Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 10, 1958

Only Five Per Cent?

Ward Hogland, Houston, Texas

One can hear almost anything in a troubled brotherhood. One theory being advanced by some of the liberal brethren is that only five percent of the churches oppose the institutional craze. This is used to scare preachers, especially young ones, into jumping on the institutional band wagon so they can get "a job of preaching." Counting noses or figuring percentage has never proved anything. But this false charge, as well as all others, needs to be refuted. One should stand for the truth even if he has to stand alone; but at the same time, he needs to refute all misrepresentations.

ODESSA: My first meeting this year was with the Cresent Park Church in this city. Odessa is in the heart of the great Permian Oil Basin, largest in the world. While in Odessa, I observed that several congregations in this city and adjacent territory stand firm against all innovations that plague the church. Paul Foutz is doing excellent work at Cresent Park. W. L. Wharton laid a good foundation in this church as he was their first preacher. I have no doubt that if noses were counted in this city that faithful brethren would he in the majority. The five percent theory will not stand in far West Texas.

TEXARKANA: Next I moved over to far East Texas and Western Arkansas, Texarkana. I did not know just what to expect in this city but I was pleasantly surprised. The brethren on Franklin Drive where I assisted in the meeting have a new air-conditioned building and stand firm in the faith. Franklin Davis Jr. preaches here and is respected highly. Oscar Smith of Dudley Avenue gave his support to the meeting. As a matter of fact, all the preachers of the city except one attended the meeting a number of times. Yes, many faithful brethren and congregations in Texarkana will stand. The five per cent theory would fail in this area!

GREENVILLE: Located in North East Texas, Greenville is called the city with the blackest land and the whitest people, and many of them are in the Walnut Street Church. I have never worked with a more enthusiastic group. Herman Sargent has done Yeomen service with this congregation. Southside, where brother Bob Bolton preaches, supported the meeting well. These two congregations stand as firm as Gibraltar! Brother V. E. Howard pulled off a small faction from Walnut Street but some of them are coming back home. Two came back the Sunday following the meeting and confessed that they had done wrong in following brother Howard and causing disturbance. If the liberal brethren want to count noses they had better stay out of Greenville.

BRIDGE CITY: This little city is located in the shadow of Port Arthur, Beaumont and Orange. It has been a well known fact that the brethren who oppose institutionalism are by far in the majority in these cities. Many preachers attended the meeting including Stanley Lovett who is doing an excellent job with the Preceptor and the Central Church in Beaumont. Danny Brown preaches in Bridge City and is respected for his courage in upholding truth. Bridge City is in the extreme South East corner of Texas and if one is disposed to advance the five per cent theory, this would be a poor place to start.

HOUSTON: The largest city in the South and my home at present is in many ways a bulwark of strength against innovations. The brethren here at Spring Branch have a mind to work. Even though I have been gone the last three months, they have men qualified to preach and the work goes on. I predict that Houston will be the citadel of strength in this present fight. Many congregations in this area believe in the old paths, yea, the Bible in all things. It is a well known fact that the five per cent theory will not stand here.

FT. SMITH: I could not over look Ft. Smith, Arkansas where I labored for almost ten years. It was here, the home of the famous Judge Parker, that battles were fought and victories won. The Park Hill Church with its elders is one of the best. It has always stood as a tower of strength in that area. Bill Wallace, who loves and preaches the truth, now labors in word with this congregation. The liberal brethren in Ft. Smith are in the minority and I predict it will stay that way.

LEMMONS-WOODS: Another thing that refutes the five percent theory is the Lemmons-Woods feud in the Gospel Advocate and Firm Foundation. Have you read Brother Lemmons reply to Brother Woods? If not by all means do it now! In this scribes opinion, Brother Lemmons is doing a wonderful job. The fight is on and Brother Lemmons will not be denied! For example, the title of his article was "BROTHER WOODS THROWS A TANTRUM". That sounds more like a title one would read in the Gospel Guardian. I say more power to Brother Lemmons. Notice some statements of Brother Lemmons, "our brother (Woods) seems to think that since he has traveled so much, preached so much and debated so much that if anyone disputes anything he says it is "shocking". We reserve the right to differ with him when we please"! Then he goes on to say, "someone is trying desperately to drive a wedge into the body of Christ". It takes a desperate man to deliberately attribute to us a position he knows that we do not hold." This is what we have tried to tell the brethren all along that the Gospel Advocate crowd is dividing the church. Now brother Lemmons admits it is true. Brother Lemmons is on record as saying that he would take the Guardian position before he would the Advocate. He says, which is true, that the Advocate position will destroy the Church but the Guardian position will not. That means he can't be counted with the Advocate crowd so that five per cent is getting larger all the time. Now I am not a prophet but I predict that when the smoke of battle is cleared that the Advocate is in for a big surprise! Why not drop Brother Lemmons a letter and tell him how you appreciate his courage even if you don't agree with his position. It takes courage to buck the Advocate syndicate but it will pay dividends in this world and the one to come.

Now, it is true that certain areas have very few brethren who will stand for anything but this is not true over the USA as a whole. The five per cent theory is caculated to deceive and destroy. A final word especially to my preaching brethren — lift up your-eyes because the field is white and the future is bright. Preach with the right attitude but preach the truth whether they like it or not.