Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 21, 1968
NUMBER 29, PAGE 5b-6a

More On That Arlington Meeting

Jerry F. Bassett

Among the thirteen conservative brethren who participated in the Arlington meeting last January some have written recently protesting the criticism subsequently sent their way. They charge that their motives have been impugned, their characters vilified, and the facts misrepresented. Perhaps this is so. It is not my purpose here to evaluate the articles written by others. However, I am one who wrote an article in criticism of the manner in which liberals have been allowed to use this meeting to spread their propaganda without refutation. This article appeared first in The Wayfinder', the local bulletin here, and then in The Gospel Guardian, July 25, 1968. It was written because it says some things that I sincerely felt, and feel, need to be said. Its statements are accurate. Its language is without malice, and so was, and is, my heart.

I work with a congregation in a small town in Oregon. Its establishment pre-dates the present controversy in the work and organization of the church. There is no liberal congregation in town. The nearest congregation where liberals can find sympathy without going to the Christian Church is Eugene, twenty miles north. When I moved here almost four years ago one of the problems confronting this congregation was the threat of a sizeable institutional element. Only one of these families provided any kind of militant leadership and they have since sought refuge for their error in Eugene. The remainder of this element seemed determined to remain indifferent to teaching on these problems, publicly at least, while expressing the idea that the controversy was all just a matter of opinion and therefore inconsequential. Hence, much of my effort in teaching on these issues has been devoted to proving that they do involve scriptural principles, the violation of which constitutes sin.

Then came February of this year (1968) and the Firm Foundation with a front page picture of twenty-five of the men who took part in the Arlington meeting and an accompanying editorial by Reuel Lemmons who was himself a participant in the meeting. Among other things he said these: "During the discussion it was brought out that there were several serious differences of opinion among the individual members of both teams, yet these differences did not reduce the members of the team to disfellowship. ...We pretty well healed in a single week the breach between ourselves, and we would to God that our example would become the course of action for all our brethren. ...There are still differences among us, and possibly there always will be, but we believe that both groups found these differences to be of such nature that a breach of fellowship over them is not necessary." This article was followed by others in the Christian Chronicle and Boles Home News with observations at least equally as wild.

Thus, what I have tried to prove to brethren in this community has been flatly contradicted by Brother Lemmons. This, of course, is neither surprising nor upsetting. However, what is upsetting is that Brother Lemmons implies in this contradiction the approval of thirteen well known conservative brethren who are thought of as influential and knowledgeable on these issues. What is more, to the time of this writing (late September) these brethren have been very reluctant to come out in print to challenge Brother Lemmons' evaluation of these issues and of the disposition of the participants in the Arlington meeting toward them. We are told that the published speeches will speak for themselves. I am confident that they will. But eight months have passed and there is no book yet. Further, I am told that its publication will be delayed for three or four months more. And in the meantime the propaganda of liberal promoters is still circulated going unchallenged by the only men who are qualified to refute it.

Brethren, I do not deny your right to meet to discuss any issue with anyone. I do not impugn your motives for doing so. I do not vilify your character. But I do, respectfully, urge you to write in refutation of such misrepresentations as the one circulated by Reuel Lemmons. You have not been bashful in answering conservative brethren you feel have misrepresented your part in the Arlington meeting. Why not do the same for the liberals involved in this, especially in view of the lengthy delay in the publication of the book of speeches?

In fact, I would be grateful for having such an article to place in the local bulletin here. — BB Rt., Box 191, Cottage Grove, Ore.