Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 31, 1962
NUMBER 5, PAGE 4,13b

Simple Honesty


The beloved Curtis Porter remarked a few years ago that the one thing, above all others, that amazed him in the current wave of controversy among brethren over "the issues" was the way brethren would "LIE" to one another and about one another. It is, indeed, astounding! Integrity and honor and simple honesty seem to fly out the window when brethren become involved in heated discussions with one another. Positions are taken contrary to formerly held (and stated) convictions, and when the thing is publicized, the one having "changed" blandly declares, "You misunderstood me; I meant something entirely different in my earlier statement." Now, he knows he is lying; the brethren to whom he talks know he is lying; and he knows that they know he is lying! Yet the silly little farce continues to be played out right on to the end of the line.

This lying may be by implication rather than by direct and blatant falsehood. For example, in a letter published last month in the Guardian a brother comments on his "change" by saying "I now believe that churches may cooperate with one another in evangelism and in benevolence." As a matter of fact, this particular brother NEVER DID BELIEVE OTHERWISE — and he has never met a Christian, or talked to one, who believed, or said that he believed, otherwise! This editor has travelled from Canada to the Gulf and from the tip of Florida to Puget Sound over the past dozen years, talking with, and preaching to, literally thousands of Christians — brethren of every shade and degree of conservatism and liberalism, all the way from the one-cup, no-class, no lipstick, running water baptizer, to the suave liberalism of a Ralph Wilburn or a Roy Key; and we found not one (we repeat, NOT ONE) person who ever expressed himself as believing that it was "wrong" for churches to "cooperate with one another in evangelism and in benevolence." Yet our "changing" brother implies that there were such people, that he had once been one of them, but that "NOW" he has changed!! He knows better; he knows that what he says is not so. Curtis Porter would call such action "lying"; what do you call it?

Another example came through the mail this week. It is on the letter-head of the "St. Andrew Church of Christ" at Panama City, Florida. Listed on the page as preacher for this church is a man named C.C. Arquitt. We delete the names of the innocent victims of the following announcement, and otherwise print it verbatim:

"On the ninth of March, Mr. and Mrs.___________ and Mr. and Mrs.___________ left the fellowship of the St. Andrew congregation to form an unscriptural faction. They are now meeting on Thomas Drive in Panama City Beach.

"Following the Florida Christian College, Gospel Guardian heresy they object to care for orphans and cooperation among brethren. Having refused to meet with the brethren about these matters, the St. Andrew congregation has no recourse but to withdraw fellowship. This is done with the prayer that they will see their sin and repent before they are eternally lost."

Now, we have no personal acquaintance with either of the two couples who are named in the above statement; but feel as certain as we are of life that they are falsely charged in the indictment. Will the "St. Andrew Church of Christ" please explain what their reason was for not charging these people with murder, embezzlement, and dope peddling? We have not a doubt in the world that these two couples are equally as guilty of "murder, embezzlement, and dope peddling" as they are of "objecting to the care of orphans and cooperation among brethren"! What kind of a "Church of Christ" is it that can put out such a vicious and ungodly accusation against brethren in Christ?

One of the Texas gospel journals a few weeks ago carried a long article by the editor in which he was airing his view of the "Akin Foundation" — an article that was bristling with invective and insinuations, and which was filled with false statements. We asked one of the brethren under attack if he planned to attempt any correction of the smear. He said, "What's the use? The writer of the article knew he was falsifying; all of those in a position to know the facts saw clearly that he was twisting and perverting the thing. I have no confidence that we could expect either truthfulness or fairness in any article he may write about it."

Brethren, is that the level of Christian honesty we have come to accept in this modern day?

We all recognize that there are occasions when an individual (or a gospel journal) may make a false statement. Inadequate information, a misunderstanding, or an erroneous report may lead a person in all honesty to say or print something as fact which is NOT fact. When the error is discovered it will be corrected (as this journal, for example, in this issue sets the record straight concerning a newspaper report of General Campbell's connection with Harding College). But for a deliberate and willful falsehood to be spoken or printed by one who professes to be a Christian is simply incomprehensible. This journal has never knowingly published one false statement. But for any Christian on this earth to charge another Christian with "objecting to care for orphans" is, we believe, a FALSE accusation — and we also are firmly convinced the accuser knew it was false at the time it was made!

If the "St. Andrew Church of Christ" thinks we are talking about them, we are. And also about all those other brethren who deliberately try to smear their fellow-Christians as "orphan haters" by false and malicious misrepresentations.

It's about time for some simple honesty to be shown by all! And just to show you our heart is in the right place, if the "St. Andrew Church of Christ" will send us a statement, signed by the two couples whom they name, saying 'We object to care for orphans and cooperation among brethren," we will print the statement alongside our apology for this editorial. But until they can produce such a statement, or reasonable proof of their charge, we are strongly of the conviction that they have made a false charge. And one for which they ought to apologize and pray God's forgiveness.