Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 15, 1959

Who Has Changed?

James A. Allen, Nashville, Tennessee

All my life the whole desire of my heart has been to please God and to do his will. The only way a man can please God and do His will is to be guided by the Bible. The happiness, usefulness and destiny of every one is predicated upon their learning what the Bible teaches and doing it. "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." (2 Tim. 2:16.)

To learn what the Bible teaches, in order to do the will of God, a man must approach it with humble reverence and with no preconceived opinions or ideas of his own, but with an open mind and with his whole heart earnestly desiring to learn what it teaches. If a man does not have the love of the truth, he can never learn it. "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (2 Thess. 2:10.)

I have no ambition for fame or prominence. I have no ambition to never change and to be consistent today with what I have been in the past. My deep, earnest desire is to be consistent with the Bible and to get closer and closer to it as I learn more and more of its holy teaching.

Brother Goodpasture has again published in the Gospel Advocate of August 20, 1959, quotations from my writings of thirty years ago on colleges and orphan homes. He shows that I once supported them. He also quotes, to the same effect, from F. B. Srygley, F. W. Smith, H. Leo Boles and J. D. Tant.

All these repeated quotations in the Gospel Advocate, from time to time, causes us to wonder, why? Is Brother Goodpasture suffering from the pressure of heavy censure and criticism because of the unfortunate way he is conducting the Gospel Advocate? Some of the best men and women in the brotherhood think that the Gospel Advocate of today, as it is now being conducted, is a menace to the cause of Bible Christianity.

It is true that I once supported orphan homes. It was during the years when I was editor of the Gospel Advocate that I began to see that the orphan home is not the church at work, but that it is an entirely separate organization from the church, organized as a general institution, separate and apart from the churches, to pool contributions from all of them, on the pretext that it is going to do the work that the apostles teach them to do themselves. Continual earnest and prayerful study of the New Testament made it plainer and plainer that the apostles organized no such general institution), separate and apart from the churches, through which to centralize their resources and their work, but that the apostles, both by precept and precedent, show that God has created each local church to be autonomous and independent and completely, thoroughly furnished to do every good work, which, of course, includes visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction, when such are charges of the church.

When I began to point out this very clear and plain teaching of the Word of God, that the local church is the one and only complete, thoroughly furnished and perfect operational institution that God has established on earth to do every good work, I began to have a very rough time. The money-lusters and the big-begging institutions, brought great pressure to bear to see me go; and, for being true to the Word of God, and endeavoring to hold the Gospel Advocate to "the things" for which the apostles gave the precept, or set the example, I lost the job that brother Goodpasture now enjoys.

When he repeatedly publishes these quotations from me, I wonder why he thinks I was put off of the Advocate. If I had pursued the course that he pursues, I might be there yet. One of the greatest honors that ever came to me, as a preacher of the gospel, was being put off of the Gospel Advocate. I still feel, as I felt then, that I had rather be true to the Word of God, and to "the things" I can find in the New Testament, than to enjoy the gratification of the money-lust and to have self-interested sycophants pronounce eulogies on me and put my picture in the paper.

Why does not Brother Goodpasture publish that I have testified, (of course in the Gospel Guardian, as he would not publish it) that the orphan home was a new question, when brother W. T. Boaz, who started the whole thing, sprang it on us and that many of us fell for it until we began to see what it really is? Why does he not publish quotations from articles I wrote in the Gospel Advocate at a later date that shows the sinfulness, not only of the orphan home, but of every human institution, other than the local church? In a first-page editorial, in the Gospel Advocate, October 24, 1929, I said:

In New Testament times every local congregation, under its own bishops and deacons, and with nothing of what the world today calls organization, was all-sufficient to carry on its work, not only in holding forth the Word of Life, but also in every avenue of charity and benevolence. - - - The early churches, although entirely without the worldly advantages of wealth and prestige, - - - and without any kind of worldly or human organization, with an entire absence of institutions of every nature and kind, the care they bestowed upon the poor, the way they fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick, and made provision for orphans and widows in their afflictions, was the wonder and admiration of the world.

"The number of institutions and organizations that are now in existence is amazing, as well as confusing. x x x x Instead of congregations lending a helping hand to orphans and widows in their own homes, and among their own relatives and friends, where they naturally belong, and where they have the greatest opportunity of helping themselves, these same orphans and widows are shipped off to far-away institutions, where they are herded together en masse and where each one becomes only a number, and home ties and home love, in the routine of institutionalism, become only a memory.

