Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 20, 1958

Personal Reference

W. W. Otey, Winfield, Kansas

From my earliest preaching and writing I have tried to keep all references to myself to a minimum. During recent years, however, I have departed from this rule, seemingly by necessity. The present movement of institutionalism toward another apostasy is so like the recent apostasy characterized by the United Christian Missionary Society that I have deeply felt that personal history and observations on the matter were in order and needed. Since I entered the field of gospel preaching and writing some seventy years ago, and had thus a close personal contact with the progress of that former apostasy, I have thought that it might be helpful to younger men today for me to write of these things.

One of our most faithful brethren very recently wrote me in part as follows: "I marvel at the fact that you have remained faithful through two apostasies and have not yielded to pressures or become so embittered that your pen and tongue were silenced." Many, yes, many have written me in like manner. Will the reader then please pardon me and bear with me for stating a few of the principles which have guided me through all these trying years?

I read the Bible through in the summer of my fourteenth year. I was so deeply impressed that it was from God, and that it was given for our instruction and guidance, to enable us finally to be admitted into his habitation. I regard this fact, and this conviction, as the greatest and most significant experience in my life.

The Spirit Of Innovation

Denominational people often are sincerely convinced that they are right and scriptural in their teaching. Such people will be fair and honorable in their dealings with those from whom they differ. Not so of our "innovationist" brethren, both those of the past and those of the present. The leaders know what they want and are most skillful in attaining their objectives. They want an institutional church; they are well on their way to attaining such.


One of the most powerful weapons in such an endeavor is that of intimidation. To intimidate any opposition they make use of the diabolical "Quarantine." They used it seventy-five years ago; they are using it now. There are a number of preachers and writers that I think I could name with confidence who are silenced because they fear the power of the "quarantine". They fear the power and ruthless tactics of the "quarantining" paper and group. Consequently they are either so mild in any statement they make in opposition to the unscriptural practices, or so servile and fawning in their attitude toward the "quarantining" paper, as to become completely ineffective in any stand for the truth. When confronted with their own strong, scriptural statements of years ago, they either deny that they have changed and try to brazen out the lie, or else make their humble "confessions" in the columns of their paper and receive absolution. How many may be silenced by this fear only the Lord can know. A few strokes of an editorial pen will so frighten and intimidate these weakling brothers that they tremble in an agony of apprehension as to theip present and future "jobs". The schemes and methods resorted to in this campaign of intimidation would shock the readers if they were known. But I warn all young men who may read these lines that if you plead for the church only, and oppose any and all institutions which ambitious men may form to supplant the church, drastic methods will be used to destroy you! Do not doubt for a single moment that you will be dishonored, defamed, and if possible destroyed because of your stand. Let me say here, parenthetically, that you will need often to recall the statement by John: "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."


The power of money has always been used, and always will be used, in these times of trial. Many of you who stand for the truth will be offered far greater support than you are now receiving, in bigger churches, with nicer homes — with the tacit (and rarely ever openly stated) understanding that you are to cease your opposition to "our" program of institutionalism. If this fails, then they will try to "starve" you into submission. Trouble will be stirred up against you in the church where you may be preaching. Designing men will be carefully "planted" in congregations that they may stir up opposition to you. My heart goes out to the young man of today who is faithfully standing for the truth, and who has a sweet wife and two or three dear little children dependent on him. He himself can suffer even to the point of death for the cause he loves. But to see his wife and children suffer, that is a different matter!

Praise - Flattery

I think I can safely say that I was never intimidated by the men who promoted digression; and I do not think that money considerations were ever of any great importance. But when it came to commendation and flattery (another type of weapon used both then and now), the battle was not so easy. All of us, I suppose, love the approval and commendation of our fellows. Certainly, I was not different in this respect. It has been one of the hardest battles of my life always to ask, What does God approve? and to be fiercely unconcerned as to whether my brethren liked or disliked what I did. Whether I have always sought God's approval instead of the approval of men will be for those who have known my course and life (and ultimately for God himself) to answer.

As I now near my ninety-second birthday, that which bothers me most is that I have done so little for the cause of our Lord. That which comforts me most is that I have never knowingly taught, practiced, or tolerated anything which looked like it might lead away from the New Testament order of things. If in these long years of trial and struggle I have ever become discouraged, I either did not realize that I was, or else have forgotten it. I face the final hour with unflagging hope and confidence as to the ultimate triumph of the truth. I shall not die in doubt or in fear.