Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 5, 1960
NUMBER 1, PAGE 2-3,11a

That Brethren May Know More

James D. Bales, Searcy, Arkansas

A public attack often calls for a public answer. Lloyd Barker, a Harding student, who was advised not to re-enroll in February, brought serious charges against Harding College as whole, some in the Administration, some specific individuals and by implication against most of the students in the May 14, (1959) Gospel Guardian.

It is my prayer that this reply will impress on the reader the following at least. First, it is not always easy to understand another person, therefore, we should exercise great care in representing another. We should want to ascertain the truth even about our enemies. Second, we should go to a brother before we make public charges against him. Third, some things do not need to be made public. If you should think that I became angry in a discussion with you, it might not need to be publicized before the world. We should exhaust other means of correcting what we think to be a wrong situation before we make it public. Forth, one may bear false witness by bearing witness he does not know to be true, and which he has not been conscientious enough to investigate.

There may be some difficult questions about church cooperation, orphan homes, etc., but there are no grounds for difficulty in deciding whether violations such as mentioned in the above paragraphs are violations of sound doctrine.

Suppose there are some things wrong at Harding College; suppose some things have always been wrong; and suppose some thing or another may be other than it ought to be. This would be so, because Harding College is composed of persons, none of whom is perfect. One could choose any congregation today and draw up a long list of things that are wrong with the congregations, if one had sufficient knowledge about the congregation. Those who would expect perfection would be disillusioned with reference to a college, a congregation, marriage or one's self.

However, the fact that some things might be wrong with congregations and with individuals, and a college might not be perfect, is not a sufficient ground on which to rest. Instead, we should examine ourselves as well as examine and evaluate the examinations that others give of us.

One of the dangers faced by congregations, colleges, and preachers is that they may feel that certain things have already been settled. We may fail to re-emphasize these things from time to time. W must not forget that it just takes a generation, without indoctrination in the Word of God, to take the church into apostasy. We must resist the temptation to feel that because we may have settled certain things long ago in our own minds, therefore they are pretty well settled for everyone.

Whether the charges in the articles of Dec. 18, 1958 and May 14, 1959 are true or not, brother Yater Tant should have made adequate effort to ascertain their truth before he ran the article. He did not. Certainly where people are represented, or an institution, as doing thus and so, he as editor, should have a sense of responsibility toward truth and toward them. That he has in more than one case shown no adequate conscience along this line, is an example of one of the very bad things in the church today. This is a part of unsound doctrine. Brother Tant should especially feel some need to investigate when he realizes that often sincere young men may misunderstand.

Some Reasons Why Students Misunderstand Teachers

First, it may be the teacher's fault. (a) The teacher may throw out pros and cons concerning problems with the purpose of challenging the student to think. He may leave the student to stew over the problem without giving him any help. This, I think, is usually harmful. The teacher may believe the right thing about the particular problem, but the student may think that the teacher takes the wrong position because the teacher did not help him arrive at the answer. (b). Sometimes teachers may resent being questioned by a student whose motives they suspect. They may think that he is heresy-hunting and in their resentment they may not care enough whether he understands them or not. (c) The teacher may answer a question insufficiently and the student, not knowing what else the teacher might say about it, concludes that the teacher has certain viewpoints which the one teaching does not have.

Second. It may be the fault of the student. It may be that the student had not thought much on the question before and he found it difficult to follow the process of reasoning which the teacher presented. (b) It may be that the student had selective hearing. He may not have been paying very close attention and all of a sudden he hears something which strikes his interest and he gets only that part of the discussion, and, taken out of the context, misunderstands it. (c) It may be that the student is so determined to "get something on the teacher" that he misunderstands the teacher. He has heresy-hearing. (d) It may be because of a language barrier. The student may understand one thing but the teacher may mean something else. There art some, for example, who say that if one believes in orphans homes, as some of the mare now set up, that he believes in a missionary society because in that person's thinking the two are equal. But, this is not so in the thinking of the teacher. (e) A student may "pick at" a teacher until he finds something he thinks he can interpret as unscriptural.

