Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 6, 1951
NUMBER 18, PAGE 4-5b

Concerning Brother Lipscomb


(Editor's Note: We don't always see eye to eye with our brother editor of the Gospel Advocate either in his teaching or in his editorial policies; but there is one subject on which he'll hardly ever get an argument out of us. When he writes on the true greatness of David Lipscomb, both as to character and as to ability, we find ourselves in a highly agreeable and commendatory mood. That doesn't mean, of course, that we agree with everything Lipscomb taught or believed. We find ourselves at wide variance with some of his positions. But it does mean we regard him as one of the finest Bible scholars this century, or any other century, has seen. We have profited much from his writings: we have a profound and deep respect for what he might teach on any subject. And when we differ from him (as we do on a few points) it certainly does not mean that we belittle or undervalue his real worth as a Bible scholar. We regret and deplore any tendency on the part of anybody to "debunk" the Lipscomb stature. We publish herewith brother Goodpasture's comment on one such recent effort. Of course, we feel he may he just a little bit hard on Jimmy Lovell, the editor of California Christian. Those of us who know Jimmy from of old, and love him in spite of his faults, realize that he often (in fact, usually) has his tongue in over-drive before he ever lets the clutch in on his brain, and we are willing to overlook a lot of his wild and rash statements. But, even so, his statement concerning Bible students of our day in comparison with Lipscomb is just plain silly. We hope brother Goodpasture's strictures will encourage Jimmy to a more cautious utterance next time. But here is the article from the August 2 Gospel Advocate:)

We have recently read the illuminating (?) statement, "There are Bible students today far more able (Italics, mine - B.C.G.) to give advice on Bible subjects than David Lipscomb, who lived a few years back!!!"

This is about the coolest specimen of "debunking" that we have seen in many a day. Some years ago there was a group of "debunkers" who, among other things, tried to tell us that we held such men as Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln in too high esteem; that they were not nearly so great as the people of America think. If they could recite some thing, either real or imaginary, which would detract from the just renown of these men, they did so. They sought to ridicule the veracity of Washington, discredit the statesmanship of Jefferson and disparage the broad humanity of Lincoln. They even invaded the realm of literature and told us that Shakespeare did not write Shakespeare; that Milton was "preachy;" that Browning was not profound but mentally befuddled; and that Tennyson was commonplace. They seemed reluctant to admit that the past had produced men greater than the present—meaning, really greater than themselves. They were trying by this means to lay a wreath on the altar of their own learning and greatness!

But this latest attempt at "debunking" is about the most far-fetched and absurd thing of its kind that we have read. Note that it is not said that there are Bible students today "as able as" Lipscomb, or even "more able" than Lipscomb, but "FAR MORE ABLE" than Lipscomb, to give advice on Bible subjects.

There might be those who would feel that McGarvey had more technical equipment as a Bible student than Lipscomb and that Campbell possessed a broader scholarship; but to say that there are Bible students today "far more able to give advice on Bible subjects than David Lipscomb" is absurd. We know men who have carefully examined the writings of Campbell, Scott, McGarvey, Milligan, Grubbs and others, and they do not hesitate to say that they have never read from any uninspired man who had a better understanding of the Bible than David Lipscomb. Personally, we have, and have read, considerable material from the pioneers and those who have followed, yet we do not know of anyone whose advice on Bible subjects we would prefer to that of David Lipscomb.

Why does the editor of the California Christian feel the urge to "reduce David Lipscomb to his size" in the estimation of his readers? It is bad enough to depreciate the ability and work of the living to say nothing of the dead! If there are "Bible students today far abler to give advice on Bible subjects than David Lipscomb," why did not the "western representative of the DuPont Company" name them? If there are "Bible students today far abler to give advice on Bible subjects than David Lipscomb," why did he not give his readers the benefit of their advice? If there are "Bible students today far abler to give advice on Bible subjects than David Lipscomb," why did he give his readers the advice of Lipscomb? He claims there are students "far more able than Lipscomb." Does he think that Ralph Wilburn, former teacher at Pepperdine College and now teacher at Phillips University, Enid, Okla., a digressive institution, is a Bible student "far more able to give advice on Bible subjects than David Lipscomb?"

We do not think that brother Lovell is a modernist when he casts such reflections on the learning of Lipscomb, but he is using the tactics commonly employed by modernists in their attacks on those who believe in and defend the Bible, its inspiration and its miracles. The modern school of higher critics would not admit that James Orr, J. Gresham Machen, and W. H. Green were scholars. The fact that these men stood for the integrity of the Scriptures would disqualify them as scholars in the estimation of the modernists. We heard William J. Bryan, the Great Commoner, an elder in the Presbyterian Church, say, more than once, that his own brethren had said harder things about him than his political foes, the Republicans, ever thought of. He said that the Presbyterians, the liberal wing of them, said that he, Bryan, had never been rated very high intellectually.

But why does the "Pacific" editor thus speak disparagingly of David Lipscomb? Is it because he shares the partisan sentiments of those who speak of the "southern wing of the church?"


Ralph L. Starling, Stephenville, Texas, Aug. 21: "I have completed two meetings this summer. The first in Pearsall, Texas, with a small struggling congregation with the meeting supported by the Stephenville congregation. John D. Ragsdale, employed by the Humble Oil Co., is doing a fine work with them. The second meeting was with the Sixth St. congregation, Brownwood, Texas. These brethren are doing an outstanding work with little financially to do with. Nelson Stark is working with them and is doing a good job. They have a fine future ahead of them it seems."