On Being A Staff Writer

By Bill Cavender

Due to the entreaties of Brother Cecil Willis and the earlier invitation of Brother Mike Willis, and in “a moment of temporary dementia,” I have consented to obligate myself to be “a staff writer” for Truth Magazine. As I understand it, this agreement will in no wise increase my earthly wealth and what earthly fame may attach thereto will, no doubt, be fleeting and fanciful. It does increase my time with a typewriter, is supposed to challenge whatever -mental processes I am capable of generating, and is designed “to help the cause of Christ” (but in exactly what way Brother Cecil did not say!).

Thus I nave promised to do that which heretofore I had said I would not do and did not have time for. So chalk up one more change of mind and blot out one more of those generalizations made in the past when I said, “I won’t do that.” Life is teaching me that we do many things we say we would never do. Simon Peter learned that (Mark 14:29-31). All parents of children learn that lesson, and preachers who are asked to write and obligate themselves for at least six articles per year know that broad, general statements do not always mean what they say.

I obeyed the gospel in February, 1946, and immediately subscribed to The Bible Banner. Brother Foy E. Wallace, Jr. had held a meeting in San Francisco, California, in the fall of 1945. I was in the Navy there, boarding with Brother George W. Dickson and his family, the preacher of the Seventeenth Street church. Brother Wallace stayed with the Dickson’s during the meeting; I was with him every night, and heard him preach each evening. Even though I was a Methodist at the time, they were all very kind to me. Brother Wallace greatly impressed me with his Bible preaching, and early the next year I obeyed the gospel. Later that year I began taking the Gospel Advocate, the Firm Foundation, Eugene S. Smith’s Gospel Broadcast, E. C. Fuqua’s The Vindicator, and Brother James A. Allen’s Apostolic Times. The Bible Banner (later The Gospel Guardian) impressed me most and, more than any other one influence, helped to shape and solidify my convictions in the crucial years of the late forties, through the “fighting fifties,” and until the present time. I have not taken the Advocate and Foundation in years, and the other papers mentioned above ceased publication and their editor-owners are all deceased.

I say all that to convey my conviction that gospel papers serve a good purpose, hopefully with others as with me. Faithful brethren are presently publishing some good papers (Truth Magazine, Searching The Scriptures The Gospel Guardian, etc.). I do not subscribe to all papers our brethren publish as I just do not have the money for all nor the time to read all of them.

I have believed through the years that brethren have a personal, individual right to work together and cooperate individually in publishing gospel papers, owning publishing houses and book stores, operating schools which teach the Bible in classes, and conducting legitimate businesses in which they might teach the Bible to their employees. I have heard such men as Foy E. Wallace, Jr., G. C. Brewer, Carl Ketcherside, Leroy Garrett, G. K. Wallace, Flavil Colley, George DeHoff, Bill J. Humble, James R. Cope, etc. discuss these issues orally and in writing. Such papers, schools, publishing houses, businesses, etc., cannot scripturally have any organizational connection with local churches of our Lord. One is human, the other divine. So it is in good conscience that I enter into this relationship with others in publishing and writing Truth Magazine.

All my preaching life, now thirty years, I have wanted to avoid groups and cliques among brethren, not being identified with any paper, party, or political body among our brethren. I realize there are groups among conservative brethren, of more or less obvious or behind-the-scenes influence and power, which have used or will use brethren for their own purposes. None of this have I ever participated in, nor do I plan to do so in the future. I have intended to ever be “my own man,” the Lord’s servant, and to be faithful in the discharge of my duties as a Christian, a gospel preacher, a husband, father and brother in Christ. By writing for Truth Magazine, I intend to do just that-write. For any activities by others connected with the paper I will not be responsible, nor party to anything that I believe to be wrong or not in the best interests of truth and the church of our Lord.

My writings will represent my own understanding, knowledge and convictions of God’s truth. I have not always agreed with everything that has appeared on the pages of Truth Magazine. I will probably not do so in the future, just as others will probably not always agree with me. The general course pursued by Truth Magazine in the past of upholding truth and exposing error I have agreed with and appreciated, and it is on this basis that I am willing to participate in writing so as to maintain that course in whatever future God may grant to us.

Doing a full-time local work with a good church, holding 12-15 meetings a year, writing and printing an eight-page monthly paper, and other work regularly more than takes my time. But I plan to try to streamline my activities even further and find time for this endeavor also. So with some “fear and trembling,” and with a hope and prayer that these efforts shall be productive of some good some way, I embark upon the sea of journalism as “a staff writer.” Your prayers for me and others connected with this paper will be appreciated.

Truth Magazine XXI: 10, p. 146
March 10, 1977