Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 11, 1958
NUMBER 19, PAGE 11,13b

"He Died Thinking"

Paul Foutz, Odessa, Texas

In the May issue of The Spiritual Sword, a monthly publication edited by Brother Tom Warren of Fort Worth, Texas, an article by the above title appeared which was written by Brother Foy L. Smith of Dallas, Texas. It had to do with a story of a fight between a rooster and an owl in which the latter was killed because "he died thinking" rather than put up a fight. The application made by Brother Smith was that a lot of preachers are like that owl. Rather than get into the fight confronting the brotherhood today over centralized control, they are riding the fence, saying and doing nothing. Some are still "studying the question" and Foy chides those who after eight or ten years have not reached a decision but are still "thinking." He wonders if perhaps they are waiting to see where the biggest pile of chips may fall and then will fall that way themselves. He suggests that "then they're going to make up their minds, after victory is won, and talk about how 'we whipped that bunch'."

I am confident, from the tone of this article, that Foy came to a decision and made up his mind on these matters years ago; at least it didn't take him eight or ten years to do so. I am also sure that since he has reached definite convictions on these matters he has actively been in the fight; he has been speaking and writing in order to make his position known and he has not, like the owl, just been "sitting and thinking." He says, in the last paragraph of his article, "Some 'thinking' is really not thinking at all — it is a cover up, a political 'put-off' hoping the majority will make up their minds for them sooner or later. If I have to die thinking I want to know HOW I'm thinking and WHAT I'm thinking about. I also want others to know the WHAT and HOW of my thinking." (Emphasis his).

Since for many years I have tried to hear and read everything I could on the current issues that are now before the church and since I did not recall ever hearing a "peep" from Brother Smith. I wondered if he were actually guilty of the very things with he charged some of his brethren. If he has been doing a lot of speaking and writing and letting brethren know HOW he is thinking and WHAT he is thinking. I am unaware of it. Has he really been taking part in the fight or waiting for others to "whip that bunch"? I am constrained to believe that rather than letting his position be known he has for many years, been sitting and "thinking." But believing I might be mistaken regarding Brother Smith about the middle of June... I wrote him two letters. I asked him what his positions worn in regards to some of these matters, how long he had had such convictions or held such positions and when and where he had made these things known? I just wanted to know how long he had been in the fight when he had quit sitting and "thinking" and gone to speaking out and through what mediums he had set forth his positions?

I also asked Foy if he believed an orphan's home under a board of trustees or directors was scriptural? Did he believe that the Lord's church was insufficient or inadequate to do the work God requires of it in the field of benevolence? Did he think that all the church could do was supply the money to some institution which in turn would do the work of benevolence? I asked him if he thought the position set forth in the last question "could easily destroy the church?" I inquired of Foy if he thought an orphans home under a local eldership was scriptural or did he believe it to be "unscriptural, anti-scriptural and sinful?" I asked him which of the orphans homes today did he think were scriptural, such homes as Boles and Childhaven, or Tipton and Lubbock Children's home? I asked this brother, who doesn't believe preachers should be sitting and thinking but that they should be speaking out and letting their positions be known, if he believed the church could build and maintain institutions, separate and apart from the church, to do its work in evangelism or benevolence? I inquired as to whether or not one congregation can become a "sponsoring church" to oversee and carry on a brotherhood activity? Did he believe it was scriptural for one congregation to "assume a work" above and beyond its ability and became a central agency through which other congregations did their work? Could hundreds of congregations pool their resources into the treasury of one congregation to enable its elders to plan, oversee and carry on a work for all of them — or common to all of them? I asked Foy if one congregation could send out 1000 gospel preachers and get the money from 1000 churches to support them, or in order to make such an undertaking possible? And, if 1000 churches could do their work through one eldership or congregation what would prevent 10,000 churches or ALL of the congregations, from doing so?

In writing Brother Smith and asking him these questions relative to his position, I was simply taking him at his word. For he said he wanted brethren to know WHAT he was thinking and HOW he was thinking. I just knew Foy was not like the owl in his story for he said brethren like that "could DIE thinking." I knew from the way he reproved his brethren, he hadn't taken eight or ten years to study the question and definitely make up his mind, but was ready to speak up and contribute his part in waging the battle for truth.

Two weeks after my second letter I heard from Foy, but he did not reply to my letter. He did not deal with the subject matter in my two letters and he did not attempt to answer a single question. He did not let his position be known but was very vague and indefinite and dodged the issues completely. He did say "I have thought conservatively on matters through the years. On matters that seemed to include expediency and good judgment I have tried to preserve peace and not destroy it. — Which of five or six plans for the care of orphans should I accept? My thinking has been that until a plan can be given that is better than what has been done for many years, we should go cautiously and not divide and turn brother against brother."

So Foy really doesn't know where he stands. He isn't sure whether Reuel Lemmons in the Firm Foundation is right in saying the orphans home under elders is the scriptural one; or whether to align himself with Tom Warren and the Advocate crowd who say such a home is "unscriptural. anti-scriptural and sinful." while the only home which is scriptural is the one under a board of directors. After eight or ten years Foy is still "studying the question" — he doesn't know — he'll just have to keep on "sitting and thinking." But brethren can know that when he says, "If I have to die thinking I want to know HOW I'M thinking and WHAT I'm thinking about. I also want others to know the WHAT and HOW of my thinking," his words are as sounding brass and a tinkling symbol. Foy hasn't been speaking or writing so as to let his position be known. So we are forced to conclude he is guilty of the very thing with which he charged others — letting others do his speaking and fighting. I suggest he take this statement he made in the article and apply it to himself, "It is time for everyone to make up his mind about troublesome issues." For it is evident from his letter to me, he hasn't made up his mind and doesn't know where he stands.