Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 21, 1966
NUMBER 11, PAGE 3b,5

We Are Leaving Abilene

Hoyt H. Houchen

Several years ago, brother J. D. Tant said that he was going to do something that the devil had never done; he was going to leave Abilene.

After six years with the North Park church, 2958 Grape, Abilene, Texas, I am terminating my work, to be effective June 19th. While the work has been pleasant in some aspects, it too has had its discouraging features. This without doubt has been the most difficult field of our labors. Abilene is the seedbed for much of the liberalism that has and is dividing churches throughout the world. Abilene Christian College exerts a tremendous influence upon the thousands of boys and girls who enter the leave her class-rooms, injected by the poison of liberal thinkers. Our hearts have been broken as we have witnessed several young people who have attended that institution and have been swayed by its influence and teaching, some of these young people having come from conservative homes and churches. We have suffered disappointment to see the number of boys and girls who have been absorbed by liberal companionship and who therefore have ceased attending the North Park church. Our interest and prayers for them have apparently been to no avail. Several, especially the freshmen, seem to be "goggle-eyed" by the "holy hill," they begin to date their liberal friends and they are soon gone. On the other hand, we have been encouraged by a few young people who have come to Abilene and who have not been swerved by the liberal influence but who have remained loyal to the truth and have given their whole-hearted support and faithful attendance at North Park. In the fact of such odds as exist in Abilene, these fine young people are to be commended for their strong convictions and their willingness to stand up for them. The contact that we have had with young people who come from various parts of our nation is among the most rewarding of our efforts.

It is here in Abilene that the Herald of Truth has its headquarters, sponsored by the Highland church, 5th and Highland, and it is here that some twenty-five churches, composed of thousands of members, promote and endorse about every liberal project that is imaginable. We have accumulated articles, advertisements, and promotional schemes from the newspapers, brochures, etc. which would make the hair on some heads "stand up" and which would make a voluminous, interesting, and most informative scrapbook. We mention these things that you our readers may know what the sound and faithful brethren in Abilene are up against in this "camp of the Amalekites." In spite of all our foes, we have not died out as the liberals had predicted that we would but with the help of the Lord courageous brethren are able to maintain a sound and faithful congregation where those who respect the truth can meet and work. We thank God for this! The liberals have lied on us, they have fought us in every way that they could, exerting pressures, boycott, and with every available tactic, but North Park stands and we believe that she is now stronger than ever. As we leave, we have the assurance that the church is stronger spiritually, to our knowledge there are no weaklings within, and those who are at North Park are there because of conviction.

Even though this work has been slow, we rejoice that there have been some 70 baptisms, 53 restorations, and 179 who identified themselves with us, a total of over 300 responses in all. Several families have had to leave us because of transfer of jobs, and some have left because they were unable to take the truth and to bear the stigma of being "anti." There has been a "weeding out" and now we are thankful to the Lord for a strong congregation.

Our efforts to serve the Lord here have been many. We have presented a fifteen minute radio program over KRBC each Sunday morning, frequently dealing with the current issues. We have evidence that pressure has been put on the radio station to stop our efforts but the management has never yielded but has been cooperative with us in every way as we have courteously but forthrightly presented our convictions upon what the Bible teaches, opposing the digressive practices of this city. Even two Baptist preachers saw fit to vacate their broadcasts as a result of our discussion with them on the air. In addition to the radio and the pulpit, we published for four years a little monthly paper, entitled "TRUTH," dealing with the present day problems. About 1500 copies of this paper were mailed out to members of the church here in Abilene, names being supplied by directories as were able to obtain them. Hundreds of the remaining copies were mailed outside Abilene, our final circulation growing to almost 6,000 per month. Repeatedly, we have challenged the liberal preachers of Abilene for debates, but they have chosen to ignore us. We have no way of knowing how much good we have been able to accomplish with the help of the Lord and the good brethren at North Park. Recently we completed a remodeling program of our auditorium, completely modernizing it by lowering the ceiling, improving the acoustics, and installing air conditioning, much needed improvements.

There are three faithful elders serving North Park - C. C. Broyles, Jesse Ferguson, and George Richardson. They are good men, they love the truth and my association with them has been most congenial. Brother Harvey Porter has faithfully filled in with the preaching while I have been away in gospel meetings. The Porters and several like them have been a tremendous help and encouragement to our work. North Park is made up of some of the finest people that we have known. Because of our close ties, due partly to the situation in Abilene, we find this to be our most difficult place to leave. While all the results of our labors together here are not tangible, we believe that the seed of the gospel has been sown and we know that the Lord will give the "increase."

Lord willing, I am to assume work with the Crescent Park church in Odessa, Texas, on Lord's day, June 26th. We believe that this will be a challenging work and we are looking forward to a pleasant work with that church. Brother W. E. (Bud) Irvine, who formerly preached there, will continue to live in Odessa but will be in meeting work and partly supported by Crescent Park.

Brother Arvid K. McGuide has been selected to serve as preacher at North Park. He is from Huntsville, Alabama and is scheduled to begin his work with North Park on or about July 26th. He is a fine young man, studious, devoted to the truth. I pray for him and the brethren at North Park a successful and pleasant work for the Lord.

Until my permanent address is established, after June 26th all correspondents may contact me in care of Crescent Park church of Christ, 1415 Royalty, Odessa, Texas.