Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 7, 1963
NUMBER 27, PAGE 4,10b

"Abiding Hymns" Now Ready


Two months ahead of schedule! That is the good news that reached us the other day concerning "Abiding Hymns," the magnificent new songbook being compiled by brother Robert C. Welch. We had planned to have the books ready for shipping by the first of next year; but a full two months before that time we have them printed, bound, and in our stock-room NOW ready for shipment to you just as quickly as we receive your order! This is truly a significant and memorable event in the realm of church music. The finest songs in print are to be found between the strong and sturdy covers of this book; they are songs that reach the heart, songs rich with the memories of the past, and songs that set the pulses racing with their stirring challenge for the work and the glories that lie ahead. Old songs are here, and a few new songs; songs of deepest meditation and communion, carrying all the glorious heritage of countless generations, and songs that have the joyous lilting cadence of an army marching on parade with flying banners.

This is a book you will cherish and will use. The songs in it are songs that congregations can sing, not fillers, and intricate and difficult compositions calling for highly skilled and trained musicians. Every family ought to have one of these books to keep at home; and every congregation contemplating the purchase of new songbooks should make no decision at all until you have seen and studied "ABIDING HYMNS"! The price is $1.50 per copy in any quantity.

— F. Y. T.

Medical Missionaries

This is a bit of personal history. More than thirty years ago this editor was a student in the Louisville Presbyterian Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Brother G. C. Brewer, then a featured writer on the Gospel Advocate wrote an article in which he strongly warned against gospel preachers going to modernistic universities and denominational seminaries for their advanced education. He foresaw that if such happened to any considerable degree among young gospel preachers, the time would come in which inevitably some of the modernism, denominational influence, and false teaching absorbed in these institutions would reflect itself in the teaching of some of these men, and would finally influence some congregations in the wrong direction.

I wrote brother Brewer, commending the article. As a student in one of the very institutions he had in mind I was in a good position to see exactly what he was warning against, and I knew his warning was timely and needed. He replied that he appreciated my letter — and that he knew of no one who needed the warning more than I! His letter did me good. For even though I was quite aware of the dangers of such institutions, and was mature enough to attend one such (I felt) without being swept into modernism by it, I realized that constant vigilance was absolutely essential. Brother Brewer's frank and brotherly letters (we exchanged several) were helpful, perhaps far more than he might have suspected.

But the reason for this personal reminiscence at this time? Well, thirty-odd years ago we were arguing in the Presbyterian Seminary whether or not "medical missionaries" were an effective means of reaching "the heathen" with the gospel! After long and disappointing experience with all such, there seemed to be a consensus of judgment among the most experienced denominational workers in foreign fields that, for all the good they did in relieving human suffering, and for all the desperate plight of the "unChristianized" nations, one dollar spent in the support of a simple "Bible teacher" on the foreign fields would probably advance Christianity as much as four or five dollars spent on providing hospitals and medical missionaries! And had it not been for the millions of dollars already invested in huge medical programs, most of the workers would have been much in favor of scrapping that whole approach to evangelizing the nations of the world! They felt that the American churches had confused the "fruits" of Christianity with the "seed" of Christianity; and that whereas benevolence (including hospitals, orphanages and other eleemosynary organizations) were properly and rightly to be expected among Christian nations, they should not be the means of introducing Christianity into non-Christian nations! Sad experience had convinced them that this approach placed the true gospel under an intolerable handicap — and, in reality, was unfair to the "heathen." Neither the missionary nor the heathen convert could ever be completely sure as to whether or not the heathen had been converted to Christ or to a hospital. The same thing was true in the matter of American money building great "westernized" church buildings for the unconverted peoples. The question was whether or not the people were being "Christianized" or "Americanized."

Anyhow, those long days of student debate and discussion were all brought vividly to remembrance the other day when we saw a sensational advertising paper put out by the 6th and Arlington Church of Christ in Lawton, Oklahoma, announcing that "Dr. Huddleston" was going to Africa as a "Medical Missionary" of the Churches of Christ, and calling upon congregations all over the nation to rally to his support (with dollars, of course). The Lawton church specified that they were going to undertake only the raising of the "travel fund," leaving it to other churches to give the young doctor his support, and to provide the medicines, hospital beds, laboratory and other tools with which to work. And they were so excited and enthusiastic about the wonderful new way they had found to evangelize the world that they apparently felt nothing less than "Second Coming" type would be appropriate for such a world-shaking pronouncement. ("Second Coming" type is newspaper argot for the huge block letters which newsmen say should never be used for any event in world history less significant than the "second coming of Christ"!), We opine there is quite a difference between "letting one's light shine" and trying to put on a fire-works display with rockets, Roman candles, flaming pin-wheels, and other spectaculars that attempt to rival the aurora borealis.

But history does have a way of repeating itself; and while I have no expectation of witnessing it, perhaps my little grandson, Jefferson David Tant, Jr., some fifty years hence will be hearing among his brethren the same kind of discussion his grand-father heard among the Presbyterians so many years before. Interesting speculation, that!