Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 15, 1967

Brethren — Beware

Floyd Chappelear

Brethren, we need to very carefully read all the material being distributed by the various local congregations of which we are members. We may be unknowingly distributing literature which contains false doctrine. In fact, even though a given item of literature may be wholly free of error the first time we purchase it, it may well contain error in the second or third printing under the same cover. An example of the above has recently come to my attention.

There is a certain tract in wide circulation, even among the more conservative churches, which implies that the church support of the Herald of Truth is scriptural. (No scriptures given, of course) The original printing of the tract did not have the erroneous teaching in it when it came into its popularity. Subsequently, when the false doctrine was inserted, the tract continued to be used by faithful brethren having no knowledge of the changes within the make-up of the tract. The tract under consideration is one by Batsell Barrett Baxter titled, "What Is the Church of Christ?"

The tract is a reprint (Actually a rewrite) of a newspaper article written by Brother Baxter in response to an inquiry by Al Parker, managing editor of a Wichita Falls newspaper. (The article was later carried in LOOK magazine.) Therefore, the latest run of the tract is not an accurate facsimile of the original Texas newspaper article. In the latest edition, however, the impression is left that it is a faithful reproduction of the original material as published in the newspaper and LOOK magazine.

In the original tract, on page 4, section IV, under the heading, "Are the churches of Christ organically connected?", no mention of the Herald of Truth, orphanages, colleges, periodicals, or the Gospel Press type promotion, is made at all. However, in the newer edition, the Herald of Truth and the Gospel Press arrangement are listed as a part of the cooperative efforts made by churches of Christ. The orphanages are also suggested as being properly supported by churches. The colleges and periodicals are listed as individually supported and operated. Obviously, by inference, it is suggested that the Herald of Truth is a part of the organic arrangement of New Testament churches of Christ. Which is, of course, a falsehood. The insertions are made on page 5, section V, under the same heading.

If, brethren, you began to use the first edition of the tract and have continued to purchase it year by year, you may be presently using the expanded version unknowingly. There is nothing in the introduction of the later issue which would indicate that the tract has been altered, perhaps there has never been any announcement of that nature at all. Nevertheless, false doctrine is being distributed by faithful Christians. More than one church has been known to be using the above named tract. Use of the tract was discontinued in each known case, however, when the error was made known.

To avoid having the above problem we would suggest that you discontinue using any and all tracts by unsound brethren without a most careful reading first. There certainly is no need to use such material as there are numerous tracts edited by men who are faithful to the Word of God and who can be trusted notto teach error. For instance, Truth Magazine has a fine selection of tracts, as does the Gospel Guardian. Perhaps others also publish reliable tracts. In any event, use tracts only after having read them and ascertained their scripturalness.

Brethren --- Beware of distributing false doctrine hidden in the literature we use.