Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 21, 1955
NUMBER 11, PAGE 3-5b

No Neutral Ground

W. W. Otey, Winfield, Kansas

There is no neutral ground between truth and error. I have known many to claim to be neutral on some matters of vital teaching and practice. But Jesus said, "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth." (Matt. 12:30.) The following letter will explain itself.

Winfield, Kansas June 11, 1955 Mr. B. C. Goodpasture

Gospel Advocate Company Nashville, Tennessee

Dear Brother Goodpasture:

Because of your superior printing plant and facilities for distributing books, I arranged with you to reprint "Origin and Destiny of Man" as soon as another edition is needed. Now, after two years of serious thought and much indecision, I have finally decided that I do not want it reprinted with the Gospel Advocate as publisher. I kindly ask you to return all the material that I sent to you that was to be used as copy for the composition of the book.

I am convinced that the Gospel Advocate is leading a large part of the church of the Lord into an apostasy from the New Testament pattern.

Your ambition seems to me to be to establish yourself in a position of pre-eminence and power that no mortal man can occupy without the gravest danger to the New Testament order of things. To reach 100,000 subscribers is to place yourself where you will be able to be the sole censor of what perhaps half of our writers shall write and what perhaps 300,000 of the leading members shall read. It is a position of control of what shall be written and read far greater than has ever been reached by any one in the church of the Lord, or even among the digressives. Of course I am not saying that it is your intention to use this vast power for any other purpose than to advance the cause of Christ. But you have thus far used your power to grant pages for the advocacy and defense of human institutions through which the churches are to perform a part of their work. But if you have allowed even a paragraph to show that such institutions are without a shadow of authority in the word of the Lord, such has escaped my notice. No other publication in the church of the Lord has even approached the unfair, one-sided course you have taken. And I do not recall that any digressive publication during the last more than sixty-five years has been quite so tightly closed against an honorable discussion of issues.

Neither the Christian Standard when it was at the peak of its influence nor the President and Secretary of the Foreign Missionary Society possessed so great power in the last apostasy as you now strive to attain. There is a limit to the measure of power any one man can be entrusted with, and exercise it fairly. How you will use such power in the future is plainly forecast by your course in the past. As stated, you have refused a fair, honorable Christian discussion of the things now threatening the unity of the church.

It was recently proposed in your editorial column to "spear-head a quarantine" against those who oppose the church doing much of its work through human institutions. So far as memory serves me this is the most arbitrary use of power that has ever been proposed, digression not excepted. With 100,000 subscribers and with the power to censor what shall be written and what shall be read by so many, who can estimate the final result? Sincerely I believe that unless you recall and disavow this proposal, it will be a stigma on your name while you live and will not be forgotten when you shall have passed into the great beyond.

I am sure those who press doing a part of the work of the church through human institutions feel sure they can control them within the present limits. Those who began a mild form of human institutionalism three-quarters of a century ago fully believed they could hold their creation within reasonable limits. Errett, Lard, McGarvey, the Sweeneys, Briney, and others had no thought of permitting their institutions going beyond the limits they thought were permissible. But beginning in the first decade of this century, other men got control. The result was the United Christian Missionary Society, a well matured ecclesiasticism. All those mentioned above, with the full support of the Christian Standard, turned against the full fruit of their own hands. Are those who now press the same character of institutionalism strong enough and wise enough to control them in the next generation?

It is not boasting for me to say that my good name has not been tarnished by the least connection with innovations during the past nearly seventy years. Should "Origin and Destiny of Man" be distributed, after I am gone, with the imprint of the Gospel Advocate, some would doubtless associate my name with the present policy of the Gospel Advocate. I would rather that it should never be reprinted than for any one to have ground to believe that I endorse the present course of the Gospel Advocate. To avoid any one reaching such a conclusion that I have in any measure weakened in the faith that the church of the Lord is sufficient in and through which to do all that God asks us to do, or in my opposition to every human innovation in the church of the Lord, I am withdrawing my agreement with you for the reprint of the book.