Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 21, 1952
NUMBER 41, PAGE 1-3a

Reply To Brother Tant's Accusations

E. V. Pullias, Dean, George Pepperdine College

The body of Christ is a sacred institution. As members of that body we have heavy and sacred responsibilities. All others who are disciples are fellow-members of that body and are our spiritual brothers. This family of God, in order to be well pleasing to the Father, must behave themselves in accordance with Christlike principles.

Why brother Yater Tant, editor of the Gospel Guardian, should harm me and Pepperdine College is difficult to understand. I have seen brother Tant only once or twice and that only to speak to him casually. He has been on the campus of Pepperdine College only a time or two and then only for a short visit. He has never talked with me, has never heard me speak, has never written me (so far as I can remember), and I am sure has never written to me to mention any faults he feels I might have. He has never written me about the college or its work.

Yet in an editorial for the Gospel Guardian for November 15, 1951, he makes an extremely serious and damaging accusation against me without giving the slightest bit of evidence for his accusation. He makes this serious indictment against me—a brother in Christ—without seeing or attempting to see me, or without seeing or communicating with the elders of the congregation where I worship, or without seeing or attempting to communicate with the Board of the college for which I work. Further, his reference to me seems to be caustic and slurring.

Many who read the Guardian must be saddened by brother Tant's tendency to make irresponsible accusations. In recent weeks the Guardian has carried slanderous accusations against the character of brother B. C. Goodpasture, editor of the Gospel Advocate; has accused the elderly and beloved G. H. P. Showalter, editor of the Firm Foundation, of irresponsibly commending false teachers; and has proclaimed that brother Cecil Wright's "Analysis of the Cooperation Issue" is the digressive position—that is, false and unscriptural. This is to mention only three cases of his tendency to indict his brethren. I believe this sort of thing does great harm to the body of Christ.

I regret to mention these truths about brother Tant, particularly since he is a fellow-member of the body of Christ. I would not harm him for anything in the world. Rather, I am deeply sorry for him. The road he is taking is contrary to Christ's way, and if continued, can only disturb and divide the body of Christ. May God forgive brother Tant the harm he is doing the church is my earnest prayer. If anything I have done has provoked him to evil, I am deeply sorry.

It has been my policy for many years, under the advice of older and wiser brethren and in the light of New Testament teaching, as I understand it, not to reply to attacks upon me. It does not seem right to air such personal contentions and controversies before the whole church. I reply now to brother Tant's false indictment because what he has to say, if left unchallenged, might damage the great work we are doing for hundreds of Christian young people here at Pepperdine College. I wish brother Tant could find it in his heart to help this great work rather than hindering it by promoting misunderstanding; but of course, every man must do what he considers to be right however misguided he may be.

Without any evidence whatever brother Tant in his editorial says that I am a Modernist, predicts I will join the Christian Church, and implies rather directly that he would be very glad if I did so. To say the least, this is strange behavior toward a brother he has hardly seen and never talked with.

Here are the facts open to the knowledge of all and subject to checking by all:

1. For many years I have taught and written about the Gospel of Christ. Throughout these years I have believed and taught the following fundamental truths which, if I understand Modernism, is the very opposite of what it teaches. I do not like to attempt to state a creed. The central plea of the churches of Christ for more than one hundred years is to have no creed except the Bible, but in the face of brother Tant's accusation's, perhaps it will not be amiss to mention a few of the fundamental beliefs of our Christian faith which, as I said before, I have believed and taught since I could first remember, having learned them at my mother's knee since childhood and from the teachings of such stalwart preachers of the Word as E. A. Elam, F. D. Srygley, H. Leo Boles, T. Q. Martin, A. G. Freed, S. H. Hall, N. B. Hardeman, C. R. Nichol, C. M. Pullias, G. C. Brewer, and many others.

What else can we believe and teach except that God has revealed himself in Jesus, the Christ, his blessed Son —in his life, death, burial, and resurrection—that Jesus came to the earth to purchase the church (his body, his bride) with his precious blood; that all we need to know and do to be a member of that church and behave ourselves properly in it is recorded in the inspired book we call the New Testament; and that anything in doctrine or in manner of life that stops short of this full will of God, or anything that goes beyond it is wrong? These things and whatever else is found in God's Word I believe, strive to teach, and to live. You who read this must judge whether or not these teachings are Modernism.

2. Almost continuously since I obeyed the Gospel about twenty-seven years ago, being baptized by brother H. Leo Boles, I have taught Sunday school classes, and I am still teaching an adult class. Never in all that time has anyone in my classes even suggested to me or, to my knowledge, to the elders whom I served that my teaching had any tinge of Modernism about it.

3. I have preached and spoken for numerous church of Christ audiences for more than twenty years, including many churches in California. Not once has anyone in my audience complained to me or, to my knowledge, to the elders of the congregation where I have spoken that there is any tendency toward Modernism in my preaching.

4. I have written regularly for the religious journals in circulation in the brotherhood for fifteen years or more. There has never been, to my knowledge, a single published criticism of these writings or a single personal word to me that they might show any tendency toward Modernism.

5. I have taught elementary and advanced courses in psychology at Pepperdine College for fourteen years. In these classes have been a number of faithful preachers. Not once did any of these men say they felt that my teaching weakened their faith or that it showed any tendency toward Modernism. Nor, to my knowledge, has any one of my students, including numerous young ministers, indicated to the Department of Religion, to the President of the college, or to the members of the Board of Pepperdine College that they had any criticism of my teaching so far as religion is concerned. (Of course, they had many criticisms on other grounds, some saying it was too hard, some that it was dry, some that it didn't make sense, and so on, but none said that it showed any tendency toward Modernism.)

