Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 27, 1952
NUMBER 30, PAGE 4,9b

Brother Otey's Book


As the months go by it becomes increasingly apparent that the little book written last year by Brother W. W. Otey, "Living Issues" is destined to assume an importance out of all proportion to its size and circulation. Printed in only a very limited edition, and having less than 150 pages, the book has already had an impact on the thinking of the brotherhood of tremendous weight. It has gone into the libraries of preachers, has been read, circulated, talked about, and discussed wherever the "institutional" question has come into the conversation of Christian people.

We believe the reason for this interest in the book is not too difficult to discover. The warnings and soundings of alarm that have been going on for the last few years have all too often met with the rejoinder "IF there is anything like that going on, or even any indications that it might ever happen, of course we are opposed to it! BUT, we see no signs or dangers of any such trend."

Brother Otey's book has shaken this complacent "all is well" attitude to its very foundations. He has presented proof, documented, detailed, and explicit, setting forth in their own words and statements the plans of some brethren for a vast "institutional" program for the churches in Japan. It is no longer a question now of "If there is any such thing." For Otey's book sets forth the "such thing" in outline and detail too specific to be denied or explained away. Here it is! A vast program for the development of community centers, health centers, nursing activities, commercial schools, cafeterias, high schools and colleges, was outlined, and literature sent out to hundreds of churches soliciting their interest in and support of the program. "Living Issues" prints several pages of this material taken verbatim from the reports and brochures sent out. No man can read this material and say any more, "If there be any such thing" in prospect; for here it is in the promoters' own words!

It is evident that the full "institutional" program has not yet been developed in Japan as outlined in the brochures sent out. It may be that the lack of support has caused a revision in the plans; or it may be that the opposition aroused to the scheme has brought about a further study of the project, and a consequent revision of the plans to bring them more in harmony with New Testament teaching. But whatever the reason for it, there is certainly not in Japan now anything like the elaborate and ambitious program held forth before the American churches as a thing to be desired and worked for. Perhaps it will come in time; perhaps not. But we think there can be no question that the Otey book has done much to arouse a more careful study of the project; and we are hopeful that the reason for the slow-down in the galloping socialization of the Japanese work is that the brethren "sponsoring" that work have given more earnest study to it, and have abandoned some of the projects that were formerly contemplated. If that is the case, a lot of us would welcome a statement from them to that effect. We could have much more confidence in the future of the work in Japan if such were so.

It is of interest, too, that "Living Issues" has in it some of the writings of brother G. H. P. Showalter when he was at the height of his power and influence. He saw clearly and unmistakably the dangerous "trends" developing in some of our Christian schools, and as a friend of the schools, pointed them out. He warned against the dangers and tragedies that had overtaken denominational schools, and the modernistic atheistic influences that had enveloped them. He had seen at first hand some of the fruits of their teaching.

We believe "Living Issues" will be read and discussed long after both Otey and Showalter are sleeping in the dust of the earth, for it deals with principles that do not die. And it will be an enduring monument to the lives of these two aged saints, continuing on to bless countless numbers of those who will follow. Through its pages "they, being dead, will yet speak." We seriously commend this book to the attention of young gospel preachers. Brother Otey has only a very limited number of them left (and even that few may be exhausted by the time this appears in print); but if you can borrow one from somebody, read it! Perhaps a few who read this page can still secure a copy from brother Otey (price $1.00; order from W. W. Otey, Belle Plaine, Kansas), but for the most of you borrowing the book from some one who has it will be your only chance. It is truly a milestone of its kind. We wish it were possible for every young preacher in every Christian college in the land to have a copy. But that of course is out of the question. However, we do believe it can be found in the libraries of all the colleges.

— F. Y. T.