Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 19, 1964
NUMBER 45, PAGE 1,11-12a

Brother Foy E. Wallace --- Then And Now

Bryan Vinson

Time, in its unfolding, reveals many changes in the affairs of men. Governments change; the ideals and morals of society are subject to constant alteration, and the principles and persuasions of individuals oftentimes are subjected to real and even radical changes. Change is admirable and desirable when it is from weakness to strength from darkness to light, and from error to truth. In no area is this so much to be desired and admired as in the spiritual realm. In the stress of conflict and the heat of controversy there are witnessed changes which are surprising. Some, whom one might think to be weak, reflect an increasing strength while in others the opposite reaction is effected, and disappointment is registered in the hearts of those who had confidently expected a stability and strength made all the more apparent by the test to which such an one is subjected. Brotherly love demands and impels one to view such instances with sympathy rather than disgust, and affectionate appeal rather than invective and scorn.

It is questionable whether there has arisen within the ranks of God's children, of those whose lives have been devoted to preaching the gospel, a superior in this century so far to Brother Foy E. Wallace, Jr. For more than thirty years I have esteemed myself fortunate in having known him personally and enjoyed within that period of time for a quarter of a century his personal friendship and considerable association with him. I feel that I have known him well and favorably. In conversation, in preaching which I have heard him do, and in that which he has written for publication there has been formed within my mind a familiarity, with his teaching that leads me to believe I knew well what he believed on many matters, and the reasons afforded within the Scriptures creating and sustaining this faith of his. Over a period of many years there was established and enjoyed by him a reputation for ability and stability in defending the faith against every form of attack and erosion. He met with skill and strength the opponents of truth both from without and within the kingdom of Christ. He warned through the years against impending developments within the church which he regarded as departures from the apostolic faith.

The first publication of a shifting of his previously held position was the widely renowned article, spread over two pages of the Firm Foundation treating the "Paper Yokes and Party Labels," and which enjoyed editorial attention and commendation! It was heralded by some as the middle-of-the-road manifesto, laying low those on both the left and right sides of the controversies among brethren bearing on the issues of brotherhood operations in the sponsoring church arrangements and the support of humanly created institutions devised to care for homeless children. This article merited an attention it never received. It was vulnerable in every part of its construction,

The next thing in print which I have seen was an article by Brother Claude Holcomb, of Corsicana, Texas, in the Fort Worth paper published to serve as a news medium of the congregations in that area. This was a narration of his conversation with Bro. Wallace in which the latter disavowed his identification with the position and efforts of those on both the extreme right and extreme left of the middle of the road persuasion. No setting forth of either of the three positions thus noted was given. There was an appeal for brethren to use Brother Wallace with the assurance such would be a safe thing to do. An appeal to Brother Holcomb to clearly identify this position which he ascribed to both himself and Brother Wallace, and which he characterized as the narrow way leading to eternal life, was unavailing.

Now, in November, 1963, in the Childhaven News, comes a statement by another brother, Tom Warren, that he also has enjoyed a conversation with Brother Wallace in which he sets forth the position of our brother on the Herald of Truth and Orphan Homes. It is my persuasion that some attention is merited by brethren, whatever the views they hold, of this statement of Brother Wallace's convictions on these questions currently in dispute. This I now purpose to do, noting what they are in relation to his previously expressed views thereon.


Brother Warren states that he and Brother Roy Deaver were able to talk in private conversation with Brother Wallace while the latter was in a meeting with the Arlington Heights congregation, in Fort Worth, and that he is happy to report some of the things he told them. This happiness must arise from the thought such a report would have salutary effect on those who received it. If so, I cannot but think the report coming directly from Brother Wallace, and being much more widely publicized, would be far more profitable in its results. Brother Warren makes the prudent concession that the fact a particular man holds a certain view does not prove the view to be true, and this being recognized as being true, it strips all virtue and merit from this statement of his views in the absence of scriptural evidence being given to justify the views expressed. He gives no scriptural basis as the ground for what Brother Wallace believes; and thus what he believes, as well as any other man, is destitute of any value to others apart from such evidence as is capable of creating and sustaining this faith.

Brother Warren credits Brother Wallace with believing: (1) that the Bible authorizes a church to assist homes for orphan children, and (2) that when elders serve as directors of such homes they perform that function as directors and not as elders, and (3) that Galatians 6:10 authorizes a church, as such, to give physical assistance to needy persons who are not members of the church. The fourth (4) item of faith cited is that Brother Wallace does not oppose the principle involved in churches "cooperating together" in such work as is involved in the Herald of Truth program conducted by the Highland church in Abilene, Texas. In this avowal of non-opposition he does express an awareness of one church becoming recognized as "the voice of the churches," but he recognizes this as being simply a danger. Brother Warren expressed his own sincere desire that brethren everywhere come to recognize the truthfulness of the four positions which Brother Wallace explained as being held by himself. If they be true, then we all need to come to recognize them as so being, and hence cease all objections and opposition thereto. Surely Brother Wallace is capable of rendering a great service to brethren everywhere by helping them to see what he and Brother Warren so clearly and undoubtingly see as the truth of these matters.

