I Sat Where They Sat

I have followed with a great deal of interest the articles that have appeared in the Gospel Herald, written by Eugene Perry, concerning gospel papers in Canada. I was at the meeting in Meaford in 1925 when the Christian Monthly Review was transferred from Brother MacDougal to Brother E. Gaston Collins. Most of the men who agreed to support the paper, so it would continue to live, were known to me personally.

The first article I ever wrote for a religious publication was written for the Christian Monthly Review either in 1920 or 1921. One brother wrote to the paper and complained about the members of the congregation not being faithful in attending the worship, so I wrote an article on "Not forsaking the assembly." I contributed reports of meetings quite regularly for the Christian Monthly Review. I mourned it's passing in the Depression years.

Then I was part of the birth of the Gospel Herald, also in the Depression. It could hardly have been born under more adverse circumstances. When it was but three or four years old, it almost died, but it lived, and has lived to this day. I take a great interest in the fact that it has lived longer than any other gospel paper among churches of Christ in Canada.

Going back to the Christian Monthly Review: When it went to Meaford it was put under "Eighteen well-known and loyal men." How could it die? There never was a time that it was not a struggle to keep the paper afloat. What do we mean by loyal men? I know what it meant then. It meant that these men were opposed to the use of instrumental music in the worship and to the use of missionary societies to carry on the work of the church.

No one is more opposed to the use of instrumental music than I am. There is a grave principle at stake in the use of it in worship that opposes one of the cardinal principles which characterizes our plea to restore New Testament Christianity. If Christ is the head of the church and if Christ did not authorize it, nor His apostles, then we cannot use it. If God is to be glorified in the church (Eph. 3:21), we cannot set up a human organization to do the work of the church.

However, is there not a positive side to loyalty as well as a negative? I am sure that if these eighteen men and all other members of the church then had been determined to see the Christian Monthly Review live, it would have lived. The Gospel Herald carries messages that are vital to many nations each month. This must continue and can be expanded. It will, if we are positively loyal as well as negatively loyal.

We do not need more organization to evangelize, we need dedication. We do not need a new paper to preach the gospel in Canada. We need dedication to the paper we have. Have you not seen all the papers that have died in the past? The chance of a new paper living as long as the Gospel Herald would be slim indeed. Why not make the Gospel Herald flourish as it never flourished before?

Let us change the perspective a little. My grandfather was a gospel preacher. He died in 1931. How successful was he as a preacher? How many congregations did he start? How many did he baptize? I am sure the figures would be very small, but he was a successful preacher. When he died he had 98 living descendants and every one that was old enough was a member of the church. I have at least two grandsons that are preaching. Will they do as well as grandpa?

The gospel must be preached to the whole world and passed on to the next generation. If you are familiar with church history, you are familiar with the names of J.W. McGarvey and David Lipscomb. They were both contemporary with Alexander Campbell. I was 7 years old when J.W. McGarvey died and 14 years old when David Lipscomb died.

As I write, an old year is dying. Will it be the last? When you read this I shall likely be in India on my 19th trip. Shall Jesus come in 1987? I can say with the Apostle John, "Amen, come Lord Jesus." I am tired and I need a rest.

J. C. Bailey, June 1987, Bengough, Saskatchewan

Published in The Old Paths Archive