Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 26, 1959
NUMBER 29, PAGE 4-5b

Let The Record Speak For Itself


James P. Miller, Tampa, Florida

In the July 23rd issue of the Gospel Advocate, B. C. Goodpasture spent two pages in an attack on me and on Florida Christian College. He did this in defense of Pat Hardeman, who at that very time had left the church and was teaching a series of 12 lessons on an "Introduction to Unitarianism" for the Unitarian Fellowship of Tampa. The following articles and an advertisement appeared in the Tampa Tribune, Saturday, October 17. They will set the record straight. The entire brotherhood will wait to see if the editor of the Advocate will admit that he was wrong and seek to repair the harm he has done to me and to Florida Christian College. If he will not do so, all will know that he is a man without honor. If he does correct his mistake the church will know that many of the charges made against the school and the brethren in Florida were, and are, false. We will wait and see which course the editor will take. P. S. The "Dr. Thomas P. Hardeman" referred to in the Tribune article is Pat.

From The Tampa Tribune, Saturday, October 17, 1959: Unitarian Fellowship Appoints Minister

Dr. Thomas P. Hardeman, faculty member of the University of Tampa, has been appointed acting minister of the Unitarian Fellowship of Tampa.

Dr. Hardeman, a native of Kentucky, received his B.S. degree from Murray State College, Murray, Ky., and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois. For the last 10 years he has taught sacred literature and philosophy at colleges in the South, and is a member of the Executive Council of the Florida Philosophical Association and a member of the American Philosophical Association.

Dr. Hardeman served as a minister of the Church of Christ for 17 years and was formerly minister of the Hyde Park Church of Christ here, resigning last January to become executive director of the Tampa Chapter of the American Association for the United Nations.

He has written and edited several religious works and has had 10 years experience in radio and television broadcasting.

The Unitarian Fellowship meets at the old Leisure House, Cass and Tampa Streets, at 10:30 o'clock Sunday mornings.

(Editor's note: We give space this week to the brief paragraph by Brother James P. Miller, and the accompanying news article. There were other news articles and advertisements, telling of the Unitarian services and the activities of their pastor, Doctor Thomas P. Hardeman. It is interesting to note that the Gospel Advocate of October 29, carried the above news item from the Tampa Tribune, along with an accompanying editorial by Brother Goodpasture in which he obviously hopes to clear himself of blame for Hardeman's defection from the faith, and, as might have been expected, tries to lay the blame on the faithful brethren in Florida and elsewhere who opposed Hardeman's false teaching and unChristian example.

More than three years ago, a very thoughtful Florida preacher (not from Tampa, and not connected in any way with Florida Christian College) told this writer that he had grave fears that Brother Pat Hardeman might make shipwreck of the faith and become an out and out "modernist." At that time there was very little indication of any wavering at all in Hardeman's teaching, and we were astonished at the suggestion. We asked what on earth led him to entertain such an idea. He replied, "I think I can see very clearly that Pat is leaning more and more toward the Gospel Advocate no pattern teaching. He is beginning to question the binding force of Acts 20:7; he has begun to imbibe the Gospel Advocate spirit of unrestrained criticism against faithful men; and he is vastly impressed with worldly wisdom. If he comes finally to accept the general attitude of the Gospel Advocate toward Bible authority, he is keen enough intellectually that he will see very quickly there is no stopping place short of modernism and infidelity. If he 'gives an inch', he is gone forever! He will either stay firmly and staunchly by the Bible, or he will go into infidelity. He has too much intelligence to try to occupy an 'in-between' position."

While we are on the subject, we might as well say that there are several others very prominent in the Gospel Advocate circles who are treading the same wavering, slippery path that Hardeman tried to follow for a time. Some of them will unquestionably go all the way into modernism, just as Hardeman has done. Others, less gifted perhaps intellectually, or more able to stifle their conscience and less courageous, will continue to beat the "there is no pattern" drum, and will condemn the Missionary Society out of one side of their mouth while promoting the Benevolence Society out of the other side.

Let not our brethren of the Gospel Advocate think the Hardeman debacle is the end of their trouble. As a new generation of younger preachers comes to the front, the Gospel Advocate churches all over the nation are going to have one of the bitterest fights they have ever known over the Missionary Society and Instrumental Music! The scriptural basis for objection to these things has already been surrendered by such brethren as Totty, Woods, Thomas, Watson, Clements, Harper, Deaver, Rudd, Roberts, Warren, and others. The only reason for opposition to then now is prejudice and not scripture. When a new generation comes along without this prejudice, the Advocate will discover that she has really brewed a witch's cauldron of trouble!

All of which will point up one more time the old, old axiom: once scriptural ground has been surrendered, there is no stopping place. Doctor Thomas Patrick Hardeman is a mournful case in point. Let Doctor Goodpasture and his cohorts take warning.)