By Gospel Preachers
We, the undersigned preachers of the gospel, set forth the following heartfelt expression of genuine concern. It is offered in sincere Christian love for our brethren everywhere to consider. It is our fervent desire that this expression may help to avert division and prevent further harm to the spiritual body of Christ. Our prayer is that this statement to which we affix our names will awaken many brethren to some ever-increasing dangers confronting us.
I. We are deeply disturbed over the liberalism that Is so evident In the brotherhood today. By “liberalism” we mean especially the following Items, though not excluding other specifics that could be mentioned:
A. There is a drifting from the Bible-centered, definitive, distinctive doctrine that once characterized our preaching. Presently, uncertain sounds and weak messages emanate from many pulpits among us. Brethren are becoming accustomed to diluted and polluted preaching. We are rapidly approaching the point where many of our people, including preachers and elders, no longer know the difference between true Christianity and the corrupted forms of it so prevalent about us.
B. There is a concerted effort on the part of some of our brethren to restructure the organization, worship and work of the church along sectarian lines, thus tending to denominationalize the New Testament body of Christ.
C. A spirit of doctrinal compromise and fellowshipping of those in blatant religious error has permeated our ranks.
D. The world has made alarming Inroads into the church. Instead of the church influencing the world for righteousness, as it should, the world has adversely affected many brethren In matters of morality and conduct of life.
E. The typical emphasis of the denominational world on recreation, entertainment, and solving the social ills of society has been Incorporated into the thinking and programs of many congregations, supplanting the God-given work of meeting the desperate spiritual needs of those both within and without the body of Christ.
II. We are also greatly concerned over the controversy surrounding Abilene Christian University, and we fool that It needs to be property resolved.
A. About a year and a half ago, two ACU biology professors were charged with teaching as fact the theory of evolution, without any refutation whatsoever. Strong evidence was presented to substantiate the charges. In January of 1986, an ACU graduate with a Ph.D. In the field of biology published a book entitled, Is Genesis Myth?, in which much of the evidence was made available to the brotherhood. Since then. even more facts and damaging testimony have emerged.
B. In February of 1986. ACU responded with an “Investigative Report” and “Institutional Statement,” in which the charges were wholly denied. Though many have accepted these statements without question, It is our conviction that they have not responsibly addressed the accusations, much less answered them. And many specifies were left untouched.
C. ACU’s statement W83 simply the result of blanket acceptance of the findings of an In-house “Special Committee,” which consisted of three members of the Board of Trustees appointed to Investigate the matter. We believe that such an arrangement was the same, In principle, as If President Nixon had appointed three close associates to Investigate the Watergate scandal. A lack of objectivity and thoroughness must surely account for the definite conflict between the tangible evidence available and the official denial Issued by the school. In our judgment, this leaves a cloud of shaken confidence hanging over Abilene Christian University.
D. Some apparently fool that our educational Institutions should never be called in question. We believe that this attitude is seriously flawed. If New Testament writers could highlight the mistakes of certain first-century congregations. surely no school is immune to scrutiny. It Is because we want to see ACU safeguarded for the benefit of the Lord’s people that we raise these concerns.
E. We therefore urgently request the ACU Administration and/or Board of Trustees to allow an impartial, independent investigation of the evolution controversy by a committee of men who are outside the framework of the ACU family, who are knowledgeable in Bible-3clence matters, and who have the confidence of sound brethren. Such an Investigation should be as extensive as possible in order for a proper determination to be made and a just disposition of the matter to be implemented.
F. Over the past several years. ACU has also become Increasingly known for using numerous liberal-leaning speakers on its annual lectureship and other programs. Such has caused great concern to many about the direction the school is headed. Surely faithful and concerned brethren have the right to call for inquiry as to why such speakers are given a warm reception on ACU platforms to promote Ideas which are harmful to the Cause we love.
This statement is simply an urgent plea from preachers of the gospel who love the Lord, His church, and His cause with all our hearts. We oppose both radicalism and liberalism, and we fool sure that the vast majority In the Lords church today share these convictions. Therefore, we wish to emphasize the following:
We are convinced that It is time for more and more brethren to speak forth plainly! We must not sit idly by and watch the cause of truth erode. We urge brethren everywhere to join us in fatting their voices be heard.
Express your convictions to the elders and preacher of your local congregation. Write letters to ACU Board members and Administrators, and let them know how you feel. ( We can furnish a list of their names and addresses.) Brethren, please speak up! “Truth is not only violated by falsehood; It may be equally outraged by silence.”
The names affixed to this statement by no means exhaust the roll of faithful and concerned preachers. We are merely reprosentathis of many who are anxious for the welfare of the Lord’s church.
