Roy E. Cogdill
The prospect of launching a weekly publishing program of any kind is a tremendous one. It involves a lot of work, time, and money. There must be some sort of justification for it or it would be an imprudent and even stupid undertaking. This writer has been along the road as publisher for a number of years of the weekly Gospel Guardian in Lufkin, Texas. There was never a month but that the paper ran a deficit and the publisher, charged with the obligation of paying the bills, had to see to it that the money was forthcoming. The fact is that no weekly paper among our brethren has ever paid its way just as a publication.
There are many grounds, however, upon which to justify the existence of a weekly paper even though it certainly cannot be for profit. Let us look at some of them.
1. A weekly paper is much fresher in its news content than monthly or one published less frequently and since this is one of the interesting factors that prompt brethren to take religious papers it is a part of the justification for the undertaking.
2. In dealing with current issues and present day problems in the church, a vital part of the responsibility of any religious paper and those who write in it, there is an opportunity to keep abreast with developments as they happen and trends as they develop and deal with them when they need to be dealt with.
3. To the subscriber there comes in a weekly three or four times as much reading material, and as a teaching medium a weekly accomplishes that much more good. Of course, nothing does any good when it is written unless it is the truth, is read, and studied in the light of God's Word.
4. Brethren can almost forget that they are taking a monthly publication because of the lapse of time between issues and can lose interest in it, while a weekly that teaches the truth "stirs up our pure minds by way of remembrance" much more often and is therefore much more effective.
Sometimes brethren say, "I just do not have time to read the papers that are published so I just do not take any." That is rather a simple excuse, is it not? Such reasoning would eliminate the study of the Bible, attendance at any of the services for a good many people and just about everything else that you can think of.
The fact is we have time to do what we need and want to do unless we want to do something else worse. Reading a paper should not take the place of studying the Bible any more than listening to preaching should do that. But all of us can profit by devoting a little time to reading a religious journal each week in order to be aware of developing trends, be exhorted, admonished, and stirred up in zeal and diligence. Just a few minutes taken away from some television program that probably is not worth seeing would take into view all that a religious paper contains and encourage our study of whatever material it has in it that is worthy of closer consideration. Do you take a daily paper? What for? If you subscribe for it just to wrap things up in, better buy a roll of wrapping paper! How much more profitable would it be to spend a few of the minutes we spend pouring over a lot of worthless reading material in the daily paper studying the contents of a religious paper.
The first justification for a weekly instead of a monthly magazine, however, is the increased amount of teaching it can do and therefore the increased good that will be accomplished. I have never regretted the amount of hard work -- without pay -- and the amount of money I have put into such work because I think I have seen too much evidence of the good done through it.
In August of 1968 a group of brethren --all of the papers published by our brethren were represented -- met on their own responsibility to discuss the matter of the need for a new series of graded Bible school literature that would teach the truth without a lot of sectarianism mixed in. Out of that meeting came the proposal that such an effort be undertaken by someone and through some means. Another meeting attended by the same brethren largely was held in September of 1968 at Atlanta. It was decided to undertake such a project and a good deal of pressure was brought upon me by those present to head the project. I consented to do it with the flail time help of Ferrell Jenkins and Cecil Willis as editors.
It was decided, rather than form some sort of profit sharing organization to develop and publish this literature, that it would be undertaken through a non-profit foundation and financed by contributions from interested brethren. In this way the contributions would be tax deductible and the same amount of money would go much farther, and the profit element would not be involved. When the Gospel Guardian Foundation sold the Gospel Guardian paper to Yater Tant, who had been the editor of the weekly from its beginning, and the book business in Lufkin with the paper, the Foundation Organization was retained and for several years, aside from publishing a few books, had been relatively inactive. The decision was to undertake the publication of this new series of literature through this existing Foundation. In order to avoid any confusion between this endeavor and the religious paper, The Gospel Guardian, or The Gospel Guardian Book Store, the trustees decided to change the name of the Foundation to Cogdill Foundation and this change was made.
