Charles Holt and "Sentinel of Truth" A Review (II)
Poor Medium of Exchange
My hopes were really raised when I read opening statements of the first issue of Sentinel of Truth (July, 1965). "Actually, we believe this journal not only has a needed place, but also a unique and peculiar one. It will be of a different character than nearly all the others, especially as to its nature and function" (p. 1).
This first impression I received from these opening words was that the journal was designed for a fair and honest exchange of views and thoughts pertaining to certain scriptural matters over which brethren differ. But my hope quickly subsided when I began reading the first issue. I readily admit that this journal is "of a different character than nearly all the others" but THAT DIFFERENCE DEFINITELY DOES NOT HAVE "a needed place ... among the rest of the religious journals among us!
We may wonder, "What was in the mind of the Editor when he stated that 'this journal . . . has a NEEDED place . . .'?" Was he inferring that something was LACKING in "nature and function" among the other journals and that this made S. 0. T. "a unique and peculiar one" because it fulfilled a NEED that others failed to fulfill? What was lacking in the other journals that made S. 0. T. more complete or a better grade of reading material? What ANSWER did S. 0. T. give to any NEED that the other journals failed to give?
It can be easily noticed that this "need" was a means of teaching views so foreign to New Testament teachings that they reject scriptural positions or "traditions" long known and regarded as truth. I soon realized that the design and purpose of this paper was not for an open, fair and honest discussion in controversy. On the contrary, if there ever was a display of a personal, vindictive spirit and open hostility amidst controversy, it was clearly seen in this journal. This I quickly discerned to be the "different character" so "unique and peculiar" in its "nature and function."
In no other journal among us do I see a greater display of harsh and bitter feelings toward differences in controversy than in S. 0. T. Brother Holt has a way of bringing differences in controversy in S. 0. T. down to a personal level. He has a very sharp "axe to grind" when dealing with those who differ with him on his "new ideas."
Again I say it is his RIGHT to deal with any subject or any one the way he desires. But this again proves his editorial policy to be deceptive and gives definite proof of the low standard and poor quality of this journal as a medium of exchange of differing views and positions. To Brother Holt it is proper to "contend for the faith" when he is opposing the other man. But when one has controversy with him, he immediately presents himself misunderstood, persecuted, the victim of prejudice and abuse. Yet at the same time he heaps ridicule and abuse upon those he accuses as being of such "attitudes." Thus he endeavors to press his views upon brethren by making them feel guilty for ever opposing anything he teaches. They are then guilty of doing him great injustice. This shows the low standard of his editorial policy in the journal that "has a needed place . . ." and this characteristic certainly makes S.O.T. 44a unique and peculiar one." We can be thankful that is "unique and peculiar" that there are not any more like it among us!
Brother Holt said that such efforts in opposition to him are simply "made to prejudice the minds of the people relative to this work." They "are the ways and works of those sectarian views and feelingsand such are acting as modern counterparts of the ancient Pharisees" (July 1965, p. 2). He further charges that "We do not know how to get along with our differences and distinctions . . ." and he would rather choose the "idea that churches might send contributions to orphanages and in some measure (?) cooperate with other congregations in supporting gospel preaching (Herald of Truth, Campaigns for Christ, etc.? LR) than the ATTITUDE MANIFESTING ITSELF IN VARIOUS WAYS . . . ON THE PART OF FAR TOO MANY OF THOSE WITH WHOM I STAND 'ALIGNED'..." (Oct. 1965 - p. 2, all emph. caps mine -LR).
Attitudes and S.O.T
There is a definite conflict in the expressed attitude of Brother Holt. On the one hand there appears to be a close affinity between Brother Holt's attitude characteristic in his writings and that of Catholic intolerance. Religious freedom or liberty, to the Catholic, is the right for everyone to uphold Catholicism. When opposition begins, religious freedom ends.
