Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 19, 1962
NUMBER 11, PAGE 8,10b-11a

News And Views

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

This finds me in a gospel meeting with the church in Albertville, Alabama. Hollis Creel, is the preacher here. The meeting is going well. The East Albertville church is the only sound church in this immediate area.... Just before coming here I helped the East Florence (Alabama) church in a meeting. It was a very good meeting from every standpoint. The interest was high-and the attendance was good. People from at least 26 different congregations attended during the meeting. There were five baptized and four restored. East Florence Is one of the best congregations and it is a tower of strength in that section. Barney Keith is doing a fine work there with that church. It was a joy to me to be again associated with the East Florence church.... From July 9-15, I am scheduled to assist the church in Kennett, Missouri in a meeting. James L. Yopp is the preacher there.....The Lord willing, I shall assist the church in San Bernardino, California, in a meeting, August 5-12. Arthur W. Atkinson, Jr., is the evangelist there I am looking forward to being with this good church again, and I hope to see many other saints on this trip to California.

Things Are Stirring In Detroit

In the immediate area of Detroit, Michigan, there are hundreds of Christians and around 35 congregations. Many have wondered if all the congregations — and all these Christians — were going along fully with all the liberalism and modernism sweeping the churches. It is good to know that such is not the case. However small or insignificant it may seem, there is an awaking, and definite actions are being taken to recover all possible from the wholesale apostasy. Seemingly there are many in that area who are disgusted with the liberalism and unscriptural practices of nearly all the churches. These people have reluctantly "gone along" more or less hoping that the churches would desist in their drifting further and further from NT teaching; and perhaps waiting on someone else to make a definite move toward starting a group which would stand firmly for truth and refuse to go beyond what is written.

At long last, some definite action has been taken and now such a group is meeting in that area. They meet at Harper Avenue, corner of Eleven Mile Road, in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. At their first meeting on May 27th, there were fifty present. Further information can be obtained by contacting H. C. Palmer, 24705 Johnston. East Detroit, Michigan. Brother Palmer is one of the leaders of this new group. He was formerly one of the bishops of the Roseville church. Brethren in the Detroit area who are interested in such a work should contact and help these brethren. If you have relatives or friends in that section, it would be good to urge them to meet with this new church if possible.

The Roseville church withdrew from Brother Palmer. It is a very interesting and enlightening story. Below I am giving two letters which fairly well explain it. The first one is from the three remaining elders of the Roseville church, signed by them, and sent out on church letterheads. These men are R. A. Bumbalough, Norman Grizzell, and Harry Milam. Read their letter and note carefully the reason they cite for withdrawing from Palmer. Then read Palmer's reply to their action.

May 2, 1962

"Dear brethren:

"It is with sincere regret that we report that on April 15, 1962 we withdrew fellowship from Clifford Palmer of 24705 Johnston, East Detroit.

"This action was taken because Clifford Palmer was creating strife within the congregation by the sending of the "Gospel Guardian" to thirty families and thus teaching against congregational cooperation and support of Orphan homes. On different occasions we as elders asked him to stop sending the "Guardian" and to skip teaching their theories. He refused.

"Specifically he was charged with violating Heb. 13:17; promoting strife, which is a work of the flesh, (Gal. 5:19-20) and thus subjecting himself to the discipline of 2 Thes. 3:6 and Rom. 16:17. He was also charged with trying to bind where God has not bound.

"Yet, we count him not as an enemy but admonish him as a brother, that he might return to the truth he once taught and practiced in these matters; that he might repent, confess his fault and be restored to fellowship."

May 29, 1962 Dear Brethren,

In regard to the letter that was sent out by the elders of the Roseville Church of Christ, Roseville, Michigan, concerning their withdrawing fellowship from me, and inasmuch as I was ruled out of order when I asked to defend myself, I do hereby deny the charges made. I deny that I created strife, walked disorderly, or taught anything contrary to the teachings of the New Testament.

I preached for this congregation for almost five years starting January 1, 1950. Two of the elders were there and did not object to my teaching then. After serving as their preacher for these years, I was asked by the two present elders to become an elder of this congregation which I did in March, 1956. I taught the same New Testament doctrine then as now.

