October 20, 2017

Editorial: A Correction and an Explanation

By Cecil Willis

In the March, 1963 issue, in an article called 'Readin' the Bulletins," I implied that that the Northeastern School of Christian Service at Canton, Ohio was under the elders of the Walnut Avenue church in that city. In this particular I was mistaken, and now want to correct that misimpression. The school is operated under the direct supervision of two men, I have been informed, and has no organic connection with any church. Though my error was not at all justified there are several "mitigating circumstances," which I now mention.

1. My mistake was predicated on a misleading statement in Walnut Avenue's bulletin. They repeatedly have spoken of the school in their bulletin as "our area-wide training school" or as "our training school." I thought when they spoke of it as "ours" that they meant it was theirs! This is the fair and obvious import of their bulletin statements. Had they spoken of "our gospel meeting," or "our meeting house," or "our elders," I think I would have had no difficulty understanding what they meant. But I now am informed that when they said the schools is ''ours", that they did not really mean it. My error was caused by their misleading bulletin statement.

2. I knew that these brethren had no objections to an activity of several churches being directed by elders of one congregation, and thought this was being done in the case of the school. For example, in the Walnut Avenue bulletin of February 17, 1963, it is announced that "the churches of Christ in Stark County" will have a "big cooperative meeting... in the summer of 1964... It was decided that the Ninth St. elders would oversee this

work..." The elders of the Ninth St. church will therefore oversee a work of all the churches in the county. This is unscriptural (See Acts 20:28; I Pet. 5:2). In exactly this unscriptural centralized manner did I think this area-wide school was conducted.

3. My lack of information regarding the manner in which the school is conducted is partly explained by the fact that this school, though advertised as an area-wide school, is not in fact area-wide. There are at least half a dozen congregations in Akron (only twenty miles from Canton) who received no information as to how the school was operated. The fact is that these churches in Akron oppose the contribution of funds by churches to human institutions and to "sponsoring" churches, which these brethren operating the school endorse. We therefore purposely are not informed about these so-called "area-wide" activities. The school is only area-wide to the pro-institutional churches. Since they label us as "Anti," we were intentionally not informed as to how the school was operated.

4. Furthermore, it is very difficult to find out how the Canton school is operated. In an effort correctly to represent these brethren. I called the home of a brother in Akron who has taught in the school. He was not at home when I called, but I asked his wife how the school was operated. She replied, "I don't know, but if I did know, I wouldn't tell you!" Apparently there are some connected with the school who do not care too much about it being known how the school is operated.

Later the same day I called this brother who had taught in the school. He told me that he had not the faintest idea as to how the school was operated--Yet he had taught in it! His exact words were "I just don't know." He further informed me that if I wished to know how it was conducted, he would suggest that I contact the Walnut Avenue elders. This elder then immediately and abruptly hung up the telephone. His advice to me appeared strange. Why contact the Walnut Avenue elders if they have absolutely nothing to do with the school?

Would it not be as logical to contact the elders of any other church that has nothing to do with the school's operation?

Receiving no answer from these sources. I then called another brother who has been rather closely connected with the school. In answer to my question, his reply was "I don't know--I don't know who it is under." By then, I was beginning to wonder if any one knew who oversaw the school.

But I persisted in my effort to find out. So I called still another brother, this one being a teacher in the school now. He told me that he too had no idea whether the school was under the elders of the Walnut Avenue church or under a board. But he was kind enough to offer to find out for me. After reading to this brother the Walnut Avenue bulletin statement upon which my earlier statement had been predicated, he stated that the bulletin statement could surely be misleading. And it was.

Two teachers in the school did not know how it was conducted, and the wife of one of them curtly informed me that she would not tell me if she had known. It therefore appears to me that I should not be blamed too stringently for not knowing exactly how the school was operated, and for being misled by a misleading article.

By then, my curiosity had been aroused. So I called the brother who was reputed to be one of the co-directors of the school. He told me, jokingly, that he was referred to as the "Dean." I then suggested that he should call a faculty meeting and inform his teachers how the school was operated.

5. There are these interesting observations to be made. Since these teachers admittedly did not know how the school was operated, they did not know but what it was operated under the Walnut Avenue elders, as I had been led to believe. They apparently would not have objected had Walnut Avenue been charging for its Bible classes, since they did not know but what it was doing so.

Furthermore, the co-director to whom I talked has told me that he thinks that the church could contribute, among other institutions, to a school under-a board of directors. So actually these brethren involved with this school do not really care how the school is operated. They would not object whether under a church or under a board.

I am very glad to present this correction and explanation in TRUTH MAGAZINE. There are several papers, which I could name that will not correct a misimpression when it is called to their attention.

At least they have not done so till now. They apparently think that a correction would affect their "public image." But I think that our "public image" would be hurt if we did not correct this mistake, when it is called to our attention.

No righteous cause is ever advanced by misrepresentation. Truth is not bolstered by error. It causes me no embarrassment to make this correction. It only embarrasses me that I made the error, which error partially is explained by the above mentioned circumstances. My misrepresentation of the school certainly was not deliberate, as I thought I was on good foundation when I quoted the words of the co-director of the school when he said in the Walnut Avenue church bulletin that the school is "ours." But the record on this matter should now be straight.

Very Strange

Isn't it strange that some women want to dress like a man and smoke like a furnace; swear like a sailor; drink like a sponge, and many times wear little more clothes than a monkey; but still expect to be treated like a lady?

Truth Magazine VII: 9, pp. 2-3
May 1963

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