Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 6, 1955

Why I Am Not A "Centennial Drive" Worker

Kenneth Fielder, Dyersburg, Tennessee

The Gospel Advocate is currently in a tremendous drive to increase her subscription list to 100,000 in number. No doubt, she will succeed. The Advocate, because of her illustrious past, and her widespread influence, wields a great deal of power. For various reasons, the "big" preachers and congregations among us "line up" or "string along" with whatever the Advocate does. As one elder in the Madison, Tennessee congregation put it recently, "We've always gone along, and I guess we'll just continue to string along with the Advocate." Preachers go along with her, because, as one recently wrote in that paper, It has been a great help in getting meetings! For this and similar reasons, there will be enough workers to put the Advocate over the top with her 100,000 subscriptions. But someone says, Why don't you become a worker for the Advocate ? We are glad to give you a few of our reasons:

1. The Advocate is riding on the crest of the influence of the noble editors who founded and maintained that publication — Tolbert Fanning, Lipscomb, Sewell, Elam etc. The present editor is without scruples when it suits him to use the names of these great men as if they endorsed the present practice and policy of the Advocate. He continually misuses and misrepresents them in an effort to leave the impression that he is following a course they set. The truth is, these great former editors would be the first to deny that the Advocate represents their idea of a true gospel paper.

2. The Advocate is spearheading a movement to disfellowship every preacher who does not agree with the editorial position of the Advocate. Recently, an editorially endorsed article in the Advocate urged that the yellow tag of "quarantine" be hanged on any who questioned the many human promotions that the Advocate unreservedly endorses. The Advocate and her staff writers are engaged in the unenviable work of drawing the line of fellowship against those who refuse to fall in line with their work of institutionalizing the church. The many expressions they use to identify those who oppose their inventions — "factionists," "church splitters," "hair splitters," "anti-benevolent" workers, "hobby riders" and etc. — show their feeling for their brethren.

3. The Advocate is no longer a medium through which brethren can present their convictions; no brother who disagrees with the editor can write in the Advocate. As one staff writer said: We are not under obligation to print error along with truth! and later: We will not give a dose of poison along with the medicine! Thus, the Advocate has put itself forward as being the unerring and infallible standard by which what is truth will be decided! No longer can the editor be wrong or be questioned — he has the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth! David Lipscomb, who once edited the Advocate, said that if the Advocate ever became so one sided that it refused to allow brethren on both sides of a disagreement be heard, he would quit reading the Advocate!!

4. The Advocate is promoting institutionalism in the church of God. If there is any limit to how far she will go, or if there is any arrangement she would not promote, it is difficult to find that limit in her pages.

5. Writer after writer writes article after article promoting the various schemes that originate in the minds of zealous brethren. Sponsoring churches, human societies and what have you get the full support and advantage of the influence of the Advocate.

The Advocate feigns sweetness and love and long suffering toward all, but becomes bitter, vicious and ruthless toward others when they question her. She opens her pages to men like W. L. Totty to wear himself out on honorable men who know Totty's meanness, and she coldly refuses to allow a reply by those attacked. She misquotes and misapplies statements of others, in order to gain a point, and the Advocate reader reads it all, blissfully unaware of the treachery!

These and other reasons are why we cannot conscientiously be a worker for the Advocate.

This writer gets the Advocate regularly, and reads it, but he would not unreservedly recommend that anybody get it, for fear that they might not realize the truth behind it. If you want the Advocate, it is your business — the address is well known — but we suggest you buy along with it a bottle of salt tablets, and everytime you read an article take a "grain of salt."