But on the other hand, if there are differences with his particular views, we suddenly "don't know how to get along" because opposition is distasteful to him. He then expects OTHERS to express the feelings of those in modern, liberal religious circles that get along because they get along with anything and everything. They have polite "dialogues" or "inter-faith" communions in which they are very careful not to clearly define any positive conviction or position of belief. This might be a "thorn in the flesh" and hinder them from "getting along." They actually seem apologetic for any differences that just might happen to appear between them and thus they refrain from taking an offensive stand against the other man's views. It is unthinkable to strongly oppose or debate his error.
Thus it is with the statement brother Holt made. Are we to think we should tolerate and politely allow him to promote his positions, never entering into serious controversy with him in order to "get along?" Are we to assume the policies of liberal denominationalists that the proper thing to do is to express no definite convictions on anything that might be a "difference and distinction?" Truth does not compromise with error, and one who compromises with error is the enemy of truth. If, however, by attitude or "getting along with" brother Holt means behavior or conduct in his speech or writings, then brother Holt himself is a prime example of what he laments in his statements. Just read his articles, notice his attitude in them and you will get a clear picture of what he means when he says "we don't know how to get along with our differences and distinctions." This will define the "different character" of his journal which makes it so "unique and peculiar" in its "nature and function."
The Lord never "got along with" those who rejected his teachings. Paul earnestly entreated brethren to "get along" in matters of PERSONAL LIBERTY such as the case of eating meats (Rom. 14 and 15), because whether a brother ate flesh food or whether he did not, in EITHER CASE it did not constitute a violation of God's word. This was not a matter of faith but personal judgment or liberty. In such cases it was wrong to be intolerant toward a brother's rights and conscience.
But on the other hand, Paul did not "get along with" those Jews who had "differences and distinctions" when they perverted the gospel by imposing Jewish rites and laws upon Gentile believers. Paul was very quick to "prejudice the minds of the people" against "false brethren unawares brought in, which came in privily to spy out our liberty . . . (Gal. 2:4). No, Paul did not "get along . . ." with these false brethren. "To whom we gave place by subjection, NO NOT FOR AN HOUR" (v. 5). Paul did not plead and beg the Gentiles to "get along" with false brethren who perverted the Gospel. There is simply no basis for Brother Holt's charge here because this matter involves MATTERS OF FAITH. And if there is a difference in such matters, the only way to "get along" is to "get along" with the TRUTH.
To Brother Charles Holt, an unfavorable ATTITUDE is more sinful and objectionable than UNSCRIPTURAL PRACTICES AND DOCTRINES, toward which these "attitudes" are manifested. Truth is not as important as "attitudes!" This is the clearest evidence of apostasy into which our brother has fallen. It is this very same line of thought that caused such men as Ketcherside, Garrett, Meyers, etc. to walk down the road of liberalism. It does not matter what you believe and practice, so long as you do not manifest the wrong "attitude" by protesting against any unscriptural practice. Fellowship is based more on "attitudes" than "walking in the light," in the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST (2 John 9). Just what kind of attitude does brother Holt think those brethren manifested who REFUSED to "get along" or "bid him God speed" (vs. 10) who taught false doctrine? My, my! What a "sectarian," a "Pharisee" was Apostle John! I suppose Brother Holt would rather "choose the idea" of those teaching false doctrine, than the "attitude manifesting itself in John's epistle.
But I ask was not brother Holt a victim of poor ATTITUDES on the part of those he opposed for unscriptural organizations and projects? Was he not victimized by their poor attitudes because he strongly opposed their denominational practices? Did those
WHOM HE IS MORE APT TO ENDORSE NOW "get along with him?" Did he "get along with them" in their controversies? Then why does he lament the poor attitude of those with whom he stands "aligned" (?) concerning "current issues" when he knows what "attitude" many liberals express when they seek to destroy those who oppose their ambitious schemes and promotions? Brother Holt's "CHOICE" must be prompted by a desire for the "IDEA THAT CHURCHES MIGHT SEND CONTRIBUTIONS TO ORPHANAGES" etc.
