Jimmie Lovells Advice To A Young Preacher
A young preacher in the West has been having trouble with elders--rather, I imagine, the elders have been having trouble with him. He appeals to the erudite Jimmie Lovell for comfort, consolation--and advice. When it comes to talking about the elders of the church, Jimmie Lovell is full of advice. The fact is, he does not like elders. He has never been able to get along with them for any length of time in any church. It is a matter of knowledge that he could not get along with the elders of the Central Church in Los Angeles, and they could not get along with him any better than he could with them. They just wouldn't do a lot of things Jimmie wanted them to do. So Jimmie up and leaves the Central Church, goes to another congregation in the city where he announced publicly that his reason for so doing was that the elders of the Central church would not "let him work"! The truth was, of course, that they would not let him "work" them. In a little while Jimmie was not getting along with the elders of that church. He threatened to leave it, and start one where he could work. Finally, he did leave it (it seems) as his reports of what "we" are doing now bear date lines from a congregation in Hollywood. Maybe they will let him work!
In his paper Jimmie says, "I want to read you a letter"--and he passes on the weeping and wailing of some young preacher who couldn't get along with the elders of the church. Then Jimmie repeats a great statement he has been making "for the past twenty years," namely, that the greatest "drawback" to members of the church, especially preachers, that want to "work," is "unqualified leaders"-yes, he shouts it--UNQUALIFIED LEADERS! But the catch to that is, first, they are all unqualified when they refuse to let Jimmie do the leading; and, second, it is not elders that Jimmie wants--he wants leaders, yes, LEADERS in capital letters. Give us "leaders" that will "let" Jimmie Lovell "work"!
After all of this, commenting on the young preacher's forlorn letter, Jimmie Lovell says the young man's letter is "representative of hundreds of churches" whose members have been "sitting for years watching the whole congregation go to the devil"--why?--listen to his language--"allowing some pig-headed, stubborn elder" to block everything he and the like of him want to do! And he adds that it is "a downright shame and disgrace"!
In the same article Jimmie says that even when we fight the devil we ought to fight him "in the spirit of Christ." But in the same paragraph he calls elders in the church "pig-headed" and "stubborn." That is Jimmie Lovell's true size. That is actually how he feels toward elders in the church. That is the amount of respect that he has for elders of the church. Pig-headed elders--elders of the church, how would you like to have Jimmie Lovell in the congregation over which you rule? I know a church or two that has some elders that Jimmie needs to be under a week or two, and he would learn a thing or two, in short order, unless he has passed the learnable stage.
To me it is tragic for a man who claims to be any sort of an editor to give such advice to a young preacher. What do Jimmie's admirers think of him? Some of them have thought that we have been too hard on him in some criticisms. But when the people come to know the actual havoc Jimmie Lovell works in churches and his behavior toward elders, coupled with reckless writing and tall talking, they will realize that our criticisms have been reasonably reserved, duly directed, and the half has not been told.
The demand grows for leaders. The New Testament says elders. What authority has any preacher to set up "a board of leaders" in lieu of elders? When a congregation selects and appoints leaders they have set up something--an organization of their own mind, not known to the New Testament. If it is right to set up such an organization of leaders, who are not elders, the New Testament would have provided for the set-up. It appears to me that a little respect for the New Testament arrangement is in order. At least, when a man can get the consent of his mind to talk about "pig-headed elders" his heart is not right in the sight of God. He should be told to "repent of this thy wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee."
In the same issue of this paper Jimmie agrees with a brother out there who says (1) that we should stop fighting over nonessentials and (2) start working with the denominations toward unity. In deep thought Jimmie adds: "Truly our people are thinking." But it might surprise him to know what most of them think about such spurts as that from his quill. Just think James L. Lovell thinks that we ought to start working with the denominations. May be that is the kind of "work" some of the "pig-headed" elders have hindered Jimmie so much in doing.
It is quite in order now to insert some "humble" admissions found in the same issue of his paper:
Brethren you MUST get this: I but finished high school. I am no Bible student, public speaker, and the least of all "editors" among us. Most every one of you can find fault with me and especially my way of expressing what I mean. In practically every case about which I am criticized, I find that the error is my own, but I'll not stop. Peter made messes of things too. Please forgive me. My motive is right.
So Jimmie admits that he is no editor, writer or preacher, is no student of the Bible and is always wrong about everything--but he can advise young preachers exactly what to do and tell all the "pig-headed" elders exactly what is wrong with them and the churches. But, after all, he does not think he is in too bad a fix even if he doesn't know anything about the Bible and is nearly always wrong, since the apostle Peter also "made messes of things" like that, too! It is hard to tell whether he puts himself in the apostle Peter's class or whether he puts the apostle Peter in his class. Anyway, since he has admitted that he can neither write nor talk decently and is not even a student of the Bible, for heaven's sake and the brethren's benefit, he ought to "stop" talking and writing and dictating and let the elders of the churches in California carry on their work without being molested by his meddling. If he would do that, brethren could "forgive" the "messes" he has made.
Just recently we have it that Jimmie made the statement that even if Don Carlos Janes and the Louisville party are premillennialists, they are doing missionary work, and he had decided to coordinate his "work" with them. That is more proof of how little he knows or cares about the integrity of the gospel, and the evidence of his utter unreliability in matters pertaining to the church. I do not hesitate to say, let any criticize it who may, that the church would be a lot better off if Jimmie would stick to his last--selling Dupont gunpowder (which he says is right to sell but wrong to shoot)--and quit trying to run all of the churches in California and up and down the Northwest coast.