Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 15, 1960
NUMBER 32, PAGE 5,8-10

Reply To Lloyd Barker's Review

James D. Bales, Searcy, Arkansas

(Editor's note: Although the exchange between Barker and Bales is lengthy, we give space to it in this issue. We think it fair and right to let Bales speak for himself and for Harding College; indeed, he requested that we do so. Read Barker's comments on this article elsewhere in this issue. One brief reference to this editor is contained in the last paragraph of Bales' article. The good doctor's "judgment" is a reflection on his intelligence; and unworthy even to be dignified by a denial. — F. Y. T.)

My first reply was mailed to the Gospel Guardian June 17, 1959. Barker's reply was received November 10. This final reply is being mailed April 8.

Of course, teachers can misunderstand students.

I am not replying to everything because some of it really necessitated no reply.

I do not now, nor have I ever, believed in the missionary society. Someone has misunderstood me. Although I have not the remotest idea how someone in another class thought that I stated that a missionary society was all right, I do think that I now know the occasion on which Barker misunderstood me. In reply to his question as to whether a missionary society would be all right if there was no dictation, I indicated that in its very nature the society involved dictation. I do not remember all that I said; however, I do not see how you could have a missionary society without dictation either to the churches; or as to the fields to be supported; or the individuals supported. Of course, there would also be involved the error of turning over to the society the missionary work of the church. However, I did not mention that in answer to this specific question. I may not have enlarged on this sufficiently to make it clear to Barker; though I hardly think that it was necessary for me to go into detail (in showing that I did not believe in a missionary society) since the syllabus we were studying made clear my rejection of the missionary society. However, I did not want to leave the impression that a society such as the Aiken Foundation, or the Gospel Guardian Corporation, was wrong in principle.

I did not say that it was a slip of the tongue. I said that I did not believe that I said it but that since my confidence in my infallibility in speaking was not as great as Barker's confidence in his hearing, that if I did say it, it was a slip of the tongue.

Barker told me that the Gospel Guardian was a missionary society. Yet, most people would certainly get the wrong idea if I said that he believed in a missionary society provided it was the Gospel Guardian.

Concerning the reference in Christ's Body, The Church, pp. 140-141, Barker does not admit that he misunderstood me. In this case, we do not have to depend on our memory concerning statements in class or conversations. We have documentation for both statements. He said that I charged that "those who oppose brotherhood societies being maintained by churches for benevolence never do anything in the field of benevolence." This I did not say.

Here is what I wrote in question and answer form.

"Are we to show our faith in this matter by our works? Yes. James 2:18.

Does one have much faith or conviction about a matter if it does not influence his conduct? No.

Is faith fully shown in what we refrain from? This is certainly a vital part of it, but Christianity is positive as well as negative. Thus we must demonstrate our faith in our works.

Is it not an indication of a weak or dead faith if one just talks about the right way and works against the wrong way, but does not do anything about doing it In the right way? The answer is obvious. What shall we say of those who say that the God-ordained way is to take orphans into one's own home, and widows also, and who can take one or more into their home but will not do it?

Is it possible that some individuals feel justified even when not helping the needy, because they can congratulate themselves that they are not helping them the wrong way? Undoubtedly this is true of some. Who they are, God knows, and their works finally reveal — or their lack of works. Each should examine himself so that he does not rest content with refusing to do it the wrong way, but actually does it the right way or in a right way. Those who can do it in a right way, but refuse to do it, while arguing against the wrong way, are but salving their conscience."

The last question is directed to both sides.

Barker, why is it so difficult for you to admit, even in the light of clear documentation, that you did misunderstand and misrepresent me? What would you think if I had denied that you got anything right in your article in May? My reply makes it clear that I did not deny everything you said. Your misunderstanding and misrepresentation of my statement is not hidden just because you charge that my statement raised a cloud of suspicion.

It will be observed in the statement in Christ's Body, The Church, that I indicate that both sides ought to examine themselves so as not to be content with arguing for the right way while doing it in no way. My statement did not raise a cloud of suspicion over those who agreed with me or over those who disagreed with me. It is an indictment of any who fit the description found in the above statements. It fits all who argue for the right way, who are able to do it the right way and who refuse to do it! "Who they are, God knows, and their works finally reveal — or their lack of works."

