By Bruce Edwards, Jr.
It would be surprising if some sincere and concerned brethren were not critical of the judgment of the Truth Magazine editor in his addition of a younger writer such as myself to the staff. Youth, though a notable possessor of zeal and idealism, has certainly no reputation for spiritual maturity. More than once in the past few years, a writer and his material have been criticized seemingly not so much on the quality of his work, but upon his age. We are only too well aware of our own limitations, not only ability-wise, but age and experience-wise also. It is to be expected that a younger writer will make more mistakes than a seasoned “veteran;” but no quarter is asked (or should be given), when error is taught. “Age” cannot be used as some nebulous invisible shield behind which a younger man can hide when his words are called into question in the light of the Scriptures. Any Christian who makes the decision to offer his literary efforts publicly invites critical examination and thus should be prepared to accept, yea plead for, correction when in error. At the same time, the question of “age” should not be a criterion of whether truth has been taught; we have seen and heard the sentiment expressed, “What he says is true, but he’s just not old enough to say so.”
Other brethren may question this writer’s own judgment in the acceptance of a staff position on Truth Magazine. At a time when gospel papers of all persuasions have seemingly fallen into disfavor among some brethren, it may seem an unwise move to associate oneself so intimately with such a paper as Truth Magazine. Here the question of motive raises its hoary head. “Is he lining himself up with these brethren for the gain he’ll receive in notoriety?” “Is he trying to forge a name for himself in the mind of ‘the brethren’?” It cannot be denied that certain notoriety attaches itself to the regular writer of a publication and that in some sense there is a “gain” from such an arrangement. But such an association carries with it not only “advantages” but also some disadvantages. With regard to intention, no amount of testimony can convince another whose mind is bent upon believing the worst. There are some brethren who’ have made it their business to misunderstand and to misrepresent others; if it is at all possible to indict a motive or take a statement in the wrong way, these brethren will do so.
Hence, a Christian, young or old, must make a decision. He can back down, cease any kind of public teaching, and settle comfortably down into a “noncontroversial” role. On the other hand, he may resolve to do his work, “fulfill his ministry” in the best way he knows how, whether in print, in pulpit, or in private.
This writer is certainly not suggesting that the forum of Truth Magazine is the only way one’s teaching responsibilities may be “discharged”; it is, however, one way, and this writer has chosen that avenue.
It should go without saying that the acceptance of a staff position does not imply,- endorsement of every single thing that appears within the pages of Truth Magazine; no thinking person would ever demand such a conclusion. Likewise, it should not be inferred that any or all contributors to Truth Magazine agree with what we may say in its pages. That, too, would be an unreasonable approach. When conscience demands, this writer, as he hopes any other contributors will do, will respond to articles appearing that cry for serious examination.
It is this writer’s intention to use the pages of this publication to proclaim the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not interested in pushing party platforms (or no-party party platforms), brotherhood “politics,” or creed making. We foster no desire to appear ultra-pious or pseudo-scholarly. We seek to be a Christian only, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing different. We are no more interested in. producing “Truth Magazine Christians,” than in perpetuating the denominationalism of so-called “Methodist, Baptist, or Presbyterian Christians.” Our aim is to uphold any virtues which Truth Magazine possesses and at the same time to improve and bolster where any deficiencies exist.
Thus, we earnestly solicit your prayers and your criticism when constructive. We look only to our Lord as our Guide and Judge. It is only His judgment of motives and ideals that will someday matter. To Him be the glory for ever and ever, Amen.
Truth Magazine XVIII: 3, p. 42
September 21, 1974