If the sending out of gift subscriptions to a religious paper is grounds for withdrawing fellowship then I am long overdue. I have in times past sent the Gospel Advocate, Apostolic Times, Gospel Digest, and other papers and tracts to both members of the Church and non-members. The Roseville Church practices the distribution of religious material, and the Twentieth Century Christian is being sent to members without their consent. Many of the recipients consider some of the things contained therein, as nonessentials, and as binding where God has not bound.

Arvel Bumbalough and Harry Milam, two of the elders, informed me that several in the congregation were "driving them crazy" asking them to have the Gospel Guardian stopped from cluttering up their mall boxes. Brother Bumbalough wanted to know what I was going to do about it. I told him that I would have any subscriptions stopped if the person would tell me in person that he wanted it stopped. No one asked me, to have any subscription stopped. Brother Bumbalough stated that I would stop all Gospel Guardians or they, the elders, would take action.

The action began when they brought in Basil Overton to stamp out this "deadly serpent," the Gospel Guardian. He spoke five times on the horrors of the Gospel Guardian and the people who write for it. He described it as a human institution that is fighting a human institution. When he had collected his fee for delivering these five sermons, the people, were as much in the dark concerning the issues involved, as they were before he came.

On the evening of April 14, I was asked to meet with the three elders, Norman Grizzell, Arvel Bumbalough, and Harry Milam. Again I was asked what I was going to do about stopping the Gospel Guardian. I asked them why they were still concerned about the Gospel Guardian. "I thought Brother Overton had killed that, or was he a failure?" They replied: "Not completely." I don't know whether they meant he was not a complete failure or he didn't completely kill the 'Guardian'. I repeated that I would stop any and all that would come to me and ask for it to be stopped.

Norman Grizzell said, "We are going to have them all stopped or know the reason why. That is if the Gospel Guardian believes in the autonomy of the Church as they claim they do." I think what he really meant was, if they believe in elders being "lords over the flock."

In this meeting I was given a letter which they asked me to sign. It was a prepared statement or confession stating that I had caused trouble in the Church, that I was sorry and promised to stop teaching this "false doctrine." I refused to sign the letter and demanded to know when and where I had taught a "false doctrine." I was accused of having secret meetings in my home. This I deny. I have never had a secret meeting in my home or any other place. The Roseville elders know that I am neither afraid nor ashamed of the things I believe, teach, and practice. They know that I do not sneak around or do things in secret. Upon my refusal to sign this letter, Brother Grizzell said that in view of my attitude their only alternative was for them to withdraw fellowship from me. The following morning being Sunday, April 15, Paul Watson, the minister, read to a stunned and bewildered audience the withdrawal. When I arose to speak in my defense, I was ruled out of order. Even the unbeliever is permitted to speak in his own defense in our courts but in the Roseville Church a Christian has no rights if he reads the Gospel Guardian.

In conclusion, I would like to make a few observations.

In a conversation on March 25, Brother Bumbalough made this statement, "Cliff, I know you are a good Christian man." Now I was the same kind of man on April 15 as I was on March 25. On another occasion he said, "Cliff, we don't object to your conservative views." He gave Romans 14 as the basis of this statement. Here we have a group of elders, who by their own testimony disfellowshipped a good Christian man to whose views they don't object.

Upon at least three occasions, they told me that we have no authority to build church buildings. I said if we have no authority we had better stop building them. The only reason I can conceive of them, the elders, making this statement is that they are aware that they are practicing things for which they have no authority. If, however, they believe that they can build church buildings without authority, why would they not believe that they could do anything else they want to without authority?

Norman Grizzell believes and teaches.a theory on fornication that, as far as I know, no other person in the brotherhood believes. He contends that to marry out of the Church, to marry a near relative, or for a white person to marry a Negro constitutes the sin of fornication. He has written articles on this and distributed them. He has taught it publicly in my presence many times. In doing this, he did not worry about creating strife, or wounding, and/or offending the conscience of those to whom he taught it, or being disfellowshipped. "Therefore thou art inexcusable 0 man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another Thou condemnest thyself: for thou that judgest doest the same things." (Romans 2:1)

I charge the Roseville elders with the sin of Diotrephese, (III John 9-10) and of being "lords over God's heritage" (I Peter 5:3). I further charge that they willfully and maliciously misrepresented the facts in order to prejudice the minds of the people against me and they are guilty of defamation of character. When misguided and untaught elders try to keep the truth from being read and go so far as to withdraw from a fellow Christian whose only desire is to fear God and serve him, this is going even beyond the principles of heathenism.

— Clifford Palmer