Wednesday, July 15, 2009

T. B. Larimore

One of the books I read last week was Will The Cycle be Unbroken, by Douglas Foster. It deals with where we, Churches of Christ, are as a part of the American Restoration Movement. I was especially drawn to one of the Restoration leaders, T. B. Larimore (1843-1929). He lived in a time when there was great turbulence in the movement, and yet he refused to get involved in the "issues" of the day. He is one of my spiritual heros.

Larimore had a former student that tried to "guilt" him into taking sides on issues like instrumental music in worship, church conventions, located preachers, etc. These were, by the way, issues over which the Restoration Movement split about 100 years ago. I know it is fairly lengthy, but I want to share Larimore's response:

To which -- or what -- party do I belong in this unfortunate controversy? That's the question. Had I "spoken out" on "matters" mentioned in your "open letter," this question had never arisen; for all had known. Your letter is proof positive, then, that you and THOUSANDS of other friends before whom "my life is an open book" believe I have never "spoken out," have never expressed an opinion or a preference -- on ANY of these things. THAT IS TRUE. NEVER, publicly or privately, have I expressed opinion or preference relative to ANY of these "matters" . . . over which brethren are wrangling and disputing and dividing the church of Christ -- NEVER . . . I am sorry to disappoint any of my friends; but it is certainly clear my duty, to . . . leave the discussion of all such questions to wiser, better, abler men, and just simply "PREACH THE WORD," avoiding, always, all question that "do gender strifes" among the children of God. WIser and better men do otherwise, however, and some good brethren may deem it their duty to denounce, renounce, criticize, censure, condemn, boycott and abuse me, and refuse to recognize, fellowship or affiliate with me, because I am as I am, do as I do, and, especially, because I have written what I have written in answer to your "open letter." I shall certainly never retaliate. I shall simply do as I have ALWAYS done: "love the brethren"; be true to my convictions; endure as patiently as possible whatsoever may come upon me; go when and where I am wanted and called, if I can; carefully avoid all questions that "do gender strifes" among God's people; "PREACH THE WORD"; try to do MY WHOLE DUTY, and GLADLY leave ALL results with HIM from whom all blessings flow."

Oh, how I want to leave such a legacy! Larimore ended up as a man with no home -- as neither side accepted him. But he remained true to his convictions that sowing discord is one of the things God abhors.

I leave you with these words from Larimore: "If Christians thought they had to do something with the questions (meaning "issues"), it would be better to sit on them, and to stand on Christ and him crucified."


1 comment:

randy said...

Paul was pretty negative about the "party spirit" attitude.