Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 18, 1961
NUMBER 3, PAGE 8-9,14

News And Views

Charles A. Holt, 4662 University Dr., Wichita Falls, Texas

Further Observations On A Touchy Subject —

In this column, April 20, I made some remarks about the colleges, their influence and their worth. I wrote from the heart and was trying to talk with brethren about some matters which give me serious concern. I am no sage, certainly no prophet, and I would be the first to admit that I do not have all the answers to all the questions. However, I have never been reluctant to study a question or recognize truth wherever I found it. No doubt I have blundered many times in trying to teach the truth or reason with brethren — and is this not true of all of us? It is hard for me to know, as some seem to think that they KNOW, just when is the proper time to discuss some matters. I learned a long time ago that my "hindsight" is much better than my foresight; and it is here that some of my critics have the advantage of me. They can look back upon my action and claim to tell just exactly when it was wise or otherwise; when it was "ill-timed" and when I have even "unwittingly injured the fight we are all in to preserve the pure church." I have never been much of an expert along these lines and just never have learned enough to handle everything just right. I am not very diplomatic, if that is really the word for it, and am at times no doubt so zealous for trying to uphold truth and battle error that perhaps I do "unwittingly injure" our efforts. I would not deny this as the result at times, but I only claim that I am honestly trying, even though you may think it is in a clumsy and undiplomatic fashion, to stand for the truth as fully as I can and bring honor to the name of Christ. Maybe I do lack the wisdom and foresight that some apparently seem to think that they have.

The remarks I made relative to the colleges, and especially FCC, have brought a large response! In fact, I am pleased to think that so many read this column, and right here there is one point I want to make abundantly clear to all; that is, I alone am responsible for what is said in this column. The sentiments I express are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the editor, the publisher, or any other writer of this journal. In fact, some of them may at times think that some of the things I write are as "nutty" as some of you do! I speak herein for myself and the sentiments and views are to be charged to no other. That is another reason why I prefer to honestly say "I" when I mean "I," and do not use the "editorial we." The only censure which may be due to the editor of this paper is his allowing me the freedom or opportunity to be so "inexpedient (as) to think out loud, and to explore with printer's ink," as one of my critics accused me of doing. But wise or unwise the editor does allow me this freedom and I am grateful for it.

I have had letters from several people over the country, as well as personal word from many others, ALL commending the observations; and some had added some additional matters for consideration. This response proves to me that I am not alone in my "fears" and observation regarding this touchy (is it "too hot to handle?") subject. As of this writing, I have received only two criticisms of my remarks, and have heard of only one other; but I am not foolish enough to conclude from this that there are no others who disagree with my views. No doubt there are a few who will be very outspoken in their condemnation of my views and my lack of discretion, who will talk about me, but not to me! Is it strange that these criticisms of my remarks concern me more than the commendations? Yet that is the case and so I open this column to them rather than to the ones who agree and who have offered additional thoughts. At least, I do so for the present; but I no doubt will share with the readers the expressed views of some who do agree with what I have said. They should be heard the same as the critics.

Foy Wallace, Jr., used to express so often the sentiment that you can criticize and question the church and get little opposition or rise out of the people, but woe be unto the man who dares to criticize or question the schools! In my experience I have found this to be very true, and it seemingly still is the case with some today; even among those who stand on the side of truth and right in the present crisis. You arouse the "righteous indignation" of some if you dare to point out any "abuse" or questionable practice in the schools, but hardly a ripple is stirred when you point out the "abuse" or questionable practice in the churches! Why the difference? I have written many lines in this column calling attention to "abuses" or extremes, as well as to downright unscriptural practices on the part of churches, but none of my present critics have felt called upon to correct me or even take issue with me. They may sit back and wisely declare that they do not approve of my tactics or agree with my judgment; but they grant me the right to so express even publicly my "fears" along this line, and they well recognize the truth for which I stand. Are they less concerned about churches than schools? Why the resentment on behalf of schools? It may be that in exposing some of these "abuses" by churches, that it was "inexpedient to think out loud, or explore with printer's ink." Maybe because I lack the wisdom and maturity of some others I have even "unwittingly injured the fight." This could be true, and I frankly admit this, but who really knows? Is there one among us who thinks so highly of himself in this regard that he knows he is always right in proper judgment and discretion? Those who seem to be so certain that my "thinking out loud and exploring with printer's ink" is so often "ill-timed" and "inexpedient," never seem to even entertain the idea that there is the remote possibility that I am right or wise in my action and they could be wrong! If you deem my remarks on some of these touchy subjects unwise and ill-timed, then do me the favor of giving me the benefit of your ripe experience and deep wisdom and tell me just when it will be time and expedient to discuss such things; and the standard or infallible rule by which such a decision was reached. Frankly, I am in need of such help and feel the need for such certain and sure guidance in these matters in our uncertain times.

