Charles Holt and "Sentinel Of Truth" - A Review (1)
Many of us know that a few years ago brother Charles A. Holt became Editor of a new journal entitled, "Sentinel of Truth." Actually, the very title is a misnomer and thus misleading because the efforts being put forth in this journal do an injustice to the Truth of God. It cannot be a "sentinel of truth" for several reasons I wish to point out.
And at this point let me hasten to say that, while I shall primarily deal with brother Holt's efforts through this journal, he is not alone responsible for the error propagated in this work for there are a number of brethren who write for this paper that hold the same positions. From the very outset of this work it has simply been a display of an embittered heart full of ridicule of "traditions" long known and established as truth. Its efforts have been to discredit certain scriptures, practices and beliefs because of many abuses of these among some brethren. There is but very little appeal to scriptural authority while much is done to ignore certain basic scriptural principles and to create doubts, questionings and other things that tend to cause many to fall from the faith. Hence I wish primarily to deal with the standard, nature or character of this journal which has definite reflections on its treatment of the subject matters dealt with therein.
There are several reasons why the efforts of Brother Holt and his associates are dangerous and detrimental to the sound faith of the believers. In verity the fruit of his labors has as far reaching effects in religious matters as that of some modern, liberal theologians in Protestant circles. His line of reasoning is false in that he condemns certain truths because they have been greatly abused. And he often does so in a derogatory manner which makes it apparent to the reader that he seems to think he can establish proof of his ideas by this attitude rather than by sound, scriptural reasoning.
Thus by continually pointing out the abuses of certain scriptural matters, he seeks to prejudice the mind against these things from the standpoint of their abuse. He judges the divine standards by human short-comings. But this is like cutting off a man's head because he had a bad tooth in his mouth! Nowhere do we read that God changed His word because man ABUSED certain portions of it. Yet Brother Holt seeks to "lay aside the commandment of God" because men have abused it by their perversions in practice. Such a practice on his part is not justified by any stretch of the imagination. His efforts only lead to doubt and skepticism concerning the Bible among weaker members. Thus, his position is dangerous because it leads the less wary mind to reject the COMMANDS of God because some have either abused or neglected them. He impugns the wisdom of God by the foolishness of man's errors.
Another reason why Charles Holt's work, and that of his associates, is dangerous is that there is definite proof of a departure from sound faith into the camp of liberalism as such radicals find themselves going by swinging the pendulum to the other extreme. It is becoming increasingly clear that Brother Holt's attitude toward truth is gradually changing. He is only a step or so behind Ketcherside, Garrett, Meyers, etc., and only time will tell when he will catch up with them. As in any case of digression, a lessening regard for WHAT the Bible says leads to a complete abandonment of its authority as a binding principle of faith. And I fear that many unsuspecting brethren who have considered him "sound on the issues" will be led into liberalism by his influence. And finally, he has proven himself dishonest, whereby his work has proven unreliable and untruthful!
Deceptive Editorial Policies
Concerning the Sentinel of Truth, Charles Holt stated that he and those with him in that work "have no axes to grind and no one hobby to ride; that is, no one theme to pursue or one major position to advance." He added: ". . . it should be apparent (but is not-LR) that this journal has no particular belief or position on any question to which it is committed and is begun to advocate." (July, 1965). THIS IS CHARLES HOLT'S EDITORIAL POLICY! This is what he set forth at the very beginning of this publication. Yet nothing is farther from truth than these statements!
It is true that he has "NO ONE THEME to pursue, or one major subject to advance" - HE HAS THREE - namely, (1) The Church, (2) The Eldership, and (3) The preacher. THESE ARE HIS HOBBIES. He ridicules the organizational concept of the local church, or "the local congregation." To him there is no such thing. Of course, he is not alone in this position and hence cannot be entirely blamed for it. He scoffs at the scriptural teachings concerning the "officers of the church," the "office of a bishop," or the "rule" they exercise. Elders, or "The Eldership," are placed on par with POPES, "dictators," "policy-makers," etc. Preachers generally amount to nothing more than mere, "messenger boys" to carry out the "policies" of these "policy-makers," the "popes" or "the eldership."
