Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 5, 1960

News And Views

(Charles A. Holt, Box 80, Florence, Alabama)

Viewing Some News

It is never my intention to misrepresent anyone or any congregation in this column. Neither do I rush into print with "news and views" to embarrass or belittle. I try to have the facts regarding the things about which I write. The nature of this column is such that I may make mistakes and at times convey the wrong impressions, but such is not my purpose even though there are some who charge such against me. I will always try to correct any real mistake or error when the evidence is presented to show I have erred. However, many times the objectors search for some side-line, out-of-the-way thing and capitalize upon that. If they can find where I have been mistaken in just one unimportant detail, they seize upon' that to prove I am wrong in all I have said.

Recently in this column I carried a quotation from the bulletin of the Sunset Ridge church in San Antonio, Texas. It had to do with the big "Open House" they had for the new building they had acquired. This building has a $30,000 window, a $60,000 organ, a set of carillon chimes, an $18,000 tower, a piano and a stage. The preacher, Ross Dye, wrote it up as if they were especially elated over these particular features. Well, those of the "opposing part" took exception to this write-up and my observations concerning it. They have not denied the write-up nor accused me of misquoting. No one has denied that they are proud of the features above, which Dye emphasized. But they have charged that I left the impression that these brethren built this building, whereas, they merely "brought these properties of the Woodman of the World," so writes the "attorney for the defense," Guy N. Woods, in the April 7, Gospel Advocate.

Woods had just been down there for a meeting and he really "lays it on thick" about what a fine, progressive church this is and that Dye is "rapidly becoming recognized as one of the most talented and capable preachers among us today." (They must have paid Woods real well for the meeting!) In his usual fashion Woods hurls this charge:

"Without investigation, and before making any effort to determine all the facts, at least one paper in Texas — known for its utter unreliability — has published a portion of these matters the design of which was to leave the impression on many, that the brethren at Sunset Ridge had built and installed in their church property an expensive window, a set of carillon chimes, and a pipe organ."

Without hesitation and in the pontifical fashion characteristic of the GA, Woods judges our motives and heart, and tells his readers what "the design" was behind the write-up we gave. I deny that I said these brethren "had built and installed" these things in their building, and I also deny that my "design" was to leave such impression. This is quibbling of the worst sort, but it is typical of the way all these fellows do. It is a fact that the church has such a building and it is a fact that the building has all these things in it. It is also a fact that Dye wrote it up, told of such with pride, and from Woods' article I gather that the church intends to keep the organ, chimes, piano, and the whole works. How they came by such facilities is beside the point. The possession of the organ, chimes and piano, along with the intention to keep such, is proof positive that I did not misrepresent their digressive and sectarian attitude! The mere fact that they say that "their plans do not involve the use of instrumental music in worship," does not nullify what I said. They admit that they have (and still do) played the chimes. Woods' said they played them when he "looked through the properties," because he was "curious to know how they sounded." Of course, others will be "curious" also. Woods admits that they would play the chimes "occasionally," as they did at the "open house," but "because some people have objected, they are used to strike the hours in the clock in the memorial tower, only." Thank God for the "objectors!" There is no telling what they would do if it were not for these "antis!" They evidently do not think it would be wrong to play the chimes (or the organ and piano, for that matter) and the only restraining or hindering cause is the "objectors." Yet Woods tries hard to make up believe there is not even a tinge of digression in their attitude and practice along these lines. Woods seemingly feels no differently than they do, and how can he?

Woods also tells us that "the eldership there is not unmindful of the problems it faces in the matter; but it will, prayerfully and scripturally, we believe, eventually work them out to the honor and advancement of the cause we love." Now isn't this a pathetic plea? My, what "problems" these men face! They intend to keep the things, even though they can't really use them (now). They dare not sell the things or otherwise rid themselves of them! Like some in olden days, when God demanded that the people put away their idols and they, wanted to keep them but just not worship them, so these brethren desire to hold to these things that pose a real danger. I have no sympathy whatever with their so-called "problems." There would be no problem to men of conviction; to those who are not determined to be as much like the nations round about as they can and as the "objectors" will allow. After reading Woods' apology for their digressive attitude and ways, I am more convinced than ever that my previous observations were directly to the point. Just give them time and a few less "objectors" and watch the results.

I have been told that one liberally-inclined young preacher up Louisville way, called Dye to get the "facts," after my report came out. It is reported that he went to the pulpit and gave what I said the lie, because I (supposedly) implied that Sunset Ridge "built and installed"- these things, of course, his purpose, like Woods', was evidently to impugn my motives and justify his bitter feeling that we are completely "unreliable" in all we say, therefore, no one should pay any attention to us at all! Frankly, this is the wisest course he can pursue, for neither he nor Woods desire to face-up to the facts in any open and honorable way. So they resort to all this sectarian quibbling.

