Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 25, 1954
NUMBER 41, PAGE 2-3b

In Response To Brother Slater: The "Fight" Is Going On

John W. Wilson, San Bernardino, California

In the January 28th issue of the Gospel Guardian, page 14, Brother Will W. Slater, has an article under the heading, "BRETHREN, KEEP THE 'FIGHT' GOING ON." I have personally known Brother Slater for many years and have worked with him in many efforts. He has taught singing schools where I preached and led the singing in meetings where I did the preaching. We lived for a time in towns only twelve miles apart. We have not always agreed, but we have always been friends. There is not in these words any bitterness on my part. But I do wish to comment on a few things he here says. Let me first disclaim any place among the "BIG BOYS" he admonishes to "keep up the fight." Indeed, I do not even know any of the "BIG BOYS." In fact, if the "little boys" can do no better justifying unscriptural practices than Brother Slater, I see no need for "BIG BOYS" to get into the "fight" at all. The attitude expressed here by Brother Slater, is identical with that smirking smugness everywhere present a few years back among Christian Church preachers when we were fighting their institutions. Just laugh it off. We can't meet your arguments but we can laugh them off and go right on and defeat you with the great numbers that we gain. They pointed to their many congregations, societies, missionaries, schools, etc. Then, with great satisfaction would ask "How many new congregations did you establish last year? How many needy did you help? how many preachers do you have with degrees?" Just keep up the "fight." I have personally had just such said to me by them. No doubt Brother Slater has had the same experience. Who could have ever imagined hearing such from a gospel preacher? Such satire is an insult to argument. It is more than that. It is a fatal admission. The argument is victorious when the opponent must fall back on such loud laughter. The noise he makes is an effort to dispel the cries of defeat he hears from his own heart.

The reference he makes to the great preachers, one of whom preaches for the largest congregation in Arkansas; which he placed in the Arkansas Home, proves too much for even Brother Slater, if it proves anything. The preacher is "great" because of the Home, which is not the church nor the private home; but because of an INSTITUTION of which our Lord spake nothing. In that case the Lord misinformed me about bringing up my own children. I should have known it would be better to put them in an institutional home. I have two boys who are preaching some and it would please me for them to be "great" preachers. Too, it is argued (falsely) that it is less expensive to care for them in the institution. He argues that the Abilene College had a great influence on his children; therefore, no errors in it should be fought. I doubt if even Abilene College would accept this conclusion. The Herald of Truth is reaching no less than a million people; therefore it should not be opposed. The UCMS reaches no less than two million people; therefore, it is right and should not be opposed.

The argument that he offers, "I have never seen a perfect Christian" to put to silence any voice against supporting the college with its errors, is weak. Brother Slater never saw a perfect congregation of the body of Christ. So, I guess he will be put to silence against any Baptist Church, or Christian Church, or any other denomination for that matter. He avers we should be ashamed to oppose the encampments because Siloam Springs, Arkansas, church sponsored one that baptized 144. Fayetteville baptized only 17 and had 1200 to 2000 people in attendance. So, we have been all wrong in our preaching the gospel as the power of God unto salvation. Gospel meetings have been miserable failures. We should have been holding encampments all along. Brethren! those of you who are calling Brother Slater for 15 or 20 gospel meetings each year, take note, and don't waste your money that way anymore. The 20 to 23 meetings I have been holding each year have been in vain. Look what one good encampment will do. If they can draw such crowds off up into the wilds of the hills and valleys, think how many more they would draw if we had them right in town where everyone could come and dine. No transportation needed and no time off from work, and what dopes we be to think we can reach people with only the old "out dated" gospel! We must dine them and entertain them and make them gay and then the gospel will seem good to them and they will accept it.

Such advertisements as this are fine — "TWO GRAND WEEKS OF FUN AND ENTERTAINMENT," sponsored by the church of Christ, and the address is right here in California. Then, the Fun-Master is named. Oh! there will be some preaching, too. This will be held at Camp Tanda, up in the Big Bear Mountains. Brethren! maybe we do need some "BIG BOYS" to fight. He concludes with the usual, "Tell us what you are doing." Well, those who oppose institutionalism have no paid advertising agency to tell the world of what they are doing. Nor do they desire such publicity. However, for your information there are four congregations to my knowledge right here in this immediate section that are caring for more orphan children in private homes than the INSTITUTION which boasts the support of more than 80 congregations. To my knowledge one congregation had fellowship last year in establishing seven new congregations in the west, in addition to helping and encouraging many more small congregations by sending them a preacher for a meeting; and there was no sort of centralized control, sponsoring church, or begging campaign involved either. Nor, have they rushed into the papers to boast of the hundreds baptized, including some sectarian preachers, and to herald the name of the preacher they support to do this humble work of the Lord.

Brother Slater, much more, hundreds of times over, has been done and is being done in the Lord's way. Much more that I know about, but will not burden the readers with here. Much that neither you nor I will ever know about is being done and is being done in the right way. I can well remember the time when you were content to do the work of the Lord in His way, too. Your sarcastic ridicule — "But keep the 'FIGHT' going," is beneath the plane of a man who knows something of the meaning of fighting. It was the Holy Spirit that warned, "The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith — " (1st Tim. 4:1); and who said, "Fight the good fight of faith." (2nd Tim. 4:7) I thank God for men who will keep the fight going, to keep the church from being lost in the maze of worldly things that threaten it even now. None of us have any objection to colleges as such, homes as such, radio programs as such, evangelistic work as such, fun and recreation as such, but every man who has any respect for the truth will oppose with all of his might any effort to fasten any human institution upon the church, or to put the work of human institutions above the church, or make the church dependent in any way upon such works of men. Keep the entertainment connected with the home, keep the college out of the church budget; keep the radio preaching and evangelistic work within the confines of the church without effecting some organization unheard of in the scriptures and there will be no grounds for a "fight." Let these things go the way some are trying to push them and there will be a fight continuing. You may rest assured of that. And if we have any "BIG BOYS," we hope they will be on the side of truth in the fight for we want to win for the sake of the church. We hope none will be so little as to try and laugh these serious matters off. The spiritual life of the church is at stake. Those of us who love the church above any and every human institution on earth will see to it that the "fight" goes on.