Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 26, 1958

Freed-Hardeman College An Example Of

The Institutional Hobby-Horse In Perpetual Motion

James C. Jones, New Albany, Indiana It is with regret and remorse that convictions lead me to write an article with such a title as the above, because Freed-Hardeman College, both the name and the institution have been standard terms in the household of my family for many years. Two of my brothers attended F. H. C., as did I also for two years. These two years, for my part, were to a certain degree enjoyable. On the other hand, there were then, and even more so are now, certain things that make the heart of this writer bleed from its very depths. I do not write this with any malice in my heart toward anyone personally or otherwise; toward the faculty, administration, or any other person connected with the college. I am personally acquainted with many of them and they with me. The thing that I deplore the very most is the abominable stranglehold that the institutional hobby-horse has on the school that I attended and have tried to love and respect. Let it not be supposed that I deny the right of such school as this to exist. They are, in their origin, based upon New Testament principles. It could very well be that when they begin to be corrupted by digression, it were better for them not to exist. It might be much better both for the brotherhood and for the men operating the schools if they were not in existence; because of the tremendous responsibility that they will have to answer for in the judgment.

One of the rights for which conservative brethren fought in all the long battle over the society and the instrument was the right of expression of thought with the end in mind that free expression and research into the scriptures would produce truth. On the other hand, brethren who established the society and the instrument idols, being totally unable to offer scripture, relied upon high pressure tactics, quarantining, etc. against every one with whom they disagreed. Anyone with any degree of intelligence at all can see in an instant that the same unfair, unscriptural, deceitful, ignorant attitude exists today in the hearts of those of our day who are riding their institutional hobby-horses. These hobbies are similar to those by which the church was split in the last century — similar in that the defense of these today, like the defense of those made in yester-year, cannot be based on scripture, but upon unfairness, arrogance, and a denial of the truth, not only of the New Testament, but of the words of their brethren as well.

It is my sad affirmation that nowhere does such an attitude exist more than at Freed-Hardeman College.

An example of this attitude is clearly seen in the entire lectureship program conducted by the school each year. One is impressed with two things at the lectureship program: (1) There will he a great number of individuals begging for support of their own specific project, hobby, institution and, (2) anyone daring to cross the unchangeable Guy N. Woods, the moderator of the "Open" (?) Forum, will be labeled as one who is foolish and silly. And if Brother Woods himself doesn't get around to do the labeling himself, then H. A. Dixon is quite capable of doing it for him. One instance of this comes to my mind: Three years ago, Brother Leslie Diestelkamp, operating on the foolish assumption that the officials of the college had meant what they said when they called this session an "Open" forum, asked 'Brother "Unchanged" if he might speak. Brother Woods (who never changes) gave permission. Diestelkamp spoke, voicing scriptural objections to the "Herald of Truth." As quickly as he had sat down, Brother Dixon jumped to the rostrum, waved Woods aside, and shouted the battle-cry of modern digression: "Brother Diestelkamp, my Bible tells me to preach the gospel to the whole world!" He then quoted the great commission and dismissed the audience.

Evidently Dixon was operating on the assumption that Brother Diestelkamp and those who stood with him did not believe the Great Commission. He obviously tried to leave the impression on that audience that all who question the "Herald of Truth" do not believe in the Great Commission. Else, why inject this into the question?

Another instance: Brother Yater Tant visited the school at one of the recent lectureships, and was asked by Brother Dixon, so he reported, how he could be so vicious in his writing and so composed and friendly in person. The truth of the matter is simple. Tant is not vicious in his writings. Evidently Dixon had been reading what some of the institutional promoters say about Tant, rather than reading Tant's own writings for himself. Tant simply tries to root out error, and destroy the idol of the "orphan-home-herald-of-truth-ism" which the Freed-Hardeman people worship. Is that being "vicious"? What would you say of Paul's denunciation of Elymas the sorcerer? But no one can be more vicious than Brother Dixon when his hobby is in danger. The proof of such is more than abundant! How would Brother Dixon, or Brother Gardner, or Brother Roland, or any of the others feel if they attended a lectureship somewhere and were subjected to the same steam-roller tactics, belittling, abusing, and overbearing ruthlessness which has come to characterize the F. H. C. lectures?

Since these hobbies have become so pronounced in recent years, free and open discussion has not been allowed at Freed-Hardeman College, statements to the contrary notwithstanding, The student body, in the chapel programs, at lectureship time, in the classes, and all other times is subjected to a constant bombardment of institutionalism! I know whereof I speak, for I have lived there and have experienced these matters first hand. Go there today and talk with those who oppose these hobbies. They also know such to be true.

There are two points to which I call attention: First, when one thinks of the great number of young men in that school who will be the gospel preachers of tomorrow, it makes one shudder to realize the errors which they are being daily fed. The faculty are strong advocates of giving a "thus saith the Lord" — in everything except their own hobbies with which they are dividing the church! All we ever heard there was the sickening refrain, repeated over and over again, almost endlessly, "Remember, boys; there is no pattern in the New Testament. Don't, ride the hobby of teaching that there is any pattern in the New Testament . . . there is no pattern ... there is no pattern ... there is no pattern . . . there is no pattern."

The second point I mention: Parents of young men and women, in helping your son or daughter select a school in which they are to be educated, inform yourselves as to the teaching of these colleges which claim to be in harmony with New Testament Christianity. In Freed-Hardeman College, for example, the mind and thinking of a young preacher can be warped and twisted beyond scriptural recognition because of their subtle and unfair presentation of the hobby they are promoting. Parents should select a school where free and open discussion is encouraged and practiced. Such is not the case at F.H.C. The facts do not lie.

I want to love Freed-Hardeman College. It holds many dear memories for me. But I cannot sincerely love an institution that has taken a stand on the side of unfairness and disrespect for those with whom they disagree. I wish that they would change their position on the issues. But even more than that, I wish they would allow fairness and sincerity to prevail in their words and their actions. If one occupies the position of TRUTH, then one has nothing to fear from tree and honest investigation.

May God help the brethren who operate my alma mater, F.H.C., to be Christians in their actions as well as in their professions is my prayer.