He would rather receive FALSE DOCTRINE that many times comes under a hypocritical disguise of LOVE than truth with a "wrong" attitude which lays bare the pretentious religious claims of digressive brethren. Put their "LOVE" to a real test and you will see the insidious nature of their character. If Brother Holt were ignorant of all this, we would tend to pity him; but knowing about "attitudes" of liberals, we know he is more lenient toward liberalism than truth, for he well knows that those who oppose liberalism of institutionalism, etc. will defend the truth against ALL error and this is what really hurts brother Holt in his argument about "attitudes."
Again, let us notice another example of his attempt to prejudice his readers against who might oppose his unscriptural views. "Woe be unto the brother who 'disturbs' with some 'new idea,' however honest he may be in it." This again is a sample of his sectarian attitude. It does not matter what you believe, so long as you are honest in your conviction. And if you are honest in your idea, no one should dare oppose you! Perhaps
Brother Holt should be more mindful of Scripture than his persecution complex. Does he not know that God pronounced a terrible "woe" upon those who would "preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you" (Gal. 1:8). No, the Lord did not intend that His people be "disturbed" by any "new idea" that was foreign to the original gospel made known by inspiration.
Do not my brethren think that those teaching denominational error are "honest" in their beliefs? I know some Adventist preachers and leaders who are most honest in what they believe. Were not the Athenians "very religious?" Being honest does not exonerate one from his guilt in error.
Brother Holt's Opposition to Truth
So opposed is Brother Charles Holt to opposition that he seeks to oppose and overthrow any measures God ordained in the church to guard it against the invasion of error. And again, it is his method of dealing or appealing to emotions rather than scriptural evidence.
In His wisdom, God gave the church certain measures to guard against evil encroachments 'upon its purity. "And he gave some . . . pastors . . ." (Eph. 4:11). But Brother Holt knows that it is "tradition" among Christians that the elders have the responsibility of guarding the flock against the invasion of false teachers with their false doctrines. Because this belief proves fatal to his "new ideas," he must discredit our "tradition" to overcome any opposition he might receive. So "apparently there are those who think that they have been divinely commissioned to guard and protect the poor dumb sheep from exposure to anything contrary to that which they have accepted . . . . There are too many would-be 'protectors' who assume the right to 'herd' the sheep and do the thinking and deciding for them!" (July 1966, p. 7 - all emph. Mine, LR)
This statement is directly opposed to the word of God. In the first place, common sense tells us that ALL people need to be "protected" from something, sometimes. Does not brother Holt "protect" his children from "exposure" to the evils of LSD and other dangers, or does he refrain from doing so because they might turn out to be "poor dumb sheep?" Do not our local governments ~4protect" us from molesters of all sorts that might seek to do us harm? Do not government and other agencies "protect" us from dangerous propaganda and pressures from the side of Communists or other subversive organizations? Do not doctors and medical societies try to "protect" us from disease, contamination, or anything else that might be harmful to the health of the individual and community? YET BROTHER HOLT SOMEHOW FEELS THAT "POOR DUMB S H E E P11 NEED NO PROTECTION WHATSOEVER FROM SPIRITUAL DANGERS! Oh yes, protect us from secular, physical evils, but leave the flock unguarded against dangers that can destroy man's soul eternally! In secular matters we think we are an enlightened, progressive society when we have "protectors" against those things that would do us harm, but a need to have "protectors" in the church is a reflection on the intelligence and integrity of the member.
No, the scriptures teach just the opposite to Brother Holt's reasoning. (Now the scriptures "oppose him," so of necessity we need a new translation.) In addition to the above observation, by what line of reason or logic does Brother Holt think that if elders are "protectors" of the flock, it robs them of their duty to learn the truth for themselves? Even though elders have their responsibility, this does not negate the command for each Christian to "study to show (himself) approved unto God . . ." But even though some brethren accept teaching without studying it for themselves, does that fact make what is taught wrong? For example, on the subject of baptism. Just because some are baptized without serious study of this subject, does this mean that one could enter in among the flock ("poor dumb sheep") and teach sprinkling, pouring, "faith only," etc., and the elders would have NO RIGHT to be "protectors" of the "poor dumb sheep" with regard to the matter of baptism? I know of no one who has respect for truth who would discourage anyone from studying this matter for himself. But though there may be some who are baptized without having knowledge of this scriptural doctrine, does this make it wrong for elders to guard even THE UNLEARNED against "anything contrary to which they (elders) have accepted" or false teachings - if "that which they have accepted" IS THE TRUTH?