Brother Barker Had Difficulty In Understanding Some People

Brother Barker misunderstood me at least twice. First, in class when we were discussing the question of the orphan's home and the missionary society, I was pointing out some of the differences. Some of these points were mentioned in the outline which he had before him. And yet, he concluded, as did one other student, that I had said the missionary society was all right. Second, based on some statements in my outlines on Christ's Body, The Church, pp. 141-142, he represented me as making the false charge that "those who oppose brotherhood societies being maintained by churches for benevolence never do anything in the field of benevolence." (p. 16 of a term paper by Lloyd Barker). Yet, if one will read the context, one will see that I did not make such a false charge, I stated that some use arguments for the right way as a substitute for doing it the right way even when they were able to do it.

Why these misunderstandings? I do not know since I do not know brother Barker's heart nor his powers of understanding. Lloyd Barker not only has difficulty in representing other people rightly, but his December 18 statement did not represent accurately what he himself had in mind! He wrote: "There are many preachers and some faculty members here at Harding College who endorse instrumental music in worship or a missionary society for churches to cooperate with." His May 14 article states that he had student preachers, not faculty members, in mind with reference to instrumental music. From the statement, no one could know that the instrumental music statements was limited to students.

He did not seem to understand that this statement raised in the minds of some a cloud of suspicion over the head of each student preacher and each faculty member. He was thus working ill toward many people whom he knew were not in error in these matters. Furthermore, it was pointed out to him that to most brethren the term "missionary society" has a definite connotation and thus he left a wrong impression. To illustrate this, I took his statement that the Gospel Guardian could be called a Missionary society. I asked him if I said that brother Lloyd Barker endorsed a missionary society with which individuals may cooperate and ended the sentence there, would I be rightly representing him? His answer was no. Why did he make such an unexplained statement concerning others?

Brother Barker sometimes reads his own misunderstanding of terms into the statement of another, and then attributes to the other person positions which the person does not occupy. When Dean Sears told him he was misrepresenting the views of certain people, Lloyd Barker concluded that the Dean was calling him a liar. The term liar conveys a moral rebuke that the term misrepresents does not convey. Of course, it could be qualified by saying: you deliberately misrepresent me, and this would be calling a person a liar.

The term missionary society is used by brother Barker to cover many things, including the Gospel Guardian as well as the United Christian Missionary Society.

Brother Barker needs to spend more time trying to find out what other people mean by what they say instead of reading his meaning into their statement.

Lloyd Barker misunderstood some things which were said to him. He thought that some of them were "unjust judging and railing accusations". But, of himself he says: "I, as Michael, bring not a railing accusation, but simply say, 'The Lord rebuke thee.' (Jude 9)." It is very difficult to harmonize this with the accusation which he made in the May article. I think they show that something has again clouded his understanding. Consider the following:

First, "The students are very friendly and much too wise to be fooled by the front put up by some of the administration." This is certainly an accusation of hypocrisy.

Second. The accusation of deceit. "Much effort is made to keep many things secret but the students are too intelligent to be deceived."

Third. "They preach one thing and practice another." Concerning brother Benson and brother Sears, he said: "They were very angry throughout the conference and showed no kindness as they publicly preach so much."

Fourth. He charges the school with "liberalism and low spiritual standards".

Fifth, "Thus if one receives kindness and a welcome there, he must conform and 'like it." Few people are perfectly kind, but this statement misrepresents the school. It says that students either give in and "like it" or they are unkindly treated. This is an accusation against those students who are treated kindly. However, a student who probes as much as Barker did in trying to find what is wrong with a school may feel unwelcome even if this be no more than his own reaction to his own attitude. Barker indicated to a friend of mine that there were people in various offices who kept him informed on what went on. This indicates something of his attitude. If he were a member of the Gospel Guardian Company, or lived in the editor's home, and had this attitude, it is likely he would think he was welcome especially after he had printed material on their shortcomings, as he saw them.

Sixth. He charges that he was kicked out because he would not write an article saying he had misrepresented some people and that he was a liar.

Seventh. He spoke of the 'high-handed and unfair tactics of the Administration."

Eight. "Thus, one is pressured to become soft with the others there, and 'line up'." Although, he said, the students were too wise to be deceived by the front put up by some of the Administration, yet there is, he says, tremendous pressure to conform.

