By Mike Willis
Elsewhere in this issue, you will find an article from my brother, Cecil Willis, in which he announces his resignation as Editor of Truth Magazine. It is with saddened countenance that I write these comments about his resignation inasmuch as his departure from this paper leaves a void which simply cannot be filled. Cecil assumed the job of editing Truth Magazine in August, 1962; he gives it up with this issue. He has served well in the fifteen years he has edited this paper.
Through these years, Cecil has frequently had to take the lead in fighting the thrusts of Satan against the church. He has been in the vanguard of the forces which worked to counteract the advances of institutionalism, the sponsoring church and, more recently, the “unity in diversity” movement. Each time, he has taken a firm position against the false doctrines being promoted by false brethren and has stood without wavering. Many people have not agreed with where Cecil stood, but they have never had to wonder where he stood! Sometimes, his editorials offended a good many brethren and some have questioned his judgment regarding whether certain articles should be printed. In none of his writings, however, have I seen anything in Cecil but that I was convinced that he wrote what he wrote to advance the cause of Christ. I have never seen in him the sinister motives which many brethren have attributed to him. Frankly, I feel that I know my brother well enough to have seen any such motives were they there. Although there have been times when I questioned his judgment, I have never questioned his motives.
But, now, Cecil has laid down the work of editing this paper. Truth Magazine will not be the same because of this great loss. Those of us who are associated with the paper wish that the things which caused Cecil to have to resign were not present. Yet, they are there and simply must now be faced. For two years, Cecil has been incapacitated to such an extent that he has been unable to exercise the editorial oversight which a paper needs. During this period, Truth Magazine has become a rather bland publication. Continuing as it has been for these two years would eventually be the death of the paper. Hence, a new editor had to be appointed.
The Board of Directors of Cogdill Foundation has asked me to edit this paper. After much consideration and thought, I have consented to accept the job. With fear and trembling, I am assuming the job of editing this paper. I have no conception of the Editor of any paper being the official spokesman for the acceptable doctrine of the Lord’s church. Hence, I shall not try to act in that fashion. I shall, however, have no scruples about commenting concerning things which I feel to be a departure from the faith.
The policy of this paper will continue as it has been in the past, namely, the “open forum” style. This simply means that the editor has not taken upon himself the shocking responsibility of becoming a brotherhood censor. This paper has rather freely permitted articles to be printed which expressed sentiments with which the editor did not agree. We shall continue to do likewise. Therefore, each writer shall be responsible only for those articles bearing his name. The simple fact that I shall insert an article in the paper shall not alone be taken as indication that I concur with every point expressed therein.
While we shall accept articles with which we are not in agreement, this is not to be taken to imply that Truth Magazine shall constitute a medium through which every “crackpot” or chronic “rabble-rouser” in the brotherhood shall have opportunity to let off steam. There is such a thing as editorial responsibility! I know that this policy will not please everyone but I think that it is fair.
New Plans for The Future
Whereas there are a number of things which will stay the same with this paper, there are some planned changes ahead for Truth Magazine. One of the things which has happened with this paper is that it has become a “preacher-paper,” as have several others among us. We desire to change the format of this paper sufficiently to make it useful to a greater number of brethren. Hence, we shall try to write articles pertaining to first principles, denominationalism, Christian living, etc. to try to make it more useful in the propagation of God’s word than it has been in the past. As a result of this change, we hope to build a larger subscription list as brethren begin to recommend this paper to a greater number of their friends.
One of the things which I personally have enjoyed most in the papers which are being printed are the special issues. For several years, I have been instrumental in getting together some special issues for publication in Truth Magazine. As Editor, I plan to make arrangements to have several specials in the works at all times with the intention of making them appear quarterly in the paper. The different subjects covered will vary; if you have a suggestion of a particular topic which you would like to see covered in one of these specials, feel free to suggest it to me.
Let me add that I shall do my very best to be sure that Truth Magazine does not lose the positive things which it has going for it. We have a good staff of writers who say what they intend to say very clearly; they call sin by its name and are not afraid to expose those who are propagating it. Through the help of this capable staff of writers, I shall be sure that Truth Magazine does not lose its punch. Too, I shall do my best to keep the appearance of the magazine up to par. The mechanics of this paper are my responsibility; I intend to be sure that our printers do the job which they are paid to do. (Lest anyone should misunderstand me, let me say that I cannot imagine a more capable staff or a more congenial working arrangement than we presently have with Economy Printing Concern of Berne, Indiana. This statement is not intended to reflect dissatisfaction with the job which they have done in the past but only to reassure our readers that it will continue in the future as it has been in the past.)
I solicit the contribution of good articles for publication in this paper and the support of Truth Magazine through subscriptions. You could be a lot of help to us by encouraging your friends to begin subscribing to this paper or by purchasing ten subscriptions per month and mailing them to your friends. As you observe the quality of material that appears in this paper each week, will you consider helping us to promote the paper?
Truth Magazine XXI: 20, pp. 307-308
May 19, 1977