Maxie B. Boren, Frank Dunn, Noble Patterson, Eddie Whitten, Gary Workman, Tommy Hicks, Richard Melson, Dan Jenskins, T.B. Crews, Loyd Smith, Mark Bass, J. Leathel Roberts, Keith Oliver, Bobby Bates, Ed Rodgers, Jack Orbison, Jon Gary Williams, Goebel Music, Roy J. Hearn, W.L. Fricks, Jim Dobbs, F.F. Conley, Stan Stevenson, David P. Brown, Wayne Price, Jerry Noblin, Sr., Carl Garner, Bobby Duncan, Perry B. Cotham, Michael Wyatt, Charles E. Wrenn, Ken Butterworth, Tim Ayers, T. Larry Marshall, Keith Mosher, Sr., W. Michael Hatcher, John Baldwin, Luther Savage, Don Ruhl, Frank Starling, William Cline, Glenn Willcut, Tony Lawrence, Rex A. Turner, Sr., A.C. Morris, Barry Hatcher, Foy Forehand, Clarence Lavender, Darrell Conley, Jim E. Waldron, Bobby Wood, H.A. “Buster” Dobbs, J. Donald Nash, Joe B. Rhoten, Demar Elam, H.R. “Bob” Hurd, Blackie Ellison, Phil Scott, Ralph Genry, Dabney Phillips, Johnny Anders, John Temples, Graham Cain, Kippy Myers, Tom Blewitt, Timothy A. Pahman, Sr., Leon D. Schrei, Steve Patterson, M.L. Sexton, Barry Kym Polk, Cecil Corkren, Sammy Cooper, T. Pierce Brown, Dalton Graves, Oran Rhodes, John Morgan, Andy Kizer, Jack C. Scott, Jr., Owen Aikin, David E. Hanson, Bubba Phillips, Preston Cotham, Don Tarbet, Flavil Nichols, Tom Adams, Jodies Boren, Ray Peters, Gaylord Cook, Andrew Connally, Gary Summers, A.G. Hobbs, Reid Bennett, Robert Dodson, Jr., Steven Lloyd, Dwight Fuqua, Rod Rutherford, Wayne Coats, David Dugan, Bill Lockwood, Joe Galloway, Terry Hightower, W.L. “Bill” Hearn, Burt Groves, Clyde Freeman, Tim Nichols, Bob Odle, Bronson Ostic, Toney L. Smith, Charles Atnip, Gilbert Gough, John Waddey, W.E. Skipper, Fred McClung, W.N. “Bill” Jackson, John D. Griffis, Graland Elkins, Idus England, Earl L. Craig, Byron Denman, James D. Willeford, Don Hinds, Dub McClish, Al Brown, Jerry Moffitt, Manlif Barnes, Dick Biggs, Rex Oberg, Dave Collier, Jack Cox, Joe Cross, Don Michael, Brad Broming, D. Gene West, Jack Norris, Bud Bayless, Pat McGee, W.D. Jeffcoat, Noah Hackworth, M.T. Crass, Dennis oss, Glann Lee, Tom Bright, Arnold Sexton, Billy R. Davidson, Paul Epps, Archie Waldrum, Russell Artist, Lynn Matheny, Johnny Ramsey, Harrell Davidson, Kenneth Franklin, Larry Fluitt, Troy Cummings, Joe K. Alley, H.L. Shirley, Donald W. Walker, E.L. Whitaker, Marvin Weir, John G. Shaver, Joe Malone, W. Terry Varner, Jim O’Connor, Steve Gibson, Murray Marshall, Charles E. Hill, Robert Stephenson, Glen Williams, Robert F. Berard, J.D. Boren, Darrell Perry, Dick Sztanyo, Billy L. Morris, Tim Lavender, William C. “Bill” Hatcher, Roy C. Deaver, Gary Colley, J. Cleo Scott, Garell Forehand, Perry Hall, Lester Fisher, Foy L. Smith, Alfred Palmer, Terry Hill, Winfred Clark, Cody A. Burgin, Glenn R. Sheumaker, J.T. Marlin, Paul Wilkinson, Joe Ruiz, Darrell Moore, Paul T. Kidwell, Jr., Roy Hannah, Dan Flournoy, Bobby Cullum, Ken Chumbley, Phil Smith, Steve Orduno, Kenneth Bayles, Wayne Jackson, Eldon Rodgers, Frank Faircloth, Comer Hall, Kenny Cain, Edwin S. Jones, Joe Wilson Smith, Charles Reid, Mark K. Lewis
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 4, p. 102
February 19, 1987