By Connie W. Adams
Guy N. Woods
Guy N. Woods, well known author, debater, preacher and former editor of the Gospel Advocate recently passed away at the age of 85. He was laid to rest on December 11, 1993. Among his many debates there were at least three which had profound impact on the institutional division: the Porter-Woods Debate held in Paragould, Arkansas, the Cogdill-Woods Debate held in Birmingham, Alabama and the Grider-Woods Debate conducted in Louisville, Kentucky. These three discussions had far reaching effects in shaping the thinking of brethren on both sides of the controversy over sponsoring churches and church support of benevolent institutions.
My first direct acquaintance with brother Woods was in 1960-61 when the elders of the church at Newbern, Tennessee asked me to handle the correspondence with brother Woods and with Roy E. Cogdill leading up to their second debate at Newbern, Tennessee in December, 1961. Later, while brother Woods was editor of the Gospel Advocate and I was editor of Searching the Scriptures we had a pleasant, though pointed at times, correspondence touching several matters of mutual interest. In his later years brother Woods was much concerned with the direction many of his brethren were taking and the speed with which they were moving away from the old paths. Many of the avant-garde institutional men regarded him as a relic of the past while many opposed to institutionalism consider him one of those who helped to open a flood-gate which he was powerless to close in his later years.
The mightiest of men are but mortal. Epic battles are fought by men who must die and then be judged by the God of all the earth who will do right. So, let us pass the time of our sojourning here in fear for all are drawing nearer to the ultimate appointment.
Medical Evangelism Seminar
On January 7 and 8, 1994 a “Medical Evangelism Seminar” was conducted at the Harvey Hotel in Dallas, Texas. This is an annual affair and remains one of the clearest evidences of the social gospel at work among many in the institutional movement among churches of Christ. This event was hosted by African Christian Hospitals Foundation. Reports were heard from representatives of various congregations who collect and disburse various medical supplies to clinics and hospitals in several countries which are staffed by people supported by churches of Christ. These hospitals, so far, are all overseas, but they are funded by U.S. churches. However, there was a group discussion on “U.S. Medical Missions” which listed Inner City, Dallas, Texas, Mexican Border, McAllen, Texas and Appalachia, Jellico, Tennessee.
One segment featured “Helping National Churches Establish Their Own Clinic.” Already, there are hospitals or other medical missions funded by churches in the U.S. which are located in Tanzania, East Africa, Nigeria, Guyana, Guatemala and Mexico, to name a few. There are others. This is all part of the notion that the church must minister to the whole man. The New Testament teaches that the church is a spiritual body whose primary role in the world is to preach the gospel to the lost and repair their souls for a heavenly reward (Jn. 18:36; Rom. 14:17; 1 Thess. 1:8-10). There are times when congregations must relieve those among them in need (1 Tim. 5:16; Acts 6). Sometimes congregations sent help to assist other congregations to relieve those of their own number for whom they could not provide (Acts 11:27-30; 2 Cor. 8:1-15).
I receive several publications from the more conservative institutional men but do not recall seeing anything from any of them in opposition to church funded hospitals and clinics. Do they, or do they not, oppose this social gospelism?
Consider The Source
It is often difficult to know when to respond to critics and when to ignore them. Critics help keep us humble. Constant praise might be pleasant to hear but it also tends to inflate egos. It might be a good idea to consider what critics have to say about us. Somewhere in it all there just might be a kernel of truth which will help us. But all critics are not well-motivated. Sometimes they are on a vendetta, or have some personal axe to grind. Some critics hope to promote them-selves by pulling down another. In such cases it is a good idea to consider the advice given years ago by a wise woman to her son. She said, “Son, if you get kicked by a mule, just consider the source.”
Thanks To Guardian Of Truth Staff
My first year of work as a writer for Guardian of Truth is now behind me. It was difficult to make the decision to close down the work of Searching The Scriptures. Thanks to so many who continue to tell us how much it is missed. I am thankful for the opportunity to write in Guardian of Truth and to serve in other ways in the operation in this publishing business. The entire staff has been congenial and our work together has been most pleasant. I have especially enjoyed the association with Mike Willis. All of us who write for this paper, or work behind the scenes, get our share of criticism. I am sure some is well-intentioned and deserved. But these are men of honor who love the truth and are set to defend it. I do not agree with everything which every writer says on every subject any more than I did when I edited Searching The Scriptures. I do not always like the way some things are said by some writers. Mike would likely say the same. These are strange times in our nation and among the people of the Lord. Winds of change bring mixed emotions. All changes are not bad. But some signal a cutting loose from scriptural moorings. When to say what, and how much to say about it, or allow to be said about it, is not always easy to decide. It is my judgment, for whatever it is worth, that Mike Willis is doing a good job in charting a course for this paper. I look forward to continued efforts to teach the word of God through this medium.
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 4, p. 3-4