Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 25, 1955
NUMBER 16, PAGE 11-12a

Woods And Gospel Advocate Modernism

Robert C. Welch, Louisville, Kentucky

Brother Guy N. Woods has replied to the series of articles on Modernism in Gospel Advocate Literature. The series was published in the Gospel Guardian. At the time of writing those articles the writer did not know who was the writer or editor of the Adult Quarterly. Brother Woods now tells us that he is responsible for the material. This review of his reply is considered sufficient at the moment.

Brother Woods proves two things in his reply: (1) he THINKS he is a scholar and that his scholarship should not be questioned; (2) he THINKS I am an ignoramus and wholly evil. That he has spent many years of study and it welt informed is a well known fact, but scholarship is not the thing in question. Goodspeed is a scholar, yet, he is a modernist; a fact which even Brother Woods will not deny. I may be an ignoramus, but it does not take very much sense or knowledge to see the modernism in Brother Woods' literature. I may be evil, but to call attention to modernism and plagiarism in literature is not evil; and if I know my heart my intentions are just.

The delay, on my part, in discussing the modernism in the literature was explained in the first of the series of articles in the Gospel Guardian. I knew it was there at the time when it was studied in 1951, but thought that others were more capable of dealing with it than I. In fact, I have been discussing it with brethren privately and in classes all the while. When members of a class began to notice it I decided to remain quiet no longer. As was stated in the series, it is possible that this outcropping of modernism goes right along with the church-universal fad among the brethren. It happened when the Christian Church departed. Brother Woods, where is the lack of "honesty" in the series? You have yet to prove if, your ipse dixit is not that authoritative.

The "bill of particulars" which he has enumerated are merely the items he has chosen to discuss in his reply. In no sense were they of equal importance in their presentation in the series. Some were subordinate to others he has named, some were subordinate to the main points which he has completely overlooked. His number 2, does not correctly represent anything presented in my series. That the personal and family life furnished an occasion for Hosea's prophecy was freely admitted, but that is not the issue. Were his personal problems and his family life the media of his inspiration? That was the intent of the passages quoted from the Quarterly. That is the idea which was questioned, because it is modernism.

Inspiration By Feelings

It is not "simple", brother Woods, to charge that a man is teaching modernism when he teaches that inspired men wrote because they were influenced by their experiences. You have placed some more of the same thing in this very reply. Surely, Paul wept about the enemies of the cross (Phil. 3:18). Surely, he had a desire "to depart, and be with Christ." (Phil. 1:23). Surely, he felt that he needed the cloak. He wrote about those things in the inspired New Testament. But, he did not state those things merely because he was moved by his feelings to say them. That is your implication, and it is no different from the "Shakespearean" type of inspiration. Others will admit it, and you are teaching it. What is the difference? Paul had these feelings, yes, but he included them in his inspired letters because he was directed to include them by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 2:13). Brother Woods fails, as did brother Good-pasture, to recognize the difference between writing about human experiences by inspiration, and in being inspired by those experiences. When they recognize that difference they will either admit their modernism, or they will turn away from it.

Nobody has denied that Hosea learned much from the tragedy of his life. That is what you have quoted from brother Haley. I have not examined the entire article of brother Haley's, to make comment thereon. But, if the rest is in harmony with your quotations, he does not coincide with your comments and "editings" in your Quarterly. Your teaching in the Quarterly is that Hosea was inspired by means of his "domestic tragedy." To learn a thing and to make an inspired statement about what is learned are two different things.

His paragraph on brother Rainwater's article in the Guardian is a bald misrepresentation. Woods either did not read the paragraph from which he quoted, or he deliberately and maliciously misrepresented the brother. Rainwater was stating the position of those who believe in partial inspiration only of the Bible. In the article he has disavowed any such position himself. Now, if brother Woods holds the position which brother Rainwater was describing and criticizing, and he says he holds this position, then he believes the Bible is only partially inspired. That is exactly the kind of charge that has been made against his Quarterly. He has admitted it, but I do not think he actually intended to.

