Brother Ruby Misrepresented?
In a recent issue of the Gospel Advocate Brother Wade Ruby of George Pepperdine College, Los Angeles, has an article in which he claims that he has been very badly misrepresented. We are not in the least surprised at the article appearing in the Gospel Advocate for that periodical has delighted in furnishing a medium for anyone on any subject who in any way took issue with the Bible Banner or anything published in it, while steadfastly refusing the publication of articles by almost anyone who appeared in any way to be allied with the Banner on any issue. If such a policy is deemed by the Advocate Editor to be the course to pursue, he is certainly at liberty as far as we are concerned to do so. When sufficient evidence can be produced by him or anyone else to successfully dispute anything we publish, we will be just as graceful as he has been recently and "retract and apologize" but he should know by this time that it takes more than just "sputing" what is said to disprove it. We try to know where we stand on matters before they are printed so that retraction and apology won't be necessary, but if it becomes necessary, we can do it just as gracefully as any one.
The first thing I would like to say about the article which Brother Ruby wrote is that it was not necessary for him to seek out the Advocate in order to have a medium for reply. The report of the Long Beach meeting was written out and a copy of it put in the hands of Brother West of Pepperdine College to be shown to Ruby, Whitten, and Derrick and these men were told that if they had anything they wanted to say about the written report of the meeting they would have the privilege. They indicated that they would have something to say but didn't. They can't cry as they usually do that they were mistreated by not being put on notice and given an. opportunity for reply. If they do, it isn't so.
Brother Ruby has been accused of some things that I had not heard about. I don't know who accused him of being a Communist nor do I know upon what such an accusation was based. I hadn't heard that one. I do not know why that part of the article was mixed in with the attempt he made to deny the Long Beach statements. The report of the Long Beach meeting had nothing to do with either Communism or
Since he mentions in his article his attitude toward premillennialism it might be endangering to many to read just how he feels toward the premillennial issue stated in his own words. We have these original letters, signed in Brother Ruby's handwriting, which will at least make it a trifle harder to claim misrepresentation on this matter though a man who will deny what he says in the presence of a whole company or people probably will not hesitate to deny that he wrote the letters also. These letters will definitely identify Brother Ruby and his attitude on premillennialism.
3764 Shafter Avenue
May 9, '35 Dear John,
"I am like you in feeling that the church is facing a dangerous situation right now. I am always for peace, if it can be obtained without sacrificing the truth. I feel that Brother Boll and followers have pushed their doctrine too much and deserve reprehension—but in a spirit of gentleness and of love. I also feel that many have been unchristian and unfair in their opposition to them. I feel that we should oppose false doctrine, but love and be gentle toward those in error that we eventually might save them. I feel that the methods of some have only driven the wedge deeper and tended to widen the breach. I feel just as Brother Armstrong expressed the matter in his last front-page article in the F. F. I also feel that Brother Armstrong has purposely been persecuted, and that some have
purposely failed to understand him. In his first article—which he waited too long to publish—stated his position clearly, but some tried to cry "on the fence." He has never been on the fence. He definitely stated in his first article that he did not believe as Brother Boll, that he believed that he had pushed his ideas too far, and that some had been too severe—not too earnest —in their opposition to them. That was clearly stated, but some have insisted on claiming, unfairly so, that he is "with Boll". He is only for truth and peace. I believe that there is possibility still of peace on the matter, but I believe that peace will never come of it. The primary fault is with those who prosecute their "non-essential beliefs" to the point of causing trouble, and secondarily, fault is with the ungentle method some have used in opposition to this teaching. So I believe that in most points the truth is with Brother Wallace, but I admire the gentleness and manhood of R. H. Boll more than I do that of Wallace, who is unkind and sometimes unchristian in his manner—if I understand Christianity.
