"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.VI No.IX Pg.2-4a
April 1944

Some Bits Of West Coast Wisdom

There is a propaganda paper published in California for general bulk distribution among the brethren which bears the title "West Coast Christian." Its publisher and distributor is James L. Lovell, who likes to be known as "Jimmie," and he recommends that his readers call him "Jimmie." Being somewhat bent on giving his case of "Jimmies" to everybody, he writes a column in his paper, and one or two other papers, which he styles "Talking Things Over With Jimmie Lovell." But it is "Jimmie" who does all the talking whether anybody else is listening or not. And, of course, there are some who listen. Some very fine men on the West Coast have told us that "Jimmie" is a joke out there and that his comics and antics are not worth the attention he receives away from there. That is true-- and that is the reason why it is necessary to expose his propaganda. Many people away from the Coast seem to think that he is "some great one" and they actually send him money "for the Lord" to be used "in trust" as he sees fit "for the cause!" Like Don Carlos Janes was, and as B. D. Morehead yet is, Lovell is ambitious to be a one-man missionary agency for the church and for scattered individuals over the nation. The brethren have just had a lesson on this thing, that came with a jolt, in the form of the "Last Will And Testament Of Don Carlos Janes." Now is the time to follow it up and put an end to this one-man missionary thing that has been allowed to spring up, thrive and grow among the brethren.

Talkative "Jimmie" has told his readers that he is not a preacher - but he knows exactly what a preacher ought to be and do and say, where he ought to go, how far he ought to travel, how long he ought to stay and how much (or little, judging his remarks) he ought to be paid. If he is a local preacher, in order that the church that employs him gets value received, he advises that he be required to "punch the time-clock" and report all visits and calls and consultations. If he is an evangelist, his traveling should be regulated and regimented to see to it that he does not book meetings back and forth across the nation for "sightseeing" purposes, spending the brethren's money! He thinks a man should hold his meetings in one area until he has finished in that section, then go into another section and hold them all in that area-- whether he ever gets home or not, which requires some "back and forth" traveling, Jimmie doesn't favor. Talkative "Jimmie" is not a preacher, but he knows all about how the preachers and the churches ought to do it! Personally, I have been "holding meetings" for about thirty years and have made it a practice to return home to my wife and children between every meeting. There have been very few exceptions over the years. I need them and they need me, and we need to see each other often. In all of these years I have never made a financial demand on any church, but if the brethren do not want to pay for this riding, they should get "Jimmie" or some one in the vicinity to hold their meeting. I am not particularly interested in sightseeing. So far as "seeing" is concerned - the best sights for me are around home. But "Jimmie" is deeply concerned about how much money the preachers spend traveling about over the country "holding meetings." The elders of the churches need his advice on this point, he thinks, as little use as he has for the elders of any church. So garrulous Jimmie rattles away and rambles on, and some of the dear sisters and guileless brethren think that it is simply "wonderful!"

In addition to letting everybody in on the fact that he is not a preacher (just a perpetual talker) West Coast Jimmie also breaks down and confesses that he is not even a student of the Bible. But he can tell all of the churches, elders, preachers and leaders all about it. To serve the readers a sample of the wisdom of this West Coast sage, who says he is not even a Bible student, we submit a few bits of sagacity from his lathering pen.

The Bible is silent on elders and deacons in the Jerusalem Church. If the seven men appointed were deacons they had deacons before they had elders. There were two requirements in these men-they were filled with the Spirit and had wisdom. What of the deacons where you worship? This West Coast bureau of information for all the brethren, who in a moment of humility admitted that he knows very little about the Bible, now ventures to say that "if the men appointed were deacons" that there were deacons in the Jerusalem church before elders. Wonder how Jimmie knows so much? In the eleventh chapter of Acts the elders of the Jerusalem church are mentioned. How does Jimmie know when they were appointed? The fact is, he didn't even know there were any such elders mentioned at all - for he said that "the Bible is silent on elders" in the Jerusalem church. But what else can be expected from one who talks at random on things he knows nothing about? Other passages in the New Testament mention elders in "every city" and elders in "every place." If Jerusalem was either a city or a place it should be included in these expressions, whether the Bible "is silent" on elders in the "Jerusalem church" or not. But it so happens that elders in the Jerusalem church are referred to in the chapter already cited (Acts 11:29-30) so Jimmie has made at least one statement that all of us can accept -- namely, that he is not a student of the Bible and knows very little about it. That being true, he should sit down, or go on selling his gun powder, and let someone else do the talking.

