13 September, 2021

‘Nothing to Offer Except the Book’

by | 6 September, 2018 | 0 comments

CS Archive from September 8, 1923

_ _ _

The lead article in the Sept. 8, 1923, Christian Standard—an issue from 95 years ago—was “The Mission of the Church,” and it carried the subhead, “The Annual ‘President’s Address’ Delivered before the International Convention of Disciples of Christ at Colorado Springs, Col., Sept. 4, 1923.”

The article/speech was written and presented by Thomas W. Grafton, minister of Third Church, Indianapolis, Ind., who served as president of that convention.

I can’t begin to recap Grafton’s presentation—which ran almost three pages—or to pinpoint nuanced wording that may (or may not) have troubled some (or many) of Christian Standard’s readers. But I will type a few sentences from the end of Grafton’s speech, and then publish a response by P.H. Welshimer.

Grafton wrote: “As disciples of Christ, our business should be to fit the essential vital truths we have held into the present world order. Let us be loyal to the Word without legalism. True to the principles of the reformation without narrowness. Sound in the faith without bigotry. Set for the defense of the gospel without bitterness.”

Here is P.H. Welshimer’s response, published at the bottom of the third page, at the end of Grafton’s printed speech, under the following headline:

_ _ _

ANSWERS TO IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

What Is the Position of Churches of Christ?

Churches of Christ, commonly known as the Restoration movement, are composed of a body of believers whose purpose is to place upon the earth the church which, in doctrine and life, will be identical with the church described in the New Testament. The New Testament sets forth the organization and doctrines of the church existing during the days of the apostles. Having that pattern before us, it is not difficult to reproduce that church to-day. In the early part of the nineteenth century, wise and devout men from various denominations saw the futility of attempting to evangelize the world with divided forces. They set about to find a common basis of unity. After examination of the creeds, they were content to lay aside all the speculation and doctrinal statements of men and go back beyond all creed-making bodies, and take their stand simply with Christ and the apostles. They took as their slogan, “Where the Scriptures speak we speak, and where the Scriptures are silent we are silent.” They recognized Christ as supreme authority, and gave heed to His word and the word of the inspired New Testament writers, who had been endued with power from on high to proclaim to men the will of God. Hence, in brief, the pleas of the churches of Christ is the unity of all of God’s people, and the plan for this unity is found in a return to the church described in the New Testament, and the purpose of it all is the evangelization of the world. This is a broad platform; it is broad as the New Testament; it dare not be any narrower. This is not a platform of our own making. We have nothing to offer to the religious world except the Book, which is the text of the religious world, and our duty is to point out in that Book the plain, the simple teaching upon which there can be, and ought to be, unanimity of thought. These fundamental things are not matters of interpretation. They are a revelation.

The creed of the church is Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. He is the foundation, and the chief corner-stone. Peter said: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This is the creed that needs no revision. It meets the need of all peoples in all ages. We have faith in a person, not a statement nor group of statements about a person. Acceptance of Christ carries with it loyalty to Christ, and loyalty can mean nothing else than willingness to cheerfully do His bidding. And to know his bidding one must turn to the New Testament, where He expressed Himself; hence it all comes back to the point: one must accept Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God and seek to know His will through his revealed word. And the loyal disciple will gladly give heed to the injunction: “Whatsoever he saith unto thee, do it.”

 

DO CHURCHES OF CHRIST UNCHRISTIANIZE PEOPLE OF OTHER RELIGIOUS BODIES?

What a foolish question, and yet one frequently asked. Certainly not. We recognize Christians in all religious bodies. Some of the most God-fearing, Christ-loving, most spiritual-minded, sincere, sacrificing, consecrated followers of Christ in the world are to be found among other religious bodies. We do not say we are the only Christians, but we are happy to make the statement that we are Christians only. We are content to wear the name which the disciples first accepted at Antioch and bore ever after, and in which they glorified Christ. The Christian world will never unite on the divisive sectarian names. The only name that will be sufficient is the blessed name that covers all—the one set forth in the New Testament; therefore, for the sake of honoring Christ, whom we serve, we wear His name; and, for the sake of furnishing a broad basis for unity, which all can accept and lose nothing vital, we have gone back to the New Testament and adopted the name which the New Testament disciples bore in the first century. We are not asking people to give up denominationalism because in the ranks of the denominations none are to be found who are followers of Christ, but we do ask all followers of Christ to lay aside the things that divide and which are unscriptural, and meet us simply on the word of God, constituting the unity that will make for peace among men and evangelization of all men.