Your friend and brother, Wade Ruby
3764 Shafted Avenue
February 27, '36 Dear John,
"I plan to be in Oklahoma City for two weeks this summer, preaching for the congregation for which Bill Mattox is preaching. I preached there two years ago, and found a church very spiritual and wide awake. Of course, I am aware of the fact that there are those who would not recognize the brethren there, because there are some there who sympathize, rather I should say believe as Bro. Boll believes. As for my part. I refuse to fellowship anyone who believes that Jesus will reign on the earth for a thousand years. And, in like manner, I am never amazed if someone wants to 'mark' me for refusing to cast from my fellowship those who are premillennialist. I am aware of the fact that there are some legalists who would mark me for preaching at twelfth and Drexel, but my aim is not to be popular with anyone with whom I have to draw lines where I find no authority in the scripture for drawing them. Now I perfectly agree that anyone who causes trouble and division over any point about which he is a hobbyist, should be marked. But where one is honestly led through a study of the scripture to believe that Jesus will come at the beginning of the millennium, I will not say to him that he is a rank heretic, and that he can not enjoy my fellowship. Neither will I say that ONE can believe and Teach what he thinks the Bible teaches on the subject, while another should ONLY BELIEVE—but must keep perfectly quiet. Such a spirit is sectarian in itself. I believe that love would heal every breach among us. I believe that one who casts out a brother merely because he is a premillennialist makes a grave mistake. I believe, however, that one who marks a
trouble maker does good. But we may sometimes mistake the offender for the one being offended, and vice-versa. That is exactly the way I feel about the whole so-called Boll Question. If one would call me a fence-rider, or would say that I am afflicted with a bad case of 'neutralitis', let him do so and make the best of it. He can not prevent my serving God through preaching the gospel. We should be at peace over such differences, and let love of brethren rule in every sermon and in every paper in a newspaper.
"I am one of the so called cursed weaklings who believe that the dangers of premillennialism have been magnified, and even misrepresented. Brother Wallace can cry out—"Premillennialism dethrones Christ"—and make it look like a very scary thing. But after all we all look forward to a time when Christ shall reign differently from the way he rules now. All of us can mention in our prayers the 'upper and better kingdom', but when someone mentions that he feels that Christ shall reign on earth for a thousand years before the upper and better kingdom, we are tempted to pronounce upon him the curse of excommunication. Why can't a person believe that, and still enjoy the fellowship of the people of God. Things when Christ comes will be just as God has planned them regardless of our different beliefs concerning those things. To fight and fuss over them would take time from things which are spiritually edifying. We if not careful will be like the people in the Old Testament who destroyed themselves by fighting with themselves. I am sure that I do not mean that just any kind of heretical teaching should be passed by, but I do mean that I feel that the things which are being enlarged now to such a high point of pre-eminence will lead to a slowing up of the growth of the church both in numbers and in spirit. We are prone to become so engrossed in such things that we neglect "the weightier matters of the law', whereby growth results.
Your friend and brother, Wade Ruby
Excerpts from these letters were quoted in articles in the Bible Banner September, 1940, with the following comment from Brother Wallace.
"But Premillennialism has its personal representative in the College through Wade Ruby, head of the English Department, and an ardent disciple of J. N. Armstrong. He believes what Brother Armstrong does on the Premillennial question, which means that he is a premillennialist. I told Brother Baxter this (when he asked me) and he afterward found it out for himself. In a letter to John Bannister, of Oklahoma City, Brother Ruby wrote:
" I am one of the accursed weaklings who believes that the dangers of Premillennialism have been magnified, and even misrepresented. Brother Wallace can cry out "Premillennialism dethrones Christ" — and make it look like a very scary thing. But after all we all look forward to a time when Christ shall reign differently from the way he rules now.
"The letter continues in that vein. While Brother Ruby is not in the Bible Department, he is nevertheless a preacher and a teacher in the College and will impart that attitude to those whom he influences the most. There is no excuse for any of our colleges retaining men of such weak attitude on important questions. Those who went to school with Wade Ruby, and even some of his relatives, know and admit that he is a premillennialist, and say that he got it from J. N. Armstrong. As for "Brother Wallace" crying that "Premillennialism dethrones Christ"—both Brother Tiner and Brother Sanders have recently "cried" the same thing. Yet they have a man on their faculty who charges that they have "magnified, and even misrepresented" it when they did so. It is of little use to declare against a thing if we turn right around and compromise the issue by retaining men who declare against what has been declared. (And that goes for present-day modernism in G. P. C.) Our schools should be renovated of premillennial influence and softism from the attic to the cellar. They cannot be true to the trust of their patrons unless it is done. It is wrong to make public statements that a school is sound and at the same time keep unsound teachers in it."
