"Dr." J.M. Powell Speaks at "'Advent, Service"

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

On Wednesday, November, 30, 1966, the United Presbyterian Church in Parkersburg, West Virginia had a most distinguished speaker-none other than the "newly installed president of Ohio Valley College," "Dr. J. M. Powell" (The Parkersburg News, Nov. 28, 1866. See clipping below).

Dr. Powell Will Speak

At Service

Dr. J. M. Powell, newly installed president of Ohio Valley College, will speak during the first of two Advent services in the Sanctuary of the First United Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, Nov. 30, beginning at 7 p.m., a spokesman announced. The public is invited.

A covered dish dinner will be held in the Fellowship Hall beginning at 6:15 p.m.

Dr. Powell is a graduate of Oglethorpe University and has a master's degree in Bible from Harding Graduate School. A member of the faculty at Ohio Valley College for the past year, he is the author of three books, "Biography of N. B. Hardeman," "The Church Is Building," and "History of Franklin (Tenn.) Church of Christ."

He also is a regular writer for "Gospel Advocate," "Twentieth Century Christian," and "Minister's Monthly" and has served as editor for a number of other publications.

Dr. Powell is an expert in the field of church history and archeology and recently returned from an archeological expedition abroad. He is a friend of President Lyndon B. Johns and has been in attendance on a number of occasions with the President.

Dr. Powell was the speaker at "the first of two Advent services in the Sanctuary" Brother-Powell apparently has now joined hands with this sectarian church in celebrating Christmas, since this is said to be an "Advent" service. Perhaps next Spring some other denomination will call upon him to help them to celebrate Easter.

It may be a little hard for the brethren in the Ohio-West Virginia area to get used to Brother Powell's fraternizing with the denominations, but they are just going to have to adjust to it. After all, he has a "master's degree in Bible from Harding Graduate School," is a regular writer for the ultraliberal Gospel Advocate (which his equally liberal brother-in-law, B. C. Goodpasture, edits), and now is the "newly installed president of Ohio Valley College." If the brethren expect one with such impressive credentials to act like any other gospel preacher, apparently they are going to be disappointed. At least one of his first acts in Parkersburg is very unusual for a gospel preacher.

Liberals of Brother Powell's ilk will make the liberals of the Ohio-West Virginia area look like "pikers." It is indeed strange why brethren who pretend to operate a fairly conservative school will hire one of the rankest liberals in the brotherhood to run it, staff the school with faculty and administration who are equally liberal, and then pack their lecture programs with 99.44% liberals. Then after they have done all of these things, they appear to fail to understand why we are doubtful that they are as conservative as they tell us they are.

Brother Powell apparently feels equally at home with the sectarians. Prior to his "Advent service in the Sanctuary," he participated in "a covered dish dinner" which was held in the Presbyterian "Fellowship, Hall." Now Brother Powell knows all about these "Fellowship Halls." He has been in some of the finest and most elaborate ones owned and operated by the churches of Christ. He is much experienced with "Fellowship Halls."

And brethren who are influenced by J. M. Powell will become better acquainted with these Banquet Rooms or Cafeterias which are misnamed "Fellowship Halls" by the sectarians and by our liberal brethren.

Usually brethren who are involved in sectarian services like this one in which Brother Powell was a leading participant say that the secular press just did not report the incident correctly. Brother Otis Gatewood (ex-President of North Central Christian College) recently participated in "the first World Congress on Evangelism" which was conducted in Berlin, and sponsored jointly by the sectarian paper, Christianity Today, and the noted denominational preacher, Billy Graham. "Dr. Wm. S. Banowsky," preacher for the 2200 member Broadway Church of Christ in Lubbock, Texas, was a speaker at the 1966 Glass Sunday School 'Convention held at the Van Nuys, California First Baptist Church. Such joint participation in services with denominations is becoming much more common among our liberal brethren. If they keep progressing (digressing) at the current pace, it should not be very long until they are prepared in mind to do like the Christian Church recently did, and to merge with several denominations into one larger ecumenical denomination.

Isn't it strange how our brethren who are caught in these denominational services are never represented by the newspapers correctly? It is very odd that these same newspaper reporters accurately can chronicle the happenings at a political convention, a sports event, an automobile accident, or nearly anything else. But if "Dr. Powell," "Dr. Banowsky," or "Dr. Gatewood" participates in an "Advent" service, a "World Congress on Evangelism," or a "Sunday School Convention," somehow these same reporters never get the story quite straight! That is rather unusual, isn't it? These brethren, when their participation is known, exposed, usually resent the newspaper report and would nearly have you believe they did not even appear at the function at all. It seems these reporters are never quite so subject to err as when they are reporting the part a so-called gospel preacher is having in some interdenominational service!

We are hearing a good deal now about these "on the march" preachers and churches. It appears they are on the march alright - straight toward sectarianism, and in rapid cadence. There once was a time when gospel preachers even refused to join denominational Ministerial Alliances. Brethren thought back then that they should "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). Today you might find -one claiming to be a gospel preacher serving as an officer in the Ministerial Association. I was shocked the other day to read where the preacher for the Church of Christ in my home town (Groveton, Texas) was serving as the Chairman of the Fund Raising Committee for the Salvation Army. That's getting real helpful, isn't it? Rather than reproving error, some of our brethren now "buddy-up" to the denominations, and even are frequently the main stars in their denominational services and gatherings.

There was even a time when some of the old-timers thought we should "call no man your father upon the earth" or "Rabbi" or "master," "for all ye are brethren" (Matt. 23:8. 9). But some of the good "Doctors" have taken care of that old-timely scripture too.

It just appears that with the "New Frontier," forward-looking leadership which Ohio Valley College is supplying by its faculty, administration, and lecture speakers, brethren in the Ohio-West Virginia area are going to learn what a real, first-class liberal is, and how to hob-nob with the sectarians in expert fashion. And the "newly installed president of Ohio Valley College" has all the credentials, background, experience, and inclinations to lead the way in this new education of brethren. So all you brethren who desire to learn how a first-class liberal is supposed to act keep your eyes closely upon "Dr. J. M. Powell," "newly installed president of Ohio Valley College." He knows the ropes, and will show you all about it.

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XI: 5, pp. 2-3
February 1967