Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 6, 1950
NUMBER 47, PAGE 2,4b

That Disgusted Brotherhood

Cled E. Wallace

Brother Jack Meyer of Oklahoma City, the venerable editor of the Firm Foundation, and the usually quiet and silent editor of the Gospel Advocate are at the moment in active eruption. "Hysteria" is so rampant that Nashville has practically taken over the Firm Foundation, and the Baptist Standard has moved over into the editorial column of the Gospel Advocate. What is the occasion of all this excitement? As far as I am able to figure it out, the Gospel Guardian is the bad boy who has stirred up this current gall of bitterness. We have spoken right out in meeting, and suggested that the elders of one church have no right to form themselves into a missionary board to get hold of the money and direct the work of other churches in preaching the gospel. Brother David Lipscomb, who is pretty good authority with the Gospel Advocate, even if he does not amount to much in the eyes of the Firm Foundation, contended that all "experiments" along this line "went into the society work." We have found that a warning along this line now is about as popular as when Brother Lipscomb made it a long time ago. He was bluntly told then about what Brother Meyer tells us now: "churches of Christ are on the march, and will not be stopped by opposition, false accusation" etc., etc. Some of them marched all right to you know where, and some of them are marching again. One brother expressed it a few days ago: "What is wrong with a missionary society anyway?" He was about as mad at the Gospel Guardian as Brother Meyer and the Firm Foundation are.

The editor of the Firm Foundation submits "herewith some well-expressed statements from Brother Jack Meyer of Oklahoma City" in his editorial page. We will allow Brother Meyer to erupt a paragraph or so:

"The brotherhood has been accused of hysteria, and this again is false. A wave of righteous indignation mounted, and our brethren over the nation arose almost as one man in this brotherhood protest, because of the obvious effect of united effort. A certain amount of heat in expressions over the country is to be understood and expected, in view of the false accusations against our Italian workers. The truer picture is that the brotherhood has been filled with disgust and even revulsion at the false picture of the Italian work drawn by some, the sarcasm and ridicule of the workers and their supporters, and then the untrue and weak effort to lose sight of the real attack by claiming that the attack was only an effort to urge caution! Further, no amount of denial will ever convince brethren that those are not 'anti-foreign evangelism' whose record of writing and speaking has consistently poked fun at such work."

These "well-expressed statements" did not sufficiently relieve the good brother, or satisfy the editor of the Firm Foundation, so he went on to classify us with the Judaizers who would "restrict the gospel to the Jews and bound circumcision and Moses' law." He must have felt that he was trailing clouds of glory before the eyes of a disgusted brotherhood when he dramatically accused us of being "as doctrinally unsound as those who would cut Acts 2:38 out of the New Testament." Of course there is no "hysteria" connected with this in any way! It is as calm and judicial as a Federal Court!

It reminds me of a tilt between F. D. Srygley and an advocate of "organized effort", in the Gospel Advocate about a half a century ago. The society brother went after Brother Srygley with "some well-expressed statements" in the Christian-Evangelist, to which Brother Srygley replied:

"This makes two times I have been accused of lying in one week—once by Brother Stevens and once by the Christian-Evangelist. This is decidedly refreshing, especially when the facts are clearly in my favor; but if they can afford it, I will try to endure it. There is nothing like getting used to a thing. Those who took the uppermost seats and thanked God that they were not mean and bad like other folks were not noted for their kindness and courtesy in their bearing toward common people even in New Testament times."

Another thing! Who is "this brotherhood" which "has been filled with disgust and even revulsion" over what has appeared in the Gospel Guardian, which obviously meets the hearty approval of both Brother Meyer and the editor of the Firm Foundation? It surely isn't a local congregation. It is not the body of Christ, consisting of all Christians, for a considerable number of them are with us in this fight and are not hesitating in saying so. It seems to me that Brother Meyer and the Firm Foundation are pretty reckless in their use of "this brotherhood" business. Somebody is going to make a denomination out of "us" yet, if we don't watch out. When they do they can just leave me out of it, as Brother Meyer and the Firm Foundation seem minded at the present moment to leave me out of "this brotherhood." I believe I can serve the blessed Lord better, and have a brighter chance to get to heaven, out than in. At least I can be free to say what I believe to be the truth and "this brotherhood" can do nothing about it except possibly get disgusted. The truth has been treated pretty roughly by at least a part of "the brotherhood" all along the line. I recall that some of them got quite disgusted with Paul. The way the Gospel Advocate and the Firm Foundation are going along with about every fad the brethren can think up, including church support of the colleges, I think it a needless waste of time, to court their favor. They both appear to be more anxious than I am to go along with "this brotherhood." I'll just tag along with the Lord, and get along the best I can without them.

The Gospel Advocate has caught a new beau in the engaging person of the Baptist Standard. A beautiful courtship is spread out before us all over the editorial page of the Advocate. They are making eyes and holding hands right out in public and the Advocate editor's smiles at the Baptist Standard are interrupted only when he turns around and sticks his tongue out at us. Brother Goodpasture so much appreciates the "understanding, sympathy, arid support" of the Baptist Standard, and it looks like they might get married right on the spot, if the Standard would agree to it, just to spite us. "Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments." I will have to admit that the Standard editorial is about the best thing I have seen on the editorial page of the Gospel Advocate in some time. Possibly it would improve that paper for the Standard to become a regular contributor. At least the Baptist Standard has an editor who can do something with a pen besides tying a tail to somebody else's kite.

I still think Brother Lipscomb was right when he said in the Gospel Advocate:

If one church asks all the churches in the state to give it all the funds they can give to general work, that the elders of one church may direct all the preaching and work in the state, then I say this is wrong, is subversive of divine order, and concentrates power in one church that God distributes to many.

And Brother F. D. Srygley was right, when he said in the same journal:

It certainly does not require much of a philosopher to Fee that a church will take move interest, do more work, and pay more money, when it feels that the work is its own and that it is individually and solely responsible for it, than when it feels that the work is merely a general one in which it has only an insignificant part.

This does not sound much like the present editor of the Gospel Advocate, who snuggles up to the Baptists, and purrs contentedly over their "sympathy, understanding and support."