"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.XI No.III Pg.2-3a
March 1949

The Editor

R L. Whiteside

If all the material which comes to the desk of the editor of the Gospel Advocate were suitable for publication, it would not be possible to publish it. The paper is not large enough to provide space for everything which is sent in for publication. Of course this means that some material, otherwise acceptable, must be rejected, to say nothing of that which is not considered usable. We desire that our contributors bear this in mind and be as considerate of the editor as they would wish others to be if they were in his position. Naturally the final decision in these matters rests with the editor, and he does not hesitate to accept the responsibility.

As long as he is editor he expects to exercise this right of decision. —Part of editorial in the Gospel Advocate of November 18, 1948.

Every informed person knows, without being told, that the editor or editors of any periodical must decide what to publish and what to refuse. His position gives him that power; but with that power goes a fearful responsibility, which should cause him to hesitate and ponder seriously about publishing or refusing some articles. Why was the article written? Was it written to give Bible knowledge and to promote righteousness? Or was it written to vent the writer's spleen on someone whose arguments he could not answer? If so, is not such a course similar to that of the Jews who stoned Stephen because they could not meet his arguments? If so, and if the editor does not share the sentiments of the writer, he will not publish the article. Publishing such an article he becomes guilty with the writer. Is he not showing favoritism when he publishes unjustifiable attacks on any man and then refuse to publish anything in his defense? An editor has the power to do so, but will he or anyone else say that he has the moral right to do so? Jude condemns "showing respect of persons for the sake of advantage." Why should an editor violate the plain word of God and his own repeated statement of policy, unless he so boils over with anger that he cannot contain himself? And if he does become angry with someone because he cannot meet his arguments, should he spread his anger over his pages, and thus injure the cause he is supposed to represent and thereby disappoint and sadden his best supporters and his well wishers? If he becomes angry, he should not sin; neither should he let the sun go down on his wrath, Anger cherished in the heart grows into malice; and malice seeks ways to injure its object. All such must be put away. (Eph. 4:31-32; Col. 3:5-11). Defiant self-justification is no substitute for right conduct. "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy." (James 3:17). "Or think ye that the scripture speaketh in vain? (James 4:5).

A long time ago Brother Lipscomb said that the supporters of a paper could make the editor behave. It is easy to see how they can do that. Perhaps very few really try to do so. It is not a pleasant task. Besides, many people have a queer standard of morals, when it comes down to cases. They judge a man's conduct by the way it affects them personally. Make this test: Tell a neighbor how crooked another neighbor has been in his dealings, and you will likely get this reply: "Well, he has always treated me all right." So he is a good honest man! With that standard of judgment when could a criminal be convicted by any jury? Each one would judge according to the way the criminal had treated him. Some likely do not try to correct the editor, fearing they will lose the favor of the editor, "showing respect of persons for the sake of advantage." Of course any normal man desires the good will of all good people, but the man who will shut his eyes against wrong and kow-tow to men who he thinks are in position to grant him favors is a sorry specimen of manhood. Such an attitude of heart utterly hinders anyone from being a true believer in Christ. "How can ye believe, whom receive glory one from another, and the glory from the only God ye seek not?" (John 5:44). Such political connivance will rot the character of any one. And likely some refrain from trying to correct any fault in the editor feeling that nothing they could say would do any good, and likely they are right. I have tried and failed. Or they perhaps hesitate to try to correct an editor, fearing he might belong to the wrong class mentioned by Solomon: "He that correcteth a scoffer getteth to himself reviling; and he that reproveth a wicked man getteth himself a blot, Reprove not a scoffer, lest he hate thee: reprove a wise man, and he will love thee." (Prov. 9:7-8).

Those who do not believe in taking life legally for any cause should not try to kill anybody with words, and thereby be guilty of murder. Death by words is slower than by shooting or hanging, but may be just as sure. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." (Prov. 18:21), "With his mouth the godless man destroyeth his neighbor." (Prov. 11:9). In this matter we may do a wrong that we can never remedy. Words have killed people.

It is as bad for an editor, as for any other Christian, to become angry. "He that is soon angry will deal foolishly." We have seen some striking demonstrations of the truth of that statement. A Christian should never allow himself to become so angry at any one that he wants to hurt him, or to rejoice when misfortune befalls him, even if the man is his enemy. "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thy heart be glad when he is overthrown," ('Prov. 24:17).

No, I am not angry. I do not remember that I was ever so angry with any man that I wanted to hurt him by either word or deed; but I have been sorely disappointed in some of whom I expected better things, But here is a strange thing: Some of the brethren who think that such passages as Matt. 5:38; Luke 6:35; Rom.12:19-20 prohibit any Christian from taking part in the government's efforts to put down crime or resist the enemy, are yet very bitter toward those who do not agree with them. I have not taken part in the controversy; and yet the most bitter, vengeful, ill-tempered, and unchristian letters I ever received came from some of these men; men I do not remember of ever having seen. One who must have about exhausted his vocabulary of harsh words and ugly charges, finally called me an "old devil." I had not done them any evil, I had not hit them on one cheek, but they landed on me as hard as they could. And from what I have seen in the papers I judge that others of that class of brethren have taken vengeance on some they did not like. People can sometimes become very warped and twisted, and blind to their own sins.