Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 18, 1950

An Exchange Of Letters

April 27, 1950 Mr. Yater Taut

Editor, Gospel Guardian

Lufkin, Texas

Dear Brother Tant:

I have not seen it, but am told you have an editorial in your paper calling attention to some errors in one quarter of Gospel Treasure Graded Bible lessons. I am grateful that you are thus interested in preserving the teaching of the pure word of God. I could give some explanations as to how this happened. But I feel that in a case like this explanations are entirely out of order. It simply should not have happened.

Since I am editor in chief of the series, I accept the full responsibility. I should have caught these errors before they got into the printed material. All of them were soon found and have been corrected for the next printing. I believe we have set up an arrangement that will prevent such a deplorable thing from happening again. But in case something should fail along the line and error from the view point of Bible teaching should get in, I will appreciate your calling my attention to it. This material must teach the truth just as it is revealed in God's word. I have no interest in it otherwise.

Thanking you again for your interest in the matter and with kindest personal regards, I am

Sincerely and fraternally,

Jesse P. Sewell

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May 4, 1950 Mr. Jesse P. Sewell

Harding College

Searcy, Arkansas

Dear Brother Sewell:

I appreciate the very fine spirit of your letter, and your desire to give literature to the brotherhood that is free of errors of every kind. The need of such literature is indeed great. For years this has been a chief topic of conversation when preachers and others who are teaching gather together. The Gospel Advocate and Firm Foundation have doubtless done the best they could; but their series have been hopelessly antiquated—at least fifty years behind the times. It was with genuine delight therefore that I welcomed the news of a new type of literature. I felt that there would be many thousands who would gladly receive your material—as indeed has been the case.

I appreciate the enormity of your task. And I understand fully that some errors would be simply unavoidable in a job of such proportions. But it was with feelings of indescribable shock and disappointment that I found modernism, atheism, Catholicism, and sectarianism imbedded in the teachings of some of your books. Now I know that neither you nor any of your staff are atheists or Catholics. But it is pretty obvious that at least one of your writers (the one I quoted from) has been reading atheistic and modernistic literature. She probably did not even recognize it for what it was when she read it—but the results on the tender minds of young people would be exactly the same as if she believed it with all her heart!

I have received letters from some of your staff (including brother Eugene Smith) suggesting that I should have refrained from any publicity in the matter until I had followed Matthew 18:15 for the settlement of any personal differences I may have had with the person wrote the book. The absurdity of such a fantastic idea is shown when I tell you that I have never even met the sister in question!

To me it is extremely revealing as to the scriptural knowledge (or lack of it) and hence, qualification as a writer of Bible school literature, when one is unable to distinguish between the scripture teaching on the proper treatment of personal differences and the scripture teaching on the matter of warning the churches in matters of public false teaching.

I mention this only in case you yourself are confused over the matter. Let me make it perfectly clear: I have absolutely nothing of any personal nature against you, your publisher, your writers, or your distributors. Several of the group are very dear friends of mine, and of long years' standing. You yourself can testify that so far as you and I are concerned our associations have never been anything but the pleasantest and most cordial. So far as I am concerned, that is exactly the basis on which they will continue; and I simply take it for granted that such will be your desire too. You and all your staff are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I love you for your desire to provide something that will be of help to thousands of earnest young people all over the land. I have absolutely nothing personal against a single one of you.

But with every fiber of my being I am opposed, and shall be opposed, to the teaching of modernism and denominationalism among the churches. On that field the Gospel Guardian will make no concessions and will give no quarter! You state that you had not read my initial editorial. I suggest that you do so. Also, I urge you to read others that may follow. For there are certain teachings in your books which it is my impression you will want to defend (as, for example, the advocacy of a separate treasury for each Bible school class), and which the Guardian is set to oppose.

In fairness to you and to others concerned, I make this offer: if at any time the Gospel Guardian calls in question a statement or a teaching which you desire to defend, and you will send your defense to us exclusively, we will gladly publish what you say.

Be assured of my very deep personal esteem, and my ardent and fervent prayer that all errors may be eliminated from your series in the future.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fanning Yater Tant