By Ron Halbrook
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses” (1 Tim. 6:12). A great battle is raging throughout the world between God and Satan, and the prize to be won is the souls of men. North, south, east, and west, the gospel is the same for all men and the same battle is raging for the souls of men. We must fight the good fight of faith and preach “all the counsel of God” wherever we live (Acts 20:27).
As a result of my spending January of 1993 preaching in California, the Guardian of Truth for May 20, 1993 was devoted to the Lord’s work in that state. I mentioned how very encouraging it was to see the power of the gospel at work in the seven churches I visited: Covina, Hemet, 5th St. East in Lancaster, Winnetka Ave. in Canoga Park, In the Hub (39354 Fremont Blvd.) in Fremont, 20th St. in Merced, and Lakeport. The good work of such men as Alfonso Ferrer, Gerald E. Evans, Micky Galloway, Dennis Kilgo, Dwight King, Roy Bradshaw, and Olen Holderby was noted along with articles by Randy Reynolds, Gerald E. Evans, Dean Gibson, Tommy McClure, Olen Holderby, Dwight King, Micky Galloway, and Gailen E. Evans.
At that time I reported the assessment of Olen Holderby and other experienced brethren in California that “more and more churches which have had a reputation for soundness are drifting into apostasy on moral issues (Rev. 3:1)” (p. 304). In his own words, “Those of us who fight that same error [on divorceand remarriage] in California are much in the minority. With those in that error taking courage from the `fence-straddlers’ (or compromisers), it often becomes a discouraging fight” (p. 304). Forty years experience in California convinced Olen “we have more than `our share’ of immorality,” but he called for “an arousing to active opposition to the immorality in our midst. We believe that we are up to that task” (p. 299).
This special issue of the Guardian of Truth is written by men who are representative of West Coast preachers who are up to the task of actively de-fending the truth, confirming brother Holderby’s assessment.
It was my privilege to spend a couple of weeks in January of 1996 working with Glendol McClure and the Railroad Ave. church in Antioch, and with George Garrison and the church in Lodi, California. This gave me an opportunity to meet several more preachers and to renew my acquaintance with others. When Olen Holderby came to visit George and me, we discussed how encouraging it would be for brethren everywhere to see a special issue of the Guardian of Truth devoted to the theme of “West Coast Preachers on Moral Issues.” Within a short time, we outlined a series of articles and contacted prospective writers. Olen and George are due most of the credit for arranging this material, but they asked me to write an introduction, which I am honored to do.
These articles will accomplish much good. The truth will do good because God’s word never returns to him void (Isa. 55:8-11). These articles help counter the notion that the cause of Christ is a lost cause in West Coast states. Acquaintance with these writers can help brethren visiting or moving to the West Coast to find places to worship. This material will do much to counter loose ideas on moral is-sues which are becoming more prevalent everywhere. For instance, one preacher recently answered the question, “Is it a sin to play the lottery?” by saying, “I just don’t know” he could not find “lottery” in his concordance. After conceding we should not covet, he referred to Romans 14 (George R. “Randy” Dickson in Contender!, July 1995, p. 54, publ. in Rohnert Park, California).
George Garrison of Lodi, California wrote on “Gambling” (he did not find it in the concordance either but found the Bible principles which apply!); Don Skeels of Merced, California on “Homosexuality”; Mel Brower of Dallas, Oregon on “The Home: The School of Morality”; Alan Hitchen of Gresham, Oregon on “Alcohol”; Jeff Griess of Dallas, Oregon on “Dancing”; Carlos Aguilar of Oroville, California on “Drugs”; Glendol McClure of Antioch, California on “Pornography”; Don Alexander of Sacramento, California on “Preserving Marriages”; Warren King of Sunnyvale, California on “Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage”; Ernie Sprinkel of El Sobrante, California on “Smoking”; Olen Holderby of Lakeport, California on “Fellowship, Discipline, and Moral Issues”; David Posey of Folsom, California on “Fornication and Adultery”; Don Bradford of Soldotna, Alaska on “Answering Error on Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage”; John Trokey of Oakdale, California on “The Standard of Morality”; and Jim Hester of Rainier, Oregon on “Abortion.” We commend all West Coast preachers and brethren everywhere who are fighting the good fight of faith on these pressing moral is-sues of the day.
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 13, p.1
July 4, 1996