Knew It Was Poison -- And Still Sold It!
Once upon a time a dairyman had several hundred gallons of milk go bad on him. A chemical analysis was made of the milk, and it was discovered that a deadly poison was present in it. The dairyman said nothing of this to his customers, but did issue a statement to the public press minimizing the matter, and assuring everybody that the whole thing was unimportant, and that he would soon be in a position to supply milk that was absolutely pure. Then he quietly bottled the poisoned milk and distributed it among his customers!
In the Gospel Guardian of April 27, we pointed out to our readers a few examples of the false and dangerous doctrines (atheism and modernism) being taught in the Gospel Treasure Graded Bible Lessons. We warned against this material, and pleaded with those who were using it to get rid of it at once. We cited specific instances (only a few out of a great number in the two books we examined) of false doctrine.
You will recall that we suggested only three possible views one could take of the matter:
(1) The editor of the series did not know these false teachings were in the literature, or
(2) He did know they were there, and believes them, or
(3) He did know they were there, does not believe them, but was willing to go ahead and sell the material to the churches anyhow.
It was with a deep sense of shock and disappointment that we learned (beyond all doubt) that the third alternative listed above is the truth. The editor, the publisher, and at least one of the distributors did know the atheistic and modernistic material was in the books and continued to sell them. This is evident from a statement made by the Christian Chronicle immediately after our editorial came out:
"Several weeks ago - shortly after we began distribution of the materials - we discovered these errors and immediately telephoned the printers of the series regarding them."
So the facts are clear. It was known the errors were in the material; it was known that they were "doctrinal and factual errors," and were neither trivial nor insignificant. The editor of the Chronicle says they were "serious." But here is the payoff: In spite of such knowledge, the books continued to be recommended, advertised, publicized as being the best in existence, and sold to unsuspecting churches! The only concession made, so far as we can discover, was an editorial in the publisher's magazine (Gospel Broadcast) admitting that "some" errors had been found. Two types of errors were mentioned, those of a typographical and strictly mechanical nature, and those "in scriptural thought and content." The claim was hastily made for these latter, "Few indeed are these and small they are
Well, any statement that teaches the Nebular hypothesis (an atheistic account of creation) would probably appear a "small" error to some brethren among us, but we will confess that "small" isn't exactly the adjective with which we would describe it! If atheism and modernism are "small" errors, just what would it take to constitute a "major" error?
Selling The Literature
In spite, however, of their awareness of these dangerous teachings, the editor, the publisher, and some of the distributors of the Gospel Treasure series continued to spread the books among the churches. Not one word of explanation or caution went to the teachers and students receiving the false "helps," no effort was made to recall the books that had already been sent out; no attempt was made in these books to correct the false teaching, or to counteract its influence. Not, indeed, until our editorial came out three weeks ago was any serious notice taken of the matter!
What must be the thinking of brethren who can do such things? Are the immortal souls of young boys and girls of less value to them than the few paltry dollars to be gained from selling this "poisoned" literature? Why were not all the books immediately given the "Ephesian treatment" (burned), and a frank statement given to all the churches ordering them that false teaching had been discovered, and that a slight delay would be necessary in filling their orders. That sort of behavior would have won confidence and respect; what did happen can only weaken or destroy such confidence and respect.
It gives us no pleasure to report these sordid facts. The Gospel Guardian could wish that some of our other religious journals would be willing to break such unsavory news to the brethren. But it seems somehow that we are destined to be in the fore-front in such matters. And however reluctant we are to become embroiled in any kind of a controversy with the brethren promoting this literature, we feel an obligation to God and to our fellow Christians that would make silence in such an hour unthinkable and contemptible. Let others ignore such dangers if they will; our conscience does not permit it.
In subsequent articles we intend to take up additional books in the series, and point out errors in them that are subversive of New Testament teaching. All our quotations in our initial article were from the senior students Book 1, Year 1, which was the only book we had with us at the time the editorial was written. But that is not the only book teaching error! And as we have space and time we will continue to point out what we regard as false and dangerous statements in. other books in the series.
--Fanning Yater Tant