"Abilene: Shifting to Neutral"

Cecil Willis

Writing under the above title, the denominational paper CHRISTIANITY TODAY (March 15, 1968, p. 41) described the recently held Abilene Christian College lecture program. They stated that the lecture program featured "Country-style preaching by Nashville's 'Fiery' Ira North and song leading by crooner Pat Boone . . . ... I am a little afraid Ira is not going to appreciate having his preaching called "country style." But after his red suit that he used on special occasions, I guess he prefers the descriptive "country style" to the more accurate "clownish."

The Abilene lectureship has not just shifted to "neutral." They have been in "neutral" for twenty years. They are just shifting to REVERSE! Abilene Christian College Bible faculty member, Eugene W. Clevenger, said in an April 29, 1967 letter to David Stewart of the R. B. Sweet Company: "I have decided not to have a part in this cooperative effort with such liberals as Tony Ash, Dick Batey, Bob Johnson, Pat Harrell, Don McGaughey, J. W. Roberts." Clevenger had been announced as the writer of one of the new Sweet Company commentaries. He said that another ACC faculty member, Neil Lightfoot, also had resigned his assignment.

Two of the men named as "liberals" by Clevenger are his fellow-ACC Bible Faculty members --- Tony Ash and J. W. Roberts. Clevenger added, "The time is fast approaching when the position of such men as are on the Bible Faculty of Abilene Christian College must be made known to the brotherhood, and I have decided that I, for one, will do what I can to expose the liberalism that prevails in the Bible Department here at ACC."

As I said, ACC has been in "neutral" for twenty years. They are shifting gears now. But it is not a shift into "neutral." It is a shift from "neutral" into "REVERSE!" It will be interesting to see whether Clevenger and Lightfoot keep their jobs, or if Ash and Roberts lose theirs. If ACC retains all of them, an even greater farce will be perpetrated.

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XII: 8, pp. 17-18
May 1968