"I Recommend . . ."
In a recent issue of the GOSPEL ADVOCATE (June 27, 1957, page 413), Bill L. Rogers wrote words, doubtless without much forethought, under the caption, "Whether Any Inquire About Titus." He makes reference to Paul's testimony concerning the faithfulness of Titus, in II Cor. 8:23. He then follows with the following comments:
"If any questions were asked about Titus or the brethren associated with Paul he could immediately inform the inquirer that they were his partners and fellow workers and the representatives of the churches in the matter of benevolence.
"It is to be regretted that in the heat of controversy some great and good men, without thinking through what is under discussion, and under excitement and pressure, have aligned themselves with those who would bind human laws and interdictions upon the people of God.
"We delight in the fact, however, that some, under more favorable circumstances are fair enough to investigate prayerfully and study carefully the issues in the light of Bible teaching. We have been informed of a number of such instances involving outstanding gospel preachers who, after careful and diligent study, were honest enough to yield the positions at first embraced.
"Some men who had been deceived by the shout of 'Institutionalism' have had the courage to renounce their false positions and erroneous arguments and make a forthright statement of their change. Examples of the fine attitude are Thomas B. Warren and Roy Deaver.
"I am persuaded that a great number of brethren who have lent their influence and support to those brethren who oppose our benevolent works and mission efforts have seen the error of their ways. Reports come to me of great men who have renounced their former positions. Often brethren inquire of them. I wish that all such brethren would make a statement through the GOSPEL ADVOCATE, at least in the fine News and Notes section, of (1) their change, (2) the reasons for that change, and (3) why they now stand where they do on the issues which presently trouble the church. This would serve as a tonic for the preacher and as an encouragement to others who are almost persuaded to take this step. And finally, we would know his position and attitude so that if any did inquire of him we could immediately commend him."
The overtone of the preceding indicates that Bro. Rogers holds to the idea that "quarantine", not a thoughtful and intelligent study of both sides, is the solution of the present problems before the church. Such a position neither deserves nor necessitates comment. But the "meat" of his comments can be stated thusly: If a man wants to be recognized as a faithful preacher, deserving of the recommendations of Bro. Rogers and his colleagues, he must publicly state that his convictions on the institutional question are in perfeet agreement with those of Bro. Rogers. Would not such "logic", (term loosely used) demand that the same type of agreement be expressed on all of the issues before the brethren? If not, why not? I am quick to admit that the present controversy on the institutional question is undoubtedly the most discussed subject, but it is not the only issue before the brethren. For consistency's sake, I suggest that Bro. Rogers make a statement through the pages of the G. A. of his convictions of the all-important question of marriage, divorce, and re-marriage, his position on the war question, his position on Paul's teaching concerning women being covered in I Cor. 11th chapter, and his position of the various controversies over the qualifications of elders. These are just a few among many. Then I suggest that he send out a questionnaire so as to be able to secure the names and addresses of all preachers who agree with him on these equally important issues. I fear that he would find few men he could recommend. Could he recommend Bro. Guy N. Wood with his conservative views on I Cor. 11? What about some of his leading colleagues who would not agree on the war question? To attempt to be consistent with such a foolish proposal is absurd. I suggest he withdraw the suggestion.
Truth Magazine I:11, pp. 2, 13