Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity

The Church In The Dallas-Fort Worth Area

R. L. Burns, Grand Prairie, Texas

About a year ago Tom Warren delivered a series of "Lectures on Church Cooperation and Orphan Homes" at the Burbank Gardens church in Grand Prairie in which he blatantly affirmed that the "anti-movement is dying on the vine." He named a few preachers who had changed, as irrefutable proof, along with the "church is on the march" theme song. Sometime previous to this, Reuel Lemmons, in an editorial in the FIRM FOUNDATION, had stated that the "anti-movement" was "burning itself out like a forest fire." Apparently since that time Brother Lemmons, himself, has been slightly "scorched." Brother Warren predicted that within a very short time the doctrine, which he has branded as "the most Godless and Christ-denying doctrine (he) has ever heard", would die out like the "other anti-movements" among us. Because of this cover-up by the astute, the hearts of many are deceived and in some cases the faint-hearted and weak are made to stumble. It is for this reason that I feel justified in this present article. Let it be understood that this is not an attempt to speak for the churches in this area, and my only desire is to offer encouragement by this medium.

As brethren everywhere know, this area has for sometime been a strong-hold for every error and innovation that has found its way into the larger element of brethren who are racing head-strong into modernism. The boast has been made that "there is a wall about Dallas which the "anti's' cannot penetrate." No city has enjoyed preachers who so jealously guarded the churches from what THEY had decided was error than those of this area, and for some time they did their work successfully. We do not mean that they, armed with the Sword of the Spirit (first Century addition, Palestine; not 20th Century, Fort Worth), met their foe, and in the heat of battle on the polemic platform utterly devastated the "error". Certainly not! No form of opposition was ever handled by our brethren as this was. An example of their Iron Curtain tactics can be seen in their conduct toward a discussion of issues about two years ago. Probably less than 10% of the congregations in the entire area even made an announcement of the debate which was conducted at the Ann Arbor church in Dallas. In a recent discussion with Linwood Bishop of Hampton Place church in the same city, we were told that they would not be interested in a discussion of these issues "because we have no one who is disturbed about them." When he was asked if he would reconsider should someone be found who was disturbed, he promptly replied that such persons would merely be withdrawn from if they "caused any trouble."

But the past two years, has found a gradual decay within this "wall about the city." The holes are appearing so rapidly and in so many places that "the assembly is confused and some are crying one thing and some another." While some two years ago there were about six or seven preachers in the area out-spoken against modernism, today the number is doubled. Of this number, to my certain knowledge two of these preachers have learned the truth within this period and begun to preach their convictions. In Dallas proper, the Page and Cumberland church has never favored any of the innovation among us. Douglas John is the capable preacher. Y. R. Lewis, at Scyene Road for many years, preaches the truth. And a new congregation, begun about the first of August with wonderful prospects for growth, has purchased property on Forrest Lane and moved H. Osby Weaver to Dallas to work with them. It was my happy privilege to preach for this congregation the first Lord's Day they met. A more determined group cannot be found. In Lancaster all three of the churches endorse the truth. These include Pleasant Run Road, where Arnold Hardin preaches, Frank Smith who is with Dallas Avenue and Don Byler of Cedardale. To the North of the Dallas city limits lies Lewisville, where the church has never supported any human organization. Brother Victor Sellers is the faithful evangelist there. Brother R. L. Box and the church with which he is associated stand firmly against institutionalism and other ramifications of modernism. In Irving Harold Fite preaches the truth and has done an excellent job with the Sowers Congregation. Brother Jesse Jenkins is the preacher for the West Side church in Irving and has done insurmountable good against tremendous odds. To the West of Dallas is Grand Prairie. Of the four congregations in the city proper, only the Central congregation stands for the all-sufficiency of the New Testament church. Between Grand Prairie and Fort Worth no other loyal churches can be found, though congregations may be found with at least an element that is disturbed. In Fort Worth is the good church in Castleberry known throughout the brotherhood for its fidelity and strength. Brother Paul Foutz did outstanding work for this congregation and was followed by Harry Pickup, Jr. Another congregation is beginning from Castleberry and will be made up of the same kind of God-fearing men. Brother Jady Copeland is doing a good work with the Calmont church. At least one new congregation has already begun in Fort Worth from the Birdville church. It is altogether possible that some churches have been overlooked in this observation or that there are preachers who are speaking out against error that I do not know about in the out-lying communities of the area under consideration. Such oversight was unintentional.

You will be happy to know that not one of these brethren mentioned has taken the fallacious view that the "problem will work itself out if we'll just not fan the fire." They believe the truth and preach it. In nearly every case the leadership of the churches with which they labor endorses the kind of preaching they do. They are men of ability and will do much good. "A great door and effectual is opened unto us, and there are many adversaries," but rumblings are heard in this and that has passed through a spiritual famine. The voice of truth will again he heard, preachers who have been "undecided" will have greater encouragement to preach the truth and, most of all, God will be glorified.