Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 21, 1967
NUMBER 33, PAGE 4-5a

No Paper Next Week


Our long-time subscribers know this; but we have quite a sizeable number of new subscribers on our list this year. So for their sakes we explain that we issue no paper the last week in December and the first week in July. You will not be receiving a Gospel Guardian next week; but look for us again the first week in the New Year. And with some interesting and informative articles coming up for publication in the month of January.

The "Box" Has Been Tried - Successfully

We have written a few editorials these last few weeks trying to persuade brethren to take a second look at the tragedy that has befallen God's people — and see if, even at this late date, some way might be found to bridge the gap. This is no time to cast recriminations and "I told you so" statements — a real temptation for those of us in the conservative camp who warned over and over again that the "orphan home issue" was but an incident and that brethren pressing so vigorously for church support of that institution were opening up a Pandora's box of troubles.

Well, the troubles have come, and are multiplying. Brother Eugene Britnell's article on the front page this week gives some small idea of the frustration and anxiety now gripping our "on the march" brethren. Liberalism and modernism (disguised, but deadly) is making serious inroads among the institutional brethren. They are worried — and they have a right to be!

But this is no time for those of us in the conservative classification to sit back with indifference or unconcern. After all, these are our brethren! And thousands of churches among them for years and years to come are going to face tension, strife, and bitterness. This has always been the history when liberalism and modernism begin to make inroads into any group of people. Heartache and heaviness are in store for them. Their own fault, you say? Well, yes. But that still gives no reason for satisfaction or rejoicing on the part of anybody! Rather, this is truly an opportune time for all of us — and we do mean ALL of us — to take another look at these past twenty years.

Wherein did we fail? What was lacking in the teaching done in the 1930's and 1940's that made possible the debacle of the 1950's? And is there anything NOW that can be done as a constructive move toward healing the breach? In that connection, we think our readers might be interested in a letter we received a few days ago from Paul Hutchinson of Sabinal, Texas. He wrote:

Dear brother Yater:

Your editorial "Box In The Vestibule," has just been read, and carefully considered. It has taken me back thirty years to something that happened when I was a member of the old 12th and Hoover (Central) Church in Los Angeles.

Central at that time was a strong, faithful church, trying to follow the pattern of New Testament teaching. It was for many years the outstanding church on the West Coast, if not in the whole western part of the nation. During that time there was an orphan home established in Ontario, California, by Brother Sam Witty. Agitation began to be made for the church to support this institution. I proposed to the Central elders that we put a box in the vestibule of the building for all who wanted to support this home; they could make their contributions this way and it would not involve those members who were opposed to the institution.

This suggestion was followed; and it was really surprising to find out how few were really interested in contributing to the institutions. However, it did accomplish the very thing you have suggested: it kept division and strife over that question out of Central Church. I have been away from there for many years, but am told that the church there has drifted from the teaching given by so many faithful brethren in the past ...

Your brother in Christ, Paul Hutchinson

The very first "local work" ever done by this editor was with the Bardstown Road congregation in Louisville, Kentucky. And how well do we remember the practice of that congregation (and this was in 1930!) in taking TWO collections one Sunday in each month. After the usual Lord's Supper and contribution someone would make a brief announcement to the effect that "One Sunday in each month we pass the collection baskets a second time so that any who may desire to make a contribution to Potter Orphan Home may have opportunity to do so." Quite often, but not always, this announcement was made by Brother Campbell A. Taylor.

Well, that was a long time ago, and we thought at the time that it was a bit strange and unnecessary. Why didn't they just take the money for the orphan home out of the church treasury? But age and experience (and observation of the heartache brought to many of God's churches over this very thing) has brought some understanding and insight. For whatever reason, and by whatever influence, the Bardstown Road Church had adopted a course that could have gone far, far toward heading off trouble and sorrow among the people of God these last twenty years. Suppose ALL the Lord's churches had been following such a course? Surely in hundreds of places were division and alienation have come, peace and love and harmony could have prevailed.

Is it too late now to do anything about it? For many, perhaps most, churches the answer is yes. But we are not writing to them or for them. We still have hope that there may be many good people who want to keep the congregation where they worship united and working together. IT CAN BE DONE! It can be done in spite of a wide divergence in the thinking and conviction of the members as to the scripturalness of Herald of Truth, church support of colleges, Cows for Korea, recreation camps, and all the rest of these modern troublesome questions. Now that liberalism and infidelity are beginning to make serious inroads among our pro-institutional churches, perhaps brethren are willing to take a calmer and less emotionally charged look at these problems of the past twenty years.

Are there not truly dedicated men even in many of these pro-institutional churches who will lift their voices with ours in a plea for brotherhood and unity? We fervently pray that there may be.

F. Y. T.