Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 29, 1951

A Parable Of Dunderheads

Tom E. Wallace, Vivian, Louisiana

A certain short article, "Parable For Dunderheads," has appeared recently in both the Gospel Advocate and the Firm Foundation. The article by brother Homer P. Reeves, is unimportant within itself; but it is wonderfully revealing as being typical of the poor thinking and muddled understanding of "certain preachers in the church of Christ," as well as that of some elders and other members. In fact, back during the days of the digression that resulted in the Christian church, it was exactly the kind of "thinking" brother Reeves does in his article that caused the loss of thousands of members of the church to the apostasy. Here is the article:

Parable For Dunderheads

Homer Putnam Reeves

Certain preachers in the church of Christ are like unto citizens of a west Texas town. Said citizens were most prolific. They recognized the great need of education for their children. They knew that the educational facilities in the county seat, twenty miles distant, were the best, and available to their children. Transportation seemed to be the only problem. A mass meeting was held. The people were one hundred per cent in favor of education. They realized how very important it is to have a good education. So they resolved to purchase buses and transport the scholars to school. Funds were raised at this meeting—enough to purchase four or five buses. The people were very generous; their objective was most laudable. Then arose the question of the type of buses to purchase. Another meeting was held, and another, and another, to discuss this all-important consideration. Many favored Dodges: others, Chevrolets; others, Fords. After many hours of debate, vilification, and harangue, it was decided to defer the matter indefinitely. They talked it to death. Being unable to decide how to transport the children, it was decided not to transport them at all. So the children grew up in ignorance. So mote it be!

Woe unto those with obscured vision, who, not knowing "how" to "go into all the world," go nowhere. Dunderheads indeed!

Now brother Reeves' citizens had "children;" they were "prolific;" and they had a "mass meeting." According to Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, the word "prolific" means (1) Producing young or fruit; reproductive; reproducing freely. (2) Highly inventive, propagative, etc. (3) Causing, or characterized by, fruitfulness . . ." Now exactly which of these definitions brother Reeves thinks fits "certain preachers in the church of Christ" I wouldn't be caught guessing! However, it does seem clear that he wants these "certain preachers" to get some spiritual truth out of his parable. Is he suggesting that perhaps these "certain preachers" are not inventive enough? Should they copy the example of the citizens of the west Texas town in their prolificy ?

"Transportation seemed to be the only problem;" consequently the prolific citizens had a "mass meeting," and funds were raised. The poor children, however, never got to school, and doubtless grew up in abysmal ignorance, because their parents got into a squabble over the kind of buses they should buy, some "favoring" Dodges, some Fords, and others Chevrolets.

Just what spiritual truth are these "certain preachers of the church of Christ" to get from the parable at this point? Is it that they should all be of one mind, and not quarrel over details? That would be wonderful. And if it were simply a matter of choosing a bus, surely there is no room for quibbling over a Ford, Chevrolet, or a Dodge. Any one of these brands will do the job; and it makes very, very little difference which is "favored." Getting the children to school is the important thing, and certainly there is no use in quarreling over which bus to use in doing it.

Has brother Reeves ever read history? Does he remember how effectively the digressives used this argument in getting their missionary society under way? Does he remember how many thousands of good people were deceived and led into apostasy by the argument? The digressives felt, and feel, that there is no use in quarreling over how to get a missionary to the field and support him there. GETTING THE MAN THERE is the important thing. Only the stupid "dunderhead" will quarrel over such a trivial detail as to "how" it is done. The digressives "favored" the "missionary society bus." To this very day they regard those who fussed over this detail as a bunch of "dunderheads" who got so tangled up in quibbling about the details that they failed to obey the Lord's command to "go into all the world." Even now it is probably not too late to have fellowship with them. They are charitable and big-hearted about these things, and in all probability would even at 'this late date be perfectly willing to allow us the privilege of using the "congregational autonomy bus" while they use their "missionary society bus;" we could have full fellowship, each taking the bus that is "favored," and stop all this "debate, vilification, and harangue" over how to get the preachers to the foreign field.

Does brother Reeves think the "how" of getting preachers to the field is as unimportant as the matter of choosing a "favored" bus in his parable? That Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet illustration holds no parable and no parallel for anyone in the church today. The only thing that is appropriate about it is the "dodge," for that is exactly what it does with the issue! All the brands of buses named by him will go equally well; but a false way of sending preachers "into all the world,' 'even though it gets them there will not please God.

Lastly, the brother states in his parable, "woe unto those with obscured vision, who, not knowing 'how' to 'go into all the world' go nowhere. Dunderheads indeed." Let me conclude this by saying to this brother: If he is of the opinion that the right way on 'how' to get preachers 'into all the world' is simply a matter of what is 'favored,' like choosing between a Ford or a Dodge, let me plead with him and 'certain preachers in the church of Christ' as well, that they all stay home and "go nowhere" until they learn a little bit more! There is no victory in doing a right thing unless it is done the right way.