No, Barker, I do not have as many definitions of missionary society as you do. When I use the term — except when reasoning with you to get you to see the fallacy in your usage — I use it as it has been historically used among us. It was shown that the way you sometimes used the term it could properly include the Gospel Guardian, etc. But in discussing the question of the missionary society, it would certainly lead to misunderstanding for us to say that you believe in a missionary society — when we know that people would interpret the term as it has been historically used among us. This was the point that I was trying to get you to see; and Spaulding was also, if I understood him correctly.

Concerning Spaulding and Kasbaum one of the following is true: (a) I misunderstood them. (b) They did not remember what they told Barker. (c) They misrepresent things to me. (d) Barker misunderstood them. (e) Barker misrepresented them. (f) I consciously misrepresent them. I have nothing to add to or take from what I said concerning them.

After debating with myself as to whether or not to include any reference to sister Barker, I did so because Lloyd had featured the matter. When I learned they were expecting an addition to their family right away, I decided to leave it out since I did not want to worry any further about her name being in the discussion. This decision was reached before they sent me material with reference to his wife's work as a secretary. At the time I wrote Barker I did not give my reason. I wanted to see if he had learned not to jump to conclusions. He had not learned, so he jumped to the wrong conclusion.

Bill Teague, who was her boss, asked to have her taken off the job. As to the reason for her being fired, I had only his word for it since I knew nothing personally about the case. Teague either: (a) told the truth; (b) lied; (c) misread his own motives; (d) although I have not asked him about the following, since he had already told Dr. Benson he was not satisfied with her work, it may have been that he did not mean that the article had nothing to do with her dismissal, but that it was not the cause; instead it was only the occasion. It may have been the straw that broke the camel's back.

Brother Benson had only Teague's report on the matter.

Because Teague did not consider her a satisfactory worker does not mean that he was reflecting on her character. People differ widely as to what they consider to be an efficient worker. There are people who are considered by many as efficient, and yet whom I would not want to work for me if I had any choice in the matter. And it would not be a reflection on their character. One congregation may not consider a preacher satisfactory, while another may.

As far as I recall, Brother Teague did not say one word about her character; and I am happy to testify that those who have mentioned her character to me have spoken well of her.

Brother Teague is not with us now.

I would have considered Lloyd's writing the school up in the paper as sufficient reason by itself to let his wife go, if she had been working for me. Would the Gospel Guardian retain a secretary under similar circumstances? Would they support her to help keep someone in their organization who seemingly was in the process of beginning to write regularly for the Gospel Advocate articles which were critical of the Gospel Guardian? This was Lloyd's second article which was critical of the school, or of those who spoke here. Students should use other means to try to help with respect to problems in the school.

I still regret that she was brought into the discussion.

That I made no effort to misrepresent matters concerning Brother Moore is evident not only from what I said in my reply, but also in my knowledge that Barker had a copy of the tape of my chapel speech — which I told a young man that he could tape. I knew he would send it to Barker. My statements in the article concern Brother Moore do not need to be changed.

What I included in the first article was what Brother Davis was trying to get Brother Barker to see. Whatever else Barker reads into it is his own responsibility.

When I cited a statement he had made to someone else concerning Meyers, to illustrate conclusions to which Barker jumped, I am dealing with "private matters"; but when he reports "private" conversations, he is dealing in public matters!

To be consistent, Barker could not call an M. D. a Dr. if he cannot call a person Dr. who has an earned degree in English.

I do not share what I consider to be Dr. Meyer's confusion about Jonah.

Dr. Meyers is not scheduled to be with us next year.

It is very rare that any college makes public the reasons why a teacher's contract is not renewed. Barker does not know why Kasbaum's contract was not renewed, the administration will not decide that an exception should be made in this case in order to satisfy Barker's desire to know. So Barker is left with his assumptions.

When Barker speaks of "courageous opposition to Brother Benson's efforts to keep Harding segregated" he misunderstands the position of a college president. A president is not the policy making body. The board is. The board makes the policy of the school, regardless of whether or not the president agrees with them.

Not having checked on whether some offices send out letters addressed "Father," etc., I do not see how I can admit that they do! Assuming that such was done, is there not a difference between addressing a person as he addresses himself, and denoting any religious relationship between you and that person? Barker agrees that Mr. or Master does not have to be used to show spiritual "over-lordship." If you announced a debate between you and a minister of the Church of God, would you be admitting that the Church of God denomination is the true church? Can we refer to people, using the religious title which they used, and name of the religious organization to which they belong, without indicating that they sustain a religious relationship to us? Did Jesus say: Call no man father? Or did he say: Call no man your father? (Matt. 23:9)? Does call mean to designate him as he designates himself, without indicating spiritual subservience to him? Or does call in this context mean to designate him as such, to call him such, because he sustains that relationship to you? The woman in Rom. 7:3 was called an adulteress because that was what she was. Does not call in Matt. 23:9 convey the idea of addressing one as such because they are such to you. You are calling him your father in order to designate the relationship which he sustains to you.

