We picked up the following little item from a Texas church bulletin other day: "Wednesday, February 16, snow on the ground; members of the church present for mid-week service, 37. Thursday, February 17, snow on the ground; members of the church present for high school basketball game, 56."
Gospel Advocate 1855 style
"In establishing the Gospel Advocate, I determined, by the help of the Lord, to give the subject of cooperation a thorough examination. I do not pretend to say how it has been brought about, but I have for years believed that a change must take place in our views of cooperation before we can labor to each other's advantage or to the honor of God.
"I beg permission to state what seems to me evidence of defective cooperation among us. It has always occurred to me that the brethren most generally write and speak upon the subject as men at sea, without chart, compass, or even a polestar to guide them. In the World Convention in London, every one has a theory, a suggestion, a plan to urge, or at least a question to ask, if such or such a plan will not answer. Such a course is an acknowledgment that we have no directions or examples to guide us. We have complete instructions in all matters pertaining to religion, or we have nothing."
— Tolbert Fanning, G.A.-1855
Shades of Judge Rutherford!
W. Curtis Porter, Luther Blackmon, and several others have written in to call our attention to the fact that Brother Guy N. Woods and the Gospel Advocate have taken a leaf from Judge Rutherford's notebook. For several years the doughty "Judge" stormed over the land making great capital out of his "challenge and invitation" to meet the "whole denominational world" in religious debate. He figuratively pawed the earth and raged and snorted in his boastful and blaring challenge. He would meet a representative man IF all the churches would get together and agree on a man, and IF that man would agree to endorse and defend everything that all these churches taught! Now comes the GA with the same "magnanimous" offer: they will debate the institutional orphan home issue IF all who oppose them will get together and agree on a man to represent them, and IF four of the journals who oppose institutional homes will carry the discussion. They also picked out and named the four journals they want to carry the discussion — knowing full well that their conditions are impossible and unthinkable. They are just as anxious to debate as the "Judge" was; and are doing exactly what he did to avoid a debate!
We see where L. R. Wilson has been preaching some sermons on "dancing" in Amarillo. Reminds us of the time a former preacher there preached on the same subject — and was figuratively ridden out of town on a rail by some of the society-minded mothers in the congregation who were determined that their daughters should dance — whether the girls wanted to or not! We were present one night when one of these sisters called the preacher over the phone, so furious she was crying, and told him she had checked the Bible references on "dancing," of which she said there were twenty-one, "and every single time the Lord approved it!!"
Prospects brighten Early in January we wrote the elders at Highland Church requesting (1) their endorsement of E. R. Harper for the debates, (2) an iron-clad guarantee that the debate would take place in Abilene as well as in Lufkin, (3) their promise to supply an alternate in the event illness or any other reason prevented Brother Harper's participation. After more than a month's delay we have a reply from them giving the endorsement and promising that the debate will take place in Abilene as well as in Lufkin. But they declined to agree to furnish an alternate in case Brother Harper did not participate. As it is now, prospects are much brighter for the debates. So make your plans to come: Lufkin, April 11-14; Abilene, June 20-23. As we see the situation now the only thing that can prevent the debates would be illness on Brother Harper's part. And we do not anticipate that.
We're ashamed of both of them From several sources we've heard that Leroy Garrett made a nuisance of himself at the Free-Hardeman lectures. We're ashamed of him. And we're also ashamed that Brother Dixon, president of the school, found himself not resourceful enough to cope with the situation without throwing Leroy into the pokey — where he spent the night with a drunk in the tank. The cause of Christ is certainly not promoted by such goings-on between brethren.
While the Gospel Advocate is putting on her super-duper campaign to get 50,000 subscribers this year (in a recent issue one slightly intoxicated brother suggested the goal should be 5,000,000 instead of 50,000), we are grateful that Gospel Guardian readers continue to send in their renewals and new subscriptions pretty well on schedule. We've had several to send in a list of new subscriptions with the comment that these are people who have lately subscribed to the Gospel Advocate, and they would now like for them to have the Gospel Guardian also so as to get both sides of issues now before the brotherhood. Not a bad idea! We commend it to the rest of our readers.
Those letters are coming!
A few weeks ago we asked for a thousand letters from friends who would write offering suggestions and help in a study of the Herald of Truth issue. The response has been wonderfully encouraging! And we are deeply grateful. Here is a brief excerpt from one which is typical of scores that have come, "I think you are right in demanding a discussion of the issues and not of personalities. There are some of us younger preachers who don't know and don't care about what who said what 20 years ago, but who are vitally interested in finding out what inspiration taught 1900 years ago! You know even better than I that an attack on one's person is the first sign of weakness in the position that the other has taken."