Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 15, 1967



Abandoning for the moment the anonymous and impersonal editorial "We" I want to write a private, personal word to the readers of the Gospel Guardian. There are several items, somewhat related to each other, about which I want to comment:

1. A change in my work. After five beautiful and happy years as Bible Teacher in the Stephen F. Austin State College, I have asked the elders of the fine Mound and Starr congregation, which has so loyally supported me during this time, to release me as soon as a suitable replacement can be found. As of this writing they think they have found such a man and, anticipating final acceptance of his excellent academic credentials by the College, he will take over my classes this fall. I cannot describe the sadness with which I terminate this work. These have been some of the happiest and most rewarding years of my life. Brother Brooks C. Webb and Brother James W. Adams have both served the Mound and Starr congregation during this time, and both of them have given every encouragement possible to the work I was doing. In these years slightly over one thousand fine young people have sat in my classes. At least two-thirds of these students were not members of Lord's church. Several of them I had the pleasure of baptizing (not nearly so many as I'd like, of course!) but ALL of them left my classes, I hope, with a deeper appreciation of spiritual values than when they entered.

Why have I asked for release? The answer is simple. In a soul- searching battle with my conscience extending over many months, I have come to feel that the cause of Christ can be better served by my giving ALL my time to the Gospel Guardian and to scores of small and struggling congregations in new and difficult fields. However delightful and stimulating the work on a college campus, and however satisfying the routine work of a college professor, the urgent and insistent call to the other kind of work finally became irresistible. The Gospel Guardian in all her long history has never had a "fulltime" editor; it has always been edited on a part-time side-line basis. In spite of this the journal has wielded a tremendous influence in the fight for truth and righteousness, and has grown gradually to a position of considerable influence among those who would stand for the truth. There are other highly qualified and capable men who can fill my place in the classroom; but since I am the sole owner, editor, and publisher of the Gospel Guardian and have now served more than eighteen years (eighteen of the most critical years of the church's history in modern times) in this editorial capacity, I feel, whether rightly or wrongly, that I am in position to render a unique service here, and one for which I have felt an increasing responsibility and obligation.

2. For nearly three years I have been working (in conjunction with certain other brethren) on an entirely new approach to the field of "personal evangelism", and within a few weeks now we will be ready to come forth with the results of our labors in what I honestly believe will be one of the most significant and effective projects in this area in our generation! I want to be able to give time and attention to this undertaking, I think it may well become the most productive venture of my life, and I see in it enormous possibilities for enlisting thousands of sincere and dedicated Christians in an active, aggressive and successful endeavor to win souls to Christ.

3. The "Specials." In the months ahead the Gospel Guardian will be coming out with a "Special Issue" at fairly regular intervals. Our first such will be in the mails next week, the highly interesting, informative, and revealing "Campaigns for Christ Special Issue." We are already working on a "Birmingham-John T. Lewis Special Issue," which will be issued this fall. It will show the influence of the gospel of Christ in the heart and life of one great man, and how through that man's utter dedication to "the old paths" an entire city felt the impact of New Testament Christianity. Next winter, we plan (and have already begun preliminary work on) a "Special Issue" on the work and influence of the Holy Spirit. Many of our more liberal brethren are being increasingly disturbed over this question; some of them are even claiming to speak with tongues and have the "spiritual gifts" of apostolic days. Still later we contemplate another special on "Materialism and the Social Gospel".

The tremendous amount of work involved in such "specials" simply demands more time and attention than any "part-time editor" could ever give. These issues are vital; I intend to give to them the utmost care and attention and thought of which I am capable.

4. Special "teaching programs." For several years now I have been giving certain specialized "teaching programs" in, a number of congregations. These are not the usual gospel meetings which most churches conduct each year, but are a more restricted and distinctive effort to give particular emphasis to a limited field. They usually extend over five nights, and involve a lecture or sermon followed by a class period or "open forum" for full and free discussion and study. In one year I conducted nearly a score of such specialized meetings on "Current Issues." I have other teaching programs of this sort on "Personal Evangelism," "Church History," "Restoration History," and "Successful Christian Living." I want to have time for more of these short meetings than my college work could ever permit.

Finally, I ask the prayers, the moral support, and the continuing interest and good-will of many thousands of faithful friends in every part of the nation and of the world. I doubt that there is any editor of any gospel journal in the world who personally knows as many of his readers as I do. I have gospel meetings in some forty states and Canada. My new work will enable me to renew a great host of those friendships as I travel among the churches. The Gospel Guardian becomes now the major thrust of my life. Serving God in this way, to the full limit of my time and strength and talent, I face the future with high hopes and great expectations. If there is any way at all I can be of service or help to any reader of this journal, I covet the opportunity.

F. Y. T.