Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 16, 1957

I See By The Papers

Voyd N. Ballard, Ventura, California

Will Rogers often said that, "All I know is what I read in the Papers." He had in mind, of course, the secular press, but there are many things now being advocated by the brethren that remind us of that statement again and again. If we see these theories and ideas of the brethren at all, we must see them in the (religious) papers, for they cannot be found in the New Testament. In fact they are so foreign to the language of the Bible that we are made to wonder if brethren have forgotten that "if any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God".

Well anyway, in going through the religious journals here are some things that I have seen by the papers:

1. I see in the Firm Foundation of February 12th, where brother Roy H. Lanier says that "I do not agree with either group of brethren engaged in current discussion concerning homes for the aged and orphans." Brother Lanier says that, "There is one group of brethren that are too liberal for me". And he says of another group that they are "too conservative for me." So according to brother Lanier all the brethren are wrong on these issues; All, that is except brother Lanier. He says that he has a "Middle of the Road" position which is the right position, and he is going to write a total of FIVE articles to prove it. He tells us, "The time is past due for someone to set forth the middle of the road view to satisfy the needs of brethren who cannot conscientiously subscribe to either extreme and to plead for unity of brethren on a position which is both scriptural and workable." In fact he says that he "made an effort more than a year ago to do this when I wrote a series on Cooperation". He informs us that this effort was made in two articles that he had written for the Gospel Advocate, but that, "the editor of the Gospel Advocate, who published the series, refused to publish them (the two articles) on the ground that I took Positions not in harmony with the published views and policies of the Gospel Advocate." Brother Lanier says that these two articles were refused by the Gospel Advocate editor even though "I had been a staff writer for that publication for 15 years . . . . The reason the G. A. Editor refused to publish the two articles was because the position advanced in them was different from THE TRADITIONS OF THAT PUBLICATION. This is very revealing. Let's let brother Lanier tell it in his own words. He does a real good job. Hear him: "Since he had been a staff writer for that publication for 15 years my writings would be taken by brethren generally as the policy of the paper. And since my position differed from the traditions of the publication, he felt he could not print them." So the upshot of the whole thing was that brother Lanier quit his position as staff writer of "The Old Reliable". He says that, "I could not continue to be associated with a company which would not, or could not for sake of unity among its staff writers, allow me to write all that I hold as truth on an important subject."

Well, as we have already said, this is very revealing. and if the other four articles by brother Lanier reveal as much as this first article does, we may all learn that many things that we have suspected for a long time, are true after all.

For instance, many of us have suspected that these "institutional promoters", including the sweet spirited editor of the Firm Foundation, are unsure about where they stand on these issues, even though the most of them, once again including the editor of the F. F., have gone all out to support and defend the "liberals". Brother Lemmons made it a point to do this when faithful brethren in Bakersfield, California were literally kicked out of their church property. He not only aided the "liberals" there, but he steadfastly refused to publish any correction of the false assertions that he allowed the liberals to run in his paper, even though the East Bakersfield elders offered him concrete evidence that what he had printed from the "liberals" there was untrue.

In case anyone might think that the term "liberal" would not apply to this Bakersfield group just consider this; They are "liberal" enough not only to support the brotherhood projects, but with the encouragement and help of Rue Porter they took the elders and the church to Law. They were liberal enough to swear in court and under oath that the final decisions in the Lord's church rests with the "bulk of the congregation" and not with the eldership. And since then they have been "liberal" enough to publish falsely all over the country that Yater Tant swore that elders could decide to withdraw from a member by the flip of a coin. No wonder that brother Lanier says that "there is one group of brethren that are too liberal for me".

The editor of the F. F. has from time to time, attempted to defend and uphold the position of the institutional brethren but we learn now that he has not been in complete accord with them, for he gives editorial endorsement to Lanier's "Middle of the Road" position and says that. "He presents what we believe to be the truth on the question involved." Now it so happens that the editor of the F. F. is on record as saying that he printed only the truth on every subject; but he has printed any number of articles in the past from the group that brother Lanier terms "liberals". Having now endorsed Lanier's "Middle of the Road" position as the "truth on the question involved" we wonder if brother Lemmons will make a confession to the effect that these "liberal" articles were not the truth. Honesty will demand that he do so.

Speaking of the things that we learn from brother Lanier's article here is another interesting one, "The reason the editor of the Gospel Advocate refused to publish the two articles was because the position advanced in them was different from THE TRADITIONS OF THAT PUBLICATION". (Caps mine V. N. B.)

Well. well, some of us have known all along that the G. A. thought more of her TRADITIONS than she does of Truth, but it is. indeed, refreshing to hear one of her former staff writers say so. Those who have dared say it thus for have been branded as a bunch of hobbyists and cranks. I wonder what the "Old Reliable" will do to brother Lanier. The Jews made void the commands of God that they might keep the traditions of the fathers. They thought more of their traditions than they did of the Word of God. This is exactly the position of the Gospel Advocate. In the days of Lipscomb the G. A. opened its pages to a fair and frank discussion of all issues, but those days are no more. The present editor of that journal not only refuses to publish anything that might cross him, but he absolutely allows brethren to be misrepresented in its pages. None can be heard on any subject that is contrary to the views of the editor. His is a closed door policy, and by this policy he seeks to maintain "unity among his staff writers". Because of this brother Lanier was not allowed to "write all that I hold as truth on an important subject" i.e. "on the care of orphans".

It will be interesting to see whether or not the F. F. editor will be able to maintain "unity among his staff writers" after Lanier has finished these articles.

Well, as we said in the beginning, all we can know about some things is by reading the papers, so we will just keep watching them and see what happens. Maybe these institutional brethren will finally learn the "truth on an important subject". If so, we hope they will be "liberal" enough to accept it and "conservative" to practice it. If they do methinks it will take them right out of "the middle of the road" and unite all of them upon the teaching of the New Testament.