Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 7, 1963
NUMBER 43, PAGE 3,10b-11a

The Herald Of Truth Discontinues

Tom M. Roberts

Of spectacular note was the announcement six months ago which appeared simultaneously in the GOSPEL ADVOCATE, GOSPEL GUARDIAN, FIRM FOUNDATION, PRECEPTOR, and other periodicals among the brethren of the discontinuation of the Herald of Truth radio and television program which has been on the air for some years. The action came about as a result of an open letter to the elders of the Highland church in Abilene, Texas, sponsors of the program, from A. C. Grider of Louisville, Ky. Brother Grider, in his letter, invited the elders to view first hand the havoc wrought in that city by the emergence of the program on local channels. This letter, expressing the same sentiments of so many other letters and articles in local church bulletins, caused the Highland elders to take a highly objective look at the Great Commission, the local church's role in this commission, the character of the Herald of Truth's organizational structure and the impact it has had on the unity of the church of our Lord. After much study and prayer on their part, the elders made a joint announcement to the congregation at Highland (and interested churches) which is herewith given in full:

"As elders of this congregation and as 'watchers on behalf of souls,' we have, after much study and prayerful consideration, decided to terminate the program sponsored by this congregation known as the HERALD OF TRUTH BROADCAST. This action has been necessitated due to its divisive action among churches of Christ in towns and cities across the nation and around the world. The original intention of this program was to preach the gospel and build up the Lord's Kingdom. Seeing, however, that its effect has been the opposite, and wishing to have no part in any action which destroys the unity of our beloved brethren, we herewith announce our decision. We had no intention of 'assuming oversight' of a program of work to which all churches are equally related. Yet, we are frail humans and now see that the end result is far different from the original intent.

"To those churches which have been divided and split asunder, and in some cases have undergone irreparable harm, we offer our heartfelt apologies and fervently ask for forgiveness of this great sin. To whatever extent our abilities exist, we stand ready to repair this damage. We urge a renewed effort on the part of all congregations with broken fellowship to heal the wounds among you caused, in large part, by this program, May its absence serve as incentive to reconciliation from all points. With the gates of Zion restored in unity, we are hopeful the Lord will forgive our grievous sins. To His grace, and to a forgiving brotherhood, we commend ourselves."

The effect of this announcement across the land has been astounding and the source of no little comfort and blessings to untold congregations. It has generated a spirit of brotherly love and a seeking after unity which has not been since the days of the Campbells. Many preachers who had pushed the intrusion of the HERALD OF TRUTH over the consciences of their brethren have been led to review their action with sorrow. True, some still insist upon the scripturalness of the HERALD OF TRUTH, but seeing the great upsurge of love and restored fellowship among the churches across the nation, they are content to forego such a program for the sake of this blessed unity. They agree that there are other ways of preaching the gospel and are determined, seeing the effect of the announcement upon the brotherhood, to use the local church organization in preaching the gospel rather than divide the churches over a brotherhood arrangement.

The effect of this attitude is as though a new breath of life was breathed into every Christian and most congregations. As one man, churches are renewing their attacks on the Devil and his angels with united vigor. Denominations once again find themselves facing a united people. One of their arguments against us is lost: namely. "You can't even agree among yourselves." Reports of thousands of conversions and restorations to Christ are pouring in. From every point of the compass, enthusiasm, unity, peace, love and vigorous evangelism is the story. Old wounds among once-loved brethren are being healed. Whereas brethren who once were closer than fleshly brothers had become as strangers, unspeaking and unseeing, they are now folding each other in open arms and forgiving each other the harsh words and bitter feelings. How refreshing after so much of the unforgiving spirit has been seen. Even those who objected to the HERALD OF TRUTH and its work have freely admitted that more often than not, harsh language and heated feelings had led them into sin and error of which they freely repented. Even having the truth about a subject doesn't necessarily guarantee absence of mistakes!

Other Singular Events Which Need Mentioning.

Following the lead of the Highland elders, other men have taken steps where possible to heal the broken churches. Some of these are: (1) All colleges issuing statements that they are human-institutions and not worthy of receiving support from church treasuries, (2) most benevolent societies, including homes for neglected children and homes for the aged, made similar statements and have ceased making demands on the churches for funds, (3), a careful re-study by most churches of the actual work of the church. This last, in particular, has led to some changing thoughts and actions. A special emphasis has been placed on the spiritual nature of the church and her work and all worldly and physical attainments are being dropped. Among those things being cast off are sponsorship of Boy Scouts, church teams of various sports, church suppers prepared in church kitchens and served in church dining halls. All such rooms are being converted to classrooms, etc., for use in the teaching program of the church. It must be admitted that many individuals ceased attending once the serving of food and frolic ceased. However, due to the emphasis placed on the gospel and the spiritual needs of man, some of them are coming back with a new light in their eyes — the light of knowledge of God's will.

Whereas many were fearful that the needy among the saints would suffer due to the lack of church support of the human institutions, they now are amazed that each congregation is taking care of own needy with willingness. The orphan homes are besieged with offers of help and applications for adoptions. Colleges are filled to capacity and are able to undertake more building programs now that they have taken a stand against church contributions. They now emphasize a well-rounded education in which the Bible is studied and a healthy environment is found for Christian boys and girls. Realizing the soundness of such declarations from the colleges, parents are sending more and more youngsters to them for education and the colleges are on a sound financial footing.

Much more might be said about the improved condition of the churches of Christ. But each reader can see for himself at firsthand, how wonderful is the outlook. We now stand ready to do more work than ever before, without the costly duplication which existed in our previously divided condition. What wonderful future for the church and the millions who are to hear the gospel in the next few years.

What brought all this about? Where did the harmony first evidence itself? Where was the spark ignited which set fire to the hatred and division and consumed them out of our midst? At the same place where much of the division and strife was first generated years ago — the Highland congregation in Abilene, Texas. The fire which purified us again could not have been set without someone who had promoted the division striking the first spark. Thank God it was done before the pages of history recorded a permanent division and the appearance of a new denomination as in 1906 (the Christian Church). Surely the Lord will take note of the action on the part of the Highland elders and judge them accordingly.

Who knows what might have happened if they had not taken their admirable stand when they did?

What low degree would we have reached by this date otherwise?

(Sad Note: The above account, of course, never took place. The HERALD OF TRUTH still operates and spreads division and discord wherever it goes. Human institutions of one sort or another continue to drain monies from, the church. And even though the events suggested here might sound somewhat exaggerated, I affirm that everything mentioned herein is entirely possible! It only takes a deep desire for unity and a respect for the conscience of faithful brethren (as well as for the authority of Christ) to set the spark somewhere among the liberal element.

You say it will never happen? You are probably right. But I shall continue to pray that SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE will issue such a statement and strike such a spark. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." (Psalms 133:1)

— Box 207, Whitesboro, Texas