Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 6, 1951
NUMBER 31, PAGE 4-5b

Concerning Publications


On another page in this issue we publish an article taken from Gospel Visitor, the weekly publication of Tenth and Francis church in Oklahoma City. Brother Jack Meyer who preaches for that congregation is the editor of this fine little paper. It is hardly accurate to call this a "church bulletin," for it is so much more than the word "bulletin" conveys. Intended primarily, of course, for the members and former members of Tenth and Francis congregation, the paper nevertheless goes to several hundred people who are not members of the congregation, and each week carries teaching of the most effective and convincing character.

It is a source of real satisfaction to us to receive each week scores of church bulletins and other, more pretentious, gospel papers. We rejoice at the multiplication of such mediums. We believe it would be a dangerous "trend" for one or two or three religious papers to become so influential as to dominate the thinking of the brotherhood. And we certainly do include Gospel Guardian in any category of this kind. We rejoice to see the Guardian grow, of course; we want to see additional thousands reading our articles, discussing the issues, thinking on the problems that are presented. But we would consider it a highly unhealthy and dangerous development if the Gospel Guardian should ever reach the point where her statements, simply because they are her statements, would be considered as conclusive and final on the matters discussed. There is one final authority—God's word; and if we can have a score, or a hundred, gospel journals reaching into the various areas with that word as their burden, we have a far healthier situation than if one paper were reaching all these many readers.

We have seen the tragic history of how a paper can become the organ of a party, a faction. The Christian Standard among religious journals spearheaded the digression. Consider what devastating effect that paper would have had on the cause of Christ had not David Lipscomb and his co-workers been willing to make such titanic efforts to keep the Gospel Advocate going and to counteract the vicious, one-sided propaganda of the Standard.

Then when the "re-baptism" controversy began to rage, consider how effective and how salutary was the effect of the Firm Foundation in waging a mighty battle for close and strict adherence to the New Testament teaching on that subject. Through long and earnest controversy between the two journals the truth of God's word was hammered out in such clear and unmistakable outline that all could see it. And when the hot fires of controversy caused the writers on both papers to think carefully, cautiously, and earnestly concerning every statement made and every position taken; when loose statements were withdrawn and careless utterances were eliminated, it was found that there was very little substantial difference between the actual teaching and practice of the brethren on both sides of the issue. But it took a prolonged (and sometimes bitter) controversy to bring out and demonstrate this real agreement. The editor's own father, J. D. Tant, was in the very fore-front of that battle. As a Texan and a loyal supporter of the Firm Foundation he was regarded by some as the "rankest of the rank" hobby-riders on the "re-baptism" question. Or, in his own words, many thought he was "riding the cow-catcher" of the "re-baptism hobby train." But because he knew and loved Lipscomb, and had confidence in him, and was known and loved by brother Lipscomb, he served for several years as "field editor" of the Gospel Advocate. It would probably have been bad for the cause generally if either the Advocate or the Foundation had folded up and gone out of business during that controversy.

And so the matter goes. Today there is far less danger than there was a generation ago. All over the country there are gospel papers, some large, some small, some reaching many thousands, some reaching only a few hundred, some well written, others less well written—but in the very multiplicity and diversity of them there is strength and safety. For now there are thousands of gospel preachers and careful Bible students who are studying, thinking watching, —and who have some medium through which they can be heard. If any one journal among takes up with some error, it's destructiveness cannot be so widespread as was the havoc wrought by the Christian Standard four-score years ago; for now there are checks and balances.

So we commend to you such organs and publications as Gospel Visitor, and all the scores of other smaller journals. Get as many as you can; read them; study the sermons, essays, editorials, comments, and Bible lessons that are in them. Become acquainted with as many papers and writers as you can. You will find a wide diversity as to types of publications. Some, like Christian Chronicle, are primarily newspapers; others, like Ancient Landmarks, are designed particularly for the non-member of the church; still others, like 20th Century Christian (the very excellent pocket-size monthly edited by Norvel Young at Lubbock, TX), carry short inspirational-type articles on Christian living. One of the best of the newer publications is The Christian Advocate an eight-page monthly edited by Waymon Miller from Johannesburg, South Africa. Incidentally, it is unlike most papers in that "It is distributed free to all interested in a sincere study of the Bible." If you want it, you may write to 85 Sixth Street, Orange Grove, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Brother James R. Cope and a very able corps of writers are now in the mails with The Preceptor, a monthly magazine emphasizing particularly the field of Christian apologetics. Brother Ralph Casey of 2201 Pine Trail S. E., Atlanta, Georgia, is just starting a little organ Facts and Figures which will deal particularly with statistics, as the name indicates. He makes a careful compilation of reports concerning the growth of the church, additions from various denominational sources, new congregations begun, debates held, etc. An inspirational and valuable little journal for those who are particularly interested in this angle.

And, of course, the Gospel Guardian continues as in the past to be "dedicated to the propagation and defense of New Testament Christianity." We provide a free and open discussion of the issues that confront the church; we ride no hobby, and we are not trying to "promote" any thing save the church. In brotherly discussion there is a safeguard against apostasy. Our pages are open, and shall remain open, to a discussion of both sides of controversial questions. We think it is fairly evident by now that the Guardian is the only publication among us of any national circulation or statue that maintains this "open forum" policy. Others have made claim to such, but their actions belie their words. We are grateful for the loyal support our readers have given this journal, and we ask a continuation of that kind of cooperation.

— F.Y.T.