Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 3, 1956

The "Special"

Fanning Yater Tant

The paper you hold in your hand represents an "all out" effort on the part of the editors and publishers of the Gospel Guardian to meet the crisis now upon the Lord's church, and to promote unity among the disciples on the basis of Bible teaching. This is our "Unity Special." We sincerely plead for it a thoughtful and prayerful reading. The unity for which Christ prayed and the peace of his people are deserving of that much consideration from any Christian. Let these articles be studied, weighed in the light of Scripture, and preserved for further study. This is a paper you will want to save for reference.

The brethren who write for this issue represent a cross-section of the brotherhood — the hoary head of the veteran is present, and the vigor and force of young manhood is not wanting. Not all these men who write are agreed on every problem and question before the brotherhood; but on one thing they are agreed — the church of our Lord is facing a crisis, serious, threatening, and fearful. These men love the church; we believe there is not a one of them who would hesitate to give his life in defense of the truth. They recognize that one thing and one thing only can save the church from disaster: AN UNQUESTIONING ACCEPTANCE OF BIBLE TEACHING. In their own way and in their own style they have presented their contributions on the various topics assigned them. Here are the men who write:

James W. Adams, well known to readers of this journal, preaches for the Central Church in Beaumont, Texas. He is regarded by thoughtful brethren throughout the church as one of the keenest thinkers and reasoners among us.

A. Hugh Clark, of Baytown, Texas, has long been recognized as one of the ablest preachers of the age. He has held meetings all over the nation, and has preached as local evangelist with churches in San Antonio, Fort Worth, Memphis, and Abilene.

Roy E. Cogdill, publisher and associate editor of the Gospel Guardian, is probably best known throughout the church as the author of "The New Testament Church." This outline. study book, soon to go into its ninth printing, has been in circulation for fifteen years, and is likely the most widely used book of this kind known to the church. Brother Cogdill has been doing local work with the West Avenue Church in San Antonio for nearly two years, but will shortly return to Lufkin and will resume his full-time meeting work.

C. E. W. Dorris, Nashville, Tennessee, is the oldest of our writers in this issue. He passed his eighty-fifth milestone on April 7. A student of David Lipscomb and James A. Harding, Brother Dorris has been a regular contributor through the years to the Gospel Advocate, and is the author of two (Matthew and Mark) of the Advocate series of commentaries on the New Testament.

Cecil B. Douthitt, Brownwood, Texas, has done local work with churches in Birmingham, Alabama; Washington, D.C.; Louisville, Kentucky; and for several years now in Brownwood, Texas. He is the author of a widely used series of Bible study books, and holds from five to fifteen meetings each year in addition to his local work.

George P. Estes, St. Louis, Missouri, is a close and careful student both of the Bible and of Restoration history. His graduate work in the field of New Testament Greek as well as Church History provides him with technical equipment in these areas that few among us possess. He is presently working on a study of the meaning of the word "church" which will be an invaluable contribution to the understanding of present problems before us.

Robert H. Farish, Lexington, Kentucky, has done local work in Georgia, Texas, and Alabama, before going to Lexington. Foy E. Wallace years ago described him to this writer as "an Abraham Lincoln sort of fellow who smokes a pipe and does his own thinking." Farish has quit the pipe — but not the thinking, as his article will abundantly show.

Homer Hailey, Tampa, Florida, is known everywhere as one of the finest Bible teachers ever to conduct a class. Young preachers who have gone to school to him (and they number many hundreds — some of them not so young anymore) are to be found in every quarter of the globe. Brother Hailey taught for a number of years in Abilene Christian College, and is now vice-president of Florida Christian College. He was for ten years the local preacher for Highland Church in Abilene, and spent two years in Hawaii.

Charles A. Holt is the youngest in our roster of writers; but already he has demonstrated his ability as writer, preacher, and debater. He is one of the busiest debaters in the church, being called for five or six or more nearly every year. He is an associate editor of the Guardian, and preaches for the fast growing West End Church in Franklin, Tennessee.

John T. Lewis has lived for forty-nine years in Birmingham, Alabama, and has seen the cause there grow from one weak little congregation to some twenty-five strong, active churches. Brethren in Birmingham will tell you that John T. Lewis has had a hand in the starting of nearly every one of those churches. Loved and respected in that city as few men ever are, Brother Lewis, like Brother Dorris, received his early Bible teaching at the feet of the great David Lipscomb. Birmingham, due in no small measure to Lewis' teaching and influence, is as little bothered by current issues as any city of comparable size in the nation.

Marshall E. Patton has done local work with churches in Lubbock, Texas; Cullman, Alabama; and is now with the North Birmingham Church in Birmingham. Clear and logical in reasoning and expression, his article on "How To Establish Scriptural Authority" is certainly one of the most important in this journal. It should be carefully studied.

C D. Plum, Columbus, Ohio, was for many years a staff-writer on the Gospel Advocate. He has done local work with some of the greatest churches in the Ohio Valley — Moundsville. Wheeling, and Parkersburg, West Virginia; and is now working with a newly established congregation in Columbus. He is known through all the northeastern part of the nation as one of the most truly consecrated Christians and soundest gospel preachers ever to stand before an audience.

W. Curtis Porter, Monette, Arkansas, is an associate editor of the Guardian. He is probably the most widely used debater among the churches of Christ today, being called by brethren in all parts of the nation to meet the proponents of error. A number of his debates are in print, and more are in process of being printed.

Robert C. Welch, Louisville, Kentucky, formerly preached for the Poplar Street Church in Florence, Alabama, and prior to that for churches in Uvalde, Texas, and Springfield, Missouri. His writings in the Guardian have made him known in recent years as one of the most careful students and most logical thinkers to contribute to the study of current problems. He now preaches for the new congregation meeting on Wendell Avenue in Louisville.

Bryan Vinson, Houston, Texas, has done local work in Dallas, and Denton, before moving to the Norhill Church in Houston. His writings (in the Preceptor and the Guardian) have been widely acknowledged as some of the most thought-provoking that have been contributed toward a solution of present problems. Possessed of innate courtesy, a keen insight into truth, and a profound reverence for God's word, his writings are not light and frothy; they require study. But being given such, are richly rewarding.

There they are — the writers for the "Special Issue." Five of them are associate editors of the Guardian; ten are not, but all are men of conviction and courage. Their writing in this issue does not mean that they agree with everything the editor believes, nor does it mean they necessarily agree with the policy of the Gospel Guardian. It does not even mean they agree with each other on every question of Bible teaching. It does mean one thing: they are perfectly agreed that the Lord's church is facing a crisis, and that unless prodigious efforts are put forth, a disastrous situation may overtake us all. Patience, prayer, a consecrated study of the Bible, and sympathy and tolerance toward one another are our only hope. To that end this "Special Issue" is dedicated.