Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 10, 1950

Who Is Mistaken?

Cled Wallace

Brother Batsell Baxter had some things to say in the Gospel Advocate and it was copied in the Gospel Broadcast. I am taking a paragraph from the article and making it the basis of some observations. Some brethren take the strange position that if you do not print a whole article, you are "garbling" it and "misrepresenting" its author. This is simply not true. If it is, then the Gospel Advocate, and its ace writers, have been guilty of that sin throughout its history. Its present editor has shown that he can misrepresent us without quoting anything we say. If we misrepresent any body we didn't go to do it. But hear brother Baxter:

"Some brethren are bearing down on the claim that every church that undertakes a work should and must pay for that work itself, and that it is wrong for other congregations to help pay the expenses of that work. The target of this criticism at present is missionary work across the seas. Now, these brethren are not vicious! They are just mistaken about the facts. For instance: Antioch (Acts 13) sent out Paul and Barnabas on missionary work, even across the sea. These men did their work and returned to the church that sent them out. They made their report, and it caused great rejoicing in the congregation. They made another tour, from the same congregation. When they finished, they returned to Antioch—that congregation that sent them out—and again made their report. Now, according to these modern missionary critics, Antioch gave all the money that went to the support of these missionaries. But such is not the case. According to the scripture, which is the best and only reliable authority in the case, several other congregations helped support these two missionaries and their helpers. The Philippian congregation sent several times. Note also the Colossian and Ephesian congregations. It is unscriptural to make restrictions of our own upon the activities of the Lord's people."

I have known and loved Batsell Baxter for more than forty years. He is a good man, and would not knowingly misrepresent anybody. He is strictly conscientious in all that he does and says. My judgment of him is that if he is ever wrong on anything, it is an honest mistake. He has been president of several colleges and is a thorough gentleman. He has been conservative on most issues that have arisen among the brethren. He writes and speaks with more constraint than many of us do, which I am not criticizing. His present

judgment of us is that we are "mistaken" but not "vicious!" That is generous of him and in direct contrast to the expressed opinion of the editor of the Gospel Advocate that we are "self-righteous snobs," "reactionaries and radicals." Nor does he entertain the contempt for us that brother Brewer does.

If we are "mistaken about the facts," we are willing to be shown, and it would be particularly pleasant to be shown by a man of brother Baxter's temperament. But we are willing to be shown the facts, even by a "vicious" man who has them and can present them. "Facts are stubborn and embarrassing things." We will swallow the embarrassment, if the facts demand it. Brother Baxter cites Antioch. We thoroughly agree with him that "the scripture is the best and only reliable authority in the case," and pledge ourselves to accept all the facts he can find therein. What are the facts in the case? Antioch endorsed, commended Paul and Barnabas, and "sent them away." This is a fact. "Now, according to these modern missionary critics, Antioch gave all the money that went to the support of these missionaries." That is not a fact, but one of brother Baxter's mistakes. We make no such contention. It may be plausibly assumed that Antioch gave some "of the money that went to the support of these missionaries," but it is a fact that they did not give all of it, for some of it came from other churches, as Brother Baxter has shown from the scriptures. It appeared at one time that nobody was furnishing Paul any help but Philippi. It cannot be proved as a fact that Antioch sent any. There is not a fact stated anywhere in the scriptures that we do not heartily accept.

It appears to be a rather well established fact that the churches which did help Paul sent it directly to him, and not to Antioch as a "sponsoring church." We are not "modern missionary critics," we are criticizing "modern" setups and tendencies that are not supported by any facts we can find in the scriptures "which is the best and only reliable authority in the case." If our brother has any of these "facts" we will be more than glad for him to furnish them. They are certainly not in the scriptures he has so far cited. We have not found them, as hard as we have looked, and with all the help some anxious and agitated brethren have tried to give us. Brother H. Leo Boles said he couldn't find any such "facts." So did brother Lipscomb and brother Srygley. Were they "just mistaken about the facts?" Throughout the years, the ablest writers on the Gospel Advocate have either fought it, or looked bothered, when something bobbed up among the brethren, that even resembled what we are criticizing. Facts that could be cited from the scriptures did not affect them that way. If the present editor of the Gospel Advocate has any facts from the scriptures to support what he is bending over backward to endorse, he has not mentioned it. He just sneers and growls. That is not becoming to him. He just looks awful. Brother Bales thought he had Paul shut up in Jerusalem, so he could not get out to see any elders anywhere else in Judea, but brother McGarvey thinks he is mixed up on his facts. The best that brother Brewer has done in his search for facts was to discover two horses switching flies off of each other's heads with their tails, and I have a suspicion that he drew on his imagination for that. The plan of centralized control and oversight in "missionary work" is crying for some scriptural support, that up to date it has not received. We are not mistaken about the facts that brother Baxter cites. We accept them. He needs some additional facts to support what some of the churches are doing. If he can furnish them, he will be one among ten thousand and altogether lovely.