6. For about twenty years I have written for professional journals of psychology and education. These articles have, of course, been public property, but not once has any of my brethren suggested that there was any tendency toward Modernism in these scientific articles.

7. For fourteen years I have worked closely with Christian men in discussion groups and on intimate faculty committees. These men have included among many others the following: brother Batsell Baxter, brother C. R. Nichol, brother Norvel Young, brother W. B. West, Jr., brother J. P. Sanders, brother J. D. Fenn, brother Joseph White, brother James Dixon, brother Wade Ruby. Not once has any one of these men through all these years so much as hinted to me that he thought I leaned toward Modernism. I am confident that they have not suggested such a thing to others, for knowing the integrity of these men, I know they would have spoken to me directly if they had such a criticism. They have certainly not refrained from criticizing me on other points when they thought I deserved it.

Now in the face of these facts brother Tant who has never talked with me makes this extremely serious accusation against me. I do not intend to enter a public altercation about whatever faults brother Tant may be able to dig up about me. On this point I am like dear old brother Srygley when he said, "I can tell you more things that are wrong with me than you can possibly know."

It is true that about twenty years ago I taught the Bible to a group of ladies in a "Disciples of Christ" church for a time and another class of young people at Duke University. (I have, of course, never been a member of any religious organization except the church of Christ and never intend to be.) I thought at the time I was doing right to take the opportunity to teach, but it may be my judgment was bad. It is true that I am inclined to speak at any place where I am given the freedom to teach what I believe the Bible teaches and where I sincerely believe I have opportunity to do good. My judgment may be wrong in this also, but I have thought I was following the example of Jesus and the apostles on this point. It is also true I have offered prayer in all sorts of places—over the graves of sinful men, in churches, at the dedication of buildings, at the beginning of programs, etc. And in doing so, some of my brethren have felt I have partaken of any evil that may have been present where I was praying. Those brethren may be right, but I think not.

Further, I do not teach and preach in the same way as some of my brethren, but I have believed sincere men will vary in the approach they take in teaching the Gospel. Certainly many types of preaching and teaching may do good. Of course, I have made numerous personal mistakes through the years that brother Tant with proper regard may be able to list if he thinks it will do good. But all of this will be beside the point of his accusation for as I have shown, I believe, beyond reasonable doubt, a leaning toward Modernism has not been one of my faults.

I sincerely hope that nothing in this "reply" meant like boasting, for I dislike the spirit of boasting certainly my achievements have been small and humble indeed, and it would be both inaccurate and unbecoming to boast about them.

Finally I wish to say a word about Pepperdine College. We who work here believe that these beautiful buildings and grounds and this excellent equipment are a sacred trust to be used for the glory of God and the very best service to young people. It is our earnest desire to keep every part of the college as true to New Testament teaching as is humanly possible. President Tiner and I, under the direction of a devout Christian board and with the help of the faculty, have the heavy responsibility of making and keeping this college all that you would want a Christian college to be. We want our brethren everywhere to help us in this work. We are glad to receive their criticisms for we know we make mistakes.

We find it difficult to understand why some of our brethren insist on slandering the work here (although it seems that some of our brethren slander nearly all good works), particularly since they do not speak to us first. We have only one request to make about criticisms that you hear about Pepperdine College: Check the criticisms first-hand. Do not take them on hearsay or gossip, especially from disgruntled people who may be jealous and who may hold personal grudges. If the criticisms are found to be true, we are the first to want to know about them and will do our best to correct them in the light of the spirit of Christ, as we understand it. You can be sure this school is wholly and permanently dedicated to New Testament Christianity and will do all in its power to strengthen the faith, increase the zeal, and promote the growth of Christ likeness in all young people who enter its doors.

Since I prepared this reply to brother Tant's accusations, he has published another false report about me. I refer to the article entitled, "E. V. Pullias Affiliates With the Christian Church." Brother Tant and brother Thompson (the author of the article) both know that this title and the implications of the article are totally and maliciously false. The facts are that I spoke in a Bakersfield Christian Church on a Friday night by invitation on the topic "Christian Education." I had no other part in the exercises. In my speech, as is my custom on such occasions, I spent considerable time emphasizing that in religion at Pepperdine College we stand for pure New Testament Christianity and oppose any going beyond the Word or stopping short of it. I did not know there was a meeting going on at the church of Christ in Bakersfield, nor did I know the Christian Church there was having religious speakers that week. I had never met the Christian Church preacher there previous to my speech, nor do I know Mr. Jessup.

Under the guidance of the elders where I worship and the Board of Trustees of the institution I serve, it has been my policy to speak or preach wherever and whenever it seems good can be done. This, as I see it, is the New Testament position on this point, and I could not in good conscience do otherwise. I have no relation whatever with the Christian Church, and do not expect to have, but following the example and teaching of the Christ and his apostles, I shall take every opportunity available to preach the Word. I certainly would not have made the speech at Bakersfield had I known it would offend my good brethren there or if there had been any reason to think a speech on Christian education would harm the cause of Christ there. Of course, if the speech has done harm, I am very sorry. I am sorry too that brother Tant has distributed what he must have known was a bald falsehood about a brother. I know more Jewish rabbis in this State than I do Christian Church preachers, and it would have been just as accurate if he had said I was affiliated with the Jews. Such complete disregard for truth is serious for anybody, but for Christians it is tragic.