Those 50%"Antis"

Cecil Willis
Akron, Ohio

In the September 1964 issue of TRUTH MAGAZINE there appeared an editorial in which some things were said about Brother C. D. Beagle of New Philadelphia, Ohio. Brother Beagle has spoken fifteen or so times recently in defense of institutionalism and centralization. Yet he refused to answer some simple questions posed in a letter to him.

Therefore in the article mentioned we were very careful to state that we thought he opposed churches contributing to Bible colleges and orphan homes under a board of directors. We refused to make a more definite statement regarding his position because he refused to do so in reply to our letter.

After the article appeared, Brother Beagle, on September 30, 1964 wrote stating:

"You said I 'think' Brother Beagle believes so and so about the support of colleges and homes. I believe that implies uncertainty, and I also believe you know exactly what I believe about both. I have never hesitated to oppose both."

We are very glad to print this statement clarifying his position. We could not afford to make a more definite statement when he refused to do so. There are several people here to whom we spoke before writing the article who have heard Brother Beagle speak several times who still did not know exactly where he stood. Perhaps he thought he was making his position clear, but he did not do so.

It was pretty obvious from his lessons that he opposed the church support of colleges. But it still is exceedingly strange why he can fraternize so closely with men who practice that which he believes to be sinful, and will encourage the selection of men to preach for the church where he works who preach that which he believes to be sinful. If his convictions on this matter are so strong as he now would have us to believe, his practice is inexplicable. He has much more to do with brethren who preach and practice that which he thinks to be sinful on the college issue than with those of us who preach and practice what he believes to be the truth. Maybe his actions along this line make sense to you, but they do not to me.

But on the church support of orphan homes under a board of directors, Brother Beagle has not heretofore been so clear. Some of us who heard him thought we detected enough in his statements to conclude that he opposed the church support of such human institutions. But when a man has been brought in specifically to answer the "Antis" who oppose churches contributing to human institutions (as he was brought by the Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio church), he cannot strongly oppose the same thing and please those who imported him. Thus Brother Beagle's remarks at Cuyahoga Falls, where we heard him, were veiled and hedged.

But to clarify the record, Brother C. D. Beagle opposes church support of institutional orphan homes. We are exceedingly glad to hear him say so. We sincerely believe him to be right in opposing subsidization by the church of such human inventions. But his tirades hereafter against the "Antis" (if such tirades continue) will have to be taken with a grain of salt.

Brother Beagle's position simply means that he opposes church contributions to the Schults-Lewis Orphan Home, Boles Orphan Home, Mt. Dora Orphan Home and School, Potter Orphan Home, Tennessee Orphan Home, Childhaven, and every other home under a board of directors. It has been this spelling out of the implications of his statements that Brother Beagle has been so hesitant to do.

There are about thirty benevolent institutions appealing to the churches of Christ for support. About half of these are under a board of directors, and about half of them are under the oversight of elders of some sponsoring church. Brother Beagle is now stating his unequivocal objection to any church contributing to any of the fifteen or so homes under a board of directors. In fact, so far as I remember just now, there is not an orphan home east of the Mississippi River that Brother Beagle thinks it is scriptural for a church to support. Unless a mistake has been made, there is not a home east of the Mississippi River that is not under a board of directors. And the Gospel Advocate writers insist that the other fifteen homes under elders are unscriptural. But these 50% Antis can present a united front to oppose those of us who object to institutionalism and sponsoring church-ism.

Now since Brother Beagle opposes church support of about half of the orphan homes, would this not make him about 50/ Anti? Would not his strictures against the Antis then apply at least 500/O to himself ? And when our Brother Beagle really gets down to trying to find the scripture to justify one eldership overseeing the work of a hundred or more churches (which he now apparently defends -- if not we hope to hear again from him), he will then find it necessary to oppose the other fifteen homes under a sponsoring church eldership. He then will be labeled an "Anti" all the way.

The liberal institutional movement has not yet made the inroads in the Ohio Valley area that it has in the South. (Even Brother Clifton Inman will not endorse the church support of colleges yet, though he will differ with Brother Beagle and support benevolent work done by churches through a board of directors). However, it is working its way in. The liberal "we don't need any scripture for it" leaven is at work. There are a lot of other preachers in this area who do not buy the entire institutional bill of goods. But they hesitate to speak out against it, lest someone lump them in with the "Antis." It is doubtful that Tom Butterfield, Fred Dennis, W. E. Fortney, Cecil Dotson, Frank Higginbotham, Pat Gibbons, Horace Taylor, Halley Smith, or a host of other nearby preachers will endorse a church contributing to an orphan home under a board of directors. Some of these definitely will not. But several of these brethren refuse really to be specific and name what they are talking about and to specify the "homes" to which they object.

In the forthcoming "new order" which the liberals are trying to sell to a reluctant brotherhood, there will not be any place for old "moss-backs" like the above named brethren who have some scruples against some things for which no scripture can be found. We need every man who sincerely opposes church support of Bible colleges to cry out against the practice with every public means at his disposal. We need every man who opposes church contributions to benevolent boards (such as those over orphan homes and homes for the aged) to oppose these digressions with every public means at his disposal. We need every man opposed to centralized control and sponsoring church-ism (such as in some of the benevolent works and the Herald of Truth) to object to this human invention with every public means at his disposal. The pages of TRUTH MAGAZINE are available to these brethren that their public opposition might be better known. Those that have "never hesitated to oppose" these things are welcome to write herein. If the pages of the Bible Herald at Parkersburg, West Virginia or Gospel Herald at Beamsville, Ontario are open to me to oppose these things, you can rest assured my articles will be forthcoming. And if you believe error is taught herein, fire away at it.

These are crucial, critical times. We had better quit being afraid that our position might align us with this one or that one. Stand for what you believe to be the truth, and speak out! Your voice is direly needed.

Truth Magazine IX: 3, pp. 2-3
December 1964