Satire Anonymity and Truth
Voyd N. Ballard
Satire is defined as the "use of sarcasm or irony to attack or ridicule a habit, idea, custom etc." Anonymity is the "state of being anonymous" which is "of unknown or unacknowledged authorship." Truth is defined by the dictionary as "that which is true", "Conformity with fact or reality." It is defined by Cruden as "opposed to hypocrisy, dissimulation or formality (Heb. 10:22)", and by the Bible as, "He that speaketh truth showeth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit" (Prov. 12:17). Jesus says, "the truth shall make you free" (Jn. 8:32) and the Holy Spirit through Paul admonishes us that we should, "put away lying-speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another" (Eph. 4:25). Truth has nothing to be ashamed of and those who speak the truth on any subject have no reason to desire that their writing or speaking be of "unacknowledged authorship."
A good deal has been said lately about satire in an attempt to justify lying and false witnessing against the truth on such subjects as "grace only", "Faith only", "fellowshipping error" and hobnobbing around with false teachers. This so called "satire" has been used against the truth and against those sound and faithful men of God who are teaching this truth and standing firm against false teachers and compromisers. Some of these fellows who are still trying to deceive sound churches into believing that they are sound gospel preachers are now writing for Christian Church publications, institutional papers, and bulletins, (for, not against) appearing as "featured speakers" in "Youth Forum" "Unity Campaign", "Special Youth Meeting" conglomerations right along with Ketcherside, Garrett, Ed Fudge and others, who are leading many of God's people into denominational error by opening the flood gates of error to every denominational doctrine the devil has ever invented.
Those who have thus used "satire" have succeeded in convincing some that they were "just having a little fun" and indeed some have said they were "overly impressed with the purely human element of these satirists." I personally fail to be impressed by any form of "satire" against Truth, and especially when those engaged in such insist on remaining "anonymous." This "anonymity" thing sounds more like cowardice to me. Whoever heard of sound men of God wanting to have "a little fun" using satire against truth? The things being taught in Truth Magazine are the Truth, the "Whole counsel of God" setting forth the truth of God against the false doctrines of Calvinism, institutionalism, and the old denominationalism plea that we should fellowship these doctrines and their sympathizers. Those responsible for such pleas know that they cannot meet and overcome the Truth of God as applied against these false doctrines. They know that,
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God" (2 John 9). Yet, they want to fellowship these transgressors, so under the guise of satire they make fun of the Truth they cannot meet. They seem to think this is something "new and wonderful." However, it is neither "new" nor "wonderful." This thing is as old as denominationalism itself. This is the very tactic employed by every denominational preacher I have ever debated. If you cannot meet the truth of an argument, make fun of it, ridicule it, and belittle the man who is upholding _the Truth. The only difference I can see is that most k denominational preachers have had the courage to identify themselves when using "satire" against Truth instead of hiding behind "anonymity." Also, they are much more expert in the use of such "satire" than are some of these fellows who think they are so "thoroughly informed" and have such "adequate ability." I suggest to all who are so "overly impressed with the purely human element" of these modern "satirists" that they examine the skill and cunning of such men as Ben M. Bogard, D. N. Jackson and other denominational debaters in their use of "satire." These men, and other false teachers of their caliber, were really "experts" in ridiculing and making "fun of the truth." Some of these fellows who seem to think they are so "thoroughly informed" along these lines could learn a lot more about "satire" and how to use it against the truth if they will study the writings and debates of these denominational debaters than they now know. They will also learn that these men (while just as wrong as the modern false teacher) did have the courage to identify themselves. I cannot buy the idea that anonymity is ever justified when used to reply to a religious teaching. It sounds more like cowardice to me! If a man believes any religious teaching is wrong he has the right (and obligation) to reply to it, but I fail to understand why he would want to hide behind "anonymity." Why would any man who believes he has the truth, and who believes he is exposing false teachings, practices and attitudes want to, remain anonymous even if he is using satire against these teachings, practices and attitudes?
No one denies that satire is sometimes used in the Bible. However, I am willing to affirm that no inspired writer ever used it without first identifying himself, and then proving that the teaching or practice to which he applied satire was false! Inspired men of God were not spiritual cowards hiding behind "anonymity." Elijah was not afraid to stand boldly against the false gods of Baal and their false teachings and practices. Can you for one moment imagine Elijah wanting to deny his participation in his battle against these false gods and their practices? Not on your life! "As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself unto him this day" (1 Kings 18:15). And show himself he did. He called upon all the people to make a choice between the true God and Baal. "How long halt ye between two opinions? (go ye limping between two ways) If the Lord be God, follow him: But if. Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word" (vs. 21). I am sure the reason "the people answered him not a word" is because they knew he had the truth. They knew in their hearts that the "Lord is God" and the false prophets of Baal were deceivers. Error and false teaching cannot stand the test of truth, and the rantings, ravings, and "satire" of false teachers will never change nor overcome the Truth of God. They can cry from morning even until noon, cut themselves even after their manner, with their deception and denominationalism, but the Truth will always be truth.
