The Gospel Advocate of July 9th carries an item on the Editorial page from Batsell Barrett Baxter in which he urges brethren to cooperate in the preparation and sale of volume II of "Preachers of Today." He advises the readers that "The Gospel Advocate Company will publish volume two of Preacher of Today in order to make it as representative of the entire brotherhood as possible."
I possess and have appreciate a copy of Volume 1, but just now became aware that it was not "representative of the entire brotherhood," since it was published by the Christian Press of Nashville, Tenn., rather than by the Gospel Advocate. So, we have now reached the place where a publication to be "representative of the entire brotherhood" must be published by the Gospel Advocate! What a claim, indeed! We have often wondered why the Gospel Advocate and brother B.C. Goodpasture have been listed by the World Almanac, as well as some other hand-books, as the unofficial headquarters and head of the churches of Christ, and apparently without any request for correction forthcoming from Nashville. Brethren, we have drifted!
This was the caption of an AP release which appeared in the Racine Journal Times of July 12, 1959. The item reads, in part: "It was all a mistake that he got known as the kissless Hollywood hero, says Pat Boone. To prove it, he'll do some smooching in his new movie." It goes on to note that Pat is currently working on a movie in which "The script calls for some love scenes with curvesome Diane Baker." Concerning the sensation created in theatrical circles when he refused to kiss Shirley Jones in the filming of "April Love" he says that he was unprepared at the time to meet the issue -- "I wanted time to discuss it with my wife and to think how the fans and my church would react."
He is now reported as saying that "he has talked the situation over with Mrs. Boone, and she agrees it would be all right, although she would prefer to keep that part of our lives solely to ourselves. She realizes that love scenes are a part of this business, and I hope other people will, too."
We recognize that newspapers frequently get their stories twisted, but we have seen no protest or denial from Pat. Allowing for technical errors, this article makes it quite evident that he has surrendered his previous convictions on kissing. He has rationalized to the conclusion that kissing a movie actress is morally permissible since it is "a part of this business" of movie-making. We consider his decision in this matter to be regrettable, both for his own sake as well as the sake of the millions of teen-agers-many of them members of the church-who have come to idolize him as a singer and entertainer, and many of whom will consequently be influenced by every decision he makes and course he pursues.
Surely a few questions for consideration should he in order: Is it not true that hatred, intrigue, gambling, drunkenness, violence, murder, dancing, petting, illicit love, sexual promiscuity, semi-nudity and even nudity are "a part of this business" of movie making? And if this is true-and it is-just where must Pat Bootie draw the line? If he can be a party to one of these simply because it is "a part of this business," then why not all of them? Can Pat Boone, or anyone else, offer to adults and children, under the guise of entertainment, things that are evil in their influence and damnable in the sight of God, and still retain his integrity as a Christian? Should it not be evident to Pat, as it is to scores of faithful and godly brethren, that he has already gone too far? Should he not realize by now that every concession he makes to the money-mad movie industry is but another step onl the downward journey to moral and spiritual ruin?
So subversive of morals and character is the theatrical business that Macready, a well known theatrical man once said : "None of my children, with my consent, under any pretense, shall ever enter the theater, nor shall they have any visiting connection with play actors or actresses."
No, we hold no bitterness in our hearts toward Pat. We have written what we have written because of our concern for him, his family, the church of our Lord, and the great multitude of teen-agers and others who have fallen under his spell. We admire his talent and personality and seriously believe that these can be used in a much more useful and worthy vocation than that of the theater. We make no apology for saying that we fervently wish and sincerely pray that he will abandon this career.
We cannot help but feel that with his family and educational background, he has doubts and misgivings about the whole situation in which he has become enmeshed, and, that he has some understanding of the serious responsibility he sustains in the sight of God toward those who have been brought under his influence. We trust therefore that it will not be considered presumptions upon our part to commend to him, and to all, these words of Paul: "So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one mother. Overthrow not for meat's sake the work of God . . . It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth . . . Happy is he that judgeth not himself in that which he approveth. But he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith; and whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom. 14:19-23).
An AP dispatch appeared in the Racine Journal Times of July 6th under the above headline. It read as follows: "A woman diabetic, who said she threw away her insulin in the belief she had been cured by faith, died Sunday in a Detroit hospital . . . Mrs. Wanda Beach, 37, of Stanton, Mich . . . . a diabetic since infancy, came here Friday to attend services of evangelist Oral Roberts. She called her parents Friday night and told them she was cured . . . Motel manager, William McKee said Mrs. Beach attended the evangelist's services Friday and Saturday nights. Afterward she told McKee and other motel residents she 'felt so good that I threw away my insulin.' . . . Mrs. Beach became ill Sunday and was taken to a hospital where a doctor reported she was in a diabetic coma. She died despite emergency treatment.
Here is another pointed example of the quackery of would be "Faith-healers"-more accurately, fake-healers-such as Oral Roberts. The patient is pronounced cured only to die shortly. Anyone who has made but a supeficial study of the ministries of Jesus and His disciples will quickly recognize that the ministries of such men are not even remotely similar to theirs. When they performed a healing, it was immediate, complete and lasting.
Almost invariably when a sincere individual is an unsuccessful candidate at a "healing service," he is informed that the failure is the consequence of a lack of faith upon his part. Of course, this is used as a screen to hide their own failures. To be sure, such in excuse could scarcely be justified in the case of Mrs. Beach. So great was her faith that she announced her believed healing to her family and friends, as well as to cease the "daily insulin shots to keep the diabetes under control." Her death was caused by faith-faith in a quack who had not the powers which he claimed.
It might also be noted that if any lack of faith was found in this instance, it was in the minds of Roberts and his co-worker, R. F. DeWeese, who also said, according to the dispatch, "This is a tragic case. We constantly advise people never to do a thing like that. We advise them to go to their own doctors and get a medical examination and clearance before stopping medical treatment." Thus they confess doubt upon their part in the effectiveness of the cures which they claim to bring about.
When people know and understand the purpose of miracles as wrought by Jesus and practiced in the early church, they will no longer be deceived and duped by fake healers. The purpose of miracles was to confirm the "messiahship and divinity of Jesus Christ and to confirm the word preached by him. His apostles and other inspired men. Peter declared to the Jews assembled on the day of Pentecost that Jesus had been "approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you" (Acts 2:22). Of the beginning of the apostles' ministry, it is written: "And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed" (Mark 16:20). 'I'he writer to the Hebrews said of the salvation now offered to men, that it was first spoken through the Lord, and afterward "confirmed unto us by them that heard; God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will" ( Heb. 2:3, 4).
Once the word of God was revealed and confirmed, both the revelation and the confirmation was written down, and any information we receive, along with its confirmation, must be received from the records of the Bible. John wrote: "Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these (signs) are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name" (John 20:30, 31 ). Consequently, the apostle Paul declared that the inspired writings are sufficient to perfect men in faith and character and to furnish them "completely unto every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).
Men who resort to claims and attempts of working miracles are either attempting to set themselves forth to be "somewhat," or trying to pawn some new revelation on to the world. "Beloved, Believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1).
Truth Magazine III:12, pp. 11-13