Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 15, 1953
NUMBER 23, PAGE 4-5a

Dunne - Pickup Delay


We regret to have to announce a three or four week delay in the publication date of the discussion between Harry W. Pickup, Jr. and the Jesuit priest George H. Dunne. The debate on the nature of authority in Catholicism was originally scheduled to begin in this issue. It now appears that the starting date will be early in November.

The Liquor Crowd And Gospel Preachers

Elsewhere in this issue of the Gospel Guardian will be found articles by Brethren J. M. Powell and Kenneth Fielder, both of Franklin, Tennessee, and George DeHoff of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

These articles speak for themselves, and we commend them to your careful reading. The Gospel Guardian has no interest at all in any differences, either personal or political, that may exist between or among Brethren Powell, Fielder, and DeHoff. Our only real concern with the tragic problem at Franklin has to do (1) with fairness, and (2) with Christian morals.

Because of our interest in fair play we are giving space in this issue to BOTH Brother Powell and Brother Fielder. Some weeks ago the Gospel Advocate (of which Brother Powell is reportedly co-owner, and which is edited by his brother-in-law) published the lengthy article by Brother Powell attacking Brethren Fielder and DeHoff. Brother Fielder sent a reply to the Gospel Advocate. It was his feeling that even an elementary sense of justice would have moved Brother Powell to give space in his paper to a brother in Christ whom he had attacked.

The Gospel Advocate, however, in keeping with its usual policy of presenting only one side of an issue, and quite in line with its ideas of fairness, refused to give space to the Fielder article. We are, therefore, giving space to BOTH sides, and will let brethren form their own judgment as to the merits of the case.

There is, however, a much more vital question involved in these matters than any mere difference between two or three men. This Franklin problem brings up the whole question of the wicked liquor traffic and a Christian's attitude toward it.

Brother Powell has done himself and the cause of Christ, an almost irreparable injury in Middle Tennessee in letting conditions at Franklin develop in such a manner as to identify him with the liquor forces. He himself is conscientiously opposed to the liquor evil. In the Gospel Advocate of August 13, he had a most excellent article on "The Evil Fruits of Alcohol"; and the Gospel Advocate herself from time to time has carried fine articles pointing out the evil and wickedness of this nefarious traffic.

Yet in spite of these personal convictions, it is apparent that Brother Powell's defense of one of the liquor crowd as "a splendid Christian gentleman" and his hot attack on a brother gospel preacher who was fighting so valiantly against the unscrupulous liquor traffic has definitely aligned him in the eyes of many as being on the side of the "moderate drinkers," if not in sympathy with the whole program of the whiskey barons! He has done neither himself, nor the Gospel Advocate, nor the cause of Christ any service at all by letting this situation so develop.

The fine Fourth Avenue church in Franklin is the congregation where the beloved F. W. Smith labored for more than a quarter century; this is the pulpit from which J. Leonard Jackson has sounded out the same faithful preaching for a period almost as long. It must be particularly galling and humiliating to many of the saints of this great church that in the eyes of the community they are now (through the actions of Brother Powell, Brother Richardson, and the Gospel Advocate) lined up with the whiskey crowd.

It is of interest to note another thing in this problem: the denominational preachers in the city (against whose doctrinal false teachings Fielder has fought fearlessly and tirelessly), rallied unanimously to commend and endorse Brother Fielder in his fight on a moral issue like the liquor traffic. They stated both publicly and privately that on doctrinal questions they differed from Brother Fielder, BUT THERE ARE NOT TWO SIDES TO THE LIQUOR QUESTION!! And Fielder in opposing the liquor traffic was on the ground that every decent citizen MUST occupy. Brother Powell has quite unintentionally placed the Fourth Avenue congregation in the light of supporting and endorsing the liquor crowd. He did not plan it that way; but that is the turn it has taken. And that is the thing that is so embarrassing to the saints there. Leonard Jackson was solidly behind the fight Fielder was making for truth and decency. There can be no question in the mind of anybody as to what F. W. Smith's attitude would have been. The Fourth Avenue congregation, having been so long under the preaching of these godly men, is bewildered and irritated now to have been maneuvered into a position so contrary to that which they have held through the years. This is evident from the number of them who have called Brother Fielder to lend sympathy and encouragement and backing (both moral and financial) to his noble fight against the wicked and unscrupulous men who are trying to promote the sale of whiskey in Middle Tennessee.

We have checked carefully with Brother Fielder as to the statements he makes in his article. We went over them, one by one, with an attorney, as to whether anything in them constituted libel. It is his opinion that there is definite ground for libel action IF THE STATEMENTS ARE NOT TRUE. Brother Fielder has carefully checked and double-checked all his sources of information; he assures us that every statement is true, and will be sworn to in court if necessary. Some of his sources of information are leading members of the Fourth Avenue congregation; they are more than willing to state what they know to a jury.

With that sort of background, and knowing that THE TRUTH is always an impregnable defense against any suit for slander or libel, the Gospel Guardian is willing to take her chances with any body of fair-minded American jurymen. If Brother Robert L. Richardson, Jr., secretary of the liquor crowd, wants to sue us for priming the Fielder article, this is an invitation to him to do so. The decent people of this nation recognize that broken homes, ruined lives, murder, arson, rape, and pillage are the fruits of the liquor traffic. Four million alcoholics in the nation give pitiable testimony to the success of the advertising and promotional schemes of the whiskey barons.

The Gospel Guardian does not believe in that kind of sweet fellowship and tolerance! The whiskey traffic will not be reformed; it cannot be controlled; IT MUST BE DESTROYED. If Brother Powell, the Gospel Advocate and Robert L. Richardson, Jr. want to "lend aid and comfort" to these destroyers of all that is good, it is their privilege to do so. The Gospel Guardian does not, and will not approve; we can never believe that any man, church member or not, who traffics in human misery is a "high type Christian gentleman."

— F. Y. T.