Jesus gave us an example on this very point that Brother Holt ridicules i. e. "protectors of the sheep," etc. " the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But he that is a HIRELING, and not the, shepherd . . . seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep. The HIRELING careth not for the sheep" (John 10: 11- 13). The Lord tells us something here that Brother Holt wishes he never did that a GOOD SHEPHERD IS A "PROTECTOR" of the sheep. And do you know what? Just because the Lord said the good shepherd guards the flock, he did not call them "Poor Dumb Sheep." Brother Holt wants to make HIRELINGS out of pastors of the flock! Now I know, and you know, that Jesus referred to himself as "the good shepherd." But this principle applies to pastors who are given the charge to "feed the flock of God."
Paul told the Ephesian elders why the Holy Spirit made them overseers of the flock (contrary to Brother Holt's charge that "there are those that THINK THEY HAVE BEEN DIVINELY COMMISSIONED . . . .") Because that "grievous wolves (shall) enter in among you," elders ARE DIVINELY COMMISSIONED to "feed the flock." Further, an elder must hold "fast the faithful word as he hath been taught . . ." (No, not something "new" but what "be hath been taught.") Why? "That he may be able by SOUND DOCTRINE both to exhort and convince the gainsayer" (Titus 1:9). Hence, "sound doctrine" is that "which they have accepted" and they are to convince the gainsayer in anything "contrary to that . . ." The word convince in Greek is "eglecho" and means to "confute, admonish, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove." THIS IS WHAT ELDERS ARE "DIVINELY COMMISSIONED" TO DO WITH REGARD TO THE FALSE TEACHER WHO WOULD DESTROY THE "POOR DUMB SHEEP" OF THE FLOCK OF GOD! This charge is directed to ELDERS of the congregation.
The Bible also tells what the duty of the FLOCK is toward elders. Heb. 13: 17 say: "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls as they that must give account." Elders "watch for your souls." Here is a special charge or responsibility that elders alone possess.
I wish to briefly point out something here that will prove WHAT IS the proper type of relationship to be sustained between those under consideration in this verse of scriptures.
Notice the contrast between "submit" and "rule." This establishes the relationship between the two classes of individuals. I wish to define the meaning of these words to demonstrate the QUALITY or NATURE of this sustained relationship.
1. Submit: from Greek, "kupeiko," which means: "to yield, to surrender, submit self."
2. Rule: from Greek, "hegiomai," which means: "to lead, i.e., command (with authority,) govern, judge, have the rule over."
Here are two factors involved in this relationship: submission and rule. Hence the relationship is here established between the ones who are to "submit" and the ones who "rule." They are to "submit" to "THEM THAT HAVE THE RULE OVER YOU." This is the kind of obedience defined herein. Hence, the object of "submit," or to WHOM we submit are "THEM THAT HAVE THE RULE OVER YOU." And this defines the type or manner of this "rule." Inherent in this "rule" is AUTHORITY. This clearly defines the type or quality of submission as well as the type or quality of rule. Brother Holt does not subscribe to the SCRIPTURAL teachings on this matter of "THE ELDERSHIP."
We can see not only the folly, but the danger of Brother Holt's argument concerning "would-be 'protectors' who ASSUME the right to 'herd' the sheep" No, the sheep must do their own "chewing," but still the pastors must "feed the flock." Since this is a hindrance to Brother Holt's "new ideas," he must stir up doubt among "poor, dumb sheep" concerning "the eldership." If Brother Holt can succeed in keeping the "poor" sheep "dumb," they are then defenseless without "protectors" toward his "new ideas."
As we see that his "new ideas" are so "new" that they have no support from the Bible, we shall learn in the next article of his design to discredit the Bible (or translations) to advance his "new ideas." He does not seek support for his "new ideas" from the Bible, but he rejects the Bible and must come up with a new translation that will measure up to his teachings or "new ideas."
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XII: 9, pp. 11-15