Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 14, 1954

Brother Willeford Is Disturbed

W. W. Otey, Winfield, Kansas

Brother Willeford seems rather disturbed by my article in the Guardian of August 12. What he says merits but little space for reply. In that article of August I mentioned no name. Had he remained silent it is likely that very few readers would ever have known the author of the sermon on which I made some observations. I doubt that he has added to his stature by claiming it as his production.

He charges me on four counts: "unethical," "unscholarly," "unfair," and "untrue." The first three charges I pass by. I did make a mistake in basing my calculation of the cost on one year instead of 22 months. I regret this oversight. But to brand it as "untrue" implies too much, I think. I make no claim to "scholarship," but I do try to be "ethical" according to gospel morals, and for many years I have tried to be "fair." Brethren and the Lord must judge me on such matters.

Brother Willeford seems to me to be seriously hurt because I quoted in the Gospel Guardian the exact words he admits that he spoke over the radio to many thousands of listeners; and it was printed in the report sent out by the Herald of Truth, I suppose, to many thousands of readers. Should not we be pleased to have the greatest publicity possible to gospel sermons? Why should not his sermon in part be reproduced in the Guardian? I am not a discerner of hearts but I have a little suspicion that he is really ashamed of saying so much about a worldly sport on the radio. I sort of feel like he now realizes that it is out of line with the dignity and spirit of the gospel. In this I may be entirely wrong. He may think differently.

Our brother is not at all pleased with either Brother Tant or me about the arrangement of the baseball quotations. He says: "If Brother Tant does not know how such quotations should be given, then he is unqualified to serve as an editor." No comment.

But just how were his quotations designated? stated that the quotations were from pages 6, 7, 8 and 9, of the October bulletin. I quoted his exact words. It was printed in a narrow column in the Gospel Guardian. Each quotation is a separate paragraph. There are eight paragraphs in all. Quotation marks appear at the beginning of each paragraph. What was lacking? Brother Willeford says we should have placed some dots and dashes in it to indicate that all these quotations did not come together. But I had already said that in stating I was quoting from four different pages of the bulletin. How some extra dots and dashes would have made it clearer that it was a quotation from him, or how such would have made it more worthy of being sandwiched between a few gospel quotations, may be a bit difficult to understand.

Brother Willeford says it required only one and one-half minutes to read all he said about baseball. There are 409 words on baseball. To read that in one and one-half minutes is some speed! It would be about 275 words per minute. Counting another of his sermons we find 1737 words. If we deduct the 407 words on baseball, we have 1328 words to be spoken in thirteen and one-half minutes, or a little less than 100 words per minute. The baseball part of his sermon was spoken at the rate of 275 words per minute, the rest of it at the rate of 100 words per minute. Sincerely, I regret that it seems necessary to call attention to his desperate effort to make his long references to baseball appear respectable as he used it in his article.

In my article under consideration I say, "The scriptural right for the Herald of Truth to exist and function as it does is the vital point at issue. But the matter of the waste of the Lord's money is certainly due some notice." Let Brother Willeford, or some one else, affirm that the Herald of Truth and its work is scriptural; then when this is done we will have evidence that they really believe what they teach and practice.