Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 14, 1959

That Brethren May Know


Lloyd Barker, Hillsboro, Ohio

Since being forced to leave Harding College at the close of last semester, many preachers at the college and throughout the brotherhood have requested that I give a factual report explaining what took place. This we feel obligated to do because of so many requests and because brethren throughout the nation support the school and should know concerning its policies.

We received much while there for which we are deeply grateful. There are some faculty members that we admire for their convictions and sincerity. The students are very friendly and much too wise to be fooled by the front put up by some of the administration. Much effort is made to keep many things secret but the students are too intelligent to be deceived. This alertness is what Jesus commanded when He said "Watch and pray".

In the December 18, 1958 issue of this paper, an article of mine appeared in which was stated that: "There are many preachers and some faculty members here at Harding College who endorse instrumental music in worship or a missionary society for churches to cooperate with". My wife was immediately fired from her job as secretary for the school. The strange thing is that President Benson denied that the article had anything to do with her being fired! He said she was too slow. Her boss said she was too SLOW but said the article would have been enough to fire her regardless of her work. It does seem odd though that they would keep her on the job a year and four months, give her a raise, encourage us to stay on through summer school, then, without previous warning, fire her. None of the other office secretaries knew she was about to be fired. Also, the head secretary in her office was off sick, which left the office short of help. Then the article came out; she is suddenly fired and Benson claims the article had nothing to do with it. Could it have been only her work??? This was not such a surprise because previously President Benson called her into his office after I had written an article reporting what Cleon Lyles had said there at the school. He told her, among other things, that I was "low" and "sneaking" for writing it. Why did he not call me in?

Brother Hays, assistant to the head of the Bible department, came to my home and with much anger said he would personally spearhead a movement to see that I did not get a degree there. He did not deny that the article was true but said it should not have been made public. He came back the next day and said he had reconsidered and would not spearhead the movement to kick me out. But he did warn that my supervisor would warn any public school not to hire me as a teacher because I had rebelled against the administration. With great excitement and anger he warned me that some day I would want to preach or teach in some brotherhood school and would not have the endorsement of Harding College and thus would be ruined. Thus, one is pressured to become soft with the others there, and "line up".

Benson told a student that the article would not keep me from getting a degree from Harding. But it did. Later I was called to Benson's office for a conference with himself, Vice-President Ganus, Dean Sears and brother Hays. President Benson asked me who on the faculty believed instrumental music was right in worship. I told him that brother Earl Moore and his wife saw nothing wrong with it. I further explained that I had student preachers in mind in the article and should have made this clearer. But since this was true concerning brother Moore and his wife and that there is one teacher at Harding who is not a Christian (there have been several) nothing, more was said concerning instrumental music. Then we came to a, missionary society for churches to cooperate with". I explained that Joe Spaulding and John Kasbaum had told me they saw nothing wrong with a missionary society so long as no dictation was involved. President Benson then read a statement of Mr. Spaulding's which said: "I do not believe in the United Christian Missionary Society or a denominational society over the church". Then I was charged with misrepresenting the men. President Benson then called the two teachers in at my request. I was not permitted to question the teachers to make things clear. On two occasions, when Kasbaum was about to clarify his beliefs, President Benson cut me off and said I was trying to dictate the conversation. They claimed that my statement implied that the teachers believed in the "U.C.M.S." or a "denominational society" over the church. Several times I explained that another article would be written saying that the teachers did not believe in "dictating" missionary societies if that was their worry. They wanted me to write an article saying that I had misrepresented the teachers with no explanation. This I could not do. I was called a liar by Dean Sears. President Benson said that with my lack of integrity, the college could not give me a degree. They were very angry throughout the conference and showed no kindness as they publicly preach so much.

Another student and I then went to Mr. Kasbaum privately. He explained that he believed a missionary society to send out preachers was scriptural if there were no dictation over the contributing churches. Three students then went in to see President Benson to explain that I had not lied. President Benson became very angry and said they were just trying to trap him. If he were being fair with me, why would he fear being trapped?

