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Who Is Sound?

by J. N. Armstrong

armstrong,jn01Matters of inference and judgment and other minor matters have always been as they are today, save the undue emphasis and stress that are put upon our differences now. Christians are allowed to keep their individualities and permitted to make individual effort and progress in Christian growth, there must be, there will always be, differences among growing, developing children of God. The New Testament disciples had these differences. We find references to the fact throughout the New Testament history. In what period of the church’s his- history would we not find differences like ours on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, on the eldership, on “special providence,” on prayer, and so forth? When I was a boy, the disciples were not alarmed about it; no disturbance of peace came up over it. Bro. Jones might not agree with Bro. Smith, but nobody was alarmed at it. When I entered the Bible School at Nashville, it was well understood that Bro. Sewell and Dr. Brents differed on the appointment of elders, on the millennium, and other questions like them. ‘So it was understood respecting Brethren Lipscomb and Harding, Taylor and Lipscomb, and so forth. Each freely discussed his side, or phase, of the controverted point. That anybody would consider one “unsound,” “disloyal,” or unworthy of the most hearty fellowship never entered one’s mind. Different ones of these noble brethren were invited repeatedly to visit the school and present earnestly and ardently his knowledge of the subject, and we boys loved them all, admired them all. “Parties” or “divisions” among us over such things were foreign to all of us.

May I entreat you and your goodness of soul not to think of one of your faithful brethren’s being “unsound” because of his position on any of the differences now among us? The very thought is wicked. Let these differences be discussed fully, freely, and brotherly among us, but may our great Father forbid our ever regarding one sound and the other unsound because of their positions respectively on these matters. Brethren, whosoever does do so is a factious man. He is a sower of discord and a builder of faction among the faithful of God. I know we are standing for better things, and I want to beg the readers of this paper to stand firm for this better ground. Don’t tolerate and allow to grow around you the sentiment that would measure soundness by this intolerant, sectarian spirit. ‘ The progress of our beloved people and of that brotherly spirit so necessary to the peace of this people will not allow that divisive spirit. Let each conscience be free and settle the matter for himself and believe on all these questions what he believes the Bible teaches about them. Let him not be afraid to make known his convictions lest he be called unsound; let us be real brethren, faithful brethren, loyal to one another, in spite of these matters.

—J. N. Armstrong, in the “Gospel Herald”
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-J. N. Armstrong (1870-1944) Bro. Armstrong, at the  time of this article was President of Cordell Christian College in Cordell, OK




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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8