Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 4, 1956
NUMBER 22, PAGE 2,3b

"Growing Bigger To Serve Better"

Wm. E. Wallace, Owensboro, Kentucky

"With the splendid cooperation of our readers the Gospel Advocate is growing 'BIGGER. Our purpose in growing BIGGER is to serve BETTER — witness our new special features, special issues, increased size, etc. A larger circulation not only enables us to reach more people, but it enables us to SERVE better all our readers. The Gospel Advocate is growing. Yes, growing BIGGER to serve BETTER." — B. C. Goodpasture, Gospel Advocate, November 17, 1955.

That the Gospel Advocate has performed worthy' services for the church down through the years is denied only by the extreme radical. That it has always performed a good service is affirmed only by the rash fanatic. That it is now following a course set for the best interests of the church is denied by those who looking, can see betwixt a pair of Billy goat's horns. Though it cannot be denied that the Gospel Advocate carries some worthy articles, and expedites worthy services, it ought to be agreed among keen and enlightened observers that the "Old Reliable" has reached a high peak in audaciousness. Has the clique behind the Gospel Advocate become drunken on power placed in their hands by prestige and reputation handed down from princely men of the past? Is the present state of ecstasy in the immediate Advocate family a perverted form of the sense of duty? Are churches and preachers unwittingly submitting to what will become religious totalitarianism regarding thought and action if not organization? These are questions that run through my mind as I read and hear of the current efforts of the Advocate management to make the Gospel Advocate the official voice of the churches of Christ.

It would be naive to assert that the gospel papers have not the right to expedite programs of expansions and growth. But there is a point in development of power regarding individuals and/or institutions across which no man or institution should step. Sometimes preachers incite the condemnation of the learned when they attempt to surround themselves with personal followings. The power of such an individual is dangerous, yea sinful. But yes, Paul condemned such personal attachments to men. (1 Cor. 1.) While preachers should be men of good influence, we all recognize (that is, most Christians do) that when a man crosses over the line of influence to authority he has gone too far.

In the political world the Sherman-Clayton anti-trust acts put to an end the monopolizing control of great corporations. Our government is alert to investigate monopolies, and quick to act, recognizing the power of monopolistic enterprises and the resultant danger to our economy and way of life. Yet business institutions are encouraged to grow and expand. But there is a point in expansion beyond which they cannot legally move.

Does not the present policy of the Gospel Advocate expose the management? Observe its refusal to print both sides of current issues. Observe its tactics of marking those who disagree with it. Observe its misrepresentation of issues, false labeling of positions, its political approaches, its wooing of those it once severely fought. The Gospel Advocate makes love to the church, seducing uninformed elderships, and prestige-hunting preachers under the harvest moon of special issues and services.

And there is a dagger handy, to be used on those who resist the Advocate's advances. It has a well fondled handle, with a blade nicked by the backbones of saints who won't yield to vanity. It is regrettable to see some, who just a few years ago refused to lend assistance to this thing, allow themselves to be used in the Advocate cause.

There are some men, of course, connected with the Gospel Advocate who would never wittingly support or indulge in activity such as is described. They are men who will and do raise protests against innovation and error. But they are men who need to be awakened. Perhaps they feel in continuing with the Advocate they can use their influence to correct its abuses and errors.

All is not well in the church of our Lord. The difficulties lie in the efforts, inventions and innovations being pushed on the church by various spiritual unions supported by the Advocate clique. The church of 1900 years ago was without the hobbyistic demands of these promoters, and certainly the church today can be without those same things. Observe then, whence cometh the agitation? We shall have peace in the church when these cliques and liberalistic promoters in the church withdraw their innovations and become satisfied with the way the church of New Testament times worked. But with the Advocate policy being as it is these characters know they can take refuge in the Nashville basilica on 7th Avenue. If there remains any doubt in your mind as to who and what is causing the strife, think back a few years. Some truisms: Before the Herald of Truth, there was no fight over the Herald of Truth; before the colleges attempted to put themselves in the budgets of the churches there was no fight over such; before the brotherhood and worldwide programs of sponsoring churches there was no fight over such. Now as innovations and error are pushed on the church there will be strife and division and it is occasioned by those who do the pushing! So just look around brethren and mark those causing the division. It is true that some principles were being violated on a small scale, undetected, before the error became manifested in the larger, expanding efforts of the same type. But the issues are before us now, and it is a question of doing things according to New Testament pattern or succumbing to modern innovation. As the Gospel Advocate and other papers of the hierarchal alliance push these modern innovations, strife will prevail.

Of course we will be accused of condemning constructive activity. But it is not constructive programs of local congregations that we condemn, when those programs are in harmony with New Testament principle. It is the subtle influence of denominationalism that crops out in the promotions of those among us who look lustily on the accomplishments of worldly organizations.

Once upon a time there lived an old general who loved the Lord and followed Jehovah's ways. General Joshua died, contemporary leaders were not long living thereafter. A new generation arose that was weaker in respect to principles. In time "A Gospel Advocate Clique" arose and pushed "constructive" ideas gained from fraternization and affiliation with the world. They were not satisfied with the way God had set up their existence in Caanan. The people of God were led into apostasy by "constructive," "on the march" promoters. Yes, yes, these things were written as examples to us.

It seems New Testament Christianity is just not attractive enough to some half-hearted adherents to the enjoinder, "'Speak as the oracles of God." Some accept the slogan "Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent" with a great deal of mental reservation. They want to mix with the pure product a little of the wisdom of man in order to make it more palatable, more adaptive to the modern trend. Ambitious men of the world are not satisfied to accept truth on mere authority, and this might be a good trait in secular finite affairs — but this sentiment has crept into the "constructive" clique and thus the Advocate crowd is treading upon the property of the infallible.

It is true that causes are not known or judged merely by leaders but by tendencies. In the case of the Gospel Advocate movement we have a marked discrepancy, regarding Christian character, in some (witness "Tottyism"). This might be overlooked, for other interests in the church have not been lily-white along this line. Yet when we peer into the tendency of the Advocate movement and view the disregard for divine authority, the trend away from, rather than toward conformity to New Testament patterns, to what conclusion can we arrive? I see a "drifting" element in the church, drifting along upon ignorance, indifference and lethargy relative to the application of principles that brought the church to America and later saved it from the digression. in zeal and enthusiasm for growth and recognition, preachers and elders are succumbing to the thrill of being on the Gospel Advocate bandwagon where praise and glory is handed out in large doses. Honesty and integrity is not always sacrificed, but good sense and judgment is often set aside in favor of Jubilee festivities. Come back brethren — look back and view the distance traveled from the point of your first anchorage! Behold your folly!