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Eighty Years in the “ Evening Light” by Lawrence Pruitt Faith and Victory March 1961
Eighty Years in the “ Evening Light”
“ Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, W e will not walk therein. Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto m y words, nor to my law, but rejected it.”
Jeremiah 6:16, 19.
In this chapter the prophet Jeremiah laments God’s judgments against ancient Jerusalem and proclaims His wrath upon the people because they refused to hearken unto God’s words and admonition to walk in the “ old paths” and “ the good way” that they might find rest to their souls. They said emphatically, “ We will not walk therein.
Ancient Jerusalem as the chosen people o f God is a type or symbol of the spiritual city of New Jerusalem, the Church of God in this gospel dispensation. Zechariah, the prophet, looking forward to the evening time of the gospel day, declared: “ But it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem. . . . In that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” Zech. 14: 7b, 8a, 9b. In fulfillment of this prophecy, the blessed evening light began to shine forth in 1880 when D. S. Warner, a true reformer in every sense of the word, along with other men of God, stepped out o f and declared their freedom from all man-made organizations called churches. They did not organize another church, but recognized and scripturally maintained that they were already members of the Church that Jesus built hundreds of years before and set in operation on the day of Pentecost. Christ was set forth as the Door and Head o f His spiritual body, the Church, and the means o f induction into that Body was by the experience o f the new birth alone—a spiritual resurrection from the dead state o f sin. Man-rule and human methods of church membership were discarded. The true church was scripturally declared to be separate and distinct from all the creeds of men. The two witnesses— the Word and the Spirit—were restored to their rightful positions as governors of Hie Church. An urgent call for the unity of all God’s people in the holy bonds of love, for which Jesus prayed, was sounded abroad. Even to sect Babylon resounded the command: “ Come out o f her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18:4; 2 Cor. 6:17.
With this restored light on the Word o f God burning in his soul, Bro. Warner began, in 1881, the publication of the paper called the Gospel Trumpet which was a private venture and did not officially come under church control until 36 years later, in 1917. As a result o f this unique message of truth, a host of the ransomed o f the Lord returned and came to “ Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads.”Isa. 35:10. This precious truth spread like a prairie fire over the country amid much opposition and persecution. Many were saved, sanctified, and called to the gospel work. The doctrines of holiness, two definite works of grace, divine physical healing, the ordinances of baptism by immersion, the Lord’s supper and feet washing, the one true Church, racial equality and desegregation, plainness and modesty of dress, and simplicity of living were faithfully proclaimed and practiced. All unnecessaiy articles o f dress, outward adornment, and conformity to worldly fashions were laid aside by the saints in light. However, no external condition or appearance alone was made a test o f fellowship. The individual’s light on God’s Word alone rates his responsibility. The test o f fellowship is that of the spirit—whether there is a willingness to walk in the light of Christ’s teachings. “ If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another. . . ” 1 John 1:7. They “ reached their hands in fellowship to every blood-washed one, while love entwines about each heart in which God’s will is done.”
Ere long the powers o f darkness moved to cripple the reform movement by division. In 1898 the “ anticleansing heresy” arose and a number o f prominent ministers left the main body. However, some returned later. They believed that the carnal nature is removed at the moment of conversion and therefore there could be no cleansing in the second work o f grace, but the truth marched on.
After thirty years (1880-1910) under the blazing light o f the evening time, innovations, apostasy and compromise developed on a broad front in the movement. This situation is admitted and verified by C. E. Brown, former editor of the Trumpet, under the subject, “ Changing Patterns in the Movement.” He writes: “ A radical change came over the movement. Perhaps the first was the appearance of segregation in the North. The segregation o f the races into separate congregations rapidly came to pass during the First World War. Once started, the new order [an innovation] spread rapidly till it became practically universal.”
The following is the exact copy of a resolution adopted at a campmeeting in 1911 and approved by the General Assembly:
“ Whereas, There has been of late considerable agitation amongst us in regard to necktie wearing and“
"Whereas, Extreme positions have been taken, some for and some against it, it has seemed pleasing to the Lord that the question be considered by the ministers attending this camp meeting and that a statement be given. Accordingly, there assembled at 9:30 on June 7, 1911, twenty- five ministers representing eighteen states, and the following is their unanimous decision.“
1. That there is no good reason for a change in what for years has been the general attitude of the church in this country in regard to the matter, namely, that the wearing o f the tie is a thing to be discouraged as being unnecessary and as tending to the spirit o f the world.“
2. That liberty be given to its being worn by those whose consciences do not forbid their doing so on occasions when their business or other extreme circumstances require it.”
Under the heading of “ Changes in Ascetical Practices” C. E. Brown comments on the resolution in these words: “ Anybody who knows human nature would know at once that the concession made in the last paragraph would mean the end of the anti-necktie custom.”