To the extent that there is predominate influence on the campus, whether "hard" or "soft", people who are otherwise feel that there is pressure to conform. This is not reflection on or a credit to an institution. It is just a fact of life, i.e. that the stronger the influence the more it is felt; but this does not mean the influence is wrong, nor does it mean that individuals must respond to the influence by accepting it.

Ninth. Several of the people at Harding seem to be prone to get angry quite easily' Of Brother Hays he said, "with much anger", "with great excitement and anger." Brother Benson and Brother Sears were "very angry." "President Benson became very angry". It is true sometimes that there are some people who are very exasperating whether they are right or whether they are wrong in the particular positions that they are taking. However, I wonder sometimes if we don't think others are angry when they are speaking with some emotion or with firm conviction which they themselves would not call anger; and which we would not view as anger when manifested in us. It is possible, however to be angry and sin not (Eph. 4:26).

Dean Sears said that Lloyd Barker misrepresented someone, but without probing his motives and without calling him a liar. Those who have known Dean Sears over the years find it hard to visualize his calling a student a liar! Should he do so, there would assuredly have to be very, very good reasons.

Brother Hays

Brother Hays did go to brother Barker to try to get him to see that he was ruining himself, and that with his attitude he would not be for his graduating. Barker's practice teacher supervisor had said that he did not want to keep people from criticizing, but that a person who made such a change in print against an institution, without consulting the administration, would do the same with reference to a public school superintendent if the occasion arose. In recommending a person for a job, one must be honest and this type of attitude would have to be pointed out.

Brother Barker misunderstood his effort to help him and he interpreted it as a threat to ruin him if he did not "line up". I hope that he will regard this article as an effort to help him.

Joe Spaulding

Joe Spaulding believes in cooperation such as in the Herald of Truth program. He also believes that it is all right to support the orphan home in Morrilton. If I understand Lloyd Barker, to him this is equivalent to believing in a missionary society. Joe Spaulding did try to get Lloyd Barker to see that he was using the term missionary society very loosely. For example, Spaulding pointed out to him that in a debate which Lloyd Barker had with a student on the orphan home question, that the organization which set up the debate was not the church; that it was a society and that it had a mission. Did Barker do wrong in debating the orphan home question in the Monday Night Meeting? Was he to be accused of believing in a missionary society with which individuals may cooperate?

John Kasbaum

John Kasbaum told me that he tried to get Lloyd Barker to see that he was using the term missionary society very loosely; that the church is God's missionary society; that he believed in church cooperation and in orphan homes such as some of our brethren have established; but that he did not believe in the missionary society as brethren have historically understood this term.

If I understand Barker rightly, he thinks that a sponsoring congregation, to which other congregations send money for the support of a certain preacher sent out by that congregation, is parallel to a missionary society. I was not in on the conversations he had with Kasbaum but this may be one of the reasons he classifies Kasbaum as one who believes in "a missionary society".

I do not believe that it is scriptural to parallel a congregation in such a situation with a missionary society; for God authorized the congregation but he did not authorize the missionary society.

John Kasbaum has taken another job and is not with the school now.

Eric Moore Eric Moore does not teach or advocate either publicly or privately that a musical instrument should be brought into the worship services of the church.

His position on fellowship on this particular point may be broader than that of many.

For years, however, brethren have said, and I believe rightly, that if the brethren who use the instrument would lay it aside and not agitate for it, the fellowship which is now broken by the instrument would be restored. This I believe and endeavor to practice.

Kenneth Davis

Kenneth Davis believes that the church can help a group of Christians, such as the group with Paul (Acts 20:34. This passage does not say that the church helped them, but who will deny that it would have been right for the church to have done so), who are carrying on the work of the Lord, preaching the pure gospel and not trying to dictate to others. The Missionary Society would not be a work of the Lord, and is not that which Brother Davis would support.

Robert Meyers

Under what he called "the following additional facts", Barker included four charges concerning Robert Meyers. As far as my information goes, he had not talked over three of these charges with Meyers. It is of interest that Barker once listed Meyers as believing in the missionary society, although he admitted he had never talked to Meyers about it. He later withdrew the charge after Meyers had talked with him.

