by W.B.Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XIII

MAY, 1934

Number 10.

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.


The discussion between Rev. J. W. Smith, of Benton, Ark., and the editor of The Messenger will be held at Watermelon Creek Baptist church, near Glennville, Tuesday and Wednesday, June 19 and 20. The setting of the date was done too late for me to do much advertising. Scores of people from a distance have expressed their intention of attending, but, on such a short notice, will not be able to do so, I am afraid.

I have accepted all of Brother Smith's suggestions in regard to the matter. I have tried for such a long time to get someone to discuss certain matters with me, that I dared not suggest that we take more time to advertise the meeting, for fear the debate might not be held at all. so I accepted the date, although it is not what I wanted. Also I have agreed to his suggestion that each speech be the same night, and that each one be limited to thirty minutes. Further agreements are that each morning session shall be at 10 A.M. and close at noon, and that each afternoon session begin at 2 P.M. and last until 4 P.M.

The propositions to be discussed are as follows:

First Day-Tuesday, June 19th.

"The Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, organized (built) His church during His personal ministry on earth, and that church, so organized (built) has existed from that time until the present."

"J. W.  Smith affirms.
W. B. Screws denies."

Second Day-Wednesday, June 20th.

"The Scriptures teach that there is no hell to which those who do not put their trust and belief in Jesus Christ, the Son as God, will finally reach and there abide, being tormented endlessly." 

"J. W. Smith affirms.
W. B. Screws denies."

These propositions were accepted by me, just as Brother Smith wrote them, except that the last word of the second proposition was "eternally."  I changed this to "endlessly," feeling sure this was what he meant.  So far as I know, he made no objection to this change. 

There was an insistent demand by many that the discussion be held in Glennville.  I had hoped to comply with this demand.  But the unexpectedly early arrival of Brother Smith, and his wife to have the discussion so soon after his arrival, prevents this.  Also it leaves very little time for those at a distance to get ready to attend, as they have been expecting the meeting to be in July. 

I regret this, and urge you to make every effort to come. 


"Our mouth is open toward you Corinthians, your heart has been broadened.  You are not distressed in us, yet you are distressed in your own compassions. Now, as a recompense in kind (I am saying this as to children), YOU also be broadened".  2 Cor. 6:11-13. 

Sectarianism, which means narrowness, was and is, one of the curses of Christendom.  Before becoming a saint, Paul had been a member of a sect-he acknowledged it. Sectarianism found its way into the church during the ministry of the apostle, but he was continually warning against it.  He labored earnestly to correct this fault in the church at Corinth, when he discovered that the saints were about to become Paulinians, Appolonians and Christians.  However, he could see that sects among them would work one good-the disqualified ones would become apparent.  But sectarianism was wrong, and he warned against it. 

In giving instructions to Titus, who was to constitute elders to suit each city, Paul said "A sectarian man, after one and a second admonition refuse."-Titus 3:10. If this had been done-but why speculate? It was not done. The sectarian man had no standing so far as Paul was concerned. 

None except a sectarian person has any standing in Christendom today.  "Does he belong to our denomination?"  Is the first question that is asked. 

The King James Version of the Bible, translated by those who considered sectarianism as the most important of all things, concealed the truth, by using the word "heresy," for sect, and "heretic" for sectarian. 

Sectarianism violates the broadness of fellowship that the Father gives to all saints, and forces them to be narrow. In some cases, perhaps, it smothers it so successfully that the saint is satisfies with a restricted fellowship. But, normally, the heart of the saint is broadened. He feels ashamed to yield to the narrowness and non-fellowship that his sect imposes upon him. It causes distress. The Baptist must fellowship Baptists ahead of other saints, but he rarely feels happy in doing so. The Methodist must act as if his brother Methodists are nearer to God than any other people, but his compassions are broader than his creed, and distress him. The Presbyterian must prefer other Presbyterians, but when he listens to the promptings of his heart, he knows he is living a lie, and so on. This is normally the case. 

Paul recognized that the HEARTS of the Corinthian saints were broadened. He knew they were distressed in their compassions. What they needed, was to follow their hearts, and become broadened themselves. This is why he admonished, "YOU be broadened." 

Sectarianism in Corinth had not reached the open rupture that we see everywhere today. No doubt they all-Paulinians, Cephians, Apollonian and Christians-met at the same place to worship. But members of each sect refused to show fellowship for members of other sects. Or, at least, they were expected and required to refuse this fellowship. 

