Sunday, November 09, 2008

Floyd Mallott - part 3 of 3

In 1980, Dale Brown wrote an interpretive essay about Floyd Mallott. We begin with excerpts related to Mallott's decision to be re-baptized into the German Baptist Church after 50+ years of membership in the Church of the Brethren and 35 years as a faculty member at Bethany.

Why did one who had been a missionary to Nigeria, a part-time pastor, and a teacher at Bethany leave the Church of the Brethren at the time of his retirement?

Mallott was never a good organizational man. He may have feared that had he retired in a Church of the Brethren community all kinds of things might be expected of him. Such pressures would have interfered with the kind of retirement he coveted, one of having great freedom to meditate, to reflect, to read, and to be with his dogs in nature.

More appropriate, however than such conjectures is to take him at his word as he describes his baptism at the thirteeenth year of life .... [see Apologia entry yesterday]
In my only visit to Mallott in Southern Ohio following his retirement ... He ... proceeded to tell me that in no way did he want to sever his relationship with the Church of the Brethren. Although his baptism may be taken as a sign of his protest against many of the trends of the largest body of Brethren, he stated in the Apologia on the banks of the stream his deep feelings about the sense of continuity he wished to maintain with the denomination he was leaving.....
Mallott retired just a few miles from Eaton where Ellis Guthrie has been pastor for many years. Ellis reports that the last time he visited him in the hospital the conversation turned to the Church of the Brethren. Ellis voiced his concern and diasappointment at some trends in the church. But to his surprise, Mallott gently rebuked him and stated his confidence and respect for the Church of the Brethren and the church at large. And the professor witnessed again as he had so many times before that he really believed the Lord of the Church who promised: "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Brown adds the following statement about Mallott: Mallott taught that one of the major philosophical ingredients of Pietism was simply the assumption: to be religious was to be good. This ethical humanitarian concern was translated into the Christian context in the simple affirmation: to be Christian is to be like Jesus.

Brown writes: In his last personal letter to me, he concluded with a statement he had sometimes shared in the classroom: "Said old Elder Joel Montgomery, ‘We believe that God has a people and is doing something for our world. We don’t presume to say how many people God has nor exactly what He is doing (Deut 29:29) but we believe we are of God’s people and we believe this Brotherhood of our will endure until Jesus comes.’ I have never found a better viewpoint from which to read Church History."

Generation of Brethren ministers who attended Bethany from 1927 to 1962 appreciated the teaching of Floyd Mallott.

Source: Dale Brown, "Floyd Mallot", Brethren Life and Thought Spring 1980