I am giving below a quote from a letter from a friend. He did not write me his views for publication and for that reason I do not give his name and have removed all references that might reveal his identity; yet I want it understood that he is neither ashamed nor afraid for such to be known. No doubt his remarks represent the sentiments of some others and for that reason alone I transcribe them here.

"I read your article in the GG about the schools. For the most part, I agree with what you said. For that reason I am opposed to a school becoming permanently endowed. However, I cannot help feeling that there are times when it is inexpedient to think out loud, or explore with printer's ink. I think you have at times unwittingly injured the fight we are in to preserve the pure church. Your thinking out loud about the church's responsibility to teach children has been used in some parts to make it appear we are on the verge of 'anti-Bible Schoolism.' Indianapolis is one place that has been done. I am sure your writing along this line will be used to make us all out 'anti-college.' The Advocate bunch has boasted that they will close the doors of FCC. Of course, their reason is that it is not run as the others are. As far as I know, there is no permanent endowment for the school nor is any sought. Their living-link endowment is a personal matter and may be discontinued at any time the contributor loses faith in what the school stands for. If the school should change boards and become liberal, then I will cut off my part of that and I think thousands of others will also. The school is already in existence, you admit they are standing for the truth, and in their place as a strictly human institution. I don't think that the church needs it or any other college. As a parent, I would like to think that it will stand for the truth long enough that I can get my boys through two or three years there.

"As to the lecture programs, I grant that they are often used as a general convention to advertise the projects of the 'brotherhood.' As to having a week of preaching, I cannot see the wrong in it. If Paden Construction Co. wanted to halt their work for a week, and engage preachers to come and preach, I think it would be all right. If I should decide to have some Bible studies in my home and invite my neighbors in, and ask Brother ________ to come and teach, I would be within my individual right as a Christian.

"Maybe you see something that I can't, but I feel you have injured, unnecessarily, FCC and those who run it Everything that is within itself right, can be abused and become an instrument of great harm, the church included I cannot guarantee what it will be in the future. But if we adopt the attitude that we should not promote a thing which is confessedly good because it may deteriorate, then what is left for us to promote in this life? While it is true that history testifies unkindly toward colleges, it does the same for the church itself. Many of the congregations the great pioneers built up went with the liberals. The same is happening all over again, as you well know. But I don't intend to quit doing all I can to build up the church here, or wherever I go.....

Some Comments And Questions

The reference to my being "inexpedient" in what I write along these lines, I have dealt with in my remarks above. I did raise the question about the "church's responsibility to teach children" in this column sometime ago. And it is still "raised" in my mind. To charge that it is not "expedient" to discuss such now and in this public way, does not answer the question. And just how can these fellows be so sure that they are correct in their appraisal:

I have not taken any "anti-Bible Schoolism" position, but I do not hesitate to say that I would be willing to take it if I thought it was right! No doubt my statements have been misused, but not by honest men to make it appear that "we" are all "anti-Bible School." Why should my brother get so concerned about what I write — I do not speak for him!

Perhaps some will use my remarks "to make us all out 'anti-college'." My friend is unduly worried about what somebody will make out of him as a result of what write. Whether he is aware of it or not, he tacitly admits the very charge of "the opposition" that what is said in the GG becomes some sort of creed and that all are bound by it and obligated to any position set forth therein. At least, it is near enough the "official organ" of the so-called "anti-group" that he is embarrassed by any "ill-timed" or "inexpedient" question raised! Why does it worry him if this is not really the case? This is the very spirit about which I am concerned and I am opposed to it in any shape, form or fashion!

