Dear Mr. Editor,
Will you please allow me to answer G. T. E. and others who have lately attacked the G. L. A. in the columns of this paper. So many wrong things have been said, and so many unwarranted conclusions have been drawn that a, reply is really very necessary.
I do not at all like the tone of some of these articles, nor the unbrotherly spirit that is shown toward an organization that is ‘doing all it can to solve the problems of our Christian workers and protect them against the ungodly unions while these men themselves are doing nothing except to find fault, criticize, and ridicule. But they will have to answer for that, not I.
Mr. G. T. E. likes to take an expression of another and draw unwarranted conclusions from it, although I think he knows very well himself that his conclusions are not sound. When a person says that he believes that his position is more Biblical than that of another it is very well possible that there is Biblical ground for both. There are many “middelmatige dingen” as our fathers called -them on which difference of opinion is possible among Christians, and for both Biblical proof may be offered. That is so with life insurance, the use of recreational activities, etc. It is true also of the strike question. Texts may be quoted for and against, but neither has the right to say that the other’s position is unbiblical. However, when one says -that he believes that his position is more Biblical he believes that there is more proof in the Bible for his position than for the other and that therefore his position is the strongest. I hope that that is now clear to G. T. E. I might add that it does not apply, of course, to the field of theology which is not “mid-delmatig.”
In regard toI would say this: I am not an exegete and will therefore not try to give an explanation. If I did I am sure that wrong conclusions would again be drawn. But I would ask a few questions. Isn’t it true that the social conditions of today are entirely different, and that also the employer-employee relationship is not the same? If there had been a possibility at that time to change wrong conditions through organization, in a Christian manner, do you suppose that James would have condemned that? I don’t think so. If G. T. E. wants to apply -those words literally to the workers of our day it would mean that we would have to work for anything the bosses give us, that we could not do anything to gain justice. And that, of course, doesn’t agree with what Mr. G. T. E. himself suggests toward the end of his article.
I am well acquainted with, where the weapons of our spiritual warfare are enumerated. But, if G. T. E. means to draw the conclusion from that that Christians cannot unitedly use those weapons in an organization, to oppose injustices, to fight for protection of their rights as Christian men, he is all wrong. There are both weapons for defense and for offense. The picture of the warrior drawn by Paul is not at all that of the passive, inactive Christian which so many among us want to be. Paul was a fighter for justice, for his rights, and also his rights as a citizen! We must be too. Only, we must do it in accordance with the Word of God. That is what the C. L. A. is doing.
When G. T. E. puts the word Christian in quotation marks, thereby meaning to ridicule, that is not to his credit. There may be a few men in the C. L. A. whose Christianity is doubtful, but may we therefore condemn the whole organization? Personally I am not acquainted with any. And I know too that the C. L. A. does not seek membership of people who are not confessing Christians,. Because of the law of our land it has been forced at times to accept some. But only those were accepted. who expressed agreement with the Christian principles expressed in the Constitution. Those few never had any influence in the C. L. A. if they came in under false pretenses. Great care is taken that they do not gain any position of leadership. If such people can be led in the right way, and they agree with the activity of the organization, why is it wrong to take them, if thereby the organization can extend the sphere of its influence? I believe with all my heart that a Christian may not join an unchristian union. I have not heard it said that a Christian may not be a member of an organization: that, although not based on Christian principles, does not conflict with the Word of God in its activities,. Also among us that seems to be allowed. Why then should we condemn an organization that seeks the application of Christian principles for accepting those who express agreement with those principles, and who are willing to take the Christian yoke upon them, if thereby the organization can work more effectively to promote Christian interests? Brother G. T. E. is evidently not very well acquainted with the problem. If he was he would not write as if the C. L. A. does not even bear resemblance to the Christian name. Shame on him! I invite him to attend a few C. L. A. meetings to find out more about it, and to experience the Christian fellowship and fine Christian spirit which I have always enjoyed there.
The C. L. A. secretary has assured me that he will write again about the strike question so I will not touch on that. Just a few words in regard to what is the will of God. There also G. T. E. has been again unfair in his conclusions. When I mentioned the will of God I had in mind of course that all that is sinful is contrary to the will of God. Is that right or not? Yes. I believe that it is the will of God that His people shall have a sufficient amount of what is necessary for their daily bread. That does not mean that there will not be times when Christians will go hungry. God may allow that, in order that also through such experiences His will shall be worked out. God led Israel to a land filled with milk and honey, a rich land! He wanted them to have that. When they fell away from Him He took it from them. God’s will for Israel was that it should have plenty. When he took it from them it was because they went contrary to His will. That is Scriptural, and I accept that. Even in Israel there were always still some who feared God. Rut when God came with His judgments He allowed the just to suffer with the unjust. Brother G. T. E.’s questions in regard to a Christian never having died of starvation, etc., is therefore only another example of the brother’s apparent delight in drawing unwarranted conclusions to try to make another brother look foolish.
What G. T. E. suggests in regard to an organization such as he would favor surprised me. The brother wants to be very conservative otherwise but there he evidently favors State Socialism. That is the only way in which all the problems in social life can be met if the civil government has to act in the manner in which he suggests. I don’t agree with that at all. Yes, government must punish the evildoer, but who is going to determine in every little instance whether or not an evil has been perpetrated? We would then have to have laws covering every phase of human activity,. Not for me. Before long all our liberty would be gone. The policy that I believe in is this: that the government enact laws that give direction, that protect the exercise of rights, that establish sound policies. (That, of course, aside from its function as the bearer of the sword.) Then let the people exercise their right within the established limits. That’s democratic. And that policy is much safer for the Christian church. That is an entirely new subject upon which I cannot very well enter. It would take too much space.