Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 21, 1955
NUMBER 11, PAGE 6-8b

Goodpasture Defends The Advocate's Modernism

Robert C. Welch, Louisville, Kentucky

"It is an old proverb — 'The hit dog howls.' And we might add that the loudness of the howl may be in indication of the weight of the stroke." This statement is taken from a Here and There editorial by B. C. Goodpasture in the Gospel Advocate, February 24, 1955. Was he referring to himself? One can hardly believe that he would so apply it. Yet we have been hearing a doleful sound in his last two or three editorials. The exposure of modernism in his Bible study literature which was given in a series of articles in the Gospel Guardian seems to have provoked a LITTLE NOISE from the editor of the BIG PAPER.

False Analogy

His second editorial defense of the modernism in his literature is a case of false analogy. Some of the cases of modernism in his literature which were cited in the series of articles consisted of the doctrine that the statements of the inspired writers of the Bible actually came only as a direct result of their natural experiences and emotions. Brother Goodpasture now attempts to defend the doctrine taught in his literature by referring to some other cases where inspired men either had natural experiences themselves or used the natural talents of others.

This has not been denied, it has been averred, in the articles of criticism of the modernism in his literature. So, whatever he may say in this vein does not answer for the modernism in the other instances.

Moses No Modernist

In his Here and There of June 2, 1955, he says concerning the case of Moses using Hobab's assistance in the wilderness:

"Was Moses a modernist because he suggested that Hobab be to them instead of eyes? Besides, Moses was inspired. Why then use Hobab? The Lord does not, as a rule at least, do for people that which they can do for themselves."

Nobody claims that everything which occurred in the wilderness was miraculous. Moses could use a good guide like Hobab. But if Moses had turned over the writing of the book of Numbers to Hobab because of Hobab's natural understanding of the circumstances he would have been a modernist. And the man who teaches that Moses wrote of this and other historical events in the Bible because he himself thought they should be included, is a modernist.

Is that why Moses wrote, Brother Goodpasture? That is what your literature says of Hosea and other inspired writers.

"Surely he who could feed the hungry multitudes with a few loaves and fishes could provide food for the daughter of Jairus, yet he commanded that they give her something to eat. (Luke 8:55.) It would be worse than silly to suggest that this was a modernistic way of dispensing with the need or use of a miracle."

Likewise, in the case of Ananias the young men carried out the body of Ananias and buried it. There was no miracle in that. But that is not the point. There was something miraculous in his death. Brother Goodpasture would have an analogy to his "shock" doctrine about Ananias if he should say that Jesus found the daughter in a coma and revived her by some type of hypnotic shock.

The same fallacy is to be found in his next example, that of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. He says:

"Was the use of natural means along with the supernatural a mark of modernism? If so, was Jesus a modernist? Why did not Jesus remove the stone, as well as raise Lazarus from the grave?"

Miracles Versus Modernism

The Advocate literature taught or strongly implied that Ananias died of shock when his financial scheme was exposed. Such a doctrine denies one of the miracles of the Bible. It removes every miraculous element from the case. Brother Goodpasture tries to reply by saying that Jesus asked that the daughter of Jairus be fed after he had raised her from the dead.

He would have a case analogous to his Ananias "death by shock" case if he would begin teaching that so far as we know Lazarus was raised as a result of the removal of the stone, rather than by any supernatural power. The stone was rolled away from the tomb by human hands just as the body of Ananias was buried by the young men. But these two human actions do not account for the miraculous events in the two cases. It will take something better than that to justify the modernism in the doctrine that Ananias died from shock.

The writers of the Bible had their human experiences together with the antecedent and resultant emotions. They wrote about many of these human elements and reactions. But they wrote what they did because the Spirit gave them the words. (I Cor. 2:13.) There are differences in the "style" of their writings. To say that they were left to choose their own words to say what the Spirit moved them to think is to allow for a fallible element in the writing of the scriptures, man's choice of words. To say that this must be so because of the different styles is to limit the power of the Holy Spirit. It accuses the Spirit of inability to use the words which are characteristic of each inspired writer. Hence the doctrine becomes a denial of the power of the Spirit in inspiration.

Unworthy Evasion

This, and a preceding editorial on the subject, is but an attempt to evade the question of his modernism; and is an effort to keep people from realizing that the modernism is actually in his literature. Such evasion and attempt to deceptively cover the mistakes of his literature is not worthy of the editor of such a paper. If the modernism is there, and it is, and he does not believe in it, then he ought to forthrightly admit it and promise to exercise more care in keeping it from the literature. If he believes in it, he needs to admit it, and try to show that what his literature teaches is the truth. Otherwise, his action indicates that he knows it is there, believes in it, but for other reasons does not think it is time to reveal that he is a believer in such modernism. Possibly such an admission would injure the "soaring sales" of the literature, of which he so vainly boasts in his editorial of June 16. Possibly he thinks the brethren who use it will not "know" what modernism is unless he tells them. And perhaps he thinks he can get them to believe after a while that the name, Christian, was given in derision by the enemies just as the name, Campbellite, was given. VERY FEW WHO TEACH MODERNISM WILL ADMIT THAT THEY ARE MODERNISTS,