By Jack Gibbert
An Open Letter To “Truth Magazine” & “Gospel Guardian “
February, 7, 1974
(Editor’s Note: The following letter from Brother Jack Gibbert is more than one year old. Keep in mind as you read the letter that the GOSPEL GUARDIAN now has a new Editor and new owners, and should be appraised by its present contents, and not by what its former Editor or Associate Editors said, or did not say. We urge you to give the new GOSPEL GUARDIAN a fair hearing. But this letter mentions the infamous FAITH MAGAZINE, and judging by some proposals “Ms. Murray’s” legal counsel has made (if we will drop our suit against her, which we most gladly will do when she identifies the perpetrators of that dastardly deed), we may soon be able to reveal to you the names of those unmanly and slanderous composers and cartoonists of that cowardly piece of sleuce and lies which evidently was mailed to the address of nearly every faithful church in America. We all would like to give credit (??) to those anonymous “heroes,” and then we intend to forget about FAITH MAGAZINE. But everyone who had anything to do with that ignominious pamphlet probably never will live long enough to gain any appreciable respect in the eyes of brethren or other journalists,-Christians or non-Christians. As lasting as the infamy of that sneak attack upon Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 shall be the infamy of that catastrophic literary sneak attack called FAITH MAGAZINE. It’s creators likely will find it to be a millstone about their neck, and a serious blight upon their character so long as honorable and decent men live who witnessed the lowest and foulest literary blow of this century. When the names of those responsible for FAITH MAGAZINE become known to us, we will identify them for you. If these men were not such sneaking cowards, they would step forth and accept full responsibility for their mischief, but more than a year has past and not a single one of those literary assassins has had the courage, or repentance, to confess his sin and his crime. “Ms. Murray” is getting nervous and has indicated she is ready to give us the names of those associated with FAITH MAGAZINE within 20 days. You will be kept informed.-Cecil Willis)
The congregation meeting in Virginia Beach, Virginia is advertised in both Truth Magazine and the Guardian. For this reason and out of personal indebtedness to the “Guardian” I write the following.
We, as well as all congregations who advertise in Truth Magazine have been the recipients of a piece of pure trash called “Faith” magazine. Permit me some observations.
First, it is obvious the writers did not expect to change the beliefs of those who advertise in Truth Magazine. They knew they had no hope of getting any of us to stop advertising therein. What, then was the purpose of such a costly slick stab in the back? To divide, my brethren . . . to divide! The writers obviously have no love for the truth, the brethren or for the church; at least not that church we designate as “sound” and “faithful.” This paper is a machination designed to cause subscribers and advertisers of both papers to take sides, build walls and to divide faithful brethren. If they can divide us, maybe they can get us to side with their, “We Be Brethren” attitude.
Second, whoever, “Ms. Paula Murray” (named in the masthead of ‘Faith’) is, it’s evident she is not a faithful Christian. If “Ms.” Murray is in fact, “Mrs.” Murray, then as a faithful Christian woman she would want to do her husband honor by letting it be known she wears his name. If, on the other hand she is “Miss” Murray, she would not care to have her good Christian name identified with a movement designed to strip women of their God given role . . . that is of course, if she were a faithful Christian. Who then is, “Ms.” Murray? I suspect she is a “front” for some “man” (and I use the term advisedly) who needs the skirt of a “Ms.” to hide behind. The “Ms.” of this world have become so much like the “Mr.” of old, and the modern “Mr.” so much like the old fashioned “Miss” that it does not surprise me to find a modern “Mr.” hiding behind the skirts of a modern “Ms.” Now if the real “man” behind the “Ms.” will stand up please, we will address ourselves to him rather than his alter ego, Ms. Murray.
Brethren, we are not going to let it work. This congregation will continue to advertise in both papers . . . at least for the present. I will say however, like Brother Devore that while I will continue to take the “Guardian” I can not ask others to do so at this time.
That last sentence hurt me for a number of reasons. (1) My first subscription to a gospel paper was for the Guardian. (2) My first articles were printed in the Guardian. (3) When we began the faithful work in Myrtle Beach, S.C. it was the Guardian that helped us get off the ground. (4) The Guardian ran a full page article on Myrtle Beach and my work there. (5) When I got behind on my reading I let all my subscriptions run out except for the Guardian. Brethren, if there’s any emotional or personal reason to side with the “Guardian, ” I believe I have it.
About three years ago, while at the Florida lectures, I picked up some samples of Truth Magazine. When I got home and read them I realized that this was the kind of material that first attracted me to the Guardian but which was no longer appearing in its pages. The Guardian had become . . . well, “ho-hum.” Truly, I could never be led off by any error in it, I could not stay interested in an article long enough to finish it, let alone consider it.
At the lectures this year it was pointed out what a Gospel Preacher is. He is not the fellow who just says that baptism is an immersion; even the Catholic Bible has that taught in the foot notes. He does not even just say that the Lord’s church sang songs in worship; Clarke the Methodist commentator said that much. Nor does he just teach that the Lord’s church is made up of autonomous congregations; our liberal brethren do that. No, a Gospel preacher is the fellow who draws a circle around those things and declares that things outside of the circle, i.e., sprinkling, mechanical instruments and sponsoring churches, are wrong and will lead you straight to Hell. This, brethren, is what the Guardian has failed to do much of in the past three years . . . draw circles and name those things that are outside of it. It is my hope, and I am sure the hope of many others, that the Guardian will once again take up the chalk, go to the board and draw a circle.
Truth Magazine XIX: 19, pp. 294-295
March 20, 1975