Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 4, 1954
NUMBER 42, PAGE 6,11b

Defense Of "Herald Of Truth" - Our Radio Program

E. R. Harper, Abilene, Texas

Being the local preacher for the Highland Church of Christ, many of my friends have both asked and written me concerning the things being discussed in connection with our radio program. Some have thought that my silence is the result of my not being in sympathy with the program. I am happy to say that such is not true. I have my work with the program of the Highland Church of Christ, and it takes all my time to perform my duties in my field of work. I do not interfere with this phase of our work, neither do the preachers for our radio work interfere with my part of our program. We, however, work in perfect harmony with each other. There is absolutely no confusion between my work and theirs.

Accusations Made

I believe if you will think back you will find the elders at Highland have not criticized any man for his "convictions" as to the "right or wrong" of this program based upon his understanding of the "scriptural background" as to our right to carry on such a program. They have objected to "accusations made" which we all believe to be false, though honestly made by the writers. We felt that those making such criticisms should have investigated thoroughly before such were made. We feel those accusations should be corrected in full.

Things Not True

Here are some of the things that are just not so, no matter who continues to declare them to be:

1. We just positively do not have a "separate organization." You may be like our Anti-Class brethren if you wish to; you may continue to declare our radio program is an "organization; a machine over the churches" as the Anti-Brethren keep declaring our Bible study program is a "separate organization" from the church, then begin to make their arguments to defeat our right to have such. We know our Bible School work is NOT a separate organization but you can't make them stop so branding it.

Now we know also our radio program is not an "organization with its officers, separate and apart from the local church." We know it is not on a par with the "Dorcas Club" or the "United Missionary Society" for you can "join them" and they function altogether out of the realm of the elders of the church. You can't "join" our radio program. The above are organizations, with their own officers selected by them, and in one, membership is based upon the amount of money they give.

Now when you continue to assert that our radio broadcast is a "missionary society" and then proceed to make your arguments against the "Missionary Society" of course you "beggar the question" and "assume" that which you are to prove. I say to my friends that our radio program is not a "separate organization" nor is it a "machine over the churches." Now to so brand it is a false accusation and needs to be corrected.

2. The next thing is, we do not pay Brother McDonald to act as our publicity agent. Such statements should not have been made.

3. Highland did not "create the problem of the lost of this earth." To so charge us or even infer that such is true is placing upon us the blame for the lost condition of the world.

4. The elders of Highland did not "go over the head" of any one to bring pressure to bear upon any set of elders to stop any man from expressing his honest convictions concerning what the Bible teaches relative to the "right or wrong" of operating such a program.

The Limits Of Elders

What our good brethren in some places need to learn is, the rights of elders. We need to learn what "local autonomy" really means. When a brother of another congregation makes accusations that are not true, though honest in his accusations, thinking the source from whence it came to be right, that comes under the jurisdiction of the elders where the said brother worships. This is a matter of discipline. Corrections are to be made. Apologies are in order. Now I wish to raise this question, Whose right is it to see that such is done? Is it the right of the Highland elders to go into all congregations over which they have no jurisdiction and bring to task the members of other congregations, irrespective of the elders of that congregation? Is this what you boys are advocating?

Elders' Obligation

When I write an article, making accusations against a brother or the elders of a congregation, it is the duty of the Highland elders to demand that I produce the proof that said accusations are true. It is their obligation to do this regardless of any request from any source being made of them and when they fail to do so they become "hirelings" and not true "bishops." I have no right to accuse a brother or a church and go free from the discipline of the elders where I preach. Just because I am a preacher does not make me immune from their right to bring me to task for my actions. Elders need to learn that they are not "under the preachers" but that they, the elders, are God's "rulers" and we preachers are not "free lances" to accuse without being disciplined if we do not produce the proof of our accusations.

Those Seventy-Five Preachers

Now as to some seventy-five preachers whose names can be sent to the elders of Highland if they wish to "go to the elders of every congregation whose preacher raises a question as to the scripturalness of their cause," let me say this: The elders where those preachers labor need to demand to see those articles and if their preacher has made false accusations against us here, it is the solemn duty of those elders to see that correction have been made.

Now the elders at Highland are not going to any elders because of any preacher's "scriptural objections" to our "cause." I deny that and ask for the proof. They have only become concerned when they have been "falsely charged" and they have the right, when so charged, to go to the elders of the church where that preacher works and bring it before the elders and that is the only right they have so far as getting corrections made.

Suppose they went to the members of the churches where these elders work and undertook to discipline them. You talk about a "howl" going up, why the church has never heard such protest as would be made against the Highland elders.

Have these seventy five made such accusations and statements as the following? 1) The BRAINS are in Rome. 2) The "radio program" is an "organization," is a "machine to control the church." 3) They have an "agent to which they have to pay a certain percentage." 4) They cannot believe that the elders at College Church AND Brother Wallace would BOTH misrepresent matters, if indeed the things had happened that Brother Tant charged in his editorial. The feeling between the churches in Abilene is very good, and very close. As Brother Wallace says, "I love everybody." This expresses the way members of the two congregations feel and act.

If I am misinformed about this matter, may Brother Tant and the God of Heaven forgive me for what I think of this action. If Brother Tant, through misinformation, has falsely charged the elders in Abilene, somebody needs to forgive him.

Thanks to Brother Tant for his kindness in sending me complimentary copies of the Gospel Guardian, January 28. We appreciate his friendship and have confidence in his desire to be fair and honorable in this, and other discussions. For this reason, we do not hesitate to speak out against what we sincerely believe to be unfair, although perhaps unintentional wrong.