by Lee Hanks
Advocate and Messenger — 1924
Where are we drifting? The church and the world seem to have a tendency to degeneracy. Where is that beautiful church clothed with humility, love, peace, fellowship, honesty, truthfulness, sobriety and with garments clad in white? The church that is the light of the world? that city set on a hill whose light cannot be hid? Once it could be said of her, ‘Behold, how they love one another.’ Her ministry was humble and loved unity and fellowship. They preached Jesus the Way, the truth and the Life. They had no hobbies then.
Yes, forty-five years ago I never heard them disputing about Absolute Predestination [A.P. is another term for total fatalism – ED]. They preached predestination like the Bible teaches and there stopped, preaching the truth has never divided Primitive Baptists. They loved the cause of the Master then better than any vexed question. Preachers loved and appreciated each other then. Preachers belonged to the church in those days and the church would deal with a preacher when he went wrong the same as others. Preachers can preach or practice almost anything they please now and get a following. Iniquity abounds and the love of many has waxed cold. The churches should assert their rights and follow no man in his departures. Members and preachers should be humble and kind to each other and see that they introduce nothing that will produce strife and confusion we had all better be satisfied to be little preachers and at the feet of our brethren than to be divided.
There is nothing lost by kindness and gentleness, but much gained. It is good and safe for each one to tell the Whole truth. Do not misrepresent to carry your point. Be sure your sin will find you out. Do not charge the other man with the cause of trouble when you yourself are the cause. The Old Baptist Church has no Popes in it and they need none. Discipline belongs to the church and not to the preacher.
The churches should take their ministry in hand, love them, care for them, advise them, and tell them in love of any hurtful practice they may engage in. Preachers should not spread trouble. If he is under a cloud, he had better stay close to home until that is removed. Let us all love one another with pure hearts fervently. And lay aside all malice, guile, envy, hypocrisy, backbiting, evil speaking, and be kind one to another. If any are wrong, do not justify them in the wrong. Oh, that there could be an awakening in Israel to a faithful discharge of all their duties to God and one another.
My poor heart is made sick to see trouble in Israel and then to see the rapid tendency to destruction in people in general. Shameful dressing of women, getting their sparsely clad fashion from degenerate women, with bobbed hair, wearing men’s clothes, riding horse-back with a man’s saddle, attending bathing resorts with very little clothing on, mid-night auto riding, disrespecting the teaching of parents, extravagance, debt, and numerous other evils flooding the country Which cause us to feel that perilous times are upon us. Surely, we are living in the last days! Was Sodom and Gomorrah much worse than the world now? You need not be surprised at the judgments of God being poured out upon us. Lord help us.