Searching The Scriptures An Overview

by Donnie V. Rader

During the Florida College lectures in February, Connie called me to his motel room to tell me about the offer that the Guardian of Truth Foundation had made to buy Searching the Scriptures and put it to rest. I was surprised at first, but saw rather quickly that this would remove part of Connie’s pressing work load. Though he had not decided whether to accept their offer or not, I knew that’s what he would do.

Since that day I have thought many times about the paper, its beginning, its reputation, its editors, its writers, its policy, it accomplishments and those who have worked behind the scenes. In this final issue of STS I want to share with you some of those things that come to mind when I think about Searching the Scriptures.

H. E. Phillips

Launching a major journal is no easy task. Anyone can start a paper, but its another thing to get one off the ground and keep it going for many years. It takes a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of wisdom and a lot of money.

H. E. Phillips gave all of that and more to starting and publishing Searching the Scriptures from 1960 until 1973.

He and James P. Miller worked as co-editors in the early years of the paper. Someone rightfully gave Miller the title of “Mr. Outside” and Phillips the name “Mr.Inside. ” Brother Miller worked among the brethren across the country to help build and circulate the paper while brother Phillips did the desk work of writing,editing, proofing and putting the paper together.

H. E. Phillips sacrificed much for this paper. He spent many hours behind the typewriter or at the desk – all in addition to his local work. He worked until late in the night after spending a full day doing his local work. He has told me that there were many nights he would work all night long and then get a shower, eat breakfast and go at it again. Many readers may not realize that he started a bookstore, a tape business and produced the Living Voice Bible tapes (he directed the recording of the entire New Testament by a Shakespearean actor)all in an effort to have money to keep Searching The Scriptures going. He borrowed money (at times against his life insurance policy) to keep STS in the hands of