Out of the report of the Long Beach meeting Brother Ruby picked one matter to dispute. He denies that he said in that meeting that there are Christians in denominational churches. He says that he was misrepresented in having such a statement attributed to him and that such is not his attitude. He always has believed in the oneness of the Church, he tells us. He denies that he said in response to the question, "Will these children of God be saved in these denominational institutions if they continue in them until death," "It depends upon their attitude". Of course in this denial the readers have Brother Ruby's word against more than a dozen others who heard him say it. He considers such a source as the word of a dozen preachers of the gospel, most of whom live in the vicinity of Los Angeles, as unreliable. He charges all of them with misrepresentation. He is telling the truth about what he said, and all of the rest of us, who heard what he said have falsified about the matter. That is the best he can do toward defending himself in this matter. If any falsifying is being done about the Long Beach meeting, Brother Ruby is doing it. There is no basis for explaining such an attitude upon Brother Ruby's part. All the charity that can be exercised still does not erase some pertinent facts:
1. If the statement which he made at Long Beach does not correctly represent his attitude, why hasn't he been man enough to say that he misrepresented himself instead of accusing the rest of us of it. If there has been any misrepresenting, he has misrepresented himself. He might have been beside himself, under pressure, excited, or in the heat of discussion he could have made a statement that did not correctly set forth his views. Any of these explanations could have been made with grace and would have been accepted at face value with a retraction of what he said. But instead of such an explanation, he prefers to charge all of us who heard him say what he said with misrepresentation. Remember too that this comes from one of the brethren who believes in being sweet, generous, liberal, and manifesting the spirit of Christ and who are always talking about it. Rather an ugly spirit for such a sweet disposition, don't you think?
2. What Brother Ruby means by misrepresentation and unreliable sources can include two or three things. He could mean that we are willfully falsifying the whole matter and maliciously misrepresenting him. He can hardly bring himself to make such a public charge though beneath the surface a disposition has been shown to want to do it and wish that it were so and could be established. Is Brother Ruby arrogant enough to believe that brethren will take his word against the testimony of all who signed the report of the meeting? Surely not. What would be the motive behind such malicious misrepresentation upon our part? I am sure that he has nothing that any of us want and as far as a reputation for truth and veracity is concerned, which one of us could not compare favorably with him? The charge is without foundation of fact or reason. It simply is not so.
Does he mean that he did not make himself clear and that he misrepresented his own attitude? If so, whose fault is that and what would the unreliable source be in that case? He repeated his position under questions which were directed to him. If he can't state what he believes under such circumstances, he is the unreliable one in the matter.
Does he mean that we did not or could not understand what he said about what he believes? These super-educated brethren often take the attitude that the common herd simply does not possess intelligence enough to understand their deep mental attitudes. The most of us, however, think we have sense enough to understand anything they have sense enough to say. Why are they being so often misunderstood anyway? If it is so difficult for them to make themselves clear they are at poor business trying to preach the gospel or teach in any body's school. This cry of misunderstanding has been raised too often by them. If a P. H. D. can't help a man be understood, and it looks like it doesn't very often, then he should stop short of it if he wants to be understood. The trouble, with the most of us is that people understand us without any trouble.
The whole thing resolves itself into a matter of fact. Did he say such a thing or didn't he? You saw the report where twelve of us say that he did. Others present will say the same thing. We still say he said it. We heard him say it. If what he said doesn't correctly represent what he believes, that is his fault and failure and not ours but he should be honest enough to say so.
