Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 18, 1952

The Critical Hour


In every campaign and in every battle there comes a critical hour, an hour when the final decision of the whole conflict hangs in the balance. In that hour there must be action — action, decisive, bold, and "all out." Any halfhearted or timid performance invites disaster.

The Gospel Guardian now faces such an hour.

For three and a half years we have been battling on two fronts — one financial, the other spiritual. These are the battlefields of every gospel journal. The years are strewn with the wreckage of those great papers of the past which have met defeat and gone down into oblivion on the financial front. Lard's Quarterly, The Christian Messenger, The Gospel Guide, and The Way of Truth are only a quartet out of literally scores that might be named. And every one named would represent heart-break and perhaps financial ruin for some gospel preacher of the past.

That other field of battle, the spiritual field, brings forth victories, or defeats, harder to measure and more difficult of determination. For many a journal has gone down into financial ruin, yet has won spiritual victories which did not cease with its death. And, sadly enough, there are journals which have survived on the financial front, but have surrendered spiritually. That a paper folds up and ceases to exist does not mean at all that its life was in vain, or that the things for which it stood are lost. That a paper lives and thrives financially is no guarantee that it remains true to the purposes for which it was founded, or that its influence is always for the right.

The financial struggle for the continuance of this paper has been, and is, a difficult one. But of the ultimate victory, and of the continued publication of the Gospel Guardian, there seems now to be no doubt or question. It has not been easy, nor will it be. But that is the problem of the publisher, and we leave it with him.

It is of the conflict on the other battlefield — the spiritual — that we would write particularly. For it is here that the Gospel Guardian is now facing her critical hour.

We do not mean in her remaining loyal to the truth. That is not debatable. We mean in the effectiveness of her influence, in the achieving of her objectives and aims in gospel work. If this journal is to be the potent influence for righteousness which she ought to be, if she is to be useful under God in staying or turning back in any degree a threatening apostasy within the church, if she is to make her voice heard in the wild clamor of onrushing liberalism and compromise, SHE MUST HAVE MORE READERS.

And that is where you, our present readers, can help.

Can anybody doubt that hundreds of churches might have been saved from the digression if the Gospel Advocate of seventy-five years ago had had the same circulation in the northern states that she had in the southern? No matter how powerful the writings in a journal, no matter how true and loyal to the Book they be, no matter how convincing and compelling her presentation of the issues, her message is futile and in vain unless she has READERS.

This is an open and frank appeal for help from you, our readers. We MUST multiply our list of subscribers if we are to be helpful in any appreciable degree in stemming the tide of digression. Elsewhere in this issue we carry a full-page announcement of our new "get acquainted" offer. We are hopeful that every reader will send a short term subscription to some friend. That way we can double our reading number within a day's time. Then, in addition to that, we want to recruit 1,000 HELPERS who will promise to send us at least one trial subscription each month for the next three years. That will enable us to add a minimum of at least 12,000 new names per year to our list of subscribers. And by doing so we can immeasurably increase our usefulness to the cause of Christ, and multiply whatever influence for good the paper may possess.

This is our critical hour. Will you help? Either this journal goes forward to become the mighty force for truth and righteousness which she deserves to be, or else she continues her crusade handicapped, crippled, and weak because of lack of readers.

The publisher and the editor, along with those who write for the paper have done, and will do, what they can. But the battle now is largely out of our hands. It is up to those thousands of loyal friends who believe in the things for which we stand to see that we do not fail. It is up to YOU to determine whether this paper shall, or shall not, be a truly effective instrument in helping save the church in our day from a threatening liberalism, modernism, and ruinous apostasy.

We believe we can count on you; we believe you will neither falter nor fail. The hour has struck. Let us meet it with courage and resolution. See the special announcement on another page concerning the terms of our "trial subscription offer."

And then let us hear from you!

— F. Y. T.