These charges were as follows:

First, Meyers does not like to be called brother. He should have explained that Meyers did not want to be called "Doctor" in the same context. Meyers had pointed out that in the classroom situation he had rather not be called brother (he is not a brother to some students. for some are not in the church), nor did he want to be called Doctor (although he is a Ph. D.). He thought Mr. was more appropriate in the classroom. He is an English teacher.

Second. Meyers did not say that he was not decided to what extent Luke is inspired. He had pointed out Luke's own understanding of his work in Luke 1:1-4 and that this passage needed be studied in connection with a study of the inspiration of the Scriptures.

Third. Meyers does not quote Scripture in his preaching. He once pointed out that one could preach a sermon on one verse, that Paul quoted a pagan poet on Mars' Hill, and that a sermon could be scriptural although it was not filled with quotations. I myself preached a sermon on the golden rule, and the only scripture quoted in the sermon was the golden rule.

Fourth. Myers does believe in the miraculous in the Bible. In a literature class the study of parables and allegories arose. In discussing the characteristics of these literary types, Mr. Meyers referred to the theory which some hold that Jonah is an Old Testament parable designed to teach that God was concerned for people other than Israel. Mr. Meyers ended the discussion without arguing whether or not it was a parable. He is not convinced that it is a parable.

Low Standards

Barker's article includes a charge, which he said a faculty member made, that "he had been terribly disappointed because of the low standards and un-Christian things that were done. His job would be at stake if his name were given."

This is an indictment of the school as a whole. Without wanting to defend any wrong which may have been done by any of the scores of teachers, staff and administration, or by hundreds of students, I deny that things are as this charge makes them appear. In fact, some of the finest Christians that I have ever known are members of the faculty and student body, and the general atmosphere is probably as deeply spiritual as can be found anywhere.

If conditions are so bad as this faculty member, if Barker correctly understood him, said, I wonder why this teacher stays. Perhaps he thinks he can build us up, but this will hardly be done through talking to students about his terrible disappointment.

It is a false charge to imply that his job would be at stake if his name were given. I have known of some teachers who have been very critical of the administration. They have talked about the administration to students and faculty members, but they were not fired. It is my conviction however that one is not ethical in talking over with students his grievances — real or imagined — against the administration.


Lloyd Barker suggested that "The title of 'Doctor' is used most freely at the school and has laid the foundation for the above." By above, he meant his statement that "Out of at least two offices at the college, letters are addressed with 'Reverend', 'Father', and `Sister'?

It is true that some of the teachers are addressed as Doctors because they are Doctors. As far as I know, no one has demanded that he be called Doctor. To me, it is irrelevant. If I am a brother, I had just as soon be called brother. In fact, in ordinary situations I had rather be called brother. Of course, when being introduced to someone who is not a brother in Christ, I do not believe the term brother is a title and thus I do not think I should be introduced as brother so-and-so. But it is no more wrong to call a Ph.D. or an Ed. D. "Doctor" than it is to call an M.D., 'Doctor". It has reference to attainment in certain fields. Brethren who do not hesitate, even in the assembly, to speak of Dr. so-and-so if he is an M.D. would in some cases feel it was unscriptural to refer to a Ph.D. as Doctor.

It should be observed that Lloyd Barker in the paragraph above the one from which I am quoting, referred to "Mr." Bob Meyers. Mr. is a title and is a contraction of Master. Did Barker violate Matt. 23:10? On his logic, it would be wrong to use the term Mr.

In this very issue of the Guardian the article on page 1 quotes from Dr. Reid's, Inquiry Into the Human Mind. On page 19, it is not simply Fanning Yater Tant, but Fanning Yater Tant, Editor. Some do not rank as high as Editor. They are but Associate Editors. If it be said this is not a religious ranking, neither is the term Doctor. A paper with an "Editor" ought not to print complaints about "Doctor".

The term, Doctor is not used excessively at Harding College and is often not used.

Speaking of looking into the pages of this very issue of the Guardian, I wonder what Lloyd would have said if some teacher at Harding had made the following recommendation concerning Fox's Book of Martyrs which contains some martyrs who were not members of the New Testament church. Yet, we read on page 27 of the Guardian: "Learn what it means to be thou faithful unto death', by reading this book of history concerning Christians who died from unbelievable tortures suffered in the beginning by Jews, then pagans, then the horrible cruelties perpetuated by the Inquisitors of the Roman Catholic Church."

