Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 4, 1954
NUMBER 42, PAGE 4-5,11d

What He Didn't Know


Elsewhere in this issue are articles by Brother E. R. Harper, preacher for the Highland Street Church in Abilene, and Brother Logan Buchanan, passionate defender of Herald of Truth, the national radio cooperative through which some thousand or more churches are conducting a radio program.

We will perhaps have something to say about Brother Harper's article after he submits his next (which he promises), but for the present will confine ourselves to a brief rejoinder to certain things in Brother Buchanan's article, particularly to the latter portion of it. We ask our readers to give a careful study to the last section of "Truth Triumphs Over History" — the section in which Brother Logan really "takes the gloves off" and issues a rather stinging rebuke to this writer for some things we had said relative to the elders of Highland Street Church in Abilene One cannot read these paragraphs without being impressed with the whole-souled ardor with which our brother throws himself into his task. He is writing against an evil thing, a wicked thing, a diabolical thing, a contemptible kind of behavior. Or maybe it is even beneath contempt. He pulls no punches in his strong condemnation of such dastardly conduct. You see, when Brother Buchanan wrote his article he was fully convinced that this writer had deliberately, willfully, (and probably maliciously) published vicious falsehoods concerning our good brethren at Highland. He says there was only one thing wrong with our editorial — "It charges the Highland elders with doing what they DID NOT DO." (The capital letters are his.) Brother Buchanan was confident we had simply stood afar off and taken a wild and irresponsible rumor as a basis for our editorial, and had made no investigation at all of the problem of which we wrote Hence, the sharp rebuke which he felt was due us. Hence the inflamed and righteous indignation with which HE writes. Hence, the holy wrath he feels (and which every Christian should feel) at such despicable and dastardly conduct. No wonder he is outraged! He writes us in a personal letter, "Had you investigated the facts from the elders of EITHER congregation in Abilene, I am sure you would not have printed what you wrote." Whew! Our brother really puts us low on the ladder.

But to set his charge against us in its proper perspective, just remember the whole thing was written on the assumption that we had gone off half-cocked, with no proper investigation at all, and had simply made wile charges without any kind of basis or justification. What Brother Buchanan did NOT know, and what will probably cause him some considerable embarrassment when he reads these lines, was that we had spent long, long hours in the most serious and intensive kind of study and investigation before we ever wrote one word on that Abilene problem! For example, consider the following:

1. When Brother Buchanan wrote his article, he did NOT know that this writer had spent two days and two nights in Abilene when the tension there was at its very highest, and had talked with some scores of Abilene Christians about the matter.

2. When Brother Buchanan wrote his "Truth Triumphs Over History," he did NOT know that this writer had been called by long distance and invited to meet with the eldership of Highland Street Church for a discussion of Herald of Truth, and had indeed met with them for such a session, both Brother James Walter Nichols and Brother James Willeford being present in the meeting.

3. Brother Buchanan did NOT know that we had talked first hand with a number of the College Church elders, and had talked with both the preacher of College Church and Highland Street Church. He assumed we had seen none of them.

4. When Brother Buchanan wrote his article, he did NOT know that this writer had examined and carefully studied the formal written accusation the Highland Street brethren had made against the preacher of College Church, charging him with at least three specific falsehoods, and "respectfully requesting" that he "make the necessary corrections." Not only did Brother Buchanan not know that we had seen and studied this document, but he himself didn't know that any such document was even in existence!

5. Brother Buchanan when he wrote his indictment of us did NOT know that we had carefully examined the first reply made to those charges, which reply was rejected by Highland brethren.

6. Brother Buchanan when he wrote his article rebuking us did NOT know that we had carefully studied and examined the second reply made to Highland's charges. He did not know that we had read and studied the paper by which Highland elders rejected that second statement, and their reasons for so doing.

7. When Brother Buchanan wrote he did NOT know that we had carefully studied the statement the Highland elders drew up, and which they desired both the College Church preacher and elders to sign. Not only did he NOT know we had examined this document, but he himself did not even know such a paper existed!! He did NOT know that we had gone thoroughly in our study into the reasons why these brethren were unwilling to sign such a statement.

But why go on? We could extend this over several pages, but we see no profit in doing so. Our brother says, "Had you investigated the facts from the elders of EITHER congregation in Abilene, I am sure you would never have printed what you wrote."

