By Jeffery Kingry
It was obvious from the articles “A Few Licks For Florida College” (Truth Magazine, Nov. 22, 1973) that Brother Weldon Warnock was reacting to material that appeared in the May 1973 issue of Torch magazine by Royce Chandler. While in Tampa, Florida for the 1974 Florida College lectures, Brother Warnock confirmed this to me in conversation. But, at the time I wrote my plea to Weldon asking him to be more specific I did not know this. I did not want to fall prey to the very thing I sought to rebuke: Misrepresentation. Brother Warnock has misrepresented Brother Chandler, and in effect labeled all those who agree with what was written by Royce, as being opposed to the school’s inherent right to exist. I can sympathize with Brother Warnock, for he reacted out of a desire to defend something which is very precious to him. No man can find fault with that. But, misrepresenting brethren and what they believe works no good to them, to the school, and does great disservice to Brother Warnock’s own effectiveness as a teacher and a preacher.
The events of the past twenty years should serve to remind us what happens when brethren confuse and mix “issues.” Classical Sommerism is one thing . . . the all sufficiency of the church is another. I would oppose the brother who claimed that an educational institution could not be privately run by a brother. I would oppose the brother who claimed that the educational institution can do anything for the church just as strongly. Brethren Needham and Chandler have not taken a Sommer view towards privately run secular schools, but have addressed themselves to the latter issue. Responses such as Brother Warnock’s, and of some who have recently written me, tend to drive brethren to the Sommer view rather than away from it.
The only way this human institution will remain viable and useful to parents and students is when it is constantly criticized in a constructive manner to keep it useful. It is indicative of the very problem Torch has vocalized that I would feel called upon to state that I am a supporter of the school, a contributor to it, and a solicitor for students. It has come to a sad state of affairs when a supporter and former alumnus of the school cannot criticize how the school may be run, or oppose brethren who would make it a “Church School,” without being branded as a heretic.
There is enough error among us without dividing our forces and resources opposing one another over something made by men’s hands. Brother Warnock expressed to me on the campus of Florida College that he is loathe to become involved in a conflict, and that he has more important work to do. Who is not loathe of conflict? And it is certain that our work is in saving souls and building one another up. Let us follow this road then, and put our affections where they belong, and cease from writing the kind of material which prompted this exchange in the first place.
Truth Magazine, XVIII:22, p. 8
April 4, 1974