Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 4, 1950

Closing My First Year

With last week's issue of the Gospel Guardian, I closed my first year as editor of this paper. It has not been an easy twelve months. That mistakes have been made is probably obvious to all—some of them serious, some ludicrous, and all of them (including even some that were not made) quickly called to my attention by faithful friends and enemies. (Enemies of the paper, that is; so far as I know I have no personal enemies). Letters have come in by the thousands from all parts of the nation; most of them commendatory, but an appreciable number of them critical, and some of them obviously written in anger.

For the encouragements I have been grateful. The criticisms I have sought to take with good grace and good humor, knowing many of them to be deserved, recognizing that others came from good motives but arose out of misunderstandings, and honestly feeling that some few of them grew out of the prejudices of past years and were not truly worthy of consideration. But not one single criticism has been dismissed lightly or thrown away without study.

That the Gospel Guardian fills a very definite and a very obvious need among the religious journals of "our brotherhood" is a conviction which I most firmly hold. Hers is the voice that is "set for the defense" of the gospel. In every age there is danger of apostasy and departure from the old paths. I speak kindly, yet I say that which all recognize to be the truth, when I say that the other papers of any wide-spread circulation among us have generally manifested a reluctance to take hold of controversial issues. It was the Gospel Guardian (Bible Banner) which led out in the fight against premillennialism and turned back that threat against the church. True enough, other papers joined in the battle; but all of us recognize that this was the journal which bore the brunt of the fight. It was this journal which took hold of the explosive "college in the church budget" question, and has sought to stave off a headlong rush on the part of some to lead the church into an organic institutional tie-up between churches and schools. There is still work to be done on this score. Through the years, it has been the Guardian (Bible Banner) which has provided the medium through which men of conviction and courage could speak out freely on controversial issues.

Departures from the truth arise in every age. They begin in such innocent and innocuous and seemingly trivial ways that by far the majority of men readily accept them. But throughout the country there are careful students of history, and of the Bible, men who are acquainted with the happenings of the past and are able to evaluate the tendencies of the present, who can see, or think they can see, ominous portents of danger in some of these innocent looking affairs. Such men need to have some avenue through which they can speak out in warnings and exhortations. The Gospel Guardian has been, and will continue to be, such a medium.

It must be obvious that with such a slant she will more often than not be on the unpopular side of the questions of the day. She will be considered by many as a chronic objector and fault-finder "always opposed to what we are trying to accomplish." Her writers and her editor will be often misrepresented and criticized.

Frankly, this was one reason why I accepted this post as editor with considerable reluctance and misgiving. Reserved by nature and somewhat timid by temperament, I had far rather avoid controversy than to seek it. I am not, nor shall I ever be, a "fighter." Realizing that, I simply did not know whether I could accept the criticisms and brick-bats which I knew the editorial post of this journal would bring. But there come occasions in the life of all men when (whether rightly or wrongly) we feel that "necessity is laid upon us." The impelling call of duty transcends all personal inclinations and desires. Such was the circumstance in this case. I thought I saw an opportunity to serve the Lord and his church as editor of this paper; so over-riding my own personal misgivings, and ignoring the pleadings of my friends, I undertook the responsibility.

I tell you these things for one reason, and only one: I need your help. I cannot make this journal the effective organ for helpful and constructive work that it ought to be without the loyal backing and support of thousands of faithful friends and brethren in Christ. I am in this work for no monetary or financial reward (to date I have received not one cent for the work done on the paper), but wholly for the love I have for the cause of Christ. Letters of encouragement are deeply appreciated, and I shall try to take them without rancor and without resentment; but even criticism, valuable as it is, is not the thing most needed now. What we need most of all is to reach the attention and the hearts of more people. In short, we need your help in building our subscription list. There are thousands of you who will read this who love the church as much as I do; you want to see the church move forward into a greater and more glorious days the same as I do; you are as willing as I am to sacrifice everything you have or ever have had that error may be stayed and the truth may be proclaimed. But perhaps you have not known exactly how to take hold; you have hesitated because you did not know precisely how you could best serve our Lord in promoting his cause and defending his church.

Well, I am suggesting a plan: I am asking each of you who will do so to adopt this simple and effective means of enabling us to reach a far greater audience with the truth. 'Will you send us one new subscription each month for the next year? Will you do it? Surely that is not too much to ask. With such loyal help from thousands of faithful readers, we can provide a bulwark against apostasy in our day; we can strengthen and encourage so mighty a host that the forces of error shall be turned back for many years.

As I begin my second year as editor of the Gospel Guardian I pledge you the very best of which I am capable; I will do everything within my power to make this the kind of gospel paper it ought to be. Will you work equally as hard to give it the kind of circulation it ought to have?

—Fanning Yater Tant