No man is our father, but it is not wrong to speak of a man by his title when you are designating his position in his religion. Paul and Luke spoke of the high priest, when referring to the high priest in Judaism. (Acts 5:21; 23:5) However, for the Christian there is but one high priest, Christ. (Heb. 7:1-8:4) But it is not wrong to call a man the high priest when speaking of the title or position he occupies in his religion. You are not calling him your high priest.

Barker states that he "would not address the Pope of Rome personally as 'Pope' even though this is more than a religious title." Why speak of him impersonally as such? When in that sentence he said "the Pope of Rome" did he call him his "papa"? Certainly not. When I speak of "Father So and So," priest of a Roman Catholic Church, etc., I am not calling him my father. Instead, I am designating him as to the position he occupies in his religion — not in mine.

Furthermore, do we not ask people to speak of us religiously as we speak of ourselves? That is to designate us as members of the church of Christ, or other terms used in the New Testament, even if they believe that we are a denomination? We are not saying that they have to admit that we are the church of Christ before they should designate us as we designate ourselves. Why demand of others a courtesy which we will not extend to them, i. e., of addressing them as they address themselves. But they know and we know that we are not saying that they must admit that we are the church before they can speak of us as we speak of ourselves. Luke just the same as said Dr. Gamaliel when he said: "Gamaliel, a doctor of the Law." (Acts 5:34) This was a title which designated his standing in the Jewish religion and the laws pertaining thereto.

Barker did not attack the Guardian for using Dr.; or its statement about Fox's book of Martyrs.

Brother Barker needs to meditate a long time on his classification of most of those at Harding in contrast with himself. "Few of the students have much respect for Brother Benson but they, as the Sadducees and Pharisees, will unite to fight one who would be as Paul or Christ." He might see what I consider to be his basic trouble, i. e., self-righteousness, which leads him to set the vast majority of students at nought. (cp. Luke 18:9) I say this with the prayer that it will help him.

Furthermore, does he know the heart of most of the students so that he can say that few of them have much respect for Brother Benson?

Barker speaks of his motives being probed. What does he call the following in his review? First, that I tried to "cover up" for certain people. Second, as to why I wanted to leave out the reference to his wife. Third, that I dug up private matters in order to injure Barker's reputation. Fourth, why Kasbaum's contract was not renewed. Fifth, Although he did not say that he held to the position, he passed on the probing of Brother Benson's motives by those who, according to Barker's article, thought Benson choose a few questions out of a larger number "in order to cast Freed-Hardeman and Florida Christian College in a bad light." I do not know to whom, or to how many, Barker spoke. Sixth, he judged the motives of the majority of students. (a) When he gave his reason why they thought that they could maintain and develop true Christianity. (b) When he said that "few of the students have much respect for Brother Benson...." (c) When he lined the majority up with the Sadducees and Pharisees.

When I replied to Barker's article in chapel, I had no opportunity to talk with him as he was not here. However, I knew that my reply in the Guardian would be sent to him first. There was no need to talk with him further on the matter I discussed.

It is true that administrators are not the most popular people on the campus.

The way Barker talks, Dr. Benson is selling his soul in order to keep "money coming into Harding from all sources possible." Perhaps Barker would not have stood in judgment on Brother Benson if he had known that money has been turned down. If he was the kind of person Barker makes him out to be, he would be doing this to have money come to himself rather than working to bring it to Harding. Furthermore, he would have accepted the Presidency of a well known private university which is already well financed and which would have given him a much higher salary than he receives here.

Presidents cannot please everyone. Some will call them dictators in the very decisions concerning which others charge that they have yielded to a pressure group. The difficulties under which they labor is indicated by the rapid turnover; as a general rule of college Presidents. Their average term in a college is around six or seven years.

Being president is a hard task. It is often thankless, and more often criticized.

A president is bound to make some mistakes.

I have known Dr. Benson for 23 years. He became President my senior year. I have taught here since 1944. For whatever my judgment is worth, I want to testify that I think that he is one of the outstanding Christians and Americans of our generation.

There was no need to go to Brother Barker in replying to his article, as he had already spoken publicly in the paper. With reference to anything which I mentioned about him which was not advanced in his article, there was no need since I presented the understanding of these things from people who were involved.