He has used several long paragraphs in defense of his right to use modernist authors in preparation of his Quarterly material. He objects to my pointing out that he has copied copiously from modernist authors. He calls it a "prejudicial device" of mine to make the readers think that he is a modernist. He completely missed the point. I do not object to his study of and quotation from these men. I do so myself. My purpose was to show where and how brother Woods came by his modernism. The modernism was there, now, why was it placed there? Was it inserted by Guy N. Woods because he is a modernist? If so, where did he learn it? Were the authors he studied and quoted modernists? Yes they were. At the same time it is possible that Woods may have inserted the modernism because he did not examine the material he was copying carefully enough. This latter reason would call for retraction and more care in the future. Brother Woods has chosen, however, to justify his action and to defend his modernism. If brother Woods were to begin teaching sprinkling for baptism we would be justified in believing that he got it from his study of such men as Clarke, because he has frequently quoted from him showing that he has been studying the Methodist scholar.

Yahweh And Evidently

He thinks I am a "small boat" who needs to "stay near shore". Thank you, brother Woods, for your kind, brotherly, "Advocately", commendation. That is the kind of thing which one does not expect to come from a writer who has been blown to the skies about his dealing in matters objectively always, and never clearing in personalities. Yet his article it filled with just such railing. Brother Woods needs to be informed that I have known about the four consonants (JHVH) being the name of God longer than I have known brother Woods, and I have known him for 15 years. I also know that the English spelling of the Name as found in the Version of the Scriptures used by the Gospel Advocate literature is "Jehovah." I knew about the Hebrew spelling of the Name when as a lad I heard some infidels using this to ridicule the faith of my father and myself in the Bible. They argued that we did not even know how to pronounce the name of our God. Anyhow, brother Woods missed the point, as he tried to show off some of his great learning. lie knows as well as I that brethren are not in the habit of calling God, "Yahweh." When he copied the statement from Yates, why did he not leave that word as found in Yates? because this spelling is used only by modern, if not modernist, scholars. Do not let him confuse you by saying that this is the Hebrew spelling; it at English spelling, just as Jehovah is an English spelling. He has pointed that out by telling you that the original had no vowels, only the four consonants.

He makes much ado about the word "evidently" as it was criticized in my series. My inference from the tenor of his comments about the case was that when he used the word "evidently" he was using it as evidence rather than proof, as the apparent cause rather than the actual known cause. This is the proper connotation of the word. If he used it as a word synonymous with proof and fact, then I do not want to misrepresent him. I think he needs every benefit of doubt in the case. You see, brother Woods, I did "know what the word signifies" when I wrote the series, in fact, I looked it up in Merriam Webster. But grant that you meant that it is proof that the Holy Spirit did reveal to Peter "the motives which influenced them." How did he do it? Was it by natural processes, or was there some supernatural revelation here? That was the real question under examination. While we are on the case of Peter and Ananias, did you notice that he did not get around to telling us about "ANANIAS DYING OF SHOCK." That was not in his bill of particulars. All he could do with this case was find a word to quibble about. DID ANANIAS DIE OF SHOCK, brother Woods?

Justifies Plagiarism

It is according to general practice in law, with which brother Woods tells us he is acquainted, that when the defendant has no case he is to plead for mercy of the court. Brother Woods has been caught red-handed in the act of Plagiarism. He cannot deny it, he merely tries to justify his act, tell how bad I am in calling attention to this "literary theft", and plead for the understanding of people in his predicament. He tries to justify his practice of copying these men without giving due credit because he is an editor, not an originator. That is exactly what we proved, that the person who put the Quarterly material together was not the originator of it. It would be. interesting to see brother Woods show where the courts of Texas allow an "editor" to take copyrighted material of another publishing company or owner and publish it under his own name or the name of his publisher without giving due credit to the author, owner, or publisher.

There were two reasons for my calling attention to this plagiarism in the literature. First, it has taken over modernist statements bodily from a modernist scholar, it cannot be trusted because of its modernism. Second, plagiarism should be pointed out, just like any other kind of theft. I did not know of this plagiarism until in the midst of preparation of the articles. If I am to be "shamed" for doing this, I want to know where righteousness and decency are.

These are not the only instances of modernism to be found in the literature published by the Gospel Advocate. More of it is to be found in the Adult Quarterly by Guy N. Woods. Some is to be found in the annual and other quarterlies. What has been presented was noticed by this writer as he taught the lessons. In the words of brother Goodpasture, I "USED" it, I KNOW." Brethren have been sending me marked copies and quotations from the material since they saw the series. As time will permit some of this matter and other already at hand will be examined also.