It sort of makes us wonder just what "facts" Brother Logan investigated? He seems to have been totally ignorant of the most pertinent facts in the case. He did tell us that he has official letters from both elderships discounting the idea of any "pressure" being used. But of course! Just how naive can our brother get? Did he think the good brethren at Highland would tell him they had tried to exert pressure, but had failed! As a matter of fact, they are one hundred percent sincere in saying they did not try or intend to exert any pressure. They are honest in that conviction. And did he think the College Church elders, having exerted themselves to the utmost in trying to "keep the peace" in Abilene would now write to him, a third party, complaining that their brethren at Highland had tried to "pressure" somebody? Really! The elders of College Church are honorable and fair-minded men; and when Highland elders disclaim any desire or intent to exert pressure, the College Church elders are perfectly willing to accept that view of the matter, and agree that they did not have such in mind. Indeed, it was this very attitude of "leaning over backward" to preserve the peace which led both the College Church elders and the College Church preacher to REQUEST a meeting with Highland Street elders — after they had received word that the Highland Street brethren were deeply grieved and hurt over the articles which had appeared in the Firm Foundation, and were predicting that "division" would come in Abilene unless some corrections were made. They would never have requested such a meeting had they not been anxious to preserve peace.

Keep all these things in mind in reading Brother Buchanan's article, and do not judge him too harshly for what he has written. For he "verily thought with himself" that this writer had made no investigation, but had made wild and vicious charges which were false. He did not know of the long hours of careful, prayerful study and inquiry that had been made before even one word was written. Knowing Brother Buchanan's total unawareness of the factual, documentary evidence which we had studied, and his assumption that we had written wholly in ignorance of the situation, we find it quite easy to comply with his request when he says, "If I am misinformed about this matter, may Brother Tant and the God of Heaven forgive me for what I think of his action."

Well he IS misinformed (uninformed is probably more accurate), and the forgiveness he asks is extended even before he asks it. While we cannot speak for God, we doubt not that His mercy and forgiveness too will not be hard to secure. His reputation along those lines is most excellent. One who had had very poignant reasons to know of His mercy wrote that He "is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness." We doubt not that our brother will seek that forgiveness, and secure it, the very hour he reads this editorial.

There is one other matter we want to mention in this connection. Brother Buchanan denies the statement that Brother James Walter Nichols is part owner of the Chronicle Publishing Company. Well, we've been able to secure a few facts from the public records in Taylor County, and from several reliable brethren in Abilene, some of whom are employees, or former employees, of Chronicle Publishing Company, and others of whom have had fairly extensive business dealings with the Company. Here, as nearly as we can make it out, is the picture that emerges:

There are some six or seven companies operating from the same address in Abilene, and apparently under the same general management and oversight. Among these companies are:

Beacon Publications Beacon Press, Incorporated

Beacon Sales Company Chronicle Publishing Company

Theater Productions, Incorporated

Robex Company

Cross Publishing Company Brother James Walter Nichols is listed as part owner of Cross Publishing Company, Beacon Sales Company, and Beacon Publications. He may also be owner or joint owner of Beacon Press, Incorporated, but we did not get the official records on that. All of these organizations operate from the same address. Print jobs sent to the Chronicle may come back charged out to one of the other companies; so that it is impossible to tell precisely, when work is sent, whether the statement will come back from the Chronicle or from one of the other companies. And while technically it would appear that Brother Buchanan is correct in saying that Brother Nichols does not own stock in the Chronicle, it should be fairly obvious to any business man that he has a rather considerable financial stake in the printing work being done on the Chronicle presses.

Actually, there seems to be much confusion in the financial picture right now of the Chronicle Publishing Company. The company is obviously in deep financial difficulties; its stock holders are being informed that their stock is worth only two or three cents on the dollar; and it would seem rather heavy pressure is being developed to force the company into bankruptcy and receivership. If such does happen, business men in Abilene tell us that the Cross Publishing Company, of which Brother James Walter Nichols is part owner, is prepared to buy up the bankrupt concern and operate it under their own new name. In fact, it seems probable that the Cross Publishing Company may have been organized with that very thing in view.

All of this leads us to offer the suggestion to Brother Logan that it might be highly profitable for him to spend a bit more time in "getting the facts" before he writes with such positive assurance. Indeed, we have enough confidence in his honesty and sincerity actually to believe that if he will get the facts concerning what is wrong with the Missionary Society, he may be able to see what is wrong with Herald of Truth. His passionate devotion to the latter, and his arguments in its defense, have completely denuded him of any defense against the Missionary Societies, save their abuses. He has promised us that he will write on the subject "What Is Wrong With the Missionary Society," and we await his article with considerable interest. Meanwhile, we will continue to have the same warm regard for him as always. Personally, this writer just isn't built for these flare-ups of holy wrath and righteous indignation. Too easy going. Or maybe just too lazy. And, believe it or not, we're sort of like the fellow who started all this ruckus — "We love everybody."

— F. Y. T.