Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 19, 1957
NUMBER 20, PAGE 6a-7b

An Open Letter To W. D. Rhodes And Gayle Oler

George T. Jones, San Antonio, Texas


Having read the Boles Home News of July 25, 1957, in which your article was featured by brother Oler, I am constrained to say a few things to you. First, the "small Missouri church" you referred to is at Butler and "the preacher" is my youngest brother, twenty years of age. Second, your article is full of misrepresentation. It was downright deceitful.

You attack him and the Butler church for a report in the church bulletin, stating the decision of the brethren not to contribute to Maude Carpenter Home any longer. Do you mean to say the Butler church cannot decide when it will stop its contribution to Maude Carpenter Home?, It seems to me that I have heard it argued that a church does not lose its autonomy by contributing to such institutions as Maude Carpenter Home because they can quit when they get ready! Do you mean that a church subjects itself to unfavorable publicity because it exercises its autonomy in deciding to stop contributing?

Then you weepingly tell us of the two elders of this church who resigned because they had been "so undermined and their influence had been so effectively destroyed by the preacher." But you did not tell your readers one of these "elders" had been in the Christian Church and never made any public acknowledgement or change, did you brother Rhodes? Did it occur to you how unreasonable your story would sound if your reader were informed this was only a twenty-year old preacher who had been with this church less than four months when it decided to stop contributing to Maude Carpenter Home? And, you didn't take the trouble to inform your readers that the preceding preacher also opposed church support to orphan homes. Yes, there is a good deal you did not say.

But where your article reaches the depth of deceit is in the quotation of the statement concerning "intellectual pulpiteering and sheep herding." You say: "As I read the paper put out by this preacher, I got a real shock on page 2. While this article was by another preacher the Missouri preacher said it was outstanding and evidently represented his views." Then you quote this: "There are certain kinds of people in the church who have been brought into it by certain schemes who cannot be kept in it without some man eternally trotting at their heels. When I find such stock in the church which I am preaching for, I give them plainly to understand, that if they haven't religion enough to come out to the Lord's house and worship their God, without being driven up every Sunday like a parcel of stray cattle they may jump over the fence and starve to death in the wilderness. Brethren, I'm not coming down from my intellectual work in the pulpit to make a common herdboy out of myself. If I must do such work as that I will quit preaching and hire out to some man to herd sheep or cows. Church members who cannot be brought to the house of the Lord, except by pastoral visiting are not worth standing room in a potter's field anyhow I have recently had some valuable experience myself in pastoral visiting. I tried it in a sickly little church in a fashionable town. I tramped the streets through dust and heat for three miserable days. I found only one wanderer on the mountain of sin, wild and bare, and he had grazed on the devil's commons till he couldn't tell clover from sneeze weed: he had lost his bell, shed his fleece, and herded with the goats till he wasn't worth driving home."

The following is your comment on this: "To me, this clears up everything. A preacher who has such an attitude toward a weak and erring brother couldn't have much concern for a destitute and fatherless boy or girl."

Just at this point it becomes difficult for me to express the pity one should have toward a brother who has done such a miserable trick as you have and has brother Oler in reproducing what you have done; or, the contempt I have for such deceit as you are guilty of while shedding crocodile tears over helpless children. I am persuaded that one who has such love for destitute children as you brethren profess to have could not have the degree of depravity requisite for perpetrating the cheap trickery you have resorted to herein. Bro. Rhodes, you are an elder in the Lord's church and superintendent of one of "our" orphan homes. Bro. Oler fills the same two positions. Did you men not know the source of the above quotation that so "shocked" you? Yes, I gladly join my baby brother in saying the statement is outstanding, for it is from a speech from none other than the beloved pioneer T. W. Gaskey on the "pastor system." Did you men not know that it was quoted by F. D. Srygley in SEVENTY YEARS IN DIXIE, which the Gospel Advocate Co. has for sale? It is not possible for me to believe that you two "leading" brethren are ignorant of this quotation. Why, I recall that the late and lamented L. L. Brigance quoted the same statement in The Gospel Advocate in 1941, when he was writing on the "pastor system." If you brethren had been reading "Old Reliable" then, you would have been in for some shock! The statement is not even related to the subject of church support of human institutions and both of you know it. Furthermore, you ought to know better than to attempt that kind of deceit and misrepresentation of a young man trying to preach the gospel. Is it possible that an "aroused brotherhood" will tolerate such ungodliness?

In your last paragraph you say further: "One correspondent put it this way. This preacher preaches and lives by every word that comes from the Gospel Guardian." Bro. Rhodes and Brother Oler, let me "put it this way:" that correspondent lied. If you want to account for the faith and convictions of this young preacher, you might read 2 Tim. 3:14,15. In case you don't know what it says, it reads like this: "But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Finally, don't you and brother Oler know that if everything you said in this article were true, it wouldn't prove the scripturalness of your position? Why don't you and brother Oler write an article on this proposition: the use of such organizations as Maude Carpenter Home and Boles Home is authorized in the New Testament Scriptures and acceptable to God? That is, if you two can decide which is scriptural. Bro. Oler says a home under an eldership, like Maude Carpenter, is not scriptural. And, I presume you are in agreement with G. K. Wallace that a setup like Boles Home is not scriptural. Perhaps if you will write an article setting forth what the New Testament teaches on the organization of such an institution, Bro. Oler will print it! In the meantime, we shall be watching to see if you two brethren can agree on anything except how to misrepresent a young preacher!

This is being sent to both of you just in case you have the disposition to do what is fair and honorable: print it in The Home Journal and Boles Home News.