Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 24, 1959
NUMBER 33, PAGE 4-5b

No Paper Next Week


It is well known to our old subscribers, but for the sake of many thousands of new subscribers we explain that there will be no paper next week. In keeping with our publication policy and the terms of our mailing permit the first week in July and the last week in December are used by us as "catch up" weeks. We then try to clear the desk of a wide assortment of odd jobs and piled up chores. The Guardian will be back in your box as usual with the next issue dated January 7, 1960.

Year's End

The old year is dying. As the last few days come and go, taking their place in the silent halls of eternity alongside those countless millions of days which have gone before or which may follow, all of us will be looking back over 1959 with varied patterns of reflection — and looking forward to 1960 with equally wide hopes, plans, and apprehensions. For this new year so close upon us will be a crucial one in many ways, both for our nation and for the Lord's church. It may well be a decisive year so far as war or peace is concerned; and it will be surely a significant, if not a decisive one, so far as the church is concerned.

As 1959 has written its record on the pages of history the picture within the church has become ever clearer and more sharply focused. The real lines of the controversy have become more fully defined; false issues have gradually been eliminated, and the true nature of the battle before us all has become more evident. It is a fight — a fight to the death, we might add — over Bible authority. Actually, this is what the problem has been all the time. But for several years the real problem was beclouded and confused by a wild profusion of charges and accusations to the effect that a great number of brethren were "opposed to taking care of orphan children" and "anti cooperation." Intelligent brethren now feel their intelligence is insulted by attempts at such ridiculous and puerile indictments. Only the irresponsible and the incorrigible continue to mouth these slanders; only the incredibly ignorant and prejudiced believe them.

In our judgment probably the most significant development of the year has been the circulation of the book, "We Be Brethren" by Dr. J. D. Thomas of Abilene Christian College, and the review of it (still continuing) by Brother Roy E. Cogdill. In this book and its review thoughtful brethren have seen a sharp and decisive line of cleavage between the "institutional" attitude and the "conservative", each position ably represented by a recognized leader. Dr. Thomas is on the Bible faculty of Abilene Christian College, is Director of the annual Abilene Christian College Lectureship, and certainly has the tacit, if not the expressed, endorsement and encouragement of the administration, the faculty, and the Board of Trustees of that institution. His book has been widely circulated, and we have yet to see a repudiation of it by any of the recognized leaders of the "institutional" brethren among us. The book has been used as a textbook in at least one of the Christian colleges and has been used in classes in various congregations. We believe it sets forth as well as any work could the fundamental contentions of Brother Thomas and those associated with him; and it is far more honest than some other writings, for it frankly acknowledges and accepts the .implications of the concept of Bible authority held by so many of the brethren who are promoting church support of various organizations and institutions such as Christian colleges, orphan homes, youth camps, and other social projects.

Another development of the year, the importance of which for the future can scarcely be over-emphasized, is the number of new congregations being started by the conservatives. All over the nation we have found them — in Tennessee, Alabama, California, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas — wherever we have traveled. While institutional brethren are filling the mails with a veritable avalanche of begging letters, folders, circulars, brochures, pamphlets, magazines, gimmicks, and propositions begging for money, money, and MORE MONEY for various new colleges, new orphan homes, new homes for the aged, new youth camps, and new brotherhood radio and television programs, in scores of towns and communities a little handful of faithful brethren have taken upon themselves the tremendous sacrifices necessary to establish new congregations.

Let no one overlook the significance of this! For in the years to come these little churches will grow and expand. They are desperately weak and struggling now; they have begun of ten under the bitterest kind of recriminations and false charges from the "institutional" brethren. But by God's grace they will grow! And twenty years from now the institutional brethren will have scores (and perhaps hundreds?) of homes, colleges, camps, and hospitals; and those whose emphasis has been on the church will see hundreds (and perhaps thousands?) of faithful, thriving congregations throughout the land — congregations standing firm and unwavering in their battle for the all-sufficiency of God's church, and the complete and final authority of God's word.

In 1960 this journal will be interested particularly in fostering and encouraging such new congregations. For the most part the arguments have been made on both sides of current issues; not much new material can be anticipated from either source. Those arguments are a matter of record. It is becoming ever more apparent that the future is a time for action, rather than for argument; for the sacrifice of time and effort and money to build new congregations, rather than for the sacrifice of conscience in vain and futile effort to persuade brethren to heed the teachings of God's word when every act, every word, every attitude shows they have greater interest in promoting their projects than they have in any strict adherence to authorized activities.

As far as this writer personally is concerned, the future looms great with promise and hope. In 1959 we were engaged in twenty-nine gospel meetings; fourteen of this number were with churches less than five years old. For 1960 we are already committed for twenty-seven meetings and will probably accept bookings for about four more through the year. Of the twenty-seven already promised, sixteen are with congregations less than five years old — only three of those being at places where we held meetings this year. This is about the proportion we hope to maintain for the next several years — at least one-half of our work being with new and struggling groups. Within the two years, 1959 and 1960, we will have held meetings with nearly thirty NEW congregations. This is the "wave of the future"; this is the hope for years to come! This is the brightest and most glorious ray of light shining through these dark years of brotherhood turmoil and tension. We think it is high time for all of us to "accentuate the positive" and begin, as never before, giving ourselves to building up these new and sacrificing little churches, helping them in every way God enables us to help — by our time, our efforts, our money, our influence, and our prayers. Let us waste no time in bewailing the past; to the future we must look, and for it we must work!

— F. Y. T.