Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 27, 1955

Reuel Lemmons And The Firm Foundation


We have received the following communication from the three sons of Brother G.H.P. Showalter:

Dear Brother Tant: We are happy to announce the selection of Brother Reuel Lemmons of Cleburne, Texas, as editor of the Firm Foundation. Brother Lemmons is one of the best known and most highly respected preachers of the gospel in the brotherhood. His interest in preaching the gospel in mission areas is known far and wide. He is conservative, firm, and uncompromising in his preaching. He has strong convictions, and he loves the church of our Lord. We are proud to be associated with him in this work. We will appreciate an announcement in an early issue of the Gospel Guardian and would be glad to have any editorial comment which you would like to make.

Sincerely yours, T. P. Showalter

G. W. Showalter G.H.P. Showalter, Jr.

On another page we carry "A Statement of Policy" by Brother Lemmons, which is his initial editorial in his new assignment. It is an excellent statement, and one which we can commend wholeheartedly. It breathes the proper spirit, and gives evidence that Brother Lemmons is deeply conscious of the great responsibility which is his. Particularly do we rejoice to see him sound once again that note which has characterized the greatest journalistic efforts of the Restoration, "The paper should be an open forum for discussion of issues...." This was the policy of Campbell, of Lipscomb, and certainly was the policy which brought the Firm Foundation to her great strength and influence in the early decades of the present century.

It will not be easy for Brother Lemmons to stick to that policy. Strong influences will be brought to bear to cause him to modify it; promoters of institutions (spending thousands of dollars for advertising in his pages) will resent and protest against articles critical of their ventures. Preachers and others will try to convince him that brethren who oppose their pet projects are only "crackpots," "Sommerites," "the lunatic fringe," etc., and will seek to prevent a full, free and open discussion of issues.

We sincerely pray that the Showalter boys will give Brother Lemmons a free hand (as they have promised to do) even when it means the drying up of certain advertising revenues. And let them not think an "open forum" policy won't antagonize some of their advertisers! If the paper has a profit motive, it will trim its sails to the financial breezes.

It was this writer's honest judgment that Brother G.H.P. Showalter in his late years was not truly aware of the tremendous changes taking place within the brotherhood, and often allowed his journal to be used for the promotion and encouragement of projects which were in direct conflict with his life-long convictions and teachings. He seemed to us unable to apply the principles he espoused to specific cases. And the paper assumed a sort of hybrid, insecure, and uncertain character. One week strong editorials might appear, for example, warning against the dangers of certain types of church cooperation; the very next week an editorial might appear encouraging brethren to support some project which seemed to us to be the very kind of thing that had been condemned the week before! We felt Brother Showalter was never able to see any inconsistency at all in these things; it was a failure to apply the principles to specific cases.

As Brother Lemmons undertakes his great task, we wish him only the best. There is a desperate need for sound and faithful gospel journals. Far from wishing to see their number reduced, we would see it increased. No man is infallible; for any religious journal to have a position which gives it the practical effect of an "official organ" among the churches would be dangerous in the extreme. Free, open, and frank discussion is the surest and safest way to avoid apostasies and developing heresies. Gospel journals serve the very useful purpose of acting as checks and balances on one another. Even an extremist and a hobbyist can sometimes be the cause of bringing all of us to re-examine positions we have taken for granted — and which should not have been taken for granted.

There will be no dearth of problems that need discussion: snow-balling institutionalism, the ominous encroachment of modernism, a paralyzing increase of secularism, manifesting itself in such things as church gymnasiums, and other prostitutions of the body of Christ, and a host of lesser evils which cry out for treatment. We look forward with interest and good-will to Brother Lemmons' teaching and editorial comments on these and other questions. And we share the prayer of devout Christians everywhere that the Firm Foundation may exert her influence in ever increasing force for the things that are right.

— F. Y. T.