Voice from a “Subversive” Journal, 1968: Instruments vs LoveAuthor: Bobby Valentine | Filed under: Bible, Carl Ketherside, Church, Church History, Jesus, Love, Patternism, Preaching, Precision Obedience, Restoration History, Sectarianism, Unity
“It is always more or less detrimental to the ascertainment of truth to allow our previous conclusions to assume the position of fixed and fundamental truth to which nothing is to be at any time added either in correction or enlargement. On the contrary, we ought rather to act under the conviction that we may be wiser today than yesterday” (Alexander Campbell, 1840)
In the little spare time I have, I have been rereading through the works of Carl Ketcherside (which were given to me as a gift of grace by his daughter). I am currently in volume 9 and hope to finish the set in the near future. There are pages that I find myself in disagreement. There are pages that I eagerly say “Amen” too. All is very good reading no matter where he comes down.
Yesterday I read a short article by David Reagan in the October 1968 issue of Mission Messenger. Perhaps it was the year “1968” that caused me to be sensitive to the passage (I always like to find out about the time I was born). It is called “A Moment for Thought” and I would like to share this brief article with you. I share it because I think Reagan makes us look in the mirror and examine ourselves …
“A Moment For Thought” by David R. Reagan
“I recently read about a poll conducted among American Catholics. The most startling revelation of this poll was the fact that more than 60% of American Catholics feel that abstinence from meat on Friday is more important than Jesus’ admonition to ‘love our neighbor as ourself.” [sic].
Rather shocking isn’t it? In fact, I would go so far as to say it is downright appalling and pitiful that so many “Christians” could have such a warped concept of what Christianity is all about.
Yet, before we get on our self-righteous high horse and start condemning the ‘pagan’ Catholics, let’s pause for a moment and ask ourselves how members of the Church of Christ – the “New Testament church” – would respond to a similar question. Suppose, for example, that the same pollster were to ask the stalwart members of our brotherhood the question, ‘Which is more important, abstention from the use of musical instruments in the worship service or the command of Jesus to ‘love your neighbor as yourself”?
I have no doubt our response would be so overwhelmingly in favor of abstinence from musical instruments that we would make the Catholics look wishy washy in their preference for abstinence from meat.
Similarly, I think I know what the response of our brethren would be if the same question were worded differently – “which is more important, regular church attendance, or love of neighbor?” or, “which is of greater importance, the systematic observance of the Lord’s Supper upon the first day of the week, or the love of one’s fellowman?” Again, I have no doubt that the love of man would finish a poor second among our brethren.
Our explanation of the Catholic response would be the classic one, ‘What can you expect from people who never study the Bible, but simply do what the Pope tells them?” How would you explain the fact that we who pride ourselves on our Bible study would agree with the Catholic response?” (Mission Messenger, October 1968, p.158 in volume 9 of the Works of Carl Ketcherside).
End of Quote
This is a thought provoking voice from the past. I have been meditating on the question now for a day. I am not so sure where we might come down 47 years after this short piece was written. But the question is an important one . . . and how we respond says volumes about who we are as the People of God.
One day a scholar in the torah came to Jesus and asked, “which is the greatest commandment of the Law? Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”