural, in an assembly of the Church of Christ for the communion, to use one cup (drinking vessel) in the distribution of the fruit of the vine."
Will he, or one of his brethren, sign the above proposition in the negative? From past experience I know that they will not. Then, if his reasoning on the above proposition on teaching be true, they admit that our practice, as set forth in the above proposition on one cup, is Scriptural. Our practice goes unchallenged. Their practice of using a plurality of cups, in the distribution of the fruit of the vine in an assembly of the Church of Christ for the communion, is the issue which has caused division.
Bro. Knight bears down with this same reasoning again, "But if our practice is Scriptural, as they will not deny, and since their practice is the one called in question, then they are bound to be in error, and whose practice has brought about division among the churches of Christ, such as exists here and elsewhere?"
Bro. Knight was then reasoning on the S. S. question. But, if I make the same statement with reference to our practice of using. one cup and their practice of using more than one, would it not have just as much force and be just as true? I ask him and every reader to consider this matter candidly.
I quote another of his statements with reference to the S. S. issue, which statement I make my own with reference to the cups question. "It can be plainly seen that their system is digressive, that they have gone beyond that which is written, have sown discord among the brethren, and need to return to the 4d paths. We plead with them to give up their unscriptural practice and come back to the New Testament order of things that upon which they agree is right, and has never been called in question - then, and then only, will we have unity." Remember, Bro. Knight, "Thou therefore which teachest another, teaches thou not thyself?" (Rom 2:21).
Again, "Let us affirm only our practice. If those in error will not deny, then we cannot help that, but such admittance will plainly show their defeat." We wonder if these brethren's refusal to deny "our practice" of using one cup "plainly shows their defeat?"
I have never become personally acquainted with Bro. Paul S. Knight, but I have received reports attesting to his honesty and integrity. I plead with him that he lay the cups aside, since there is as much authority for S. S. as for cups, and use his ability and influence to effect unity among God's people and to help stem the tide of digressive aggression which has inundated so many congregations. Our combined resources directed mutually to a common end would result in the salvation of a greater portion of humanity. Instead of being in the throes of internecine strife we could all use our spiritual virility in "pulling down the strongholds of Satan (2 Cor 10:4)", paganism, atheism, Catholicism, and denominationalism, and in "building upon" the foundation of truth a stronger church to bless the world and make glad the city of our God. Consider, "And the Lord give thee understanding in all things" (2 Tim 2:7).
OPA Article Links:
Innovations - Use of Multiple Cups in the Lord's Supper
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