There was no need to go to him about the "spy" statement: (a) I had a witness in whom I have confidence. (b) It fitted in with the fact that someone must have given him the idea that letters went from two offices addressed to "Father," etc.

Where did I say that Barker did not discuss matters with us?

In the first part of my article, I emphasized that Editor Tant should have made some effort to investigate matters before he through his paper gave international circulation to these accusations concerning Harding. This he should have done, in order for him to be in a position to know whether they were true or false. After all, he was shouldering the responsibility of circulating it throughout the world.

(I) Our students came from many backgrounds, and are on different levels of growth, and there are many questions on which some have either no convictions or inadequately grounded convictions. I am sure that we need to, and that we are trying to, do a better job of grounding them in the knowledge of the Bible. However, I do not know how many believe as Barker asserted "many" believe. None have thus expressed themselves to me, though there are some who are not members of the church, and some — I assume — in the church who need teaching on this. In fact, I am in a written debate on this issue now.

(3) When you go to a man and ask his opinion of matters, although he does not advocate these opinions, he may either: (a) Refuse to answer; (b) lie; (c) give his opinions. Lloyd sought out Brother Moore and asked his opinion. Barker's point (3) does not even relate to the point I made in the first sentence under the heading "Erle Moore."

(5) In the very nature of the case, I pointed out, that the majority always wields some kind of pressure, whether intended or not. From time to time, when I see that there is need for additional teaching on a question, I try to increase the pressure through teaching.

(6) If one is very unhappy here, and continually so, it is best for him and for us that he leave.

(9) I did not say that Spaulding and Kasbaum did not use the term missionary society; but that it was not used as historically used, for they were trying to get Barker to see that he was using the term loosely. If so and so were to be called a missionary society, then some other things would have to be also — which things Barker would defend as scriptural. Sometimes we may say: If that's sound doctrine, I don't want any of it. One has used the terms "sound doctrine," but it does not mean he repudiates sound doctrine. One might say of certain cooperation: If that is a missionary society, I am for it.

Even a conscious liar may make many true charges along with his false ones. In my opinion, Barker's is not a conscious one wherein he says: I am going to misrepresent this person in this point or that. Instead, in my opinion, it is related to his self-righteousness and to his determination to get something on us. So he kept at it with some individuals until in some cases he "found" they held to positions which in reality they do not hold to. His self-righteousness is such that he sets others at nought. For examples: (a) Few students respect Brother Benson; but many believe in a cooperative missionary society and instrumental music. How does he know there are "few" in one case and "many" in the other case? (b) The majority of the students united "to fight one who would be as Paul or Christ." In the light of the context, Barker is at least one sample of the "one." In the first article, he classified himself with Michael in a matter. "I, as Michael, bring not a railing accusation, but simply say, 'The Lord rebuke thee.' (Jude 9)." Barker does not see even one "railing accusation" in the nine things which I listed in my first review. (c) Barker gives no indication that he has done anything really wrong in the entire matter, or that he has made even a serious mistake in any of the representations which he made.

A person may be blinded by prejudice, and the determination to get something on some person, in one situation and not in another situation.

The reader will observe that I have made no effort to make a blanket denial of everything Barker wrote. Everything he said was not wrong, and certainly I have no desire to even remotely leave such an impression.

Usually in a controversy which involves many people, many conversations and many classroom situations there is some misunderstanding and some wrongness of attitude in some cases on the part of some who are involved. I pray that of anyone of us of whom this may be true will see it and repent of it.

Concerning Brother Croom's pamphlet, we limited ourselves to one observation. Harding College has had three Presidents. A. S. Groom; J. N. Armstrong and George S. Benson. Some of Croom's criticisms of the last two are in print.

One can re-read my articles after reading Barker's reply and see what was dealt with and what was not; what was understood and what was not. Re-read his also.

The readers of the Guardian need not expect that I shall write in the Guardian concerning charges which they may make, whether true or false, from time to time. Although I may reconsider, at the present this is my intention.

However, to keep Barker from speculating why I have made this decision, I shall tell him. Although I have no illusions which would lead me to think that a lot of people would subscribe for the Guardian if I carried on controversy in it over a period of time, yet I do know that if I did there would be some people who would subscribe if for no other reason than to watch a controversy. And if my influence helped the subscription list of the Guardian to increase by just one, I would feel that I had rendered a disservice to the cause of Christ. For in my judgment — based on documentation — the Editor of the Guardian is determined to create a definite division in the church. I do not say that this is the attitude of everyone who writes for it.