Poisoning the Fountains of Truth: Part Four

August 12, 2009

This is part of an article originally published January 1922 in the Southwestern Journal of Theology by Dr. L. R. Scarborough entitled, “Poisoning the Fountains of Truth.” It was republished in the most recent Southwestern Journal of Theology, “Baptists and Unity.” You can find part one here, part two here, and part three here. May a voice of our past speak to us today. Below is part four of a four part series reprinting Dr. Scarborough’s essay:

3. Another way by which the fountains of truth can be poisoned is by a cer-
tain form of inter-denominationalism and unionism. Here lies the great error
in much of the inter-denominationalism and unionism that is broadcast in
the world today. This was the crux of the matter in the heart of Southern
Baptists when they refused to enter into the Inter-Church World Move-
ment, because they believed that it involved a compromise of the truth
that would eventually take the heart out of the fountains of our life in
our churches. When a Baptist preacher seeks to carry his church into the
Inter-Church World Movement, and when he brings into his church an
inter-denominationalism and unionism which violates the ordinances and
the authority of the church, he poisons the fountains of life. This has ap-
peared to me to be one of the weaknesses of some of our brethren in the
North, who are very strong on some of the fundamentals, especially those
in theology, but by their practice of inter-denominationalism commit an
egregious heresy in ecclesiology. A compromise on one phase of the truth
of Jesus Christ will work death in the life of our churches. A spread of this
form of heresy among the churches of our Southern Baptist Convention
would soon bring the same destruction to the witness and power and life
of these churches that it has done in other sections of the world.

Dr. Gambrell said before he died that one of the greatest perils to
the life of the churches of Jesus Christ in recent years and at this time was
the heresy in ecclesiology along the lines of inter-denominationalism and
unionism, and along the lines of alien immersion. And this is the sort of
thing that I have in mind in this article. We must guard the fountains of
life everywhere. I do not believe that any preacher practicing these things
will get very far in the fellowship of Southern Baptists; and the Baptist
church which practices these things will sooner or later cease to be a Bap-
tist church and lose its witness to the truth set forth by Jesus Christ in His
Holy Word.

I urge the brethren everywhere to co-operate in guarding these foun-
tains of truth. For, if our churches go wrong then we will have no remedy
for the correction of error in our schools, mission boards, and other institu-
tions. But so long as the fountains of truth are kept pure and loyal and true
to the Word of God and the authority of Jesus Christ we will be able to
correct false teachings anywhere else.

Reprinted with permission, Southwestern Journal of Theology