The peculiar thing is that before he finishes his article he admits what he is denying in effect. He states that we would not say that there will be no Baptists in heaven. Well! Does Brother Ruby believe that there will be some Baptists saved? He won't say that there won't be. That means that he won't say that a man can't go to heaven and stay in the Baptist church all of his life. Who is Brother Ruby to judge whether or not Baptists will be saved anyway? or Methodists? or Presbyterians? or Catholics? Or Adventists? or Mormons? or Christian Scientists? or infidels, for that matter? Brother Ruby says he can't be the judge by saying that all such will not be saved. It would be interesting to know just what Brother Ruby thinks a man must believe and do in order to be saved. It would be even more interesting to know what Bro. Ruby believes a man would have to believe and do in order to be lost. What would Brother Ruby say in response to these questions?
1—Can a man live a life of obedience to the Lord in the Baptist Church?
2—Can a man believe New Testament teaching and believe Baptist doctrine?
3—Can a man worship God acceptably in the Baptist church?
4—Can a man serve God to his honor and glory in the Baptist Church?
5—Can a man submit to the government of God's Church and be a Baptist?
6—Can a man have fellowship with the saints in the household of God and be a Baptist?
7—Can a man offer acceptable sacrifices unto God through Jesus Christ in the Baptist Church?
8—If Brother Ruby would answer these questions, we would then want to know —Can a man go to heaven without living a life of obedience to God? without believing the truth? without worshipping God acceptably? without serving God? without submitting to the government of God for his people? without fellowship with the saints? without offering acceptable sacrifices unto God? Maybe we can get the matter down to the point where even Brother Ruby will know what he believes. Consider it from another angle:
1—Can a man be a Christian and subscribe to the doctrines and commandments of men?
2—Can a man he a Christian and have no part in the work of the Lord's Church?
3—Can a man be a Christian and never observe the Lord's Supper or at the best do it only once in awhile?
4—Can a man be a Christian and make no contribution to the advancement of the Lord's Cause?
5--If denominationalism is wrong and sinful, can a man be a Christian and encourage, aid, take part in it?
That gets the matter down to a basis where we can all understand it. What do you say Brother Ruby? What is your position about these matters?
Does Brother Ruby believe that man in his heathen state can discover God and come to worship him without any knowledge of divine revelation. He argued such in the Long Beach meeting and does not deny that in his article in the Advocate. It would be enlightening for him to state his position on these matters also.
One of the strange things is that Brother Whitten undertook to deny the part Brother Ruby was silent about and Brother Whitten admits the part Brother Ruby denies. The following quotation from a letter written by Brother Whitten will endorse this. This excerpt from a long letter from Brother Whitten will show you what I mean. I do not quote the whole letter for it would serve no purpose except to show that Brother Whitten is beside himself, ugly in his disposition, and hurls a lot of charges against those who heard him say what he said in language too plain and positive to be misunderstood. These brethren denying that they said what our ears heard them say simply means that they are impeaching their own testimony. No wonder they are misunderstood in their own eyes. It is utterly impossible to determine when to believe them and to know when they are telling the truth. A man who will deny what a whole company of people heard him say is either entirely beside himself or has absolutely no regard for his reputation as to truth and veracity much less for truth and veracity itself. But here is Brother Whitten's admission that he believes what Brother Ruby says he did not say. Yet these brethren were entirely in agreement in the meeting as far as anyone could tell.
" There are some of God's children Christians—Members of the Lord's Church —people who have obeyed the Gospel in human denominations — Methodists, Baptists, etc. Brother Whitten cited his father who is in the Baptist Church and said that he wouldn't judge him.' This statement very nearly expresses my opinion, although I am sure that the Methodists were not mentioned at the meeting. I cannot specify with exactness all of God's people and neither can you. I can and do affirm with the Scripture that baptized, penitent believers of the Gospel of Christ become members of His body, the church,--Christians only. If thereafter they become denominational and sectarian in attitude, faith and practice they are in error and need correction. I condemn this error but God alone shall resign them to their ultimate destinations—I will not."
Yet they stood together in the Long Beach meeting and came to each other's rescue repeatedly. Maybe these boys had better get together in a Bible class and be taught the truth instead of trying to teach it to others.