By Mr. Mike Willis
I am in receipt of the November 30, 1978 (Vol. XXII, No. 47) issue of Truth Magazine and have noted your reference to me and the Gospel Anchor, which I edit. I was disappointed to see in these references misrepresentations, guilt by association, and implications, so unworthy of ethical journalism. 1 do marvel at your apparent lack of understanding as to what the issue is.
Though 1 am tempted to reply in detail, to correct the misrepresentations, etc., 1 acquiesce for the time in favor of keeping the situation calm. As I have personally stated to you, this is a time for calm, deliberate study. I know of no one who is desirous of pressing differences to division, except for Mike Willis. The only two points you have tried to establish with me is (1) your argument of justification based on Luke 8:1-3, to which I gave study and responded in my article, “Was Jesus Supported Out of The “Judas Foundation’?” (Gospel Anchor, May 1978, vol. IV, no. 9), and (2) that our difference. will not allow fellowship. This has been your emphasis in writing to others. You seem determined to have an issue to divide over. I cannot concur with your thinking. This is exactly the tactic of the institutionalists in the 1950’s. They wanted to draw lines of fellowship before brethren had time to study. I do not want this to happen again. 1 am confident enough of the truth that I believe that given enough time and calm study brethren will unite on the truth. For that time and study I plead.
1 know that others in association with you have tried to restrain you in this matter. I think you would do well to heed those of more experience and wisdom than your youth permits (I Kings 12:6-11).
Persuaded that most of your readers are unaware of what has been written in the Gospel Anchor on the subject, I am willing to send to all, who want to make a fair study, a copy of the series of articles dealing with privately supported missionary societies (by whatever name they are called), historically and present-day. I would only ask that your readers send postage to help defray my personal expense (since the Gospel Anchor does not accept contributions and does not have the means nor intent to propagate the truth, only to sell a product). The reader may write to me and ask for the booklet, “A Study of Religious Collectivities.”
Meanwhile you might contribute to the study with a positive approach by showing Bible authority for building and maintaining a society (not the church) through which the gospel may be propagated in the form of supporting evangelists, publishing and distributing papers and tracts, conducting radio and television programs, etc., which work is supported through contribution of Christians.
I ask that this letter in its entirety be published in the earliest issue of Truth. Fairness demands it, and 1 pray that your desire to promote unity through calm, deliberate study will promote it.
712 Victoria Place
Louisville, KY 40207
Published above is Brother Gene Frost’s letter in reply to my November note in “Quips and Quotes.” In this, he accuses me of “misrepresentations, guilt by association, and implications, so unworthy of ethical journalism” but decides not to enumerate the specifics wherein I committed these offences., I frankly would have preferred to have been proven guilty rather than merely to have assertions with no evidence cited. Likely this will be done in Gospel Anchor at a later date.
In order that our readers might keep this in is perspective, I am going to reproduce the paragraph to which Brother Frost is responding. Read it please.
I have noticed that some of those who teach that the church is the only collectivity which can preach the gospel either endorse or operate a collectivity designed to teach that the church is the only collectivity which can preach the gospel. For example, 1 read in a recent church bulletin edited by a man who opposes the Bible department at Florida College a commendation of Gospel Anchor. Yet, Gospel Anchor is owned and operated by Gospel Anchor Publishing Company, Incorporated, a religious collectivity with its own board of directors I might add that though the religious collectivity has been propagating the thesis that the church is the only collectivity authorized to preach the gospel, it makes a different application than those who are recommending the paper make. Those who recommend Gospel Anchor in their bulletins (of course, we need to keep in mind that a man would be guilty of mortal sin if he recommended Florida College in his bulletin in the same manner as some recommend Gospel Anchor) believe that collectivities such as Cogdill Foundation, Vanguard and Florida College are sinful whereas the editor of Gospel Anchor does not see anything wrong with the Bible department of Florida College. Their unity is in opposition to such papers as those mentioned above-those published by Vanguard and Cogdill Foundation. Strangely enough, the rules which condemn these two papers do not fit for the paper published by the religious collectivity known as Gospel Anchor Publishing Company, Incorporated. It is a strange set of rules which only works one way!
In Brother Frost’s letter, I did not notice a single word denying that Gospel Anchor Publishing Company, Incorporated is a collectivity which produces Gospel Anchor. Hence, my point stands: Gospel Anchor Publishing Company, Incorporated is a collectivity designed to teach that collectivities which teach God’s word are violating the Scriptures. Did you see a denial of this by Brother Frost?
