This from the August 1942 issue of Apostolic Times, a monthly published in Nashville by James A. Allen. In 1941 Allen is in his late fifties. He has been editor of Apostolic Times, a paper he originated and printed himself, for a decade. He preceded Foy E. Wallace, Jr. as editor of the Gospel Advocate, serving in that capacity for most of the 1920’s until 1930. Though not a student of either David Lipscomb or James A. Harding at Nashville Bible School, Allen claims both as his teachers and mentors. Allen’s family worshiped at South College Street Christian Church in South Nashville where Lipscomb was an elder and Harding often preached. His father, J. G. Allen, was an elder with Harding at Green Street Church of Christ, a congregation planted by South College Street. Late in life he worshiped at Duke Street Church of Christ in northeast Nashville. Allen spent all of his life, that I can find, preaching and teaching for these three congregations (South College in 1920 moved a block east and took the name Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ). He, of course, preached often elsewhere in meetings.
Allen’s paper opposes all shades of secularism, denominationalism, premillennialism, worldliness and modernism in Churches of Christ. Allen hesitates little, it seems, to call names. He praises his friends as strongly as he censures his opponents. He envisions a simple and primitive Christianity and urges his readers in every issue of the paper to stay with the Bible and with the historic Restoration Plea. He frequently contributes articles to the Times (as he did in the pages of Advocate) fleshing out his understanding of both of these…the Bible and the Restoration.
This item appears on page 152, as the editorial of the August issue:
Dear Bro. Allen:
I read the Apostolic Times every month, and I think it is a very splendid paper.
There is a question I would like for you to answer for me: Can a man who is a Christian participate in carnal warfare and still remain a Christian? I know that it is wrong to kill, but if he is commanded by civil authorities to do something else, what must he do?
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No, a Christian cannot engage in carnal warfare. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh (for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds.” (1 Cor. 10;3, 4.) “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-ruler of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.’ (Eph. 6:12)
The position occupied by the churches of Christ has been known and accepted by the Federal Government for many years, and it is nothing less than a tragedy that a few have recently endeavored to compromise it. They argue that a man is in one sphere as a Christian and that the same man can act in a totally different sphere as a citizen.
But to assume that any one can live one sort of life as a Christian, in one sphere, and that he can step out of that sphere into another, and in the other do things that all recognize he cannot do as a Christian, is to assume that a Christian can live a sort of Dr. Jeckel [sic] and Mr. Hyde kind of life that utterly incompatible with the teaching of Christ. The genius who thought up this absurdity ought to be real ashamed of his brain-child. The Christian life embraces every thought and action. When a man steps outside of it into another sphere he ceases to be a Christian.
God is the Ruler and Governor of the universe. He is over-ruling all. He is using every man for the work that that man has fitted himself to do. He does not use Christians for work they cannot do as Christians.
It is not a question of love for or loyalty to this great country. We are living under the greatest and best form of government in the world. We would gladly give our lives for this glorious land of freedom and liberty if we could do it without violating the law of God as given in the New Testament. The influence of the gospel is what has made the United States great and the greatest service a Christian can render his country is not to engage in carnal war but to labor for the spread of the gospel.
Some ask, Suppose a ruffian should attack your wife or daughter, would you kill him? such a question is like asking what would become of the man who was killed on his way to be baptized. Questions of this kind involve consequences and consequences are in the hands of God. It is our part to obey God. What happens when we obey Him is in His hands.
Allen does not print the querist’s name. We are left to wonder whether it is a potential infantryman or one’s wife, mother or child. We do not know if the author is a preacher. We do not know if he or she is young or old. In the end it matters little for us because there is no way we can know; it seems to have mattered none for J.A.A. and he very likely knew. What I think is certain is that our anonymous writer is very concerned about the war and very concerned about how to live out in its midst a faithful Christian commitment. This is Allen’s concern as well.