Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 31, 1955

Keeping The Record Straight

Elders, Park Hill Congregation, Fort Smith, Arkansas

Since it has been reported that this congregation takes up a collection at the door of the meeting house and then disburses it through the treasury of the church to orphan homes, we deem it necessary to make the following clarifications:

It is our understanding that Brother Sterl Watson charged this congregation with practicing the above in a debate at Indianapolis. The above charge is absolutely false and unwarranted. We feel that Brother Watson should have at least investigated before he made his assertions. We believe he owes all concerned an apology for making the statement.

Brethren, it is our conviction that there is too much "talking about," and not enough "talking to" in matters of this kind. Of course, we realize that what we do here in Fort Smith had nothing to do with proving Brother Watson's propositions. It is a little difficult for us to understand what the practice of this congregation has to do with what the Bible says anyway. However, since this is now a public matter we feel obligated to make this correction. We humbly feel our weakness and realize that we have made many mistakes in days gone by. We doubt that there is an eldership anywhere but what has made mistakes. It is our conviction that when one learns the truth he should change. Most of us have come out of denominations. If we had believed that it is wrong to change we would not be Christians. We feel that it is bad to be in error but it is worse to stay there. Here are some of the mistakes we have made in days gone by.

1. Several years ago we pledged to give money out of the church treasury to a college. We know better now, and will not do it again.

2. At one time we took money out of the treasury and gave it to a benevolent organization under a board of directors. We know better now.

3. At one time we allowed individuals to take up money at the meeting house and place it in the treasury for distribution to orphan homes. At this time separate records were kept but for convenience we allowed the treasurer to place the money in the treasury and write checks for the amount given apart from the regular contribution. Although this practice has been misrepresented we do not allow such to be practiced now. As a matter of fact this was being practiced while Brother Watson preached here back in 1946. If Brother Watson thought that this was equal to taking the money out of the treasury, WHY DIDN'T HE CORRECT IT? ? ? He preached here a whole year and never did mention it! It seems to us that this places Brother Watson in an inconsistent position.

Yes, brethren we have made many mistakes and will make many more, probably as long as we live, but it will serve no purpose for anyone to say, "Well they once practiced it" because this we readily admit. If we had not profited by our past mistakes we would still be giving money out of the treasury for the support of colleges. It grieved us very much to hear that Brother Watson is now teaching that the church may support the college out of its treasury. It is our understanding that as late as 1949 Brother Watson said, "I would as soon slip the premillennial theory into the church as to slip the college into the church, or the church into the college."

Since we have not practiced any of the above things for years and the fact that the charge was made just a few months ago in debate, we send forth this explanation with the fervent prayer that it may enlighten. If any one else wants to "charge" us with something that is perfectly all right but we would appreciate it if they would get the facts first.

Signed: Elmer Bridges W. A. Loudermilk L. K. Turner Burton W. Neugent Herbert Brock