"The head man of any institution or organization, whether he be called "President," "Secretary," "Superintendent," or merely "Chairman," has much greater power and influente among the churches than the Bible authorizes the elders of any congregation to exert. A good financial standing is the one qualification a man must have to enjoy the honor of being upon a "Board," of such RA institution. He may be faithful in the service of God, consecrated and devoted, but if he is as poor as was the Saviour of men, he cannot have any voice or influence on a "Board." Only money talks to "Boards:" A man may be worldly-minded and world-loving and may be unacquainted with the teaching of the Bible and unsound in the faith; but if, by the accident of chance, he has money, he can control and dominate a "Board". When such conditions exist, and such men dominate and control the churches, it could not be otherwise than that the primitive simplicity of the apostolic age, and the success that accompanied it, be things of which the people have no adequate conception." (James A. Allen, Gospel Advocate, October 24, 1929, pages 1009 and 1010.)

In the Gospel Advocate, May 1, 1930, under the heading, "The Way The Apostles Did It," I said:

"Undenominational Christianity is cast upon a different basis. Without man-made machinery and overhead, its work is done personally and individually. The only organization known is the local congregation, and there is nothing of what the world calls "organization" about that. The ogre of organizing and of building up institutions is of the world and worldly. It is not in the New Testament, but is the way the world goes at it. — A solicitor goes out to raise money for some institution that is not a local congregation, but that proposes to do the work that God commands the congregation to do. - - -Quite a little disturbance is now being raised among the churches, and much division of sentiment aroused, by those promoting the Penny-a-Day Fund. I have been asked to express myself on the matter. I reply, the only thing I can see wrong with it is, it is not in the Bible. The apostles and early churches did not raise money that way." (Gospel Advocate, May 1, 1930, Pages 409, 410.)

No one opposes a college. But that college must be a purely secular college. All agree that the distinction between "the clergy" and "the laity" is sinful. They also agree that a theological college is sinful. When a college, which can only rightfully be a purely secular college, conducts "ministerial courses," and intervenes into the work of the churches, and exerts a frightful and deadly influence over them, through the clouds of preachers that swarm about it, and that it controls, it certainly is not a purely secular college, as it can only Scripturally be, but is a towering menace over the churches and should be closed.

"Who Has Changed?" The obvious, undeniable change in the Gospel Advocate is not a change on any particular question, supported or opposed by any of its former editors or writers, but is a change from being an open forum for a full and free discussion of every Bible subject to a wholly one-sided propaganda organ for a few special interests.

D. Lipscomb wrote:

"I have been near the end of my earthly journey for some time. I have by good brethren and sisters been complimented for the good I have done them and others. The good has come from holding the Gospel Advocate open to discuss the evils of introducing into the church things not required by God. - - - If these evils are not discussed, we disobey God and leave the evils to run riot in the churches." (Gospel Advocate, 1912, Pages 44, 45.)

In the same editorial, brother Lipscomb says he ceased to read papers that would not publish both sides, and named two of these papers. He said, "But if the Gospel Advocate were to adopt this policy of criticizing others and refusing to let them reply, I would cease to read it." "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of thy throne; loving-kindness and truth go before thy face." (Ps. 89:140 (Gospel Advocate, 1912, Pages 44, 45.) If brother Lipscomb were living today he would not read brother Goodpasture's Gospel Advocate. "Who has changed?" Who can deny it?

The institutional Sunday School literature is the gold mine, whose golden stream of checks from thousands of churches, makes this evil domination possible. If Sunday Schools could manage to study the Bible itself, and shut off this golden stream it could only change matters for the better.

I am sending this article to brother Goodpasture, not because I think he will publish it, but only because it concerns the Gospel Advocate. His past treatment of me prevents me from thinking he would publish it; or if he does publish it, it will be with a bitter smear of vituperation and misrepresentation, of which he will allow no correction.

So I am also sending it to brother Yater Tant, Editor of The Gospel Guardian. Of course, he is under no obligation whatever to publish it as it concerns The Gospel Advocate. But I am sending it to brother Tant, because he, like his great and illustrious father, is a firm believer in fairness and free discussion, of which things brother Goodpasture seems to have no conception, anti because brother Tant, unlike brother Goodpasture, stands for the apostolic order of things, as revealed by the Holy Spirit in either a precept or a precedent from the apostles.