Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 16, 1953

Tant The Nonconformist

Price Billingsley, McMinnville, Tennessee

Being the son of the noted J. D. Tant you would hardly expect him to be other than definitely himself, though he is likable and humble as a child. I knew Brother Tant before Yater was born, lived in his home and came to love and honor him as one of the great men of this or any age. He loved with a consuming passion the simple way of the New Testament and gave his whole life to it. And now behold his son, one who is entirely worthy of a great sire. J. D. Tant hated shams and human forms with a violent scorning, and it may not be wondered at that his son walks somewhat in the steps of so good a father.

Today my heart is set on two things, namely, our fine young preachers and the cause of simple New Testament Christianity making such mighty strides in the earth. Truth to say, are not these two things two sides of the same problem? We have on the one hand so much to boost the heart and to be thankful for, but also we have a lot to worry about in our growing church problems. It seems to me that so many of our fine lads preaching the word are bent on making for themselves a grand name. Of course a good name is a fine thing to own. But it has always appeared to me that extra care in this matter of gaining a name is beside the point. I mean that it sort of takes care of itself when one does his duty — he has no call to be exercised too much about it. According to my lights, to be overly concerned as to one's rating with the public smacks of a wrong attitude. I'm not aiming to get personal here, for I have no axe to grind that I know of. But where truth and principle are concerned it seems a sort of pity for a gospel preacher to be leery of speaking out, naming names and rebuking wrong trends in the church which could enslave and pull us from duty's path. It is in this connection that I think of Yater Tant and his forthright outspokenness in the Gospel Guardian. Under my breath I say thank God for him. He braces my hope for the Master's cause in the days to come. We stand in need of such men, who will speak up when the occasion for it requires, who withal lives a life of utter blamelessness before men.


(Editor's Note: I have no desire to be a "nonconformist"; I take no pride or pleasure in it. I intend to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord, as nearly as I can determine what is right and whether that makes me conform or differ is of little consequence. I publish this brief article from Price Billingsley out of deference to the memory of the man he once was. I honor the record he made for the cause of truth during those great years of his usefulness and activity, years in which he had no peer and few equals as a gospel preacher. I share the apprehension he expresses lest the desire for a "name" cause some to err from strict adherence to truth and principle. — F.Y.T.)