Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 14, 1961
NUMBER 19, PAGE 6,11b

A New Church Meets In Waco, Texas

R. L. Burns, Grand Prairie, Texas

Several weeks ago I received a letter from a brother in Waco, Texas, stating that he was a member of the Herring Avenue congregation in that city and that he was greatly disturbed over the liberalism in the church there. He asked for assistance in some way to get the truth before the brethren and, at my suggestion, arranged for a class to be conducted around the first of July on a Thursday evening. When I arrived I learned that the study was to be conducted in the home of Dr. J. T. Mullins, an elder in the Herring Avenue church. Brother Mullins stated he had invited the other elders to attend (there were five in all), but none of them came. Present were five members from Herring Avenue, two members from the Mt. Calm congregation, and two from South Waco. We studied for about two hours and agreed to meet the following week in the home of brother W. L. Oldfield, a faithful member at Herring Avenue. Within a few days dozens of persons had been contacted, along with the preachers in Waco, and invited to attend. Needless to say, very few came, and of the preachers, only a brother Charles Tutor from South Waco came. We continued our weekly classes for several weeks, offering any an opportunity to come and study with us or dispute the things taught. The classes were orderly and invitations issued were kindly and sincerely presented. It was a new experience for the few who came to have so many fellow-Christians flatly refuse to come.

On July 22 the other four elders at Herring Avenue came to the home of brother Mullins to talk with him and his wife. They demanded that the Mullins' cease teaching in their classes that the church is all-sufficient to do the assigned work and admitted that it alone is not sufficient and efficient to do all the Lord wants his people to do. The four elders (?) stated that changes would be made if the Mullins' did not subscribe to what they styled as "their way." They denied that there was one example in the Bible of benevolent work being done in the local church, and challenged the Mullins' to find even one. Needless to say, many were offered, but fell upon deaf ears.

Brother Mullins, being an elder at Herring Avenue, had submitted an article to be printed in the church bulletin on "The Mission of the Church." These four mighty men had the article with them and said they could not allow it to be printed. Dr. Mullins read the article in their presence and at the beginning asked them to stop him when he came to their objections. Only one time did they object, when he read "The Lord demands strict obedience to his word" they said, "Stop, we object." They saw their ridiculous position, however, and removed their objection, promising to print the article in the bulletin, but W. A. Harrison, the preacher, would not print it because of its "length."

These four men had a paper that said in effect, "This is to let the congregation know that the elders did not have the oversight of the cottage meetings." Dr. Mullins agreed that they did not, but on Sunday morning when this was read to the congregation they gave it the interpretation that all five elders had opposed these cottage meetings, that all five had approved this statement and signed it, all of which was false. The statement on Sunday morning was followed by a vicious attack upon us all, with Harrison as the "hatchet man" for the four "elders." Though all the elders had been invited to the meetings they were assailed as "secret meetings" conducted by an "imported preacher" and this without the "permission of the elders." Much "ado" was made over the "secret" meetings to put the Mullins', Oldfield's and others in a bad light before the whole church, while all the time this spiteful discourse of his was kept secret from at least one of the elders by both the preacher and the other elders. He used this disturbance to increase the attendance on Sunday night and Wednesday, urging the people to mark and avoid us and unite together in a closer bond of "love."

Harrison made many charges, saying that all the emphasis was laid on "how" to do benevolent work and that "love, as taught in the New Testament" is not to be found among us. It might interest the brethren in Waco to know that we have approached brother Harrison about a study of these questions and we hope that he has enough "love" to keep his tentative promise to study with us in September. We are a little surprised that he would even try to preach on these problems, since it is evident that he is alarmingly ignorant of the whole controversy. In his sermon he tried to cast reflection on our intelligence by comparing us to the Amish people who dress and ride in styles of 100 years ago. If he believes that Bible teaching changes with customs of dress and modes of travel, the Herring Avenue brethren can spend their money better than in supporting him. If he knew better than to make such a comparison, he is unworthy of the support or association of brethren.

Since brother Harrison and the four remaining elders at Herring Avenue had refused to study with brother Mullins or anyone else representing different views from their own, little choice was left for those who knew the circumstances and loved the Lord but to break with the group. On July 30, the Lord's day following Harrison's assault, brother Mullins made a statement before the church, reviewing his extended association with Herring Avenue as an elder, class teacher and faithful member for many years and that he could no longer serve as an elder or worship God under the present conditions there. He and sister Mullins, along with brother and sister W. L. Oldfield and another faithful member, sister Burlison, left to return no more to a congregation into which they had put thousands of dollars and years of labor. Brother Jack Doshier, who preaches at Mount Calm and is stationed at the air base at Waco, along with his good wife, will begin worshipping with the new group and for the present will preach for them. We are confident that many others, in time, will join themselves to the only loyal church meeting in that area. To my knowledge there is not another faithful group meeting within 100 miles of them. This is an opportunity to do good and we urge brethren everywhere to contact any friends they may have in that vicinity about the new church.

For further information about them, you may contact Dr. J. T. Mullins, Route 5, Box 140, Waco, Texas, or Mr. W. L. Oldfield, 3601 N. 21 St., Waco, Texas, or Lt. Jack Doshier, 408 Elm Mott Drive, Elm Mott, Texas.