In Brother Frost’s second paragraph, he charges me with wanting to press our differences to the point of division. I deny this charge. There is no reason that 1 would have, from my position, for wanting to see a division occur regarding whether or not an individual can make a donation to an organization such as Vanguard or Cogdill Foundation. In my opinion, no sin has been committed should a contribution be given or not given; the Christian is not separated from God whichever he chooses to do. Why should 1 want to see my fellowship withdrawn from that brother who disagrees with me on the matter?
Brother Frost and those who stand identified with him are the brethren who have the fellowship problem. They believe that those who give a donation to an organization such as Cogdill Foundation and Vanguard (and others among them add Florida College) have committed sin. In their writings, they equate the sin with that of taking money from the church treasury to give to a missionary society. They make this a matter of faith, not opinion. Yes, I have raised the fellowship question to these brethren. I have asked them, “Are you not logically bound to extend or withhold the same amount of fellowship to both groups (i.e., those who give money individually to organizations such as Cogdill Foundation and Florida College and those who take money from the church treasury to make donations to human institutions)?” Not one of them has given me a reason for extending fellowship to one group and withholding it from the other.
Brother Frost’s reply shows just how dangerous his position is. He does not say that fellowship should not be broken over this matter. Rather, he replies that the time is not ripe for the fellowship to be broken. Re-read his letter above and see if that is not his implication. Furthermore, he stated to me just as much in a telephone conversation several months before. This thinking shows that problems lie ahead of the same nature as those we have previously faced with those who break the fellowship of God’s people over such things as no Bible classes, no women teachers, the wearing of the covering, and other such like problems. Yes, I am concerned.
Brother Frost, we raise the question regarding fellowship as follows: Some of us have studied the materials which you presented and have reached the conclusion that you are binding over and above what the word of God has bound. Our convictions are such that we feel that we have the liberty in Christ to participate or not participate in such human institutions as Florida College, Cogdill Foundation, Vanguard, etc. We act not out of ignorance, but out of studied conviction. Are you going to continue to extend the “right hand of fellowship” (Gal. 2:9) to us or not? Will we continue to be used in prayer when visiting your services? Will we be invited to meetings at places where you might preach? We want to know your position about fellowship with reference to the matter. I have plainly expressed my convictions on this matter as it pertains to fellowship; let us hear yours.
Brother Frost did write an article on Luke 8:1-3 in Gospel Anchor (May, 1978). The article was suppose to be a reply to a position which Brother Frost thinks that 1 hold. He learned my position from a telephone conversation in which 1 asked him to consider what implications Luke 8:1-3 holds for his position. I did not even make an argument on the passage; 1 simply asked him to write on the passage. From those comments, the editor of Gospel Anchor erected his straw man which he proceeded to destroy. Even so, he had a rather difficult time determining which was the best way to destroy his straw man inasmuch as he conceded the very points which he opposes and took some very ridiculous positions in that article. Be sure and re-read that article!
In keeping with Brother Frost’s request, I have prepared a reply to his position on collectivities. In keeping with his admonition regarding wisdom and experience, I have withheld publishing it for several months to give some brethren time to read it and criticize it. As soon as this is completed, I plan to publish the material in booklet form, providing that circumstances are favorable to its publication. What I have to defend, however, is not a society which supports evangelists through individual contributions, inasmuch as 1 am not a member of any such society. What I have to defend is an institution which publishes literature. Brother Frost is a member of one of those kinds of human institutions himself, known as Gospel Anchor Publishing Company, Incorporated. The same passage which authorizes the human institution of which he is a member will authorize Cogdill Foundation. When this defense is ready, t hope to get it published. Some of this material being discussed is new material which has not been discussed before among brethren, so far as I know. Hence, I want to carefully consider what I say before putting it in print.
Brother Frost seems rather irate that I mention his position in two paragraphs in Truth Magazine. Indeed, he cannot quietly endure what 1 had to say in those two paragraphs. He wrote demanding an opportunity to reply. Has he forgotten that he wrote on this subject for four years? We who disagreed with him patiently bore with his teaching of his opinions without so much as causing him one bit of trouble. It seems, however, that he will not tolerate the presentation of the other side without charging those of us who disagree with apostatizing.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 7, pp. 125-126
February 15, 1979