Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 30, 1953
NUMBER 51, PAGE 4-5b

Four Year Milestone


This marks the end of four years in which I have served as editor of the Gospel Guardian. As readers of the journal know, I have been engaged twelve months in each year in meeting work, all over the nation, and even out of it. The task of editing a paper "on the run" has not been easy. My "editorial chair" has, often as not, been the swaying seat of a Pullman car, the vanity bench of a dresser in some home where I was staying, or a folding chair in a tourist court or hotel room. Only rarely (all too rarely!) has an article been written in the study of my own home at Abilene. And I have spent less than a dozen days in all these four years in Lufkin, where the paper is published. Indeed, for one period of nearly fifteen months I was not in Lufkin even once. This has hindered no little in keeping the paper as "fresh" as I would like — although there are those who have suggested to me that on more than one occasion they have judged it "fresh" indeed.

History Readers who have been with us through all these four years will recall some of the major tilts that have occupied us — the controversy over the "centralized control" of foreign evangelism; the fight against modernism and error in the Gospel Treasure Sunday School literature; the continuing battle against modernism and destructive influence of Pepperdine College; and, more lately, the "institutional" question. Then there has been in recent weeks our many articles on the new Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

How successful the paper has been in dealing with these matters is perhaps for others to say. That it has not been wholly ineffective is, I think, apparent to all. That it has not been as effective as we could have desired is, of course, too obvious to need comment. One has but to observe the widespread ignorance and indifference within the church generally to realize this. The creeping paralysis of institutionalism, with its hydra-headed ramifications is evidence that there is yet much to be done.

Problems There are problems in editing a paper like this far beyond those appearing to the casual observer. Anybody could know there is a tremendous amount of work to be done in editing, correcting, and reading the manuscripts sent in. Then there comes the decision as to which can be most effectively used, which must be either rejected or laid back for later consideration. Then there are the articles I write myself, the tremendous amount of reading to be done in current periodicals and books in addition to the usual study of scriptures. There is the careful and prolonged study of controversial points of Bible teaching. There is the tremendous volume of correspondence, anywhere from forty to sixty letters a week coming to me personally, more than half of which require (and receive!) a personal answer. Let all this be added to the usual requirements of a gospel meeting (I hold about twenty-four or twenty-five a year), and one doesn't exactly have to wonder how to use one's spare time!

But, really time is not too great a problem. By keeping everlastingly on the job, one can accomplish an unbelievable number of things. There are still other problems, more serious and more difficult than any suggested above. Those are the problems of deciding always what is right and for the good of the cause of Christ. For example, right now I am deeply worried about the problem arising in Germany. That Brother Smith and Brother Watson and several of the German young men are restless and apprehensive under the growing threat and danger of an ecclesiasticism is obvious. I want to do everything within my power, and encourage others also, to help brethren Smith and Watson to remain in Germany and build true, faithful New Testament churches there. But, at the same time, I cannot but admire Otis Gatewood for the tremendous zeal he has shown in promoting interest in the evangelism of Germany. That much of that zeal has been misdirected and has a dangerous tendency toward ecclesiasticism is, to me at least, perfectly obvious. But perhaps, under the providence of God, those dangerous trends can be reversed; perhaps it is not too late to help him to put the emphasis on churches of the Lord, rather than on institutions and organizations. What to do? I certainly have no desire to discourage the Grove Avenue brethren, or the Lubbock brethren, or anybody else from sending one single dime to preach the gospel in a foreign country. On the contrary, I want to commend them and encourage them in every such scriptural endeavor.

But how to oppose mistaken methods and wrongful tendencies and unscriptural organizations without, at the same time, discouraging general interest in mission work, that is the problem. And that gives me more anxiety and more concern than any of the others.

Anyhow, as we start Volume Five, next week, I, as editor, want to thank every single person who has helped in any way to make this paper useful under God for the cause of right; and I pledge myself to continue to do, to the best of my ability, that which I believe to be right and for the advancement of the truth. These four years past have been difficult ones, but, to be perfectly frank, I enjoy editing a paper like this; and if you are still with me, hold your breath, and let's dive in for another year! It may be trying, but it won't be dull! — F.Y.T.