Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 28, 1952
NUMBER 42, PAGE 4-5a

That Pepperdine Problem – No. 2


In our editorial last week we quoted a statement from brother E. V. Pullias concerning "the facts open to the knowledge of all and subject to checking by all." That statement referred particularly to brother Pullias' own record. But certainly the record of Pepperdine College should equally be "subject to checking by all." It is a school soliciting the patronage of Christian people; and those who send their children there, or encourage other young people to go there, are entitled to have the "facts" concerning the school.

It will be much to the advantage of brethren Pullias and Tiner, as well as to the advantage of the school to have such FACTS made public if indeed there has been misrepresentation. We believe now that the subject is open it is time to give a complete airing to the whole problem. Such an open and free examination can clear the air, and perhaps help to remove the black and ominous cloud that has settled like a pall over the college, making her a reproach and a stench in the nostrils of faithful Christians in the west. Let us keep the subject "open to the knowledge of all and subject to checking by all" until something is done about it, one way or the other.

We wish to emphasize that these editorials represent the cumulative judgment of literally hundreds of faithful and intelligent Christians who are in close touch with the situation. Material for them has come from a wide range of sources — scores of newspaper clippings extending back over a period of nearly fifteen years, personal interviews with a great host of gospel preachers and earnest, thoughtful elders, long conversations with numerous students of the school (from the past as well as some who are now enrolled there), talks with faculty members and former faculty members, with members of the Board of Directors, both past and present, as well as written statements from a number whom we have not been able to see personally. Furthermore, these articles have been read and checked for accuracy of fact and fairness of statement by something like a score of brethren in the Los Angeles area. (Both editorials were prepared while we were in Long Beach, near the end of a six weeks preaching engagement in California.)


Brother Pullias spoke of "truths" and "facts." The following statements are FACTS, "open to the knowledge of all and subject to checking by all":

I. Students who spend four years at Pepperdine College are usually lost to the church. This is a notorious fact, known to scores of congregations throughout the west. There are exceptions, of course; but the preachers and elders with whom we have talked are practically unanimous in saying that very, very few students who spend four years in Pepperdine College return to their home congregations with anything like the zeal and faith they had when they left. They come back home less interested in the church, more worldly minded, and much more critical of the church. Jesus said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." The "fruits" of the Pepperdine influence in the lives of the majority of young Christians who go there are baneful and malevolent. (Again, we want to emphasize that, this is not true of all students, for certainly all of us can point to specific cases to the contrary; but this is the ease with the majority by far.)

2. Christian students on the campus are outnumbered approximately nine to one. With a student body that is 90 percent Catholic, Jewish, Presbyterian, Congregational, Methodist, and of no religious belief of any sort, it is well nigh an impossible task to create anything even remotely approaching the atmosphere of a school like Abilene Christian College or Florida Christian College.

3. In its efforts "to make and keep the college what you would want a Christian college to be" the administration has regular chapel services. Students are summoned to this worship period by the melodic tones of a musical instrument playing religious hymns. Once the chapel period is under way, however, the instrument is silenced, and the students sing without it. Then the chapel speaker (likely as not a Jewish rabbi, a Catholic priest, a Hollywood movie star, a denominational preacher, or an atheistic scientist) makes a talk. There is frequent argument between the preacher boys in the college and the denominational students over the question of instrumental music — with the denominational students ridiculing the Christian boys, and throwing into their teeth the fact that their own professors (the administration) use instrumental music to call the students together for chapel worship!

4. Immorality on the Pepperdine campus has become so well known and so malodorous as to have been a subject for serious discussion in the deliberations of the Los Angeles Board of Education. We recognize, of course, that it is impossible to prevent a certain amount of irregularities in that respect. But the attitude of the administration of Pepperdine College has been such seemingly as to encourage laxity and looseness. Drunkenness, gambling, and sexual improprieties have given the school a name that is simply disreputable — even in loose-living, sinful California! So shameful has the situation been that on more than one occasion the better element among the students themselves have appealed to the administration for a cleanup. And didn't get it, but were rather "put on the spot themselves by the faculty for their "meddling"! Does brother Pullias want us to publish statements from former students giving names, dates, and incidents to substantiate this fact?

5. This very hour there is a biology teacher on the Pepperdine faculty (Professor Cooper) who is an ardent evolutionist, teaches the theory openly in his classes, ridicules the Bible story of creation, and belittles the scholarship of any one who would question the evolutionary hypothesis.

6. The long and stubborn defense of brother Ralph Wilburn is a revealing commentary as to the school's attitude toward error. When Wilburn was finally asked to resign from the school, he went out without one word from the administration indicating that he was being removed because of his false teaching. As a matter of fact he was NOT removed because of his false teaching, but rather because of the criticism that was being made against him. We challenge brother Pullias (who was an elder in the Vermont Avenue congregation where Wilburn preached) to name one false teaching of Wilburn's that he ever opposed or sought to correct in any public way. Wilburn's teaching of falsehood was public, prolonged, and persistent. Pullias knew of his teaching, accepted it without opposition, retained Wilburn as the preacher at Vermont Avenue church — and defends him to this very day! (Wilburn is now preaching for the liberal wing of the Christian Church.)

Not only are the foregoing FACTS known to the administration of the school; they are likewise known to the Board of Directors, George Pepperdine and his wife, Don Miller, Clarence Shattuck, Hugh Tiner, James L. Lovell, and M. S. Rucker. If the board does NOT know these facts, then it is guilty of incredible inefficiency and ineptitude. If it does know them (as we aver) it is morally responsible for such a condition.

Let the subject be kept "open till something is done!

— F.Y.T.