Every issue of S. O. T. is FILLED with long and drawn out (and often tedious and confusing) articles dealing specifically with these particular subjects. Of course, it is his right to deal with anything he chooses and as frequently as he desires. But in so doing HE IS NOT CONSISTENT WITH HIS EDITORIAL POLICY! Hence the question is raised, Did he make these opening statements to conceal his real intentions, to throw his readers off track? Did he do so purposely to deceive, in righteous pretense, so his original intentions for which this journal was evidently established would not be discerned until he got on better footing? Until he got well established? Or has he simply FORGOTTEN or unintentionally IGNORED his policy? Whatever are his reasons for such an extensive departure from his original intentions or policy, it can nevertheless be seen that he has proven himself untrue to his position to which he had originally obligated himself, and thus has proven himself to be a mighty poor Editor-indeed. Because he has proven himself unreliable in this area, I am certain that even for this reason brethren are justified in, their skeptical outlook on his efforts through the medium of S. O. T.
I wish to relate to you a certain incident that will prove Brother Holt not only untrue to his editorial policy, but downright dishonest in his writings. This can give you an accurate estimate of the worth or value of the design and mission of S. 0. T. It has definite reflections in other areas of work in that journal.
In the VERY FIRST edition of S. O. T. (July, 1965) he "wrote" an article entitled, "The Officers of the Church." But what he "Wrote" soon got him in serious trouble because he did not write the article; HE STOLE IT! As he admitted later, it was "taken from E. G. Sewell in the book 'Questions Answered'." (April, 1965). PLAGIARISM, which is often called "literacy piracy," is illegal. Since it is a crime, it is most certainly SINFUL. Although he "expected two or three to rashly rush into print with the charge of 'plagiarism,' he did it "in order to make some points ..." He made his "point" alright - he proved himself dishonest and guilty of sin. What good he wanted to accomplish was entirely destroyed by this deceitful act. I wonder if Brother Holt ever heard the expression, "The end never justifies the means." Perhaps he used that in his arguments against institutionalism and sponsoring churches.
When Brother Tom O'Neal exposed him in some articles in SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES he was filled with "righteous indignation." He finally got around to "confessing" the whole thing - TEN MONTHS LATER-in the April, 1966 issue of S. O. T. But only AFTER HE WAS REBUKED FOR HIS SIN!
He charged: "At times most of us are rather rash and presumptuous." For the life of me I cannot understand the reasoning of this man. He was guilty of plagiarism, a crime, a sin, yet accuses one who took him to task for this as being "rash" and "presumptuous." How could anyone be "rash" in exposing a wrong that had already been committed, and had been read everywhere? Brother O'Neal exposed not something that was not clearly established, but something that simply could not be denied. Now the meaning of "presumptuous" is: "taking undue liberties." When a man exposes falsehood, sin, is that "taking undue liberties?" Is it not one's DUTY to correct error? Does not brother Holt himself feel obligated to expose error that seeks to overthrow the truth? Concerning Brother O'Neal, he said, "He tried the case and condemned his victim, without any word of- explanation or defense from the victim!" HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR AN "EXPLANATION" or "DEFENSE," Brother Holt? No, my brother, you condemned yourself! Your own act condemned you! You were already condemned in the wrong you had done and he only CORRECTED you. Brother Holt gave his usual cry of "persecution." How could it be such when Brother Holt was the guilty party in this "misrepresentation" by signing his name to an article that did not rightfully belong to him? He "misrepresented" a moral principle by assuming credit for something not rightfully his - the authorship of another man's article.
He further charged the Editor of SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES of being "equally as guilty of sin and evil, if not more so." just what-was this "sin" and "evil" of which the Editor of this journal was guilty? Of exposing the SIN and EVIL of plagiarism of falsehood? Is this Brother Holt's definition of "SIN" and "EVIL?" Is it wrong to warn brethren against false dealings such as this? Especially a sin so deliberate as plagiarism? To top it all, he argued: "He did not allow that I could have erred in ignorance." How "ignorant" does one have to be to commit such a deliberate SIN? Does this brother mean to tell us he COPIED, PLAGIARIZED, another man's work and still maintain he did it in ignorance - not knowing he did it? Does this brother mean to tell us it took him TEN MONTHS to finally realize that he "erred in ignorance" when he deliberately signed his name to another man's article? Or can it be that perhaps I do not really understand the meaning of this statement, and that he was really trying to say that because of his "ignorance" he "erred?" This is the only possible excuse a man can give for a sin of this type and in that case we ought to take pity on him and be more lenient. But then this, i. e., his "erring" in "ignorance," will have bad repercussions on anything and everything he writes or teaches. This will, then, prove his entire work a monstrous failure.
In the following articles I shall demonstrate the poor taste and low standard of Sentinel of Truth, as well as some perversions of scriptural doctrines. In addition, I will point out the extreme danger of this work to those who are influenced by it.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XII: 8, pp. 18-20