The Shifting Current
By Reuel Lemmons, April 17, 1962
It is our prediction that the coming battle will be with the liberal left. In many respects it will be a far more terrible struggle, and the wounds and scars will show it. We are neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but the above two sentences are worthy of remembrance years hence.
It is an admitted fact that one of the leading areas of possible apostasies is our schools. This is true because that's where most of our young preachers are trained. They, in turn, teach the church, and like preacher like people. Regardless of the merits or demerits of this system, such is the present case. Our schools, as schools must, place emphasis upon education. All are developing highly educated faculties, which is as it should be. Bible faculties pursue their graduate studies in denominational atmospheres where every professor is an avowed modernist, or at least a liberalist. Regardless of resistance, some of this attitude soaks in. This is not an indictment, nor even criticism, of the Bible faculty of any school; they would not be human if these men did not absorb something from their professors.
Teachers strive to maintain an open mind themselves, and strive to maintain an open mind in every student. This is as it should be. Any man should be ready and willing to receive any new truth he may find, But students are immature. They come to a professor's class not only to explore possibilities; they come to be told something by someone who knows. Bible teachers in our colleges should know what they believe and should be able to tell their students. The newly developed trend to make the classroom only an exploration expedition, leaving the student to find and form his own conclusions is, in the final analysis, the very setting that produced all liberalism and modernism. It is a dethronement of God and inspiration, and an enthronement of man and his existentialism.
It produces, and is producing, a generation of young preachers who are saying, "Well, what if there were a second Isaiah?" They are saying, "This old idea of 'apostolic example' is old fashioned." They are saying, "It would be all right to partake of the Lord's supper on Thursday night." They are saying, "The letter of the law was never intended for us." They are saying, "Fellowship should embrace all who have the new birth," They are saying, "There are Christians in all churches." They are saying, "I used to preach 'faith in a plan'; now I preach 'faith in a person - not faith in a plan."' They are saying dozens of other things that preachers a generation ago would not have dared say. We circulate a good deal among young preachers and we hear these things and have received them written in articles that come to this office. We have seen smirks on the faces of some good men when the old battle cries of the Restoration are repeated, and have seen them glance knowingly at each other when some liberal or modernistic statement crept into someone's speech.
Brethren, pray tell us how one can be saved through faith in a person; not faith in a plan. We have never been conscious of any brother in all the history of the church who did not believe it took faith in a man (Jesus) to save us. But how, in the name of reason and common sense, can one have faith in a person without having faith in his plan? Let us ask these men this question: "Can a man be saved through faith in a person, and without faith in a plan?" Of course the plan would be useless without the person, but salvation would be just as impossible without the plan. It hurts to see Gospel preachers showing contempt for a plan.
Reuel Lemmons, deceased
(Brother Lemmons wrote the above editorial just before he lost his footing and fell head-over-heels down the slippery slope of liberalism. Alas! May that be a warning to us. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall " Had brother Lemmons kept his balance and written the editorial this year, he doubtless would have included denial of the virgin birth of Jesus in his list of what liberals in the church are mouthing. Anyhow, in 1962 he had a pretty good grip on the situation, and his 31-year-old article bears repeating - Dobbs)