Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 5, 1970
NUMBER 43, PAGE 4-5a

Not Where, But What


We suppose by this time nearly everybody knows about the hassle going on among some of our brethren concerning Brother Pat Boone's participation in certain of the "far out" television programs, featuring "faith healing" (the Oral Roberts kind) and direct operation of the Holy Spirit including speaking in tongues. There have been editorials galore, both pro and con, in various church bulletins and gospel journals. The Fort Worth Christian Journal had a critical editorial; Reuel Lemmons in the Firm Foundation had a commendatory editorial. Then the Christian Chronicle reprinted both these editorials, with a much more severe editorial by Brother Foy Smith, contending that "It's Time To Quit Petting Pat." The Chronicle editor suggested that brethren would judge the various articles, and some would want to "play God" and be critical of Pat; but he preferred just to be a brother.

Evidently Brother Lemmons got a considerable kickback from his endorsement of Pat's participation in the Oral Roberts' show, for he felt it necessary to come back with another editorial explaining that he was merely commending Pat's willingness to preach over the facilities provided by Roberts, and was not meaning to commend what Pat had preached. (As if anybody had ever questioned the propriety of where it was right to preach the gospel!) All of the editorials and articles we have seen (and we have seen many), were critical of what Brother Boone had done — not where he had done it. He gave his name, his endorsement, and his encouragement to the propagation of a false teaching; he prayed God's blessings upon a false teacher and his work. If Brother Lemmons did not realize that this was what was happening, he is apparently the only viewer in the land who missed the point — not an altogether improbable thing in view of his well-known ability to contradict himself in the same sentence without ever being aware of it. His uncanny capacity to turn himself wrong-side-out, and hind-part-before in print without batting an eye has long been a source of amazement and astonishment to his readers — and perhaps a sort of grudging envy on the part of those writers who feel themselves bound, at least to a degree, by certain rules of consistency and coherence.

But back to Brother Pat. We know he is in a difficult place, and we are sympathetic to him in the problems he has to face. But, at the same time, we can have no tolerance at all for ANY endorsement and commendation of false teachings and teachers. And the whole watching world (except possibly Brother Lemmons) is fully aware that Brother Boone did exactly that, not only on the Oral Roberts show, but also on the New Year's eve show. (The one in which his little girl told about praying for a sick mouse, and then rejoicing as God miraculously "healed" the rodent.) In an interview in the November (1969) issue of Christian Life, (from Wheaton, Illinois) Brother Boone says, "I've heard ministers in my church of Christ worship the Lord in other languages, and I myself do." He then cites I Corinthians 14:2 as a defense of his worshipping God in what he calls "this prayer language."

All of which adds up to what we have been saying for a long, long time: the man who rejects the authority of God's word will sooner or later tend to lose his understanding of that word. We believe this is what is happening with our Brother Pat. For fifteen years or so now his constant associates in the church have been those who were inclined to "do many things for which we have no authority." He absorbed their dwarfed and beggarly attitude toward the authority of the word, and now has obviously gone into a clouded and bewildered confusion as to his understanding of that word. It was the Son of God himself who said, "If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself." (In. 7:17) The very ability to judge whether or not a teaching is of divine or human origin is dependent on the attitude one has toward doing the will of God! And it is happening with Pat as it has happened over and over again through the long ages — belittling the importance of the written word leads many a sincere and devout man to search for some additional, immediate, and instantaneous communication with God — the "rapture" of the Pentecostal and Holiness cults.

We think the many brethren who have been so influential in preparing the ground for Brother Boone's present course owe it to him, to the brotherhood of saints, to God, and particularly to themselves to try, as best they can, to undo the mischief they have wrought in the heart and life of this attractive but obviously not well informed and not very stable young man. Any further appearance by him in any prominent place in church gatherings will serve only to compound the evil that has already been done.

— F. Y. T.