Later I was called in to see Dean Sears and Vice-President Ganus. Dean Sears said that unless I wrote an article that would "please us" (his exact words), then if I tried to enroll for the spring semester, they would mark my transcript which would make it very difficult for me to enter any other college. Also, he said that if I got the hours for the degree, he was sure the faculty would not all pass on my degree and thus it would not be given. After explaining that Mr. Kasbaum had said the second time that a missionary society was scriptural if there were no dictation and that I had qualified missionary society in the article as one "for churches to cooperate with", then brother Ganus said he wouldn't say that I had deliberately misrepresented them. Brother Kasbaum never denied saying that a missionary society would be right if there were no dictation but said I should have given more explanation. Thus I was kicked out, not for dishonesty, but because I would not write an article that "pleased" them saying the teachers had been misrepresented and calling myself a liar. Students there who promote the brotherhood organizations were greatly hurt because of the administration's high handed and unfair tactics in forcing me out.

The following additional facts may be of interest to the reader. Another faculty member, Kenneth Davis, said that he saw nothing wrong with churches contributing to any organization so long as the pure gospel was being preached and no dictation was involved. Earl Moore said that he was not just liberal on instrumental music but on several things. Mr. Bob Meyers is considered a liberal by students at Harding who are by no means conservative themselves. Mr. Meyers (he does not like to be called brother) does not believe Jonah was ever in the belly of a fish. Nor has he decided to what extent the book of Luke is inspired. He does not quote scripture in his preaching because the apostles and prophets did not in the New Testament according to his statement. One faculty member told me that since he had come there he had been terribly disappointed because of the low standards and unchristian things that were done. His job would be at stake if his name were given.

Out of at least two offices at the college, letters are addressed with "Reverend", "Father" and "Sister". One secretary had worked in one office for three years, and was transferred out of the office because she refused to type such titles on letters. The title of "Doctor" is used most freely at the school and has laid the foundation for the above.

Nearly every preacher that I know who has come from Freed-Hardeman College or Florida Christian College is shocked at the liberalism and low spiritual standards at Harding. This makes friction between the students. One preacher who went to Freed-Hardeman said that Harding was "a mess of modernism". He does not oppose sponsoring churches nor brotherhood benevolent institutions supported by churches so he was not referring to these innovations. Many such statements were made to me by students concerning the trial of their faith while there. If any reader doubts this, write and ask some preachers who transferred to Harding from Freed-Hardeman College. This also is the attitude of some preachers there who have not transferred from any other college.

Benson Speaks

President Benson was answering questions one day in chapel. One question was, "Why do students from the above two schools learn so much more Bible than they do at Harding?" Benson then said, "We don't think we know it all here", thus implying that those from the above two schools do "think that they know it all". He further said, "We teach the spirit of the Master and the spirit of the Book." Where is this commonly heard? No attempt was made to deny that they have little emphasis on a factual knowledge of the Bible. He then closed by saying, "If there is anyone here who does not like it, remember, that the road that brought you here is just as open as when you came." This implies that no one should try to raise the standards there but should leave if they do not like the standards as they are. It does not take one long to find out that little there can be changed. Thus if one receives kindness and a welcome there, he must conform and "like it".

Benson Defends Masonry

One Sunday morning in the Bible class of the College church, the subject of Masonry came up. President Benson was teaching the class. After several of us had condemned it as sound preachers have always done, President Benson defended it. He explained how a young preacher had left Harding and gone to Oklahoma City. He opposed one of the elders being a Mason and he was fired. President Benson left the impression that the elders did the right thing. Brother Benson further said that he knew fine elders and one of Harding's board members who were Masons and that he was sure they would not be if anything were wrong with the lodge. We all were cautioned not to cause any stir over it. Such advice is common there.

I hope none will judge my motives wrong. I have waited two months to write this to think and pray about it so that it would not be written in haste, anger, or in any spirit of revenge. The purpose of this is not a personal attack on the college but to inform and warn brethren and help the school to awake to their drifting. Brother H. A. Dixon, president of Freed-Hardeman College, said on several occasions that the best friends of FreedHardeman College were its critics because they keep it pure and sound. Our desire is to do this. We hope that we do not "... become your enemy, because I tell you the truth." (Gal. 4:16.) Several names were given because some faculty members at Harding said this would be best. We have refrained from judging the motives of those involved even though we were called a liar, unchristian, mean, dirty, malicious misrepresenter etc. by them. The facts only have been given for you to consider rather than harshness. For their unjust judging and railing accusations, I, as Michael, bring not a railing accusation, but simply say, "The Lord rebuke thee." (Jude 9). I would be more popular among many if I had remained silent but my conscience would not have been free. Pray for me that I may stand firm as a good soldier to fervently do the will of the King.