Propagators of error have always used sarcasm, irony and ridicule in an attempt to turn people from the truth. The use of such makes a very wonderful impression upon all those (both in and out of the church) who cannot "endure sound doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:3). These are "ever learning, and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim. 3:7) They are, therefore, in a position to lend open ears to all those which "cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned" (Rom. 16:17) and instead of "marking and avoiding" them as the Holy Spirit admonishes, they swallow, hook, line and sinker, the false doctrines of these fellows who are running around all over the country "prating against us with malicious words" (3 Jn. 10) and who by their "good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom. 16:18).
A correspondent who was once a faithful member of the church, but who has for the past several years been under the influence and teaching of such men as Gordon Wilson, Jerry Phillips, Ed Fudge and their kind, recently wrote me, "I have read Truth Magazine for years and totally disapprove of their tactics of censoring a person simply because he disagrees with them." Of course what she means is that she disagrees with Truth Magazine (or anyone else) who exposes the false teachings of these fellows. These boys claim that they still believe and preach the truth, but in reality they are compromisers and false teachers. They know this. According to Ron Halbrook's article, "New Unity Beat Goes On, and On and On and On" (Truth Magazine, April 18, 1976), Gordon Wilson went to the Dunn Road Chapel "Winter Youth Study" in December of 1972 as one of their "featured speakers" along with Carl Ketcherside and others who have long since departed from the faith, not to "grapple with the Ketchersidian error into which they have long ago fallen" but to "hobnob" with these false teachers, and "Specifically, he commended the presence of Carl Ketcherside and the others on the program as being of benefit to all concerned." According to Brother Halbrook, Gordon has since tried to deny that he was even there! If this is not proof that Gordon knows better than such stuff and that he was aiding and abetting false teaching, I would like to know why. Had Gordon gone there and dealt with the error of Dunn Road and exposed the false teaching of Ketcherside as he should have, instead of "making a blanket commendation of the program and of Ketcherside's part in it" and preaching that the "works" in James 2 have no reference to "the alien sinner nor . . . what the alien sinner does!", he would not be ashamed of his part in the program, nor would he have any reason to deny his appearing there! I have never heard of a gospel preacher ever being ashamed of appearing anywhere to preach the whole counsel of God, reproving and rebuking false doctrine. I personally would welcome such an opportunity to expose error and uphold the truth; however, appearing on such a program, commending it, and teaching that the works of James 2 "has
no reference to the alien sinner nor what the alien sinner does," "would be and is totally disgusting to me!" It "would and is totally disgusting to me" that any man who claims to be a gospel preacher would continue to write for the Christian Standard (or any other denominational paper) and especially the kind of articles Gordon has been writing. As Brother Halbrook says, "There is nothing in these articles that would offend Christian Church people in their peculiar error-nor to save them." If Gordon will write articles teaching the truth on such subjects as, The One Body, The Work of the Church, The Sin of Instrumental Music in Worship etc., they will never see the light of day in the Christian Standard, nor any other denominational publication; and no one knows this better than Gordon Wilson.
The conduct and teaching of such men are leading people away from the truth and into the old denominational error of "it makes no difference, one church is just as good as another, etc." The correspondent I referred to above further stated, "I seldom go to church anywhere, but when I do go, I 'go wherever I please. I have gone to what you would consider `liberal' congregations, `conservative' congregations and the Christian Church. I felt more uplifted at the Christian Church."
This statement reflects the influence these false teachers are having on many today. No wonder they hide behind "satire" and "anonymity" and try to deny their part in such "totally disgusting" affairs.
Brother Halbrook says, "Gordon's Facts for Faith was being published by Lindy McDaniel's `Pitching for the Master Foundation' with the aid of Hubert Moss and William Wallace. Edward Fudge was happily lending his support by writing a regular column. Others have provided aid and comfort to compromisers by providing articles and financial help." It is hard to believe that these fellows have been ignorant of Wilson's activities. It is however, high time for all lovers of Truth to come forth with clear cut convictions of courage and avow disapproval of all such conduct and teaching.
Truth Magazine XXI: 7, pp. 108-109