By Larry Ray Hafley
Or so says Brother Guy N. Woods in the Gospel Advocate. Referring to the evils and errors of a church in Florida, Brother Woods commented and lamented the fact that an ultra-liberal church was breeding trouble elsewhere. He said, “If she is the mother she must answer for her children.” In this, he is correct. The same thing could and should be said about the Gospel Advocate in general and Brother Woods in particular. Of course, the statement must be revised for Brother Woods, “If he is the Father he must answer for his children.”
Surely, Brother Woods can see the trends of apostasy among his brethren. Does he not feel any personal responsibility for the state of the churches that have followed him and the Gospel Advocate? Twenty-five years ago, the issues were “the orphan home” and “Herald of Truth.” At least, that is what Woods and the Advocate would have had us to believe. The real issues involved the very nature and structure of the church and scriptural authority. If Brother Woods could not see that then (and he was told then), perhaps he can see it now.
This article is not an attempt to smear Brother Woods with contempt. It is more nearly an appeal to him and others to look at the fruit of their own devices. They are having to eat that fruit and choke back what they cannot swallow. It is a losing battle. The end is not yet.
Brother Woods stands now as a toothless, clawless bear against the encroachments of institutionalism. He “only” wanted “the orphan home” and “Herald of Truth,” but he has been forced to accept colleges in the budget, “Church of Christ hospitals,” and other socio-religious institutions “built and maintained” by churches of Christ. Brother Woods must answer for his children. He would like to deny some of them, but the resemblance is too remarkable.
W.L. Totty, Too
W.L. Totty is now an aged man in poor health. He has been one of the leading debaters for institutionalism among churches of Christ. His plight is pitiable. Now, he is spending his later years attempting to clean up the mess his children are making. Brother Totty is also fighting a losing battle. He, with Brother Woods, “only” wanted “the orphan home” and “Herald of Truth.” However, he is too busy trying to hold back the apostasy he has helped to sire to be of much use in defense of benevolent societies and colleges. After seeing and hearing his behavior when he moderated for Brother Woods in Woods’ debate with Carrol Sutton in 1962, I never thought I would be able to say it, but I feel sorry for poor, old Brother Totty.
Here are some excerpts from a fine article written by Brother Totty this Spring. Read it and weep.
Even though I am never surprised these days at what I see endorsed by some congregations which claim to be churches of Christ, I nevertheless feel a deep sadness each time something comes across my desk to remind me of the departure from the word of God. And though I am unable now to fight with much physical vigor with the sword of the Spirit, I still feel the need to sound out warnings to the brotherhood and, yes, even to this congregation about eminent departures from the faith.
When we open the door and allow one innovation to come in, it paves the way for any and all.
Yes, Brother Totty, it does; and you did; and it has. For, you see, Brother Woods was right when he said “If she is the mother she must answer for her children.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 29, p. 466
July 26, 1979