Another thing worthy of remark here for the benefit of some others as we go along: The Jerusalem church had elders, a known and established fact --a fact known as far away as Antioch, even if "Jimmie" doesn't know it in California. And when the distress came in Judea the disciples at Antioch sent their contributions to the elders at Jerusalem. It is being advocated lately that the elders only have the spiritual oversight of the church, and the deacons have the financial authority in the church. If that is true, the brethren in Antioch made a mistake-- they should have sent their contributions to the deacons at Jerusalem instead of to the elders! The West Coast sage says the Deacons were first in the Jerusalem church anyway. In line with that idea there are movements on in various places to set the authority of the elders of the churches aside, relegating them to the role of mere "spiritual advisors." It is such empty talking and writing as that which appears in the West Coast propaganda paper, and others of like sort, that puts such unscriptural ideas into circulation.

Another sample of wisdom from the sagacious West Coast Jimmie reads thusly: "Baptism may have made us Christians but if we are even approaching real Christianity I am cock-eyed and crazy." Readers, how does that sound to sensible people? According to this self-labeled "cockeyed and crazy" dispenser of expert advice, when one is baptized, he has not even approached Christianity! Being baptized makes a Christian but it does not approach Christianity! Did he mean it that way? Probably not, but that is what he said-- and that is the character of everything else he says. He has made a reputation for "talking" so he talks and talks and talks. If he ever thinks, it is too late, for it is after he has talked too long and too much.

Another very important item in these West Coast bits of wisdom pertains to the "Last Will And Testament of Don Carlos Janes" and the missionary question. Here it is:

"Bulk of Don Carlos Janes' $74,342 estate was left to promote missionary work throughout the world and promote the premillennial doctrine of the second coming of Christ, in which Janes believed. The estate was made up of a personal estate of $40,244.45 and a missionary trust fund estate, which Janes has raised, of $34,098.04." (All of which makes me greatly concerned about holding the money which you have sent me on the youth magazine until paper is allowed. Money lying idle does no one any good; therefore, I am putting it to work. With the world starving to death for the gospel, I do not want to die with funds on hand.)

So Jimmie does not want "to die with funds on hand!" The best way to avoid that situation is for the brethren and the churches to quit sending the "funds" to him. What is Jimmie doing with the brethren's funds which he has "on hand?" If they are his own "funds" he shouldn't be afraid to die with them "on hand." If they are the brethren's funds, or funds of the churches, he has no business having them "on hand." Notice Jimmie says: "I am putting it to work." Who is "putting" it to work? "I" -- Jimmie Lovell am putting the "funds" to work! Whose funds? Where is he putting them to work? What work? Don Carlos Janes "put" the "funds" to work - and he did the putting - by loaning them out to Bollite churches, building up trust funds, drawing interest, and then willed it to his protgs. There are a lot of ways to make money work.

Since Jimmie Lovell has expressed the fear of dying with funds on hand" the brethren should by all means obviate that contingency by doing the putting themselves and wean Jimmie from the missionary teat right now. The longer he "holds the money" (like Janes and Jorgenson) the harder it will be to wean him.

It will be remembered that only a short time ago Jimmie Lovell said in his propaganda paper that he had decided to cooperate with Don Carlos Janes and the Boll group in Louisville, even though they are premillennialists, he said, because they are getting things done in a missionary way. That represents the depths of his convictions on the subject. Truly, Janes and Jorgenson did get things done "in a missionary way," and the Janes' Will clearly reveals "the way" it was done! Jimmie turned pale when he read that document, and murmured, "I don't want to die with funds on hand." So what will he do? Why he will just "put" these funds "to work." What had he been doing with these "funds" before the death of Don Carlos brought forth his resolution? He says some of them were "lying idle." Will the churches and brethren continue to be so gullible as to perpetuate these one-man missionary agencies and bureaus among us? Again we say--surely not!

