A Correction That Does Not Correct
The May 19, 1960 issue of the Gospel Guardian carried an article, "It's Official Now" written by me. In this article it was pointed out that brother M. Norvel Young had stated in the 1960 Edition Britannica Book of the Year that "More than 7,000 students were enrolled in 16 colleges operated by the church." (Emp. mine. L. M.) Also, I endeavored to wake up our liberal brethren to the fact that the "institutional promoters" would go to any length to fasten their institutions on to the church of our Lord.
Response to my article proves that many brethren are not ready to accept "educational societies" tied to the church. It also proves that some brethren are beginning to see that the "benevolent societies" and "educational societies" stand or fall together, so far as being operated and supported by the church. Others think that the Editorial Staff of Britannica changed brother Young's article. This is especially true since brother Young's article appeared in the May 24, 1960 issue of the Firm Foundation. Before I quote brother Young's article it would be well to make this observation. I wrote brother Young and ask him if the Britannica Staff did change the statement, "7,000 students were enrolled in 16 colleges operated by the church." He answered my question thusly. — "By now, you probably have seen the correction which I wrote immediately after seeing the article in the Britannica and before I had heard or seen any criticism." He sent me a copy of the article which appeared in the F. F. On the copy, at the top of the page is a line, "Released to Gospel papers, April 28, 1960." To my knowledge it has NOT appeared in the Gospel Advocate. Later I shall show why it should not appear in the Advocate. Please note that brother Young says in his letter to me that the article is a "correction" and that he wrote the "correction" "immediately after seeing the article in the Britannica." This infers that brother Young had not seen the statement, "colleges operated by the church" before it appeared in the Britannica, and as soon as he saw it he wrote the "correction." Here is brother Young's "correction" as it appeared in the F. F.
"Activities Of Members Of The Church Reported In Yearbook Of Encyclopedia Britannica."
"In the 1960 Yearbook of the Britannica news of activities of members of the church was carried again. This information included a paragraph on increased contributions and church building programs. It told readers of the Yearbook that 175 Christian families in 34 countries were being supported by churches of Christ in the U. S. The Britannica carried a paragraph about 7,000 students in 16 colleges operated by members of the church. In this connection an error occurred and the article states that these students were enrolled in 16 colleges 'operated by the church' rather than putting it correctly colleges 'operated by members of the church.' We regret this inaccuracy but appreciate the fact that the Britannica does give space for certain news items which they deem significant. They do not have space for all that we supply them, but each year they choose to include certain items which the editors consider as supplemental to the information in the Britannica set."
I am not quoting the last paragraph of the article because it is asking readers to write other encyclopedias about carrying activities of the members of the church and has nothing to do with matter under consideration.
A number of things in this article need attention:
Number one — In the "correction" brother Young titles it "Activities of Members of the Church Reported in Yearbook of Encyclopedia Britannica." But in the Britannica article he titled it "CHURCHES OF CHRIST." This would lead one to believe that brother Young thinks that whatever "members of the church" do is he "church doing it."
Number two — He says, "The Britannica carried a paragraph about 7,000 students in 16 colleges operated by members of the church." (Emp. L. M.) This is false. The Britannica DID NOT CARRY A PARAGRAPH ABOUT "Colleges operated by MEMBERS of the church." The Britannica carried this paragraph, "colleges operated by the church."
Number three — He says the Britannica carried it, "colleges operated by the church" "rather than putting it correctly colleges 'operated by members of the church'. We regret this inaccuracy." Here brother Young says that the Britannica "carried" the paragraph. And an "error occurred." The error was "colleges operated by the church" "rather than putting it correctly colleges 'operated by members of the church." This places the blame for the "error" and "Inaccuracy" on the Britannica. However, THIS IS NOT TRUE. I wrote the Britannica for a copy of brother Young's manuscript with any changes or alterations made by the Editorial staff. They sent a thermofax copy to me. BROTHER YOUNG'S MANUSCRIPT READS, "colleges operated by the church." Now, why did brother Young say that as soon as he saw the article in the Britannica he wrote a correction? He saw the article when he wrote it. The Britannica "put" it EXACTLY AS BROTHER M. NORVEL YOUNG WROTE IT. Why did not brother Young just admit that the "error" was his? Does Norvel believe his article in the Britannica or his article in the F. F.? If brother Young believes "whatever the individuals do" it is "the church doing it," why did he write his "correction?" He certainly makes a distinction between what "individuals" do and what "the church does" in his "correction."
He argues that it is an "error" for colleges to be "operated by the church:" but it is "correct" for colleges to be "operated by members of the church." Now, this will cause no little unrest in the camp of the liberals. In order to "high-pressure" preachers to line-up with them, the digressives have pointed out that one continues his present line of reasoning he will "find his opportunities greatly limited" for doing good. I might call this to the attention of brother Young. Since he makes a distinction between what the individual does and what the church does (and he emphatically does in his F. F. article) many of his former associates will count hint "unsound," "anti" and a "trouble-maker."
Number four — Since brother Young disassociates the church and the college he cannot expect Abilene Christian College and David Lipscomb College to endorse Mm. Brother J. D. Thomas, Professor in ACC argues in his hook, "WE BE BRETHREN" that the colleges can be supported out of the church treasury. In the recent "lectureship" at David Lipscomb, not only was church support of colleges Advocated but hospitals as well. No wonder that brother Young's "correction" has not appeared in the Advocate. They do not believe anything needs correcting! They would be hypocritical if they did run his "correction," since the policy of the Advocate is to print only that which agrees with their "views;" and brother Young's "correction" certainly does not agree with the "Views" of the Gospel Advocate camp on the "college operated by the church" nor "individual action versus church action."
Number five — We see the subtlety of the "liberal quarantine" of all brethren who do not accept the digression of their promotional schemes. Brother Young claims in the FF article that he was reporting the "activities of members of the church of Christ." He managed to include the colleges and religious journals which "follow the party line" but very conveniently left out any mention of Florida Christian College and such religious journals as the Gospel Guardian, The Preceptor, Truth Magazine and others. Does he not believe that those who operate these are "members of the church?" Then why exclude them from the report in the Britannia?
Since brother Young wrote in one article that the colleges are "operated by the church" and in another article that this is an "error" and "incorrect" I think he owes us an explanation. Just which time was he "correct" and which time he made an "error." I do not see how he can allow this thing to stand as it is now. If he does not clear up the matter, it will place him in the position of a hypocritical politician. Because those who believe that the church can operate colleges can cite his Britannica article as proof that he believes as they do; while those who believe that the church cannot operate colleges can cite his FF article as proof that he believes as they do on the matter. I have always had respect for brother Young's honesty and integrity. I believe that he will come forth with a clear cut statement as to which position he holds. He either believes that colleges CAN be operated by the church or he believes that they cannot. He has taken BOTH positions in these two articles, but when he sees the ugly position it places him in, I'm sure he will state plainly which position he believes to be the truth. Of course, when he does set forth his conviction on the matter he will automatically be alienated from either the Gospel Advocate camp or the Firm Foundation camp. But surely he will not place position and popularity above honesty and truth.