After the developing of a curriculum for the new literature had already begun and was pretty well along, Ralph Sweet, president of the R. B. Sweet Publishing Company of Austin, Texas, called this writer and asked if we would be interested in buying the old series of "Journeys Through the Bible." R. B. Sweet, Ralph's uncle, had developed this series and the Roy E. Cogdill Publishing Company had put it in print for him a number of years ago. Upon the advice of a good many brethren who were thoroughly familiar with what we had undertaken and who were and are helping in it, it was decided that we could not pass up his offer of sale and accordingly the purchase of the old series of "Journeys" was made and this series is available to the brethren again. It has been selling well and many rejoiced that it was not discontinued but is still available.
Reprinting the books in this series that were out of print and getting it announced and advertised as available to the churches has been a tremendous task. Its purchase was financed separately from the contributions that had been made toward the new series and the curriculum of the new series has been so coordinated with the old that there will be no conflict if a church should want to use one in its classes on Sunday morning and the other Wednesday night or Sunday evening.
Brother Cecil Willis is a full time employee of the Cogdill Foundation and has been invaluable in working out details of getting the old "Journeys Through The Bible" back in full supply as well as in the development and promotion of the new series. He has raised the principal part of the money we have received toward developing the new material, along with his other duties. He has contributed all of the books he had published on his own and which belonged to him personally to the Cogdill Foundation (several thousand dollars worth of them) to help in accomplishing the purpose in which we are engaged. He also is editor of Truth Magazine and had been for a good many years and has made an outstanding impression as editor for integrity, fairness, ability, and courage as well as devotion to the truth above all other obligations and considerations.
When it became apparent, as I knew it would all along, that books cannot be sold and literature cannot be distributed and put to use without an advertising medium, Brother Willis proposed to put Truth Magazine and the book store run by Brother Needham in Louisville into the Foundation and thus combine all of his efforts and coordinate them into one channel. It seemed to be the solution to the problem. This has been accomplished. Truth Magazine is still managed and edited by Cecil Willis for the Foundation. The Truth Magazine Book Store is still managed at its new location 2800 Edgewater, (mailing address--- P. O. Box 7598) Orlando, Florida, 32804, by James P. Needham and run by his wife with his help. Both the magazine and the bookstore, and the old series of "Journeys Through The Bible" will help us to accomplish what the Foundation set out to accomplish in the development of a first class new graded series of Bible school literature. It all fits together beautifully and works in perfect harmony. We hope to have the capital when the new literature has been developed to publish some good commentaries, adult study books, and much other good literature. Not one dime can be taken out of any of this operation as profit by anybody. Salaries are all that can be paid along with operating expenses. If and when there is any profit realized by the Foundation we hope to have a part in some similar work, as we are allowed to do by the government, through contributing to it.
What Kind of Help Do We Need?
In all of this we need the help and prayers of brethren everywhere. We need to increase the subscription list of Truth Magazine. It is already about as large as any paper among conservative brethren but its subscription list should be doubled and it can be, if every subscriber will renew his own and subscribe for just one other. That is not asking much, is it? Will you do it? Send in your own and just one other. The subscription price for the weekly will be $5.00 per year. In the oft repeated phrase, "you won't be sorry you did!"
We need those brethren who have promised help on the new literature project to come through with their promises and commitments for we are counting on you and need it. In addition, we are not quite two-thirds of the way toward our goal and we need additional promises and commitments or cash contributions to help finish this project. We believe that we will have the finest series of graded literature for Bible classes that has ever been written. Yes, we think it will be better than old "Journeys" though we believe it is the best until now!
We need your patronage for our book store! We can secure any book in print though there are many that we do not stock and would not advertise or recommend. There are many we would not even sell without a warning! We are not in business for profit and if we were, we do not need money badly enough to do that!
We will be glad to send to those responsible for ordering the Bible class literature in your congregation either an order blank or sample copies (for return with credit) or any other information concerning "Journeys Through The Bible" which we shall re-name "Walking With God", beginning next year.
We are not competing with any brethren or enterprise anywhere. We are not trying to get control of anything or anybody. We are interested in rendering a service to the cause of our Lord and His truth and do all the good we can in the time we have left. Personally, let me assure you that I have no personal interest in my part in this undertaking. I did not need the burden of it laid upon me at my stage in life but I earnestly feel that if we can accomplish what we have set out to do, I will have made one of the most important contributions to truth and righteousness that I could possibly make in the time that God gives me upon this earth.
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV: 1, pp. 7-9
November 6, 1969