The Lord's Cause does not depend upon any human setup, organization, or effort; and there is no school, college, paper, preacher, nor anything else of like kind that is to determine or settle any question for anyone. No one speaks for me — but me! And I am not sure that I do it correctly every time. I read the GG, which, without hesitation or shame, I believe to have been the greatest single medium for truth published in the last decade, just exactly like I read or profit by any other publication, meeting or even a college lectureship. I read it for my benefit, for what truth I can learn! I do not read the GG to see what I believe! I know what I believe and my faith is based upon the proper basis — the Word of God! (Rom. 10:17) From the GG, the GA, or some lectureship, I may gather facts and help to strengthen my faith through increased knowledge of the Word. On the other hand, I may from these or other sources learn that I am in error and that my position is not really founded upon the Word. If so, I want to so learn and profit. But I do not belong to any man, school, or paper, and am not prescribed nor proscribed in my faith and practice by any or all of them. I can no doubt learn from all of them, but nothing is true (or false, for that matter) merely because it appears in the GG or in the GA! I can, and have, learned from preachers, both young and old, but they do not speak for me. The truth they may teach I make mine by study and because I believe it is in harmony with the scriptures. We all need some Philip to "guide" us today even as did the Eunuch of old and we should accept "guidance" when and where we can get it; but "guidance" is not always correct, certainly not infallible in our case today, and it should not be accepted as a creed. Guidance is to be used to help us learn — understand and recognize — the truth for ourselves.

The danger of following men and the schemes of men is still with us even today; and it takes various forms. No doubt many are guilty of it and do not realize such is really the case. When our allegiance to a school (and have you ever known of anyone to admit to this?), preacher, or paper becomes such that we either consciously or unconsciously commit to them the decision of our life, and feel that we are dependent upon them for hope or survival, then we are following men even if we are preaching that such should not be done.

I honor and respect the GG (and I here personify it for the purpose of clear discussion; although it really has no entity of its own), and I am thankful for the great good accomplished through this medium. It appears to me, in my limited and inexperienced judgment, that this paper has afforded an avenue for many to "stand in the breach," and hold the line against digression and apostasy in the church. Frankly, I fear what the results might have been had there been no GG! But I hasten to add that this is purely my own personal view and I may be entirely wrong. I know that the Cause of Truth did not depend solely upon this effort. God forbid! In fact, I am willing to admit, although some may think it is "inexpedient" to do so, that there is the possibility that the fight against digression might even have been better off if there had never been a GG! Is that silly to you? Well, to me it is not silly at all, it is just a recognition of the thing that we all claim to believe — the Cause of Christ does not depend upon nor necessarily need any human arrangement or medium! I dare not even entertain the idea that the purity of the church and the fight against digression would have perished had there been no GG; or, even if FCC had been lost to the liberals. If I have to pledge such loyalty to the leadership of any paper, school or man, then I say that the Cause is all but hopeless.

But lest I be misunderstood, let me add further that from "this side" (I can not view things from the standpoint of Him who can see the end as well as the beginning), I confess and acknowledge my belief that this paper, under the able direction of Yater Tant and Roy Cogdill, assisted by a host of other such men, has afforded the main medium for stopping the mouths of gainsayers, exposing error and departure within the church; and in informing all who care about what is really going on. A whole host of preachers and others could, if there was a need for such and they would all admit it, testify that the "guidance" afforded by this paper has been a mainstay in recent years; but it is not anyone's creed and what is said herein is not to be accepted merely because it appears herein. From the very first article specifically dealing with current matters (which was perhaps "That Rock Fight In Italy," by Cled Wallace; and nearly everybody thought it was "ill-timed" and "inexpedient I"), on down to the present, the GG has not been without its critics even among those who supposedly stood for the truth. Some of the criticism was no doubt just. Some complained of the "attitude" and the plainness of speech. Some said we were too rough and should not call names. The GG was not a "nice" paper, and some efforts were made to start one or more to show us "bunglers" how to fight without fighting; how to expose error and false teachers without really identifying such! In some cases these efforts were insipid and so stilted in style that they did not get the job done. Through it all the GG has survived, even in many cases without the help and encouragement of those who benefitted the most from its efforts.

