Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 21, 1952
NUMBER 16, PAGE 4-5a

That Pepperdine Problem -- No. 7


Once again, after a silence of several months, brother E. V. Pullias of Pepperdine College attempts to justify his record and defend his school. This time his defense consists of two parts: (1) an attempt to discredit the Guardian, and (2) an argument from "names."

Discrediting The Guardian

Our brother, we respectfully suggest, must be suffering from intellectual rigor mortis if he supposes that, at this late date, he can intimidate us or discredit us by his childish and angry epithets. Brother Pullias, we have been "cussed" by experts. Your describing of us as 'factionists" and "a small party in the church" and "the Guardian boys" seems almost complimentary after some of the terms that have been hurled our way. But such puerile behavior can hardly be a sufficient answer to the serious charges that thousands (and we do mean THOUSANDS, brother) of godly brethren have leveled against the corrupt influence of Pepperdine College. Mud slinging and name-calling can never sway the sober judgment of sincere brethren.

Brother Pullias asks that you write brother W. B. West of Searcy, Arkansas, to check with him concerning our report of brother West's comment on the Pullias objection to teaching baptism to a group of Sunday school children because it would be wrong "to prejudice their little minds" on so controversial a subject. The conversation on that subject actually took place between sister West and brother Pullias (and was related to us by brother and sister West both); when Pullias had objected to the teaching of baptism, sister West then asked him, "Well, if we are not to teach on such subjects, then just what should we teach?" To which brother Pullias replied, "I just wish I knew, sister West; I wish I knew."

And as for writing Reuel Lemmons. Well, we've had occasion to talk with brother Lemmons within the last twenty-four hours, and we join with brother Pullias in insisting that you write him! In our editorial of May 22 we named Reuel Lemmons, along with Frank Pack, E. W. McMillan, Foy E. Wallace, Jr., Herman Campbell, John F. Wolfe, James A. Sewell and a number of others as being brethren who "at one time or another through these past ten years have made a personal plea to brother Pepperdine, brother Tiner, or brother Pullias, and sometimes to all three of them, for a correction of the abuses" which exist and which have brought the college to the verge of ruin. Brother Pullias charges us with outright falsehood on that and says, "I know first-hand brother Tant is misrepresenting brother Lemmons. Write him and see. Recall also that in the same way he misrepresented brother Pepperdine about what he said at Abilene. This is very sad for a minister of the gospel, but sadly true in this case."

We want you to write brother Lemmons (if you are that much interested) and ask him the simple question of whether he did, or did NOT, "make a personal plea... for a correction of the abuses" in Pepperdine College!

That was what we said of him; that is the point on which brother Pullias calls us a liar. Brother Lemmons assures us that he DID make such a plea in Tiner's own home, and that Tiner; Pullias, and Jimmie Lovell were all present! Not only so, but in the very moment of his departure, he repeated and re-emphasized his plea to brother Tiner alone. He says he urged him to DO SOMETHING about the dean of the school and warned him that the brotherhood was going to write off both Pepperdine College and Hugh Tiner as bad investments unless some changes were made. He told brother Hugh, in effect, what scores of others have told him — that if he would only be president of the school instead of a mere figurehead, and would actively control the school instead of letting Pullias set the policies, there might be some hope; but otherwise the school would continue to lose favor with the brethren everywhere. It is sad indeed for a minister of the gospel and a dean of a college to be so careless with facts as brother Pullias was in his vicious charge against us in this matter, but it is sadly true in this case!

It is now purely a question of veracity between brother Pullias and brother Lemmons. Lemmons says he made the plea; Pullias says he did not. Those who know the two men, and their records through the years, will have little hesitancy in deciding which of them has shown the greater fidelity to truth and principle.

Arguing With Names

The second portion of the Pullias defense is the old, old "argument from names" device. He lists a considerable number of the Pepperdine faculty, board members, and patrons, and asks if you think these good people would continue their connection with the school if conditions were as bad as pictured.

What our brother did NOT tell, but what be knows full well, is that a considerable number of those he named are staying with the school only in the hope of removing the Pullias influence front the institution and salvaging Pepperdine College for the purpose for which it was originally intended! One of the very men he names told this writer not many weeks ago, "Pepperdine College will neither have, nor deserve, the confidence of Christian people until some radical changes are made." He further said, "If you will keep hammering from the outside, I and others will keep hammering from the inside, and maybe we can finally get the thing straightened out." It was this hope (a forlorn one we are firmly convinced) which kept men like W. B. West, Jr., and Herman Campbell on the faculty of Pepperdine College for many years. When they finally became completely disillusioned on that score, they resigned.

We seriously question the judgment of these good brethren in trying to save the school in this method. They are being used, their names exploited, and their influence jeopardized by their continued alliance with brother Pullias. For, as we pointed out two weeks ago, this whole problem has arisen out of the ambitious desire on the part of certain brethren (headed by brother Ralph Wilburn and brother E. V. Pullias) to "liberalize" the thinking and attitudes of faithful churches. Make no mistake about it: faithful Christians all over the land are awakening to the danger. There are an increasing number (rapidly increasing) of congregations in California and all over the west who are so alarmed over the situation that they will give no encouragement or recognition in any way to the faculty and students of Pepperdine College.

Unanswered Questions

Our brother airily dismisses our questions with the comment that they are of the "Have you quit beating your wife?" variety. That would be an easy out. But as a matter of fact, "Have you quit beating your wife?" would be a very logical and sensible question to ask a man who for six years had been a notorious, infamous, and self-admitted wife-beater!! For six years E. V. Pullias met regularly with an apostate church, worshipped with them, was a member of their teaching staff, and, as far as we know, has never made any kind of public statement that he thought he sinned in so doing. Furthermore, brother Pullias even to this day openly and unashamedly affiliates with Presbyterian, Lutheran, apostate Christian, and other denominational churches, worships with them, participates in their teaching program, fellowships them fully in public meetings. In view of these actions, we think it quite proper to insist that he answer the questions which he has ignored these many months:

1. If you were again situated as you were in Durham, North Carolina, would you again worship with an apostate Christian Church, or would you try to start a loyal New Testament congregation in that town?

2. Do you still think it was only a matter of "bad judgment" for you to worship six years with an apostate church, or do you think you sinned in so doing?

3. If you think you sinned, have you made public confession of the sin, and acknowledged that you did do wrong?

4. If you have not made public confession of a public sin, do you contemplate doing so at any time in the near future?

5. Since your association with the Christian Church in Bakersfield offended your brethren there, have you taken steps to correct the matter? And do you contemplate doing so?

6. Do you still endorse and defend Ralph Wilburn as you have for the past several years?

Brother Pullias has now written many thousands of words trying to defend himself and Pepperdine College, but he has NOT answered these questions which have been before him for many months, and which we have repeatedly entreated him to answer. A truthful answer to them, without dodging or equivocating, will reveal exactly why we are concerned, and why thousands of others are concerned as to the threat this school poses to the church of our Lord. Our brother is no doubt very considerate of his own wife, but there are many who feel that he has on more than one occasion given a black eye to the bride of Christ.

— F. Y. T.