Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 24, 1954

Brother Harper Defends "Herald Of Truth"


For many months now many brethren have been pressing Brother E. R. Harper to defend from the scriptures the "Herald of Truth" arrangement at Abilene, Texas. Brother Harper has consistently refused to offer scriptural authority for the practice, but in nearly all his articles is very deeply concerned in defending — E. R. Harper! The article we publish this week is no exception. Read it and see for yourself.

Such a defense is not necessary; and particularly not on the points Brother Harper mentions. He seems to think that we were trying to "ruin" him when we quoted from his Tulsa Lecture. On the contrary; we quoted that excerpt with full approbation and approval. We'll quote it again:

"A congregation has no right to build anything larger than it is able to support."

Our point in quoting that statement from sixteen years ago was to show what E. R. Harper believed and taught THEN. We think his present teaching and action are in indefensible contradiction to that previous practice and teaching. And we made our brief observation in response to Brother Harper's charge that "Too many of you boys have 'changed your positions' too many times on too many things." Such was also our reason for referring to his chameleon like switches on the Harding College affair, and the solicitation of church contributions to Freed-Hardeman College.

Just to set the record straight; and to permit Brother Harper to forget himself long enough to discuss the issue let us make the following declaration:

1. We agree with, and heartily endorse, E. R. Harper's statement in the Tulsa Lecture that "A congregation has no right to build anything larger than it is able to support."

2. We were, and are, in full sympathy with E. R. Harper's effort to oppose premillennialism in Harding College and anywhere else it shows itself. We think he made an egregious blunder in signing a "peace pact" right in the middle of the fight. And we agree with the criticisms made against him by H. Leo Boles, N. B. Hardeman, Foy E. Wallace, and a host of others for his "surrender" at a critical hour in the battle.

3. We think Brother Harper's "explanation" of the contributions he received from churches to Freed-Hardeman College is pretty weak. Our information that he solicited and accepted contributions from churches to that school comes from an elder in one of the strongest churches in West Tennessee, a man who has a profound admiration for E. R. Harper, and who has been a life-long friend of his. He is deeply distressed by the "change" that has occurred in Brother Harper (as are a great host of his friends) these last few years. What has happened Ernest? Where is the uncompromising gospel preacher we all knew and loved? What has become of the man who was always so ready to defend from the scriptures that which he practiced and believed?

Now, having responded to the article sent in by Brother Harper, let us plead with him once again- to get on the subject: viz, "The Herald of Truth." Thus far about the total sum and substance of Brother Harper's defense of that arrangement has been a lengthy defense of HIMSELF. We repeat, such defense is not necessary. We are in agreement with the nice things our brother says about himself, and his fight against premillennialism. What earth ever gave him any idea that we did NOT agree with him in his opposition to that heresy?

But premillennialism is not the issue here. And church contributions to private schools is not the immediate issue. What we all want to know is: WHAT ABOUT "HERALD OF TRUTH"? By what "right" has the Fifth and Highland Church planned "a work greater than it can do"? Only sixteen years ago Brother Harper flatly declared that no church had any "right" to do what Fifth and Highland has now done. Is that still our brother's conviction, or has he "changed his position" on this point?

"Herald of Truth" is a brotherhood work. It is built on the concept of the "church universal working through a single agency — the agency being elders of Fifth and Highland Church." These elders did not originate the program; could not stop it; did not select the preachers for it; do not pay into it even enough to support their own elder who works for it — and yet claim that it is "OUR" work!

Brother Harper and the Fifth and Highland elders would bitterly oppose one church "having the oversight" of all the evangelistic work for one thousand churches; yet they "have the oversight" of the radio evangelism for more than one thousand churches. They would oppose one eldership "having the oversight" of the benevolent work for one thousand churches; yet they propose to "have the oversight" for the television evangelism for one thousand churches.

Can anybody figure this out? We're still waiting for that article from Brother Harper on "What Is Wrong With the Missionary Society?" We are convinced that one reason why he does not write it is that he CAN NOT write it without clearly condemning his own "Herald of Truth."

— F. Y. T.