Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 8, 1955
NUMBER 18, PAGE 10-11a

Goodpasture Vs. Woods On Modernism

Robert C. Welch, Louisville, Kentucky

The same issue of the Gospel Advocate (July 21, 1955) which carried Brother Guy N. Woods' contumelious retort to my series on modernism in the Advocate Quarterly also contained an editorial by Brother Goodpasture denying any personal tenets of modernism. It now seems that the series which was run in the Gospel Guardian did good in many ways. First, it caused brethren to take notice of what they are using in their class work. Second, it is causing some close examination within the ranks of the Advocate circle itself on their own works and writings. We were sure that the first result would occur; and were hopeful that the second would come to pass, for it may serve to exclude from future literature the objectionable evil of modernism.

Former Justification

Two or three previous editorials had appeared in the Advocate, seeking to justify the rank cases of modernism which had been exposed in the Guardian series. Those editorials were reviewed in the Guardian, showing that Brother Goodpasture was ignoring the issue in his attempted justification. He had been presenting instances in the Bible where men experienced natural needs and emotions, and had averred that it is not modernism to believe that they had such experiences. To this we agreed; but that was not the difficulty we found with the statements in the literature. The literature taught that the human experiences were the means of inspiration of the statements. We pointed out that the experiences were facts, either natural or supernatural, but that the statement of those facts was made by inspiration.

Since Brother Goodpasture was seeking to justify, by ignoring the real issue, the modernism which his staff was including in the literature; some questions were asked to get his personal convictions about the extent of inspiration. In the last editorial referred to, he answers the questions by stating emphatically that it is not only thought inspiration but verbal inspiration. Two statements in his editorial will show this: "This is verbal inspiration," and, "Thus he asserts the verbal inspiration and guarantees the verbal indestructibility of the text."

He concludes his editorial with these words, "Any well informed preacher, teacher, or student knows it. Any effort, therefore, to put the matter in doubt is a result of inexcusable ignorance or reckless handling of facts." Of course, he takes for granted that everyone has followed in minute detail everything which the EDITOR of the ADVOCATE has said. It is doubtful that he should take such a conceited view of his utterances and of his paper. But, supposing that they do know what he has personally taught on the question: what will they think when they see his literature filled with modernism, and then see him attempt to justify its presence instead of issuing a forthright statement that caution will be used to keep out such evil. He had formerly chosen the course of justifying the literature's modernism; and that is the reason for the doubt concerning his own personal position. It is good to see him now assert his position, even though it is contradictory to the position of some of his staff. It means that something may be done to make the literature safe.

Woods Continues His Modernism

Brother Goodpasture is going to have trouble, it seems, with the "editor" of the Adult Quarterly, Guy N. Woods. While Brother Goodpasture is emphasizing the fact that the Bible is verbally inspired, Brother Woods is denying it in the same issue of the paper. His Quarterly had said of Hosea, "The domestic tragedy which characterized his life tinged his prophecy with a strange note of sadness . . ." He replies in his Advocate article that the prophecy is from both inspiration and his "domestic tragedy." Then he adds another case, "We might, with equal propriety, ask: Was Paul inspired of God to write to Timothy to bring his cloak or, did he learn of its need from the sensations of cold which he experienced or expected to experience? The answer is, He was inspired of God to write the book, and he learned of his need for a cloak because he was cold." Here are some things on which we are agreed: 1. The book of I Timothy was inspired, so was the book of Hosea; 2. Hosea learned through his domestic tragedy, so did Paul learn through his cold. But here is something in which Brother Woods has not agreed with Brother Goodpasture: he has declared that the "domestic tragedy" tinged Hosea's prophecy, whereas Brother Goodpasture says that Hosea was verbally inspired. Woods' implication is that Paul wrote for a cloak only because he needed it, and that this need was the extent of inspiration for that statement. He tries to confirm that position by citing an article by Warren Rainwater. Brother Rainwater, however, emphatically disavowed personally such a position in the article. But that position of Woods is contradictory to the correct position of Brother Goodpasture that the Bible is verbally inspired. We are anxious to see what will be the outcome of these expressions of difference between the two Advocate brethren. Let us hope that they will be united on the truth about inspiration.

Further Questions For Them

Will Brother Goodpasture repudiate the theory of Brother Woods that Ananias died of shock? Brother Woods failed completely to notice this in what he chose to call a "bill of particulars" in his reply. He could quibble about his selection of a word used in his Quarterly, but he forgot completely to notice his modernism in the teaching that Ananias died of shock. We would like for Brother Goodpasture to tell us if he rejects the miraculous in the death of Ananias and Sapphira.

While he is on the subject, Brother Goodpasture might also tell us if he thinks the disciples were named Christians by their enemies. That is the teaching of another of his "editors," in the Annual Commentary, to which attention was called in the series. Brother Good-pasture, is such a theory modernism, or denominationalism, or both?

Further, it would be well at this point to see editor Goodpasture give us a clear cut definition and example of PLAGIARISM. It might help "editor" Woods in his preparation of material for future Quarterlies. As matters now stand, it appears that the Advocate staff are not in agreement on what plagiarism is, and on how much of it they can get by with.

It will be wonderful if the staff of the Advocate can get together on these questions and many others of like import. When they do it might then be possible for them to permit discussions of both sides of issues which confront brethren. When that happens Brother Woods might be able to carry out his suggestions in his letters about "reciprocation"; so that when the offer is accepted he will not feel it necessary to fly to the Advocate with the deceitful charge that the Guardian will not print both sides. Perhaps he has not had time, with his "scholarly" rejoinder to Tant and Welch, to learn the meaning and "origin" of the word "reciprocate."

The brotherhood will want more than a long harangue like that of Brother Woods explaining around the issue. They will want some clear explanation for the use of so much modernism material in the Bible study lessons. The very fact that so much has been said in response to the series on their modernism is sufficient evidence to prove that the Advocate writers consider it a serious matter with the brotherhood. Brethren, let us have some clean frank discussion of the issue instead of such contumely as that found in Brother Woods' article; and the vague veiled retorts of the editor of the Advocate.