But run your peepers over this follow-up on the missionary schemes of the West Coast propaganda paper. He is still at it.

Three things I want: Name and address of a leader, address of the church in every place in the 11 western states; (2) address of the nearest church to every military training center or port; (3) names and address of all who plan foreign mission work. I can then give this information to you.

Now, why should the elders of the churches file their names and addresses with Jimmie Lovell, along with the names and addresses of "all who plan foreign mission work?" Here it is: "I can then give this information to you." Jimmie proposes to be "information bureau" for all the elders of the churches who "plan foreign mission work." He wants his hand in all of it. He will give you the information, or to save a lot of trouble, he can just "inform" them to send the money to him and he will "put it to work." We earnestly and strongly advise the elders, or individuals, who "plan" mission work not to do it - Jimmie might "die with funds on hand" like Janes did. No wonder Jimmie Lovell wants the names and addresses of everybody who has any money for missionary work. Don Carlos Janes spent his life doing the same thing. Shall the brethren continue this sort of thing? We do not aim to quit asking this question. Though we have no desire to speak "ill of the dead," eternal principles are involved in these matters, which sentiment over a man's death should not be permitted to smother.

Another bit of talkative nonsense in this West Coast spasm is found in the following:

Jealousy was the basis of persecution of the early church and jealousy is the basis of much of our trouble today. How easily this is seen in respect with many of our older preachers. They not only connive ways and means to wreck the work of the younger preachers but manifest the very spirit of the Devil in their presence. The lowest breed of sinner is a Christian who knows better, yet who seeks to hinder the Christian work of a brother.

It is to be "easily" seen, says Jimmie Lovell, that "our older preachers" are actually "conniving" various ways and means to "wreck" the work of young preachers. These older preachers have the "spirit of the devil" and are "the lowest breed of sinners." That is some charge. And it is a general charge. He did not say some or a few older preachers, which would have been untrue, but he said "our older preachers," a general indictment. Now, what are our older preachers doing? According to James L. Jimmie Lovell they are premeditatedly, with malice aforethought, conniving every possible way of wrecking the work of young gospel preachers. The older preachers who are conniving to wreck young gospel preachers "manifest the very spirit of the devil" and are classed as "the lowest breed of sinner" by Jimmie Lovell. All of the older preachers, grand men and great preachers, will take notice of that indictment. All decent young preachers will regard that statement with contempt. It is Jimmie Lovell who has so much deplored what he calls harsh condemnations in preaching and writing. It is he who has had so much to say about teaching and writing in the "spirit of Christ!" How nasty--nice the sweet brethren are with their sweetness! These irrational eruptions of West Coast Jimmie are worse than insulting but the older preachers will consider the source, if any of them chance to read the sheet that contained it. It makes me blush to pass it on.

Numerous good brethren on the West Coast have told us all that these Jimmie Lovell tergiversations are not worthy of this attention, and should be ignored. That is true. But there are angles to it. Many people over the nation, good people in good churches, have been led to believe that the "West Coast Christian" is really Christian and a sound, safe, scriptural missionary outlet and medium of general good works. This West Coast propaganda paper is sent in bundles to churches over the nation and is often found in the literature racks in the lobbies and vestibules of the buildings where the churches meet. Brethren should know these facts. The elders of the churches will not be faithful to their trust who permit this unsavory medium of propaganda for unscriptural things to be promoted in any such manner and method among the members of the body over which they are shepherds and bishops. It's time to call the halt on such as this. We all know what has happened in the Louisville case. It is on record now and none can deny it. It must not continue to happen in churches of Christ. But it will continue to happen if the brethren are not properly informed on these matters now. The Don Carlos Janes affair is no different in principle from what is being done by these other men. It is high time for the elders of the churches to quit turning their "funds" over to just anybody who wants to "put it to work." They ought to put their own funds to work where they can both see and oversee the work that is being done. It is also time for editors to quit giving impetus to the movements of these men by giving them space and paying them compliments. If Baal be God, serve him; but if God be God, serve Him! There can be no righteous toleration of compromise on these issues. -F. E. W. Jr.