Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 5, 1964

Was Brother J. D. Tant Right

Frank J. Dunn

(Editor's note: We lifted this article from the "College Avenue News" regular bulletin of the College Avenue Church of Christ, Lubbock, Texas. That paper said it had lifted the article from the "Monterey Bulletin." But we were interested in seeing such an article as this in any Lubbock bulletin — and especially in one which on the opposite page from this writing urged all Lubbock brethren to keep in mind the great "Coliseum Meeting" which was scheduled to begin on October 4. Is this the meeting in which Dr. Batsell Barrett Baxter is the featured speaker?)

During the first quarter of this century, brother J. D. Tant regularly reported his meetings and other work for the Lord in articles in the Firm Foundation and Gospel Advocate, In many of his reports he pointed out some liberal trend in the church and concluded, "Brethren, we are drifting." There was much truth in brother Tant's warnings.

I wonder what brother Tant and other pioneers would say about some of the practices of the church today. Take for example the fad of calling gospel preachers, Doctor. Who are we trying to impress with such titles — the world, the brethren, the Lord? What do we need to advertise — the man or the message?

But someone says, he has earned the degree. So what? Since when does one's having a doctor's degree in theology, psychology education, history, or any other academic subject qualify him as a preacher? I can name men who were fairly good preachers before they became "doctors" who couldn't preach a gospel sermon now if their life depended on it.

Aren't we to be satisfied any more that we are brethren, preachers, and evangelists? Are we becoming so sophisticated that we are not content with the qualifications and work of preachers that Paul gave to Timothy? Is righteousness no longer our "status symbol"?

Was Jesus wrong in selecting unlettered men such as Andrew, Peter, James, John and training them to preach the gospel to the whole creation? I know he also selected learned men such as Paul and Luke to teach and record his word. The point is that at no time did he make distinctions among his disciples upon the basis of their secular education and position.

Paul counted his former connections as "dung" (Phil. 3:8) and wrote: "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to his presence." II Cor. 1:26-29).

Jesus did not permit his disciples to wear titles of honor, but rather, he warned, "Be not ye called Rabbi...Call no man your father upon the earth... Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ."

Frank J. Dunn, Monterey Bulletin