Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 13, 1958

Trigger Happy Partisans

Wm. E. Wallace, Ft. Smith, Arkansas

When a man shows a tendency to be trigger happy, he is manifesting nervousness. The hatchet boys working for Gospel Advocate interests, or for institutional and centralization promotions, are showing definite signs of nervousness — they are trigger happy. They have made a lot of noise in firing off barrages against Yater Tant over the Herald of Truth thing and Highland's virtual bankruptcy situation.

A bulletin from Ft. Worth came across my desk. Its editor accused Yater Tant of a "Technological Inexactitude" (lying) and charged Tant with "asserting that Highland herself actually contributes nothing to this program (Herald of Truth), and that Highland is virtually bankrupt, and that Highland has stopped all her mission work." Of course when these brethren take pot shots at Brother Tant in this matter they seldom refer to the actual financial records from which Brother Tant draws his conclusions. There is the matter of the Highland financial statements showing no contributions to Herald of Truth for a month or two, the matter of a $300.00 deficit, and the matter of only token contribution to mission work. But these facts are not usually mentioned — the main thing is to get Yater Tant!

I wrote to the editor of the bulletin and asked him for the references which were used in his charges against Brother Tant. He replied by quoting the "Overflow" statement of Brother Tant's which appeared in the August 1, 1957 issue of The Gospel Guardian. The bulletin editor admitted to me that he had committed an oversight in omitting the word "practically" from Brother Tant's reference to Highland's stopping her mission work. Of course this was an honest mistake on his part, but it was a technological inaccuracy and it reflects the sort of thing indicated in my title. These hatchet men are going off half-cocked and are trigger happy in their scalp hunting.

As for the other charges made against Brother Tant in the quote from the bulletin, a person only needs to read the original statement by Brother Tant to see that the tone and nature of it involves something that Highland church had suddenly experienced, in the way of a financial problem — his statement did not necessarily mean that Highland would continue in the financial embarrassment in which she had suddenly found herself. She had quit giving to "Herald of Truth," missed a payment or two, and probably would not have rallied as she did had it not been for the embarrassment caused by Brother Tant's statement. Highland was on the verge of bankruptcy at that time because she was over 300 dollars in the hole. As for Highland stopping practically all her mission work, the financial records reveal that there was a great cut-down in the amount of "mission" expenditures from what Highland used to include in her budget.

Now I think that the most significant thing in these half-cocked charges many brethren are making against Brother Tant is this: These men are often guilty of such things as technological inaccuracies and sometimes they very sadly apologize informing us that they have no intention of deliberately misrepresenting anyone. But when it comes to Yater Tant and others they just won't accept any other explanation for slip-ups, oversights and such like — they assume it is all dishonesty. I am not saying that Brother Tant was guilty of an oversight or slip-up or such like in his charges against Highland Church, but I am saying that if he was guilty of such it was of the same sort of thing that the trigger happy men often claim is their lot — an honest mistake.

But this Highland Church thing is too obvious to allow the unbiased reader to miss the point. Highland Church was in a financial mess last summer — and apparently its elders took advantage of a situation to get out of the mess — at the expense of Yater Tant!