Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 30, 1964
NUMBER 51, PAGE 4,12b

Only Yesterday


With this issue we close Volume Fifteen of the weekly Gospel Guardian, For fifteen full years now not a single issue has been missed, and very few of them have ever been late. Actually, if we go back to the original Gospel Guardian, started in 1935, to begin our count, this would be Volume Twenty-nine instead of Volume Fifteen. But this editor has been at the helm of the paper only since it went from a monthly to a weekly-basis, and that was with the first week of May, 1949. The co-workers and fellow-editors as of that date were Foy E. Wallace, Jr., Cled E. Wallace, R. L. Whiteside, and Roy E. Cogdill. Of this foursome only Brother Cogdill remains with us.

These fifteen years have been times of great tribulation for the Lord's people. We have seen a "party spirit" being developed which has brought deep sorrow and anguish to the hearts of all the faithful. New heresies have arisen and ancient heresies have been revived. Many of the stalwart leaders of the past have crossed over the Great Divide, and men of lesser stature and lesser heart have all too often taken their places. Gone are the pens and voices of such men as R. L. Whiteside, G. C. Brewer, John Allen Hudson, C. R. Nichol, G. H. P. Showalter, S. H. Hall and C. M. Pullias. The pungent pen of Cled Wallace has written its last word; R. H. Boll and Batsell Baxter both laid down their earthly burdens within a few weeks of each other. The venerable and beloved W. W. Otey was well into his nineties when he answered the last call. The gentle spirit of Curtis Porter seems even yet to breathe its benediction upon us.

Infinitely more distressing and heart-rending would be that catalogue of once faithful and consecrated followers of Christ who during these years have made ship-wreck of the faith — brilliant and gifted young men like Pat Hardeman, Don Hardage, and James Arthur Warren; thoughtful and studious men like Ralph Wilburn and Roy Key, likeable and friendly men like Hugh Tiner and Billie Sol Estes (who has repented and is seeking to regain his spiritual balance) — and a host of others, both well-known and little known. Some who have fallen will doubtless be able by the help of God to rise again; but probably the most of them who have "gone out from us" have so hardened their hearts that they will never return. It is a frightful and sobering thought to contemplate that men whom we have so dearly loved and with whom we have often worked so earnestly in the kingdom of Christ are facing an eternity of darkness and separation from God!

And what of the future? No one can say. There are some indications that a reaction may be setting in against the galloping rush toward "liberalism" which has so hurt the church in recent years. From more than one quarter we have heard uneasy half-spoken fears that "they are going too far." And the "they" in such instances refers not to those who have been stigmatized as "antis" but to those who have "measured themselves by themselves" and have concluded that they are among the "Great Preachers" of this (or any other) century. And these muted mutterings come more often than not from among the very people who have thus far acquiesced completely in the "on the march" promotions. Is it, perhaps, that some are beginning to realize the truth of what has been said so often, so well, and by so many gospel preachers — that "liberalism" is a package deal? There is no way to accept a "brotherhood orphan home" under a local eldership and exclude the same organization when the directors are members of different congregations; there is no way to accept an "orphan home under a board" and exclude the "college-in-the-church-budget" contention. There is no way to accept the "college-in-the-church-budget" position and offer any reasonable objection to such an organization as the United Christian Missionary Society. The man who attempts to promote the one and excoriate the other makes himself ridiculous.

Could it be that honest brethren are beginning to realize this? Is it, at long last, coming home to thinking men that "there is no stopping place" this side of complete apostasy once we begin to "do many things for which we have no authority?" We simply do not know the reason; but we do sense that there may be developing a much better atmosphere for friendly and brotherly study of vital issues than has been the case in recent years. We do not anticipate that any dramatic and widespread reversal of form or policy will be evident in the larger churches or among the "Great Preachers"; indeed, it is never the history of liberalism to turn back, but, on the contrary, to keep going further and further away from the word of God. We fully expect that to happen in this instance. But we do believe that there are some who can be saved — considerably more, in fact, than we would have thought or estimated a couple of years ago.

We face the future with confidence and hope. God holds that future in his hands. We commit our ways unto Him. Whether we stand approved in the eyes of men matters but little; but whether we stand approved in the eyes of God is the most momentous thing in life. For fifteen years we have tried to work with that uppermost in mind. These years have gone by like a whirlwind; their hurrying feet have left us almost breathless at times with the terrible pressures and responsibilities of these weekly editions. But by God's grace, we are still in publication. And whatever the future may have in store, we pray we shall meet it as we ought.

Fifteen years ago we began this work. And it seems only yesterday!

— F. Y. T.