Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 21, 1952
NUMBER 16, PAGE 8-10

Pepperdine College, Setting The Record Straight -- II.

E. V. Pullias, Los Angeles, California

Sincere readers of the Gospel Guardian will keep an important point in mind. Since the founding of Pepperdine College more than fifteen years ago, it has been our policy not to reply to irresponsible charges and gossip. We believe that we should do the very best job we can for young people taking great care to stay as close as possible to God's will in what we do and teach, correcting mistakes as rapidly as possible and ignoring false reports. This is still our policy.

Why then did we decide to reply to brother Tant's charges? After prayerful consideration, those of us who are responsible for the work here, including brother Pepperdine, concluded that you who are readers of the Gospel Guardian would like to know the facts about Pepperdine College. With this article we believe the basic facts that are of chief interest to you have been given. If you missed brother Pepperdine's report on the college, be sure to look that up for I know all of you appreciate what he has done and are interested to know how he feels about the college he founded.

Perhaps I should say in passing that brother Tant's last reports (1) that ten years ago I told brother West that children should not be taught baptism and (2) that I refused to speak on our lectureship on hell and damnation for false teachers have the same amount of truth in them as his report that I offered the invitation at a Christian Church in Bakersfield — that is, none. Our lectureship programs are planned by a committee of several men. I have never refused to speak on any subject this committee thought advisable. If you want to check this matter since brother West's name was used by brother Tant, I suggest that you write brother West.

Let us give brother Tant the benefit of the doubt and say that depending upon second, third and fourth hand reports, his reports are unreliable. What else could they be? You will notice that all he says is what "scores" or even "thousands" of people have told him — in short, he depends upon what he has heard and what he thinks he has heard.

In trying to take himself off the rumor mongering spot on which he has placed himself, he has used the names of many fine men very loosely. These men are not going to follow brother Tant in his gossip mongering. Some of them have criticisms of Pepperdine College (so do I and many others), but whatever they have to say, they have said or will say it directly to us and not through the doubtful Tant oracle. Some of the men mentioned by brother Tant are his satellites and make up a small party in the church sometimes called "the Guardian boys." It is open knowledge that they have attempted to dictate to the preachers in this area, threatening them if they spoke or taught at the college or attended certain meetings. Of course, most men refuse to let a faction speak for them.

Since the spirit of the men at Pepperdine College is the opposite of the division spirit of this faction, the men of the faction must destroy the influence of the college — the large body of men who work here and worship and preach for various churches — and even the influence of brother Pepperdine (see brother Yater's response to brother Pepperdine's article about the college) in order to establish and maintain their control out here. Brother Hugh Tiner is probably better known and more widely respected among the churches in California than any other one man out here — hence, the continuous attack on him or anyone else that seems to compete with this faction's power. The men who have cast their lot with the Guardian will, of course, pipe whatever tune brother Tant calls. But brother Tant includes men of independent mind and sincere purpose in his list who will have nothing to do with the Guardian and its tactics.

I cannot refrain from referring to a typical exaggeration of brother Tant's in the Guardian of May 22, 1952: "They have spoken, brother; Oh! how they have spoken — not once, or twice, or five or six times; not a dozen times, or a score of times; but times without number!" Now I am aware that in this quotation and in the sentences which follow brother Tant may be engaging in what sometimes is called "poetic license" and is exaggerating for the purpose of effect. But "times without number" is a lot of times. The truth is if these men have talked, they have talked chiefly to brother Tant and to one another for they have said little or nothing to brother Tiner or to me. Some of them offered specific criticisms from time to time and this we have appreciated and profited from.

Brother Tant knows that if a Christian has a criticism, he should go in the spirit of Christ to the person involved, and he must know that the Guardian is notorious throughout the brotherhood for its violation of this truth. To test brother Tant's accuracy write brother Reuel Lemmons, P. O. Box 567, Cleburne, Texas, (whose name brother Tant includes in his list) who was the principal speaker on our lectureship last year. In a sincere spirit of Christian interest and love brother Lemmons talked at length with brother Tiner and me about Christian education and Pepperdine College. I know firsthand 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.

I have not answered brother Tant's questions because they are of the "Have you quit beating your wife?" variety. As I have said before, I have done many things unwise and wrong in my life. I have repented as sincerely as I know how when I have known the wrong and would try to avoid such mistakes if I had my life to live over. But I have not up to now felt that the Gospel Guardian was the proper place for confession and repentance.

Now to a final bit of setting the record straight about Pepperdine College. Brother George Pepperdine, blessed greatly by God, accumulated a considerable fortune. Since 1937 he has invested more than three million dollars in a college for Christian young people, especially for boys and girls here in the west. The great good the college has done, is doing, and if God wills, will continue to do is the joy of Mr. Pepperdine's life (see his recent report on the college).

