Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 26, 1960

Open Forum Policy


We presume most of our readers are familiar with the open forum policy of this journal. It is our conviction that truth is most surely safeguarded, and presented to the best advantage, when it is presented side by side with the strongest and most persuasive case that can be made by the advocates of error. This has traditionally been the policy and conviction both of gospel preachers and gospel journals. When debates were to be held with denominational representatives, gospel preachers sought the strongest, not the weakest, opponent possible. They felt that the truth was so much stronger than error that it had nothing to fear from the arguments of those presenting false teaching.

Then, too, in matters wherein brethren found themselves in controversy and disagreement, it has been the policy of all the truly faithful gospel journals to give full opportunity for sincere men to set forth their convictions — regardless of how radically those convictions might differ from the personal understanding of the managing editor as to Bible truth. Students of such things tell us that Daniel Sommer was the first journalist of any not among the disciples to adopt a "closed door" policy in his paper, and to refuse to print both sides of controversial matters. It is a tragedy almost beyond description that the modern Gospel Advocate about a dozen years ago adopted this policy — and so has brought the Lord's church in our day almost to the verge of an open rupture.

Because of the policy of the Gospel Guardian to present both sides of questions of current interest, our readers can be truly informed as to the thinking of good brethren everywhere — regardless of whether they are in agreement with the editor or not. In this connection we wish to make it clear that even in matters of agreement as to Bible teaching, there is always room for disagreement as to tactics and methods. A case in point is the material presented this week (and next) from the pen of Brother Charles M. Campbell. Brother Campbell makes no secret of the fact that he is in strong disagreement with some editorial decisions that have been made, and his submission of material to the Guardian is not understood, by him, or by us, and we presume not by anybody else as being in any sense an endorsement of our decisions. He has made himself perfectly clear to us and to others on these matters. But, even so, he was willing to submit his article (which we run in two installments) in the confidence that it would be published.

That, we appreciate. We have never at any time and do not now, consider "friendship for the Guardian" as being in any sense a criterion of a man's faithfulness to the Lord or his word! We opine there are unnumbered thousands of faithful Christians who have never laid eyes on a single copy of this paper, and who probably don't even know it exists.

Another thing. We occasionally run across some good article from the pen of some brother whom we know to be "in the opposite camp" on current issues, or whose position perhaps we do not know at all. If the material be something we believe to be worthy of a wider circulation, we have not hesitated to publish it on these pages — regardless of the known, or unknown, beliefs of its author on current problems. A case in point here is the material recently published from a tract by Brother Adlai S. Groom. Some unknown friend mailed us a copy of the tract; we thought it something brethren generally ought to know about, and so published it — without even bothering to ask whether Croom agreed, or did not agree, with us on orphan homes, church support of the colleges, Herald of Truth, church hospitals, etc. As a matter of fact, we would assume he is in agreement with us on some of these things, and are fairly confident he is in disagreement on some. But his article on the encroaching modernism at Harding College is a matter to concern all those who have a regard for the future of the church.

In all these things we have sought to make the Gospel Guardian a medium through which brethren can discuss matters of importance. We do not regard this journal as simply an extension of the editor's own ideas — or whims. We have never tried to put the "muzzle" on any staff writer (or anybody else), telling him that he must agree with the editor or his material could no longer find space. We never intend to do so.

The Gospel Guardian is set to maintain this open forum policy. We believe such a journal is worthy of support from those of like persuasion. So, once again, we remind our readers of the continuing drive for new readers. If you believe in the fundamental principles for which we are contending, then help to get this paper into the hands of faithful Christians everywhere.

-F. Y. T.