Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 2, 1970

Meaningless Accusations


The life of an editor is not easy. There are times when things are so obvious to him, and the realities so apparent, that he feels any intelligent six-year-old ought to recognize them. And when grown men, gospel preachers, elders in big churches, college professors, successful business men declare solemnly (and, no doubt, quite sincerely) that they are totally unable to see what you are talking about — well, it brings a sense of futility and frustration. The same sort of hopeless impotency and weariness this editor experienced a few months ago when trying to get the American Express Company to correct an overcharge in one of their computerized statements. After having received five "form letters" from them, and after having replied at length to each one, over a period of some eight months, he finally got a stiff, curt inquiry wanting to know, "why are we unable to hear from you?"

In a recent editorial in the Firm Foundation, Brother Reuel Lemmons, whose uncanny ability to editorialize in opposite directions in the same paragraph has long been a source of amazement to his readers (perhaps astonishment is the better word) had this to say:

"There are a number of projects and societies among us that are projecting a unique pattern. They are missionary societies that are not called missionary societies, and benevolent societies that show holy wrath at being called benevolent societies. And brethren support them with no concern at all for what they are. Brethren could hardly care less what the Bible teaches about such things." — (Firm Foundation, February 24, 1970)

That paragraph sounds like it might well have come from the pen of Roy Cogdill, Cecil Willis, Robert Jackson, or even the mild and inoffensive editor of the Gospel Guardian. One might expect some such paragraph on the pages of this journal — but with this difference: the reader would not be left in any doubt as to the identity of the "projects and societies" under scrutiny.

But we challenge the whole wide world to find one word from our brother editor stating specifically which "projects and societies" he is talking about. Do you think maybe he means Herald of Truth? Certainly not! For the Firm Foundation through all the years has been a strong backer of that particular "missionary society." Well, could one of those "benevolent societies" perhaps be Boles Home, or some other orphan home which is "not under an eldership?" Don't be absurd. Of course not. For while Brother Lemmons most definitely thinks such operations are a violation of the Scriptures, he has long defended the right of Boles Home to exist — and to receive support from the churches. Could he be talking about some "Church of Christ Hospital" in Africa or some remote corner of the globe? Wrong again. Scarcely a month goes by without the Firm Foundation carrying urgent appeals for the churches to send contributions to such endeavors.

Well, just what "projects and societies" does he have in mind? Nobody knows. Least of all Brother Lemmons. But it was a lovely paragraph he wrote; the sentences are well constructed; the thoughts and ideas are clearly stated; and every informed Christian could well feel a glow of satisfaction that such warnings are being sounded.

Even if Brother Lemmons is totally unable to name one single "project or society" under the whole blue canopy of God's heaven, there ARE such societies and projects; they do exist; they are growing (with the help of the Firm Foundation); and they most certainly do pose a threat to the future of the cause of Christ. What a pity that our brother Editor cannot see the application of his paragraph to some of the institutions and projects we have named, and join with faithful Christians in teaching against them. No doubt he is sincere in what he writes, and shares with us a deep anxiety for the future. And perhaps we are as blind in some areas as he is in this one we have pointed out. (Some brethren have even suggested such to us!) But, all the same, that doesn't help much to relieve the sense of frustration and futility that comes when we read such meaningless accusations as in the editorial of February 24. What a tremendous influence for truth and right could be wielded by this talented man if only it were not for that blind spot! Some brethren entertain a faint glimmer of hope that the burgeoning liberalism now running at full tide in the "projects and societies" may even yet dissolve the scales from our brother's eyes. Let us all pray that some such happy effect may come to pass.

— F. Y. T.