In building the college we have made mistakes, and we will likely make some others in the future, but we are doing our best to develop an institution that will continue to be a blessing to your young people. Some of our purposes follow: to be absolutely true to God's Word in all religious teaching; to teach our young people the Christ-like life, and as near possible, give them an example of Christ-likeness; to correct them firmly when they are wrong; to strengthen and encourage them in the right; and to give them an excellent training in their academic studies.

Now, as you know, brother Yater Tant, who has never been on the Pepperdine campus for more than a few hours, lives more than one thousand miles away, and has never done anything to help this work, has made extremely slanderous charges against this college — its founder, its board, its faculty, its student body, its alumni, and by implication all the Christian parents who have sent sons and daughters here. This is quite a bit of territory even for brother Tant to take in.

When brother Tant and his associates attack the morality and general integrity of Pepperdine College, remember who is being attacked. He is attacking the integrity of the founder and Board of Trustees, composed of the following men: George Pepperdine, Mrs. George Pepperdine, James L. Lovell, Donald V. Miller, M. S. Rucker, Clarence Shattuck, and Hugh M. Tiner. These people are all active church members and leaders in God's work and have been for many years. Their knowledge of the school is close and continuous. Does anyone believe these people would tolerate and condone the conditions brother Tant reports?

There are the heads of departments, including the following men and women: (In each case the educational training of each person is given, because these people are in educational work. Of course, the degrees have nothing to do with their church relation.) Eugene White, M.A., (deacon and preacher); Russell Squire, Ph.D. (Elder and preacher); James Young, Ph.D.; Paul Highby, Ph.D.; J. D. Penn, M.A. (preacher); George Campbell, Ph.D.; Lonnie Vanderveer, M.A. (elder);. Wade Ruby, Ph.D. (preacher); Wreathy Aiken, Ph.D. (Bible teacher); Dedrich Navall, Ph.D.; Frances Campbell, Ph.D.; A. O. Duer, M.A. (elder); Tillman Hall, Ed.D.; Everett Shostrom, Ph.D.; Joseph W. White, M.A. (preacher); Woodrow Whitten, Ph.D. (preacher); Richard Hogan, Ph.D. (Bible teacher); and Robert Broadus, Ph.D. (preacher).

All of these people are active workers in the church of Christ except one. Look this list over carefully. Do you believe these men and women would condone the conditions brother Tant reports and continue to work year in and year out at a place such as he describes?

Other well-known preachers and church workers who are connected with Pepperdine but are not heads of departments are William Allen, M.D. (deacon, Bible teacher, and preacher); Leo Ashby, Ph.D. (Bible teacher); Richard Clark, Ph.D. (deacon); Hubert Derrick, M. A. (preacher); James C. Dixon, M.A. (preacher); Frances Easley, Ed. D. (Bible teacher); Elmer Grimes, M.S. (deacon and Bible teacher); Hubert Hall, M.A. (preacher); Morgan Harlan, M.A. (preacher); L. C. Houser, B.S. (preacher and deacon); Emmett Long, M.A. (preacher); Leonard Lewis, Ed.D. (elder); James Smythe, M.A. (preacher); William Stivers, M.A. (preacher and deacon); Herman Wilson, M. A. (preacher); Walter King, B.A. (deacon); Michio Nagai, B.A. (preacher); J. Eddie Weems, M. A. (preacher); and S. H. Hall (preacher).

Study this list. Do you believe these men would cooperate with and condone the dreadful conditions brother Tant reports?

Hundreds of Christian parents have sacrificed to send their sons and daughters to Pepperdine College so that they could get their education in a Christian atmosphere. Numerous parents have sent more than one member of their family to attend Pepperdine College; in some cases as many as six children from a Christian home have attended Pepperdine College. The great majority of the parents who have enrolled children in Pepperdine speak with highest praise of the college and its work. Hundreds of Christian parents continue to send their sons and daughters to school here. Do you think these parents would support and praise Pepperdine College if it were a place such as brother Tant claims?

The girls' dormitories at Pepperdine are under the supervision of Mrs. Edwina Wilson (for many years Dean of Women at Freed-Hardeman College) and Mrs. Mary Hall (highly respected daughter-in-law of brother S. H. Hall). The boys' dormitories are supervised by brother Ray Lawyer (a deacon in the church and a member of one of the finest Christian families in the brotherhood). Can you believe that these people would condone and be a part of an evil place such as brother Tant reports Pepperdine to be?

It is very strange that brother Tant can see only evil and no good at all in the school which represents the life work of all these worthy Christian men and women, and which has graduated so many fervent young preachers and mission field workers.

Thus my proof of the inaccuracy of brother Tant's charges about Pepperdine College is the unquestioned integrity and excellent reputation of the men and women who hold positions of leadership and responsibility at the college. You know and I know that these people would not continue to work for and enthusiastically support at a personal sacrifice an institution that is a "stench," to repeat brother Tant's phrase. Think about the situation: Brother Tant has never been on the campus of Pepperdine College except for a brief visit or two and by his own admission picks up material from hearsay and gossip. He proposes to "inform" people throughout the country about conditions at Pepperdine College. His information is contrary to what all the men and women of integrity listed above say by their actions and their words is true about this college.

