Beckley, West Virginia
This is what some call Truth Magazine in the Beckley, W. Va. area and throughout the nation. They are always the same people that push church support of human organizations upon brethren. It is such a pity that brethren cannot differ without some stooping to judging motives.
Jesus warns about our judging the hearts of others. Matthew 7:2 states that we will be judged by the Lord according to our judgment of others. In a real sense each person will thus be his own judge - set the standard of his own judgment. We fear that many will be condemned at the judgment for their nasty little phrases such as our title. If we judge a brother as being filled with hate and he is not, we shall thus be judged as one filled with hate or as a false accuser.
When one judges a paper as being filled with hate he thus affirms that most if not all of her writers are thus filled. One then affirms that he knows the hearts of all of these men. Without a personal acquaintance with each person, how can we be sure we know the hearts of each?
The printed page has certain limitations. One does not see the writer and thus has more difficulty in knowing his attitude. He may be writing with tears in his eyes. Each writer cannot take half of his space telling what a great love he has. Even if one did spend a great deal of space telling what a wonderful attitude he possessed many would be highly suspicious of him. Jesus never wasted time or space telling what a fine fellow he was. He simply spoke the truth. Brethren, why must so many read the wrong thing "between the lines?" Why can we not read what is written without judging the writer's heart? We fear that some are trying to build a "Berlin Wall" around a weak cause lest some good brother go "over the wall" and get some facts that will inform him. If we are confident that we are standing for the truth, we will not use any mean tactics to keep others from reading material from the "other side."
Usually, those who are so harsh in their criticism of a paper seldom read it. Two close preacher-friends of mine once were telling me how terrible the attitudes of the writers of another paper were. After being asked how often they read that paper, they freely admitted that they seldom ever see a copy of it. One said he had not seen a copy in over a year and was only taking what others said about the paper This is true of so many.
One night at almost midnight, while living at Hillsboro, Ohio, a young preacher from Freed-Hardeman College called from the police station wondering if we could pay his $30 fine. After going down and paying it we took his family home with us for the night. Breakfast was over the next day when a near by preacher came in and started raking the papers published by brethren. Our guest also joined in telling what terrible attitude conservative brethren had. He made special mention of the terrible attitude some fellow had who recently had written some articles in the Gospel Guardian about Harding College. He stated, "Anyone could tell that his heart was filled with bitterness and hate." We admonished him to not judge the heart of anyone writing about an institution he had never attended and knew little about.
Just before leaving, our guest expressed his deep appreciation for our great kindness and hospitality toward them as strangers. He assured us that such love would never be forgotten. With mixed emotions we let him and his family, leave without telling him that this same "kind" brother also wrote those articles that he said were filled with bitterness. We felt that his next two years at Harding would not only reveal who wrote the articles but also why.
Many brethren have gotten themselves into a pitiful position. All who criticize any thing they are doing are filled with hate. Thus we see a large group forming that is only critical of her critics and thus has no self purifying power. No wonder so many modern practices are going unopposed. All of them are afraid to oppose any digressive trends lest they be called "antis filled with hate." Brother H. A. Dixon, President of Freed-Hardeman College, once said, "The best friends the school has are her critics.
They will keep her pure." This is especially true of the church now.
No doubt, few at Corinth and Galatia felt that the apostle Paul condemned their digressive practices through love. Brethren today are just like many of the Galatian brethren were. They count a preacher or writer their enemy when he speaks out against their practices. In Galatians 4:16 Paul asked them if he had become their enemy because he had told them the truth. The mature Christian will be above such labeling.
Isn't it strange that those who claim writers should be kind and not critical are often very unkind and critical of those who do not agree with them? Brethren, we need to investigate our own hearts when everyone who agrees with us has a good attitude and everyone who disagrees with us is filled with hate. Let us all read whatever we can and leave the judging of motives to God.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XI: 7, pp. 10-11