Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 7, 1953

Soundness At Harding College

F. W. Mattox, Searcy, Arkansas

Since Harding College has been criticized in two recent issues of The Gospel Guardian and according to the criticism, since I am "the Professor of Church History" who "told his class that premillennialism and instrumental music are on the same basis" and that "if the whole congregation agreed to it (the introduction of the organ) there could be no reason for not introducing it"; I have no alternative to speak up and say that these statements are entirely false.

Each year we have students enrolled at Harding College who seem eager to try to find something to criticize and thus perpetuate the rumors that Bible teachers at Harding are not sound in doctrine. Brother Tant's "fine gospel preacher" who was "enrolled at Harding last year" and is responsible for this misinformation must have been of this frame of mind. In order to show how such statements were fabricated the following explanation is necessary:

In studying Thomas Campbell's "Declaration and Address" it is necessary to discuss his efforts to find a basis for fellowship. To illustrate the problems involved in fellowship I mention many types of doctrine and show that there are theories that are held only in the mind and do not affect outward action, while other theories are reduced to action. For example, a babe in the church may believe Revelation 20 should be taken literally. As this belief does not affect his worship practices, we who believe this is the language of symbolism do not disfellowship him. Also a babe in the church may see no wrong in instrumental music, but so long as he is not factious we do not disfellowship him.

While discussing this matter in order to get students to see the problems involved, a student asked what would be wrong if a whole congregation of such "babes" decided to practice what they believed and put an organ in their worship. Since we were discussing fellowship in a local congregation, I stated that if all agreed to it fellowship would not be broken in that group. I did not say it was right or that other groups should fellowship that group.

I made it clear to the class that I am opposed to the use of instrumental music, but some "fine gospel preacher" misunderstood the use of the above illustration and turned it into a statement of my faith that is contrary to all my teaching and preaching.

In a similar misunderstanding, Brother Tant was led to believe that at our Thanksgiving lecture series we took up a collection for Africa under false pretenses; that we implied it would go to the work of Guy Caskey and then did not send it to him. Brother Benson made a speech before this collection was taken and told the audience where the money was to go and exactly what it would be used for. No one present could have had such an idea as was sent Brother Tant.

Harding College is sound in every respect. Any who are led to believe otherwise are urged to write us for full information. We have nothing to hide.


Statement By Brother Henderson

Brother Mattox seems to think I am trying to "perpetuate the rumors that Bible teachers at Harding are not sound in doctrine." No, that isn't the case, I feel it is my obligation to speak; thus I have spoken.

In a private conversation, in the class room, I asked Brother Mattox this question: Since you say that we are obligated to fellowship all who are "baptized for the remission of sins" (referring particularly to the Christian Church and the premillennialists), how would you eliminate the Mormons from that fellowship? The answer was: I have to draw the line somewhere, so I will just draw it between the Christian Church and the Mormons.

On at least two written examinations the following type of question appeared: Would you fellowship an individual who held to the premillennialist theory but did not teach it? Maybe Brother Mattox would like to tell us just what was the point in having such a question appear in his examinations.

I must still stand on what I told Brother Tant, and what was printed in "The Overflow," with the one minor correction that the discussion took place in the spring of 1951 rather than "last year."

Orman Henderson Russellville, Arkansas


Statement From H. F. Sharp

Brother Orman Henderson, a faithful gospel preacher, was visiting in my home in Conway, Arkansas, in March of this year. The statement in The Gospel Guardian relative to Harding College was made by him to Brother Tant in my presence. Brother Henderson is a sound, mature Christian. He has done work with the church in Dyess, Arkansas, and also with the South Highland church in Little Rock. His work speaks for his ability. I know the elders of both congregations will endorse him without reservation. Orman Henderson is a man whose word is absolutely reliable. Let those who question it ask the elders of the church in Dyess or in Little Rock. Ask the faithful gospel preachers in Little Rock, who are devoted to the cause of Christ and who love Orman Henderson for his character and his ability.

H. F. Sharp Conway, Arkansas