For example, all of you brethren who know, love, and respect brother J. Eddie Weems will be interested to know that he will be back with us this fall teaching Bible, English, and coaching. He began work with the college its first year. He is high in his praise of the college. Would you think brother J. Eddie Weems or brother Yater Tant would know more about Pepperdine College? Brother Weems' address is Temple, Texas, if you wish to check this.

Does this mean that all these people who work here believe everything is perfect at Pepperdine College? Certainly not. Our young people (and even our old ones) make mistakes and will continue to make them. The same is true of every home, church, and school. We have approximately a thousand college young people studying and working together on this campus. There is hardly a day but what some type of problem arises. You can be sure that whenever mistakes are made, diligent and prompt attention is given to them and proper corrections are made. The important point is that the highly trained Christian men and women listed above and others not listed are giving their lives to do a good job for the young people at Pepperdine College. Numerous patrons and others who know the facts feel a good, solid job is being done. Hardly a week goes by but what some parent writes to express his appreciation.

As reports appear our only request is that you check the facts for yourselves. The facts are what we want you to know. I am glad to report that we are having more applications for entrance for next fall from young people from families from the church of Christ than we have had in many years.

Since the beginning of this exchange with brother Tant, I have been concerned lest we in our eagerness to do what we believe to be right should actually harm the sacred body of Christ. The Devil is constantly at work among God's people. He never misses an opportunity to lead us into doing some wrong even when we think we are doing what is right. The cause of Christ has often been harmed by well meaning people.

We as Christians should give the world an example of what it means to be a member of the family of God. We are to demonstrate how brethren ought to live and work together — even how they ought to behave in the presence of evil, or what they think is evil.

If brother Tant and I, and for that matter any other brethren who discuss problems in public, are not very careful, the Evil One will beguile us into giving a very bad example of how God's children ought to deal with each other. In so doing, we would bring the cause and name of Christ to shame.

I do not mean to imply that any of us are above criticism. On the contrary, we are all in need of constant reproof and guidance from one another. Such criticism is one of the means by which we avoid serious error in personal life and in doctrine. However, we should study our New Testaments carefully to see how God wants us to carry on this reproof and guidance. At best, mortal as we are, we will be clumsy enough.

I am a strong believer in the providence of God. It seems now that even so bitter an attack as brother Tant's will do good by giving more people an opportunity to know what the truth is about the situation here. Let us hope the whole matter has not harmed brother Tant and the good he might do. If I have in any way violated the spirit of Christ, I am very sorry. There is so much that needs to be done for Christ. At best there are few enough of us trying to fight on the side of good and against evil. What a pity it is when God's people spend their time and effort biting and devouring one another, particularly in public!

The times are very evil. There is much sin everywhere. Our young people and our older ones are constantly bombarded by evil.

But there is much to be encouraged about. The church here in the west grows wondrously in numbers and in love and good works. Likewise, Pepperdine College continues to grow. In God's providence the growth of the church will be even greater in the years that lie ahead. If it were not for a small group of preachers who sow discord and bitterness, the church would be even better united than it is and would move forward with even greater growth. As congregations grow stronger, the local elders throw off the power of troublemakers and work moves forward. This will be increasingly the case in the future. As individual Christians, those of us at Pepperdine College are working conscientiously for the growth and purity of the church. As a college, we are merely an educational institution striving to provide for your young people "the best in modern education in a wholesome Christian environment." We are not a part of the church, and we are determined to keep our place as an educational institution.

Pray for us. Give us the benefit of your counsel, suggestions and criticisms. This college belongs to Christian young people. Help us to keep it what it ought to be and don't allow embittered or misguided people to do your thinking for you. Investigate for yourself. You will always be welcome here.

(Since the above has been written, brother Tant has made other reports about activities at Pepperdine College. Again the reports based upon gossip are totally false or grossly exaggerated. If brother Tant has any respect for truth, he should fire his present Pepperdine spies and get some that will report more accurately. It must be embarrassing even to brother Tant to have to correct simple errors in fact that his informers carelessly send in. Whenever a thousand human beings work together, there are plenty of actual mistakes made so that one in the business of gathering and reporting mistakes shouldn't have to stoop to falsehoods. Suppose someone was constantly snooping around your home or the congregation where you worship looking for dirt to report. Don't you think he could find plenty even without reporting falsehoods? Brother Tant knows that unfortunate things happen at all schools and colleges — in fact, wherever people live together. It is a little hard to understand why a Christian would want to spread and magnify even the real mistakes, to say nothing about reporting false ones. You would think that a Christian would want to help rather than to hurt and to destroy.)