It is my intention to write in detail later on the question as to whether or not we can address other people as they address themselves, without this meaning that we are calling them our father. etc. Paul and Luke could speak of "the high priest" without qualifying it by saving, "of course, to the Christian there is only one High Priest". (Acts 5:21: 23:5). They designated the position that that person held in Judaism. It would be well, however, for brother Barker to drop the use of the term Pope when referring to the head of the Catholic Church because Pope means papa or father. He is papa to the Catholic but he is not my papa. But I designate him as to the position he occupies in his church. Of course, Barker could not refer to Bishop so and so when referring to men in denominational positions. He should not do this even when he is showing the high rank that one occupies in his church. For after all, he is using the term Bishop to refer to something which is not a New Testament Bishop.

It should be observed also that brother Barker used the term "President Benson" and "Dean Sears" and "Vice-President Ganus". Why isn't this as wrong as using the term Doctor? Doctor indicates an academic ranking. The terms used with reference to the President, Vice-President, and Dean indicate rank within the administration.

Other Colleges

Concerning the question: "Why do students from the above two schools learn so much more Bible than they do at Harding?" One student told me that the student who submitted this question indicated that he thought this would really "burn them up."

Dr. Benson was not making any implications concerning the other schools in his statement, as quoted by Barker: "We don't think we know it all here." He was referring to the superior attitude that sometimes students have. We do endeavor to teach both the factual knowledge of the Bible and the spirit of the Scriptures. Dr. Benson certainly does not have a superior attitude toward other schools. In fact, I know of no one who is trying to work more for the advancement of the schools among us than is brother Benson. Over a period of years of association, I am thoroughly convinced that he is more interested in students receiving an education in a Christian environment than he is as to the particular school in which they receive it. There are some students who have attended other schools and have taken sometimes three and four Bible courses per semester who naturally should learn more in that number of courses than if they take one Bible course a semester as do the majority of Harding students. However, these students find that if they are working on a degree, they have to make up the academic requirements they did not meet before. This is not a reflection on them, on any other school, nor on us.

I would be the first to agree that our Bible Department is not perfect. Neither is any other. We are conscious of the need for strengthening ours and have been making sincere efforts to do so. We are confident this is true of the other also.

As to the statement that if one does not like it here, the road that brought him here is just as open as when he came, this of course, is true. The questioner had indicated that Harding had a "lousy Bible Department." Dr. Benson's point was that if that person just could not be satisfied here, then he was not forced to remain here. This does not imply that one should not try to raise the standards. If the other schools are able to to do a better job than we are doing, God bless them. If we do what we can and they can do even better, then we are grateful that better work is being done.

Many students from the two colleges mentioned wrote brother Benson that they did not share the attitude expressed in the question.

The reader will be interested in the following further resolution; voluntarily delivered to President Benson shortly following the Barker articles:


That we, as students of Harding College, have been able to maintain and develop true Christianity in our work here.

That we feel that unjust criticisms have recently been made of the institution.

That we hereby reaffirm our confidence in the principles that Harding endeavors to maintain.

That we have equal confidence that, when and if, deficiencies occur, steps are taken to correct them.

The Student Council 1958-1959

The Student Council 1959-1960 (newly chosen I. D. B.).

The Advisory Cabinet of the Student Association 1958-1959"

I was not in the class in which he said Dr. Benson "defended Masonry." Some have said they understood he was not making a defense of Masonry at all but was cautioning young preachers against going out and splitting the church on this issue. The question had been raised by someone else in his class. There are some young preachers who think that any issue is an issue on which the church should be split if they cannot get everybody into agreement.

Brother Barker was not asked to leave after the fall semester because he differed with the administration on church cooperation, orphan homes, or such like. The College has graduated people who openly differed with the administration in these and other matters. He was clearly told that these things were not the issue, but that his reckless misrepresentation which he refused to correct, demonstrated a lack of integrity so great as to make it improper for the administration to recommend him for graduation.

It is my hope that as he reflects further on his experiences here that he may become increasingly conscious that to be a good soldier of Christ includes properly representing others, going to the person or persons concerned to obtain a real understanding, exhausting other means of solving before making them public and then making them public only if it is necessary for the sake of righteousness and truth.