Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 15, 1960
NUMBER 32, PAGE 4,13a

Back To Fort Smith


After an absence of nearly twenty-five years I am moving once again to Fort Smith, Arkansas, to work with the fine Park Hill congregation in that city. This will be my second term of service in that city and with that congregation. My work this time, however, will be somewhat different from the work I did in the former residence there. During those years (1934-1937) I worked as local preacher at Park Hill. This work is now being done in a highly acceptable and successful way by brother Cecil B. Douthitt, who will continue in that capacity. My work will be as a teacher in some specially designed classes.

Feeling that this work will be of general interest, and in the hope that it may stimulate and encourage congregations to a greater activity in this field, I would like to give a general idea of the kind of teaching program the elders of the Park Hill church have planned, and in which they have invited me to participate.

Training Class

For approximately eight months in the year (from about the middle of September to about the middle of May) each Monday night will be given over to a training class for those who are interested in developing their abilities as gospel preachers and as public teachers of the word. This period will be divided into two semesters of four months each. General text for this course will be Paul's instruction to young Timothy, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." (2 Tim. 2:2) Much care will be given toward helping each one in the class to become adept in the preparation and presentation of gospel lessons. Constructive criticism will be offered both in the class sessions and in private conferences.

Personal Evangelism Class

The time has long since passed when the old-fashioned "gospel meeting" will attract any considerable number of non-Christians to the services. Churches must recognize the responsibility of every Christian to be a teacher of the word in person-to-person contacts, following the example of that early period when the gospel spread so rapidly, "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ." (Acts 5:42) It shall be the design of this class to prepare faithful Christians for such work, and then to encourage them in doing it. It is one of the greatest tragedies of our day that multiplied thousands of people are baptized into Christ, and then live twenty, thirty, or fifty years as Christians, and never convert even one soul to the Lord! This class will meet each Tuesday evening.

Christian Evidences Class

On Wednesday evenings I shall be teaching a class of about forty young people of high school and college age. Our course of study will center largely in the field of Christian evidences. Text for this course of study will be taken from Luke's explanation as to his reason for writing the gospel which bears his name, "That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou has been instructed." (Luke 1:4) We will seek to help these young people to be "rooted and grounded" in the faith, so that the storm of atheistic teaching to which they are subjected (in both high schools and colleges) will not shake them from the faith. We believe it to be a serious mistake for churches and parents to neglect this area of teaching, and try to "protect" their youth by isolating them both in high school and college from the arguments and attacks of atheism. An adequate grounding in the truth (of both science and revelation) is a far better defense than segregation and isolation.

Church History

Each Thursday night will be given to a study of the history of the church. The first semester will be largely confined to a study of the apostolic age; the second semester will deal with the church from the close of the apostolic age up to and including the Council of Nicaea. (325 A. D.) Second year of the course will deal with the Protestant Reformation; and the third year will be a study of the Restoration and the modern church. Some forty adult members of the congregation have expressed a desire to enroll in this course.

Teacher Training Class

Every other Friday night will be given over to a teacher training institute for the Bible school teachers. With all teachers and substitute teachers in attendance, this class will consist of nearly fifty members. It will be only twice a month, and the alternate Friday nights will be available for visiting in the homes and "cottage Bible classes" of various members who may desire some help in study with Mormon, Catholic, Christian Science or other.

Brother Douthitt will be occupying the pulpit at Park Hill each Lord's Day, and this will leave me free for Sunday appointments anywhere within a radius of about 500 miles of Fort Smith. Previously committed gospel meetings will take me away for two weeks in the fall and two weeks in the spring. And the four summer months (June, July, August, and September) will, of course, find me engaged as in the past in a full schedule of meetings throughout the nation and in Canada.

Brethren in many areas, learning of the work planned at Park Hill, will be viewing the project with considerable interest. It is a tremendous challenge not only to the teacher but to the congregation as well. While the courses are planned primarily for the Park Hill congregation, members of other congregations who may wish to attend will be welcomed, of course. And if the results from this teaching program fulfill the expectations of those of us who are involved in it, it is quite likely that some such activities will gradually become a part of the regular work of many congregations. Indeed, for many years now, faithful congregations have increasingly been giving attention to such classes, and have been achieving highly satisfactory results from them. The Park Hill program may, perhaps, be a bit more extensive than most others, but it will simply be an effort to concentrate into one unified program a wide range of teaching activities in use, in part or in whole, in other churches for many years.

We will be most happy to receive suggestions, ideas, or comments from any who have had experience in such work, and who may be able to offer valuable assistance. My address: 2026 South "P" Street, Fort Smith, Arkansas.