Here is the way they work. One man accused another of being a thief, charging that he had stolen $1,002. The accused denied such vehemently and said the man had misrepresented him. When pressed to tell how he had been misrepresented him. When pressed to tell how he had been misrepresented, the accused said it was only $1,000!! No denial that he had stolen the money, but because the accuser had erred in the amount (a mere incidental as all can see), the accused said he was misrepresented and his accuser should be "known for his unreliability!"

A few years ago, Wilson Coon and Leroy Garrett were in a debate in Dallas regarding the "pastor system." Garrett was charging that the "pastor-system" was to be found right in Dallas and some preachers were preaching for money. In substance, Garrett said, "There is one man in this audience who was a former sign painter, but he quit that job and went to preaching, and now gets $150 per week, his house and utilities." At this point, Melvin Wise stood up and said, "Brother Garrett, that is a lie!" Garrett then apologized. Wise went up to Coon to tell him about Garrett misrepresenting him, and when Coon asked him how much he got, Wise said he didn't get his utilities! How terrible of Garrett to charge him with getting his utilities! There was no worry about nor denial of the charge that he was a pastor or preaching for money! This is a sample of quibbling — ignoring and dodging the main issue. This is a strong weapon and defense of error, and the sad part is that many brethren are deceived by it. Listen to all the defenses (?) made for such practices as that of Sunset Ridge, the benevolent societies, the Herald of Truth, etc., and it is all nothing more than sectarian quibbling done in "smooth words and fair speeches" which deceive the unthinking! I have not heard one man make an honest, sincere effort to deal with these problems on the basis of Bible authority. The reason why is very obvious. Brethren, don't let all the "howls and wails", which they send up about someone misrepresenting them or how unreliable we are, cause you to miss the real point and remain silent. Don't be led off by some quibble — stay with the main point! The sledge-hammer blows of truth against the innovations of our day are very telling with people who are honest and who think and we can't reach any others. Let us press the battle!

I recently received a curt letter from Roger MacKenzie, at Marietta, Georgia, demanding that I make a correction in this column for publishing a report I lifted from their bulletin about a church skating party. He "passed the buck" to the person who typed the stencil and said he was not there to correct the wording. Then he proceeds to tell me that they are usually very careful about how they word these announcements about these skating parties, because "there are some who will malign a congregation for any reason." He tells me that those who type the bulletin "are warned to be very careful in wording any announcement" Why? Because of those whom he says will "malign" (which is his word for expose) them. The tenor of what he says is that they strive to word the announcements in such a way as to keep those who would expose such sectarian practices from finding out what is really going on! If it weren't for the troublesome objectors, they would not have to watch their words and could just speak plainly — as they did in the announcement we carried. Does MacKenzie think it is sinful for the churches to sponsor skating parties and other recreational activities? Let him tell us plainly that he does and his desire for a correction may be more in order.

In II Thess. 2, Paul mentioned a withholding and restraining force to the "mystery of iniquity" which was already at work. It was seething and working undercover and as soon as the opposing forces — the objectors — were removed and circumstances favorable, it would burst forth in its full fruition. It did just that. So it is today. There is no way to know just how far the current innovations and digressive practices would have gone if it had not been for the withholding and restraining forces of the "objectors" and the "antis." The development has been rapid and broad beyond the wildest expectations, but what if there had been no restraining efforts — even as weak and ineffectual as they may have been? As soon as such forces are removed and the circumstances are right, the full results of all evil tendencies and departures will be seen. The "college in the budget" is a seething "mystery of iniquity" just ready to spring into the open. Full acceptance of the social gospel concept is just "under the surface." All-out denominational status is rapidly taking shape. There is no use kidding ourselves about these things. Too many have "fiddled while Rome burned." Let us do all we can to save everyone we can. The battle is joined and the need of the hour is for soldiers who are really willing to "suffer hardship. . .as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." Battles are never won by silence and ignoring the enemy. Contact with sin and error must be made if we are to win the fight. "Fight the good fight of faith," my brother. The Lord is still the Supreme Sovereign and has not abdicated his throne nor capitulated to the enemy. Courage, faithful brother, be not weary in well doing. It may appear that the Cause is lost, that all have bowed the knee to Baal, but not so. Right and truth may for the moment appear defeated and destroyed, but such can never be really done. We may lose a few battles, but we cannot lose the war. Let us see to it that we shirk not our part because of fear or discouragement. We must be on guard against the offers of the devil to get us to sell out. "Ye that are men now serve Him, against unnumbered foes, Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose." As the last stanza of that old familiar hymn says, "Stand up, stand up for Jesus. Stand in His strength alone.; The Arm of flesh will fail you, Ye dare not trust your own. Put on the gospel armor, And watching unto prayer, where duty calls or danger, Be never wanting there."