—P. H. Welshimer.

_ _ _

—Jim Nieman, managing editor, Christian Standard

 

Send suggestions for this feature to cs@christianstandardmedia.com. Please write “Throwback Thursday suggestion” in the memo line.

<a href="https://christianstandard.com/author/admin/" target="_self">Christian Standard</a>

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Articles

Stories

By taking these symbols of Jesus’ body and blood, we announce we believe there really was a Jesus, and he really did die for us and carried all our sins down to a grave . . .

Documentary Highlights Christian Response to Pandemics

Southeast Christian Church’s “Purpose in Pandemics” is a documentary that follows the response of the church to pandemics throughout history. The “Purpose in Pandemics” website also includes a study guide for small groups and individuals.

Used of God

I soaked up Sam Stone’s wit and wisdom during our lunches together. Afterward, I’d take notes about our conversations. After hearing of his passing, inspired by his wordsmithing, I felt compelled to share just a small part of his story.

Sam E. Stone: ‘He Tried to Speak the Truth in Love’

In memory and appreciation of our former editor, Sam E. Stone, who died early this week, we share this 2011 column from Christian Standard’s archives in which Sam discussed four Scripture verses significant to his life.

Elliott Library ‘Cornerstone’ Laid

Three Bibles of historical significance to Cincinnati Christian University were the first books place on the shelves during relocation of the George Mark Elliott Library.

The Death of Evil

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw in minority groups’ struggles for social equality in America a parallel with Israel’s bondage in Egypt. King envisioned God’s goodness would deliver the U.S. from the evil of segregation.

Mark Scott’s Greatest Kingdom Impact

Since I first enrolled at Ozark Christian College, Mark Scott has been my kingdom hero, and I’m not the only young preacher Mark has shaped. Over his 35 years at OCC, Mark has inspired generations of students.

‘Have We Plans for 1921?’

“All the Standard asks is the opportunity to serve, and it yearns to render in 1921 the greatest, finest, and best service of its history. . . .”

CCLF Concluding Strong First Year in Greater Cincinnati

In its first full year, the Christian Church Leadership Foundation has accomplished much to ensure Christian education and resources would continue to be available to people in the Greater Cincinnati area.

News Briefs for Dec. 9

Items from Timber Lake Christian Church (Moberly, Mo.), Choateville Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.), Johnson University, and more.

My Counsel for Young Preachers

If I were counseling an aspiring young preacher fresh out of Bible college or seminary, champing at the bit to lead in the church, I would offer these three bits of advice.

My Memories of Marshall Leggett

By Ben Merold
As I think about Marshall Leggett, who passed away on March 2 at age 90, two personal experiences keep coming to my mind . . .

Powell Quintuplets Graduating from High School

When the Powell quintuplets were born in 2001, all of Kentucky celebrated, including Southeast Christian Church, where the Powells are longtime members. Now the quints are 18 and are all headed to the same university.

Reentry: It May Be Harder Than We Think

When the COVID-19 crisis eases, I anticipate that reentry is going to be harder than some people think. Churches, especially, need to prepare for this.

Sept. 19 | Jesus Is a Superior Sacrifice

When Jesus was done, he sat down at the right hand of God. These days, people sit down to work. By contrast, in the ancient world when someone sat down, it meant their work was finished (John 19:30)

Sept. 19 | Application

The word “sacrifice” has been cheapened by overuse, David Faust writes. Is it really a sacrifice to skip dessert or give up gourmet coffee? What does sacrifice mean to us today? Here are three questions to consider . . .

It’s All About Jesus

No person mentioned in the Old Testament or New Testament could have imagined how history would one day come together and finally make sense at the cross.

CCCB and SLCC in Merger Discussions

Central Christian College of the Bible and St. Louis Christian College are investigating “the possible benefits of a merger or similar formal arrangement between the two institutions,” according to announcements at the Missouri colleges’ websites.

Follow Us