Now I said all the above in order to say this: The Cause of Christ does not depend upon the GG and has never done so I Certainly I think that it has afforded a wonderful medium for truth to be heard, but whether this paper continues or not is not of really great consequence. One man has said that my "objections" (were they really that?) to FCC could equally apply to a paper — even the GG! So what? Of this I am well aware and with this observation I agree 100%. This is very true and I recognize it, even though I do not believe papers ever have had, or ever will exercise, the influence nor pose the threat and danger that the schools do. It is my judgment that the GA does not even begin to exercise the influence and control over churches in the Nashville, Tennessee, area that DLC does. And this is true in spite of the GA's circulation and financial power. Here in Texas the greatest single influence over churches is ACC. Many members have never even heard of the FF, but they all know of ACC! However, papers do exert a wide and sometimes pontifical influence. This needs to be opposed and such "abuses" need to be exposed. People need to be taught and need to learn how to properly use and profit by all such endeavors. But, alas, so few seem to really understand this and are unaware of the influence and control of such institutions and projects.

I join with any and all in raising objections to such a danger or "abuse" as it pertains even to the GG. If the time comes when I can not freely express myself along this line, even about the GG, in this column, then I shall have to find me some other medium. If my writings can be used by you for "guidance" and profit in better understanding the truth, that is well and good; and my purpose is served, If you find nothing worthwhile nor of interest or help to you in this column, then do not read it. It is just that simple!

Back to the letter above. My friend is greatly concerned about the GA's boast that they will close down the school. Why? Is a "strictly human institution" that important If we all get behind FCC and save it from such a fate, have we helped "fight the good fight of faith" and are we working for the Master in so doing? Does the possession and control of this "strictly human institution" mean anything one way or the other to the church? Brethren, do we really believe what we so loudly declare about these schools? Well, if we do, let us demonstrate it in our practice. During me recent lectureship at FCC, there must have been a lot of emphasis given to the fact that FCC is nothing more than a human institution, and serves merely as an adjunct to the home. I draw this conclusion from the many reports which I have read from those who were there. Now that makes good preaching, because it is true; but I am more interested in the practice than in the preaching I I know brethren who preach long and loud that they believe in the all-sufficiency of the church, but in practice they deny it. As one able preacher put it to me; "If FCC is really serious in what they say, then they would take that "Christian out of their name, quit holding gospel meetings, and get just as far as they can away from the church." And another thing, there would not be the resentment given to the one who dares to raise any question or offer any objection. Some members of the church actually wonder where we would train our "anti preachers" if we did not have FCC to send them to. "The liberals have got all the rest of the schools and we just must hold on to the one we have for what on earth would we do without it?" Do you question that this is really the sentiment of most members, even of what we consider the faithful churches? We need to do some waking up and take a good look at things. We are so afraid of what capital the enemies of truth will make out of our honest efforts to teach the truth, that we many times wait until it is too late to do anything to stop the "abuses" and departures. When should I raise questions about FCC or criticize some practice therein? Must I remain silent NOW lest I cripple the efforts of the ones involved and cause them to lose some financial support, or must I wait until like all the rest I see her go so far down the line into digression that my objections will be wasted? Am I to be considered an enemy because I seek to tell them and all others, what I conceive to be the truth along these lines? I do not deny the right of a school to exist — and never have. On the other hand, they are not "church related" in any sense and I want to do what I can to preserve for FCC its right to continue doing what a school should do, and I will oppose any trend or effort that I see to "join together the church and the school." Maybe we can truly preserve it for the benefit of future generations and for its true purpose if we will all face up to the real facts in our attitude, thinking, and practice along this line.

This is enough for this time, but no doubt this is not all along this line. I have an article from Jim McDonald, of Vidor, Texas, in which he replies to my remarks. It will likely be carried in this column next time.

James C. Jones, 1010 Taylor Ave., Richmond 25, Va. "I have just finished working in two gospel meetings March 27 thru April 5, in Hillsboro, Ohio. April 9 thru the 19th, in Pound, Va. Both of these congregations are conservative and deserving of the encouragement of the brotherhood. Lloyd Barker is doing a very fine work with the church in Hillsboro. My next meeting will be with the Rivermont church near here, in June. Opposition, of a bitter nature, is being set forth toward our stand for the truth in this area. This opposition sadly comes from our brethren. The first issue of our monthly paper "Lest We Forget," which is devoted to a study of current problems, brought forth determined resistance, which only causes us to be that much more firm. Pray for our continued strength. One man was baptized during my absence."