Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 1, 1951
NUMBER 42, PAGE 2-3b

Bale-Ful Logic

Robert C. Welch, Florence, Alabama

I have just finished reading that diatribe of brother James D. Bales in the Firm Foundation of January 23, 1951. I know of no better words to describe it than those of the Lord about the Gentiles, "For they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." (Matt. 6:7) He got it spread onto four pages. The following comment may be taken for its worth.

He begins by saying, "Sometimes it is possible to put a thing in a light which is very bad, and yet the thing within itself may not be bad." His point of argument is that the "Lubbock Plan" for missionary work is all good, but has been put in a very bad light by the Gospel Guardian. Again he says, "Let us see how we may parallel the Gospel Guardian and the Lubbock church in such a way as to show that one can set things in a bad light if he wants to..." Now, if they are parallel as brother Bales thinks they are, and if the Lubbock church has been put in a bad light, then brother Bales has put the Gospel Guardian in a bad light, for he has attempted to show that they are parallel in his article. Thus brother Bales becomes guilty of the same sin he is criticizing in the Gospel Guardian. Using some of his own words of exhortation to the Gospel Guardian on him, "I would suggest that these brethren not only change their minds (repent) in this matter;" I would suggest that this brother change his mind (repent) in this matter. But the two are not parallel as he attempts to show them, they are not the same in purpose or in work. If the "Lubbock church" has been placed in a bad light let brother Bales prove it, instead of appealing to prejudice by arguing that something is equally as bad.

He compares the Broadway church's asking for money from members of other congregations with the Gospel Guardian's circulation to those in various churches, without the approval of the elders of those churches; attempting to prove that if one is circumventing the elders of the local congregations the other is also circumventing. Does brother Bales not know that it is: one thing to teach the truth to Christians; and another to lead the untaught into a practice which knowledge would prevent?

He says the Lubbock plan calls for cooperation and that the Gospel Guardian does the same thing. He fails to note that what the Lubbock plan calls cooperation is not cooperation but subordination; letting other churches and individuals contribute while Broadway plans and does the work for which they should be responsible.

He argues that it takes money to support both "plans." He fails to note that the "Lubbock Plan" is hatched by a church which is supposed to raise its funds and use them the way the Lord has commanded for congregations, while the Gospel Guardian is a private enterprise selling its papers.

Concerning subscriptions to the Gospel Guardian he says, "In other words, this is an individual contribution sent to them to pay them to preach to you for a year." Does brother Bales, with all of his attainments in logic, not know the difference between contribution and payment for goods or services rendered? Perhaps, though, he thinks that when contribution is made to the church, that it is paying the church to do something for the contributor.

He has some cynical questions and remarks about the brother in Nashville who is sending the paper to all the preacher boys in the schools, comparing that to the plea to members everywhere to contribute to the Broadway church. This man in Nashville is paying for papers to be sent to these boys, thus he is giving them some teaching through this literature. If brother Bales was to buy some shoes for a poor orphan, which one would he be contributing to the orphan or the merchant from whom he buys the shoes? The case of the preacher boys is the same except that one is teaching while the other is charity. He fails to note that Broadway is encouraging others to let that church do that which is the responsibility of the churches where the members worship; whereas, the Gospel Guardian is sending printed literature for which someone pays.

In point number seven he attempts to prove that the publishing of the Gospel Guardian is a spiritual work, hence the organization is a spiritual organization. Still further he quotes the Torch in an attempt to show that it is connected with a business enterprise, and dependent upon the business. His implication is that the things the paper says must be determined by the advantage it will have for the business. He says of it, "The Broadway church has no such commercial interests and restrictions." Every paper and every piece of literature is printed by someone. How does Lubbock get their paper and all the rest of the propaganda published? While he is making the charge that the publishing business restricts the policy of the paper, perhaps he should be Christian enough to support his charge, instead of making the unsupported charge. He attempts to array brother Foy Wallace against the Gospel Guardian. All that he can get from brother Wallace's statements is this; that he wants a paper of his own, where he is not obligated to the editorial wishes of any other man. He has that privilege. His papers have always been his own, this one had others as editors. In the same number, brother Bales speaks of the Guardian receiving gifts, "And I doubt not that they would accept them from congregations." Does he think that his opinions have such weight that people will consider his convictions as the law? Let him give some proof instead of supposing what the Gospel Guardian "would" do.

He says further, "The Gospel Guardian plan is to send a representative—the paper—to young preachers." The paper is not a representative; it is the result and teaching of its writers and publisher. It would be parallel in the matter of representatives if the Gospel Guardian sent out some men to preach against the Lubbock plan: for that is what the Broadway church is doing, that is, sending out representatives to propagate its plan. I have not as yet heard of the Gospel Guardian sending out anybody to teach anything.

Notice this little bit of irony intended as a prejudicial appeal rather than logic, "It is scriptural for individuals all over the United States to contribute to a central organization fight Broadway's present efforts to finance the German work, but unscriptural for an individual to contribute to Broadway to fight the devil in Germany." He makes that the teaching of the Gospel Guardian. And that comes from the pen of him who is opposed to putting anything in a bad light!! Nothing has been seen in all the pages of the Gospel Guardian which opposes fighting the devil in Germany. It has been fighting against the devil's plan for financing the work. Those people over there are religious, they just do not have the Lord's plan. What is the use in trying to change their plan of religion if we are not going to follow the Lord's way here? Will we have made them any better? We need to get the devil fought out from within our own ranks before we spread our forces too widely, trying to drive him out of the Germans. "Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou rob temples?" (Rom. 2 :22)

" In this long article of his, brother Bales makes no distinction between the church and a printing company. That may be all some churches are, but he should be ashamed to make such a comparison of the church of the Lord. He makes no distinction between contribution to an organization and payment for goods of, or services rendered by, the organization. Such reasoning is not worthy of the brother. It shows wordiness, but no reasoning. It shows an attempt at stirring prejudices, but no clear logic. It is baleful logic.