Was this sectarian condition the reason why the church, in its organic form, had become a place where there were unbelievers, lawlessness, darkness?   See 2 Cor. 6:14-18. Probably so.  What was more natural than that each sect should try to augment its members, even if it had to take in those who gave no evidence of grace? This is why Paul, from this time forward, never said "Come in," but said emphatically, "COME OUT!" In its early days, no doubt, the church had been organized, to pattern after the Jerusalem church. Paul now saw this was a curse. Organization meant, ultimately, sectarianism. He knew the hearts of the saints were broadened; he desired that the saints themselves be broadened, in response to their own hearts. This could not be done on the inside. Therefore he would have them to come out. 

The unorganized, non-sectarian work with which I have the happy privilege to be connected, offers opportunity for every saint to serve and worship God in a way that he is free from distress. There are many who are sick of the restrictions of denominationalism, and long for a fellowship as broad as the sphere of saints. Under my ministry, and that of many others who are free from sectarianism, God has led many saints out into the open field of freedom. Ask any one of them; he will tell you he is happier than he ever was while wearing the shackles of sectarianism. 

In our work and worship, we do not claim that we know it all. We encourage scripture research. If a fresh truth is discovered we are free to accept it. Saints who worship with us are not required to accept it. If they refuse it entirely, this does not destroy our fellowship for them. We make no effort to force anyone. Our fellowship is based on conduct-not on doctrine. 

In Georgia we call our assemblies "churches of the saints." This is a scriptural name. But we do not try to force it on others. In some other states those who believe with us along the lines mentioned above, call their assemblies "classes." While we prefer the scriptural name, we make no fuss over what they call their assemblies. We believe in freedom. 

"God is not for turbulence, but peace, as in all the churches of the saints." 1 Cor.14:32. An unorganized meeting, where each one is free to believe as he sees fit, and where fellowship is not disturbed by the fact that not all see alike, cannot have turbulence. There is nothing but peace for such an assembly. But an organization, where there are certain ones in authority, where there is an iron-clad creed that violates the consciences of some of the members, and where there are certain ones continually seeking to "discipline" those they do not like, is a hot bed of turbulence. If such an organization has peace, it is to be wondered at. 

We make no demands on saints. We do not even demand that they sever their connection with sectarian orders. We know that many of them have no use for the "churches" where their "membership" is, except as places of social enjoyment. If they can get this, let them have it. They certainly do not find rest of spirit there. To find this and to hear the truth preached, they come to our assemblies. 

But it grieves us to see many saints cramped, distressed, because they are kept from expressing their fellowship for other saints, and are not allowed to serve God in communion with people who are not of their sectarian order. To such we should say, "Your hearts are broadened. You are distressed in your compassions. YOU be broadened." 

I was in a meeting where the preacher was one with whom I had enjoyed sweet fellowship in other years. In this meting he treated me as if I might have been a criminal. Going to him after the meeting had closed, I said, "I'm sorry for you. It was not in your heart to treat me as you did. And because you did treat me that way, you are distressed. You are in bondage. Your masters told you to do as you have done. If you will go to one of my meetings, I am free to treat you as a gentleman and a saint. Praise God, I am free from this bondage." 

He smiled, a slickly smile and replied, "Yes this bondage is awfully painful." His heart was broadened. He was distressed in his compassions. There are many such. 

I said we do not even demand that saints leave the sectarian orders. But we do advise it. They can hardly be free while they remain in them, unless they can become entirely unconcerned as to what may be the "disciplinary" measures such an organization might take against them. I once thought that being "out of the church" would be a calamity worse than death. I have found that it gives such happiness that there is not enough money to hire me to go back in. 

The rulers of the sectarian organization expect the members to look upon the order as the temple of God. This was one thing that was sadly the matter at Corinth. So, Paul told them to "Come out," he explained, "YOU are the temple of God." Not the organization, but the saint, is God's temple. 

Is your heart broadened, to do that which your order will not allow? Are you in distress because of it? I implore you, "You be broadened." To do this, it is better to "Come out," unless you can, while remaining completely ignore its demands.


Recently I was privileged to hold a very pleasant series of meetings in Ozark, Ala. I was pastor there when I was "orthodox." Several of those who were members of the church I served took an enthusiastic part in the meetings.

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