Harold Spurlock Looks at "The Arlington Meeting"

In January, 1968 thirteen brethren from each side of the institutional controversy met in Arlington, Texas to discuss the scriptural principles involved in this prolonged debate. The speeches of this historically significant meeting were preserved for posterity, and for close study now, in a 408 page book entitled THE ARLINGTON MEETING.

In the June, 1970 issue of the SENTINEL OF TRUTH published from Jasper, Texas Editor Spurlock in an editorial (which he calls a "Senti-torial") paid his respects to the Arlington Meeting. For many months Brother Spurlock has been progressively .departing from Truth and leaning ever further toward the Ketcherside "fellowship everybody" position. This progressive digression is very apparent in his remarks regarding the Arlington Meeting. Brother Spurlock has followed after the Charles Holts defection, and is not far behind Brother Holt (if indeed he is behind at all) in the degree of his digression.

Brother Spurlock pontifically asserted, "any good derived, present then and future, resulted from the meeting itself and NOT FROM THE LECTURES, SPEECHES, AND REBUTTALS WHICH OCCURED (sic) IN THE MEETINGS." You see~ these brethren spent their time in trying to establish scriptural argumentation, apart from the injection of personalities. This effort, regardless of how sincerely and earnestly it may have been made, did not impress, our Brother Spurlock. He said, "From the standpoint of the speeches, arguments, and counter arguments I would not give you two cents for the whole kit and kaboodle." This is such a sage observation!

Effort at scriptural argumentation is not impressive to our brother who now thinks the New Testament might contain obscure principles to regulate our conduct, but nothing resembling a scriptural "pattern" to he followed by churches. Brother Spurlock deprecates even discussion of such a vital theme as "How to Establish Bible Authority," and gays that "Once off on that tangent ... there was no alternative. But that the whole thing wind up in wrangling over words, parts of speech, and highly involved arguments. . ." I wonder how our brother would propose we deal with divisive disagreements -- if not by a plea of "to the Law and to the Testimony." He referred to the published book as "what I sadly found to be in the book ..."

However, he did recognize, "I realize what I have just said is tantamount to throwing scalding water in the faces of the men who met and discussed their differences." Since I was not in the meeting, I might be declared as unbiased as Brother Spurlock regarding the proceedings at Arlington. I suspect that I may have read the Arlington Meeting speeches nearly twenty times, since it was my job to make final preparation of the manuscripts and to do the proofing in connection with publication.

The nearest thing to "scalding water" that I felt from Spurlock's remarks regarding that meeting and the defense there made for the Truth of God was the scalding tears that welled up in me as I read such indications in our brother of a wrecked faith in God's revealed plan, and thereby the negation of an able man's efforts for the Cause of Christ, so that he now is an enemy of the Cause which he once espoused, proclaimed, and defended.

As Spurlock has become ever more caustic about those who seek to follow the "pattern," at the same time he emphatically assures us that "It took me several years of independent and objective investigation of Gods word to learn the truth of the matter and to be able to see what is at the root of churches, parties, and internal divisions" As the children used to say (with some slight adaptation), "Never fear; Spurlock is here!"

I know not how others reacted to Spurlock's article regarding the Arlington Meeting and the ensuing book, but with me it only reflected upon Harold Spurlock himself, and wrote clearly and explicitly the present degree of his departure from the truth. Brother Spurlock is not yet at the end of his trek down the road of apostasy. He will very likely soon land in the cozy nest of Carl Ketcherside, only to find that by then Carl Ketcherside has already "flown the coop" and built himself a brand new nest.

And I do hope that Brother Spurlock and his sympathizers will not think this article to be "tantamount to throwing scalding water in the faces of the men" who agree with him. After all, I too can lay claim to all those years of "independent and objective investigation of God's word" about which he spoke.

When "How to Establish Bible Authority" ceases to be important with my brethren, we already has begun the long trek down different roads. Time, and our journey of life, can then only lead us further and further apart. This fact does cause "scalding water" (my own tears) to burn as it trickles down my face.

Sadly, but realistically, we might just as well say: "Good-bye, Brother Spurlock. Enjoy the Christian Church!" For he is well on his way, unless I badly miss my guess.

TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV; 43, pp. 23-4

September 10, 1970