Bro. C. E. Orr writes in the year 1933: “ I became connected with this reformation 43 years ago. Very few, in fact none now living, has been more closely associated with D. S. Warner than this writer. He has heard him preach hundreds of times; been with him in a number of revivals; had him for months living in my home and being with us in our family altar. For a considerable time we lived on the same campground, and I was with him through his last illness and up until within a few hours o f his death. I know well what he taught, and what he practiced. He was editor o f The Gospel Trumpet. Among the many things he taught as being evil was the wearing o f the necktie. He held this as being an adornment, which is forbidden in the Scriptures. He did not make it a test of fellowship, nor any other material thing. There was not an established preacher or brother among us 40 years ago who wore a “ tie” . The man who became editor after the death o f D. S. Warner wrote a tract entitled, “ Little Things” , in which he strongly denounced the wearing o f the “ tie.” A number o f years later when some ministers in Pennsylvania had donned the “ tie” this editor denounced it through the paper as a “ downright compromise o f the devil.” However, a little later the innovation was brought in, and accepted by the majority o f the ministers o f that movement. A division was the result. Many may say that the wearing of the tie is a very small matter, and that there is no principle of righteousness violated by wearing it. It is not our purpose at this time to discuss this question, only to say that it was large enough and worldly enough to set the movement on the fastest decline ever known to any religious movement in the history of the Church. If we had followed them in this first innovation in order to save from a division, we would have to have followed them in the second for the same reason, and would have to follow them to where they have now declined, which would mean the losing of our soul. These people are as worldly today as many o f the sects and more worldly than some o f them. They have their Year Book in which is registered the names of their ministers, the numbers of their congregations, the number o f members in the congregations, and the valuation o f their church property. They have their schools, their salaried ministers, their Reverends, their D. D’s, their pulpit committees, their preaching programs, their pageants, plays, fairs, banquets, suppers, costly church buildings orchestras, pipe organs, their ministers exchanging pulpits with sectarian ministers, joining ministerial associations, and are recognized by the sects as a sect among the sects.”
C. E. Brown writes: “ The second notable split-off began as early as 1910 when a few ministers urged the wearing of the necktie. Once the dike was broken, the wearing of the tie became common and a large group of ministers withdrew and started a little paper called the Herald of Truth. This movement went on for some ten years, but it finally died out, with the exception of a few small groups.”
True, the majority o f the ministers accepted the innovation, but a “ large group of ministers withdrew” about 1910-1914 and stood for the original teachings of the reformation. Therefore, those accepting the innovations were the division-makers.
Even the civil courts ruled that the Trumpet movement had forsaken their former teachings. With reference to the General Southern campground at Hammond, La. which was established in 1907 (and still in use by the saints with Bro. Max Williamson, pastor), C. E. Brown wrote: “ In 1916 this campground was lost to the movement by a schism.” He did not state how or why it was lost. The fact is that the courts definitely ruled that they were not entitled to the property because they had departed from their prior teachings.
Bro. C. E. Orr, one of the pioneer ministers who stood for the original teachings, began publishing the paper, Herald of Truth, in California after 1910. Later, during the First World War, the office of the paper was moved to Carthage, Mo. and placed under thirteen trustees scattered over the country. It operated there about five years and suspended publication in the early 1920’s. In 1927 this writer attended the last campmeeting held at Carthage, Mo.
Contrary to C. E. Brown’s statement above, the movement standing for the “ old paths” and the “ good way” did not “ die out.” However, some individuals did go into fanaticism or liberalism. Many ministers and congregations in several states contended “ for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.” A few of the older ministers were: C. E. Orr, Addison Kriebel, George E. Harmon, Willis M. Brown, Frank Williamson, Henry Robinson, G. W. Winn, James Glasgow, C. S. Forbes, George Bolds, S. M. Helm, Julia Myers, W. M. Wilson, Cornelia A. Sunderland, Ostis B. and Mattie (Bolds) Wilson. All o f these are now deceased.
In the year o f 1918 my father, Fred Pruitt, moved with his family to Guthrie, Okla. from Clovis, New Mex. where there was a congregation o f the true Church under the leadership of Bro. George Harmon. In that area my father had previously heard the truth of the reformation, was converted and answered the Lord’s call to the ministry about the year 1915. A t Guthrie he continued in evangelistic work, as well as working with another in the printing and circulation o f gospel literature. In the year 1923 he launched out on his own by faith, and with the aid o f a few close associates, he began (free o f charge) the publication of this paper, Faith and Victory, which has continued and expanded through the years. Feeling a definite call o f God and seeing the urgent need for worldwide gospel literature evangelism, he placed all o f his earthly possessions, which included several thousand dollars, into buildings and printing machinery for the production o f Christian literature. In the first issue dated March, 1923, he writes editorially: “ The fact that Satan uses the printed page to deceive and sidetrack souls is a good sign that it can be used mightily of God fo r good. As far as we know the mind and will o f God, this paper will be devoted to the upbuilding o f God’s people wherever they are and whoever they may be, ‘for in every nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted o f Him.’ ” Then, as always, this paper is published in the interest of God's people who compose the one and only true Church o f God in this “ evening light.” It stands committed to the teachings and practices o f the thirty years o f the Reformation prior to 1910, and open for more or additional light, but not the “ new light” which eclipses or hides the truths which brought forth this precious reformation.