We shall now take up these points of Brother Wallace's faith in the order here mentioned, and compare their statement with some things he has written in the past. Brother Wallace began publication of "Torch" in 1950, giving as his reason for so doing the following:

"It is not my temperament to be associated with business interests where commercial considerations are necessarily involved. I prefer to be free of all such connections with their resultant direct and indirect responsibilities — entirely free to always write in my own way, in my own time and in my own space without fear or feeling of concern for any effect on the interest and involvements of others, to just to commit to print my own personal script — What I want to write, as I want it written, and printed as I write it." (Emphasis mine. BV.)

Thus we can accept what we read in "Torch" as Brother Wallace's position stated by himself for himself, and not by another for him. In the first issue of this periodical, after dealing with modernistic developments, involving colleges, literature, the attitude of Lard toward instrumental music, and McGarvey on the subject of inspiration of the Scriptures, he wrote:

"It is a pity that after we have made the fight against the cranks, anti-class, anti-literature, anti-college and anti-everything, that liberalists and extremists are now running away with things, disarm us, and all but make us wish we had not made the fight against the hobbyists, for between the two their cranky notions are less harmful. I am not anti-Sunday school (when it is a Bible class on Sunday); nor anti-literature (when it is the right kind); nor anti-college (when it is not made a church school); nor anti-missionary (when the New Testament way is observed) — but I am anti what is going on!"

So, then, We see that the very beginning of "Torch" shows it was brought forth an ANTI organ of teaching.

But Brother Wallace, we are now informed, believes the Bible authorizes churches supporting orphan homes. Did he then? Notice:

"On what principle can the eldership of a church in America take the oversight of an institution in Europe or Asia, whether that organization be a school or an orphanage? When the eldership of a church becomes a centralized board of control or a general board of foreign missions, it is just as unscriptural as any other board, and the authority for it may be found on the blank page of your New Testament."

In the same article he deposes thus:

"To justify the establishment of institutional orphanages for the church to sponsor as a means of doing their 'pure and undefiled religion' reference is frequently made to James 1:27, 'visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction.' But this passage does not limit this visitation to the fatherless. It says 'fatherless and' — and whom? Widows. For comparison: `He that believeth and' — and what? Is baptized. The conjunction `and' conjoins two things, the 'fatherless' and 'the widows.' Now, if James 1:27 is a command for an institutional orphanage, it is no less a demand for an institutional widowage. Why is the latter part of the command never emphasized, much less obeyed, by those who insist that the first part of it is the precept for an institutional organization? The institutional idea is not in the language of James. The fact that Paul puts an age restriction on the widows, that none under sixty could be enrolled as permanent charges of the church, and that the New Testament specifies these benevolent interdictions, makes it evident that it is not the will of God for the church to be encumbered with the permanent programs of material benefactions, as now are being promoted with such assiduity, which undoubtedly diminishes the temporal means to the spiritual ends of preaching the gospel. The duty of the church in alms-giving is therefore limited to relief emergencies. There is no passage in the New Testament that incorporates the institutional idea as an obligation of the church."

With these statements written by Brother Wallace himself before us, along side this report of Brother Warren's to the effect that Brother Wallace believes the Bible authorizes the church support of Orphan Homes, it is very evident, it is very evident he has changed his convictions on the questions before us. If further study of the Scriptures has led him to the discovery of that which he said is not in the New Testament (save on the "blank page of your N.T."), then we all need his help in discerning these recent discoveries of his! That which he saw then as so seriously subversive to the truth, he now sees as authorized by the scriptures. Listen to his moving appeal:

"There are grave issues before us. Preachers of the gospel have the potential influence to stem these invasions and stop the innovations. Some editors, school men and preachers who should be expected to stand against these departures are not helping in this struggle against overwhelming odds and powerful influences. Consider the effect if all of us who hold common convictions on the issues would rise up in arms and form a solid line of defense. I am neither a Gideon nor a Paul Revere, but I do call upon the host of preachers everywhere, in the name of the God of Gideon, to rally to the call of battle before it is too late."

Is Brother Wallace seeking now to build that which he then was seeking to destroy? The apostle Paul recognized that should he join the Judaizers such would be the embarrassing and indefensible position he would have been in; so, likewise, does the picture emerge with such a position in which Brother Wallace is placed. The only way on earth he can justify his current course is to defend it by the Scriptures — and not leave it to others to assert what his views are. (To be continued next week.)

Box 764, Longview, Texas