Disturbing Reports From The West
When a report is a matter of rumor it should not be repeated much less printed to the hurt of an institution. But when the things said are verified by men of integrity, they should be given necessary and impartial attention. We should not be respecters of institutions any more than of persons. The high regard that this editor has for Brother George Pepperdine, recognition of his fine character, unquestioned integrity and genuine sincerity, have all been affirmed with emphasis in this paper. This personal attitude toward the founder of George Pepperdine College and faith in his pure intentions, are here reaffirmed. But the philanthropies of Brother Pepperdine are being directed away from the interests of the cause of Christ, due largely to the fact that his agencies and institutions have been in the hands of men who themselves are not grounded in the fundamental principles of the church and in the knowledge of the truth.
The reports from sources that have been verified as trustworthy are as follows:
1. That most of the guest speakers at chapel services have been sectarian, denominational preachers—Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Jew, and Catholic. That the plan of rotating the city preachers puts members of the church, gospel preachers, very much in the minority, as much so as in any public school adopting that plan of chapel services.
2. That the president of the college introduced the denominational guest speaker as "Reverend." Upon one occasion a Presbyterian minister was allowed to teach in chapel exercise his theological doctrine of Calvinism without reply, but later a member of the faculty, who is a member of the church, was rebuked for reading a text on baptism and commenting on it for his chapel talk. The president of the school called him down for doing it.
3. That students have left the school because of low standards of conduct, worldliness and lack of spirituality in the school.
4. That some of the things being done are defended on the ground that the college is a secular and "not a church school."
5. That the main source of trouble seems to be in having a young president who craves popularity and publicity, belongs to many clubs and organizations of social, political and religious nature, and is so full of the "Dale Carnegie" idea of selling himself that he can do nothing except "pat everyone on the back."
6. That the president of the college spoke for the Methodist Church on Easter Sunday and excused it on the ground that "he spoke as a representative of the college and did not represent the church."
7. That the Dean is a "modern" from Duke University, with ideas of the "new approach," does not believe in discipline, and the word "don't" is not in his vocabulary. In short, the trouble is in having a young president that is "carried about by every wind of doctrine" and a modern dean who is not grounded in the truth, and both of them "flirting with the denominations."
7. That a number of faculty members are plainly distressed with the conditions, some have quit, others are trying to make things what they should be, and that young preachers who have gone out from the college do not give it their support, and that unrest and confusion prevail in faculty and student body.
8. That the college conditions have been transferred to the church because the president and faculty members preach for the church, and in one instance have attempted to depose elders and replace them with men who were favorable to the college and its policies. This congregation, near the college, has had endless trouble from men who have collaborated to bring the congregation under the domination of the college. They have maintained that the church is a democracy and should be ruled entirely by the majority vote of the members and not by the elders. They asked the elders to resign, contending that any decisions should be made by the whole group of members and of the college, including the president and dean, with the exception of one, and he is Jimmie Lovell.
The Bible Banner has no desire to harm any worthy institution nor hinder any legitimate endeavor. But public institutions that involve the cause of Christ and effect the future of t h e church through young people influenced by them, should not be shielded from criticism when conditions become as sadly and badly mixed up as they appear to be in the California College. If Brother Hugh Tiner, the President of the college, wishes to distinguish himself by service to the cause of Christ rather than popularity with the California public, he will set himself to the task of rectifying these conditions. If it is denied that these things exist, then we can only say that something exists that has disturbed and distressed some mighty good people of both mental and spiritual discernment, in and out of the college. It would be difficult to make the public believe that there is nothing to it.
If the colleges among us continue to look to the members of the church for patronage and support, it is their solemn duty to make these schools worthy of the trust and confidence of all Christian people, rather than the objects of distrust and suspicion.
F. E. W. Jr.
In 1942 from the pen of Brother Foy E. Wallace, Jr., came this appeal above to George Pepperdine College. Instead of working toward the correction and elimination of these points of criticism, those responsible for the college have rather taken the attitude that the college does not belong to the brethren, it is privately endowed, and its affairs are run by a Board of directors, some of whom along with some of the officials of the school and some of the teachers are reputed to have life time positions; they are not amenable to anyone and do not propose to listen to anyone but will direct the affairs of the school to suit themselves whatever the brotherhood thinks. Of course, that is all right and none of us would presume to tell them how to run the school, but if they expect to maintain the good will and patronage of the brethren, and have the opportunity to do good, they will have to maintain the school in such a way as to merit and retain the respect of brethren. They cannot have their cake and eat it too. If they expect all of us to sit quietly by while they advertise a school with influence, environment and teaching that is Christian, when it is everything else but that they have another think coming and the high handed attitude that they take in telling us that they will run the school to suit themselves will not prevent our telling the brethren that the school is not the place to send their children for training in Christian character and usefulness and that the teaching there will do everything else but strengthen faith. If our young men who are planning to preach the gospel want to go to school where the teaching will be weakening to their own faith to the point that they will soon neither know what they believe or what the truth is that should be taught to others, they couldn't choose more wisely this side of Chicago University. All of us had rather see the school eliminate all these criticisms and objections and accomplish the great good that it could do. There is certainly nothing personal in any objection that has been raised. Our interest in the whole matter is the effect on truth and the souls of men as well as the cause of Christ in general that such teaching will have.