The publishing work is supported mainly through free-will offerings, as the present small subscription price on the paper does not pay the cost o f producing it. Then through the Free Literature Fund thousands o f papers, tracts, and books are printed and mailed out free of charge. Where prices on literature are quoted, they do not cover all the costs, so this is primarily and essentially a faith work with the aim to carry the gospel to “ every creature” in obedience to the Great Commission which Jesus gave to His Church. A Missionary Fund is also maintained to aid the readers in relaying missionary offerings to home and foreign missionary work. An expansion o f the office building is now undertaken to further spread the glorious gospel o f Christ. About 12,000 copies o f this issue o f the paper are being printed.
In the issue o f March, 1928, o f Faith and Victory, Bro. C. E. Orr announced his burden to edit a paper especially for children and young people, entitled The Path o f Life. He began publication immediately here at Guthrie, Okla., but the same year (1928) he accepted the pastorate at Hammond, La. where he continued The Path o f Life until 1932 when he merged it with the Faith and Victory and assumed the editing of the last six pages until his death in Sept., 1933. He was laid to rest in Summit View Cemetery at Guthrie, the place marked by a modest stone bearing the epitaph: “ Thy memory shall ever be a guiding star to heaven.
In 1949 my sister, Mrs. Anna Marie Miles, then living in California, recognized the need for a children’s paper. Accordingly, that year she began editing a new paper, The Beautiful Way, which is printed and mailed from Faith Pub. House. In 1954 she, with her family, moved to Guthrie and has been active in writing and ‘publishing the gospel.
The reformation in this “ evening time” liberally a restoration movement, bringing back to the Church the truths and practices which prevailed in the* morning Church of the first century. Over the years God has given more light and understanding on His Word. In the 1930’s a general forward move in the work of God was noted. More ministers were on the field, more campmeetings and assembly meetings were held, and many souls were added to the Church through salvation. The National Campmeeting, held annually at Monark Springs (Neosho), Mo., was started in 1938, and the attendance and interest has been increasing ever since. The meeting this year will be held, Lord willing, on July 21 to 30, 1961. A cordial invitation is extended to everyone to attend.
“ Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” — Lawrence D. P
Biblical Trace of the Church
William G. Schell, pub.1897
Barney E. Warren, pub.1897
The church of the morning bright,
Like crystal so clear her light,
Triumphant, she knew no fears;
In finest white linen dressed,
Pure holiness she possessed
Two hundred and sev’nty years.
Hell never can destroy the church,
Built by the Savior’s hands;
Upon the Rock, the solid Rock,
Christ Jesus, still she stands;
In spite of persecution’s flood,
And gates of hell forsooth;
She’s still the kingdom of the Lord,
The pillar of the truth.
The sun went down ere his time,
The moon also ceased to shine,
Left Zion in bitter tears;
No star then appeared in sight,
Oh, long dreary papal night!
Twelve hundred and sixty years.
A rising the sun of day,
Disperses the night away
While popery quakes with fears;
Shone dimly the gospel ray,
There followed a cloudy day—
Three hundred and fifty years.
We welcome the evening light;
The gospel so clear and bright
Breaks forth as in days of yore;
The mists are all cleared away,
All hail the supernal day!
The sun shall go down no more.
(Jer 6:16) Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
(Jer 6:17) Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.
(Jer 6:18) Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.
(Jer 6:19) Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.
(2Co 6:17) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
(Isa 35:10) And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
(1Jn 1:7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
The Evening Light
Daniel S. Warner
Brighter days are sweetly dawning,
Oh, the glory looms in sight!
For the cloudy day is waning,
And the evening shall be light.
Oh, what golden glory streaming!
Purer light is coming fast;
Now in Christ we’ve found a freedom
Which eternally shall last.
Misty fogs, so long concealing
All the hills of mingled night,
Vanish, all their sin revealing,
For the evening shall be light.
Lo, the ransomed are returning,
Robed in shining crystal white,
Leaping, shouting home to Zion,
Happy in the evening light.
Free from Babel in the Spirit,
Free to worship God aright,
Joy and gladness we’re receiving,
Oh, how sweet this evening light.
Hallelujah! saints are singing,
Victory in Jehovah’s might;
Glory! glory! keep it ringing,
We are saved in evening light.
(Rev 18:4) And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
(2Co 6:17) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
(Zec 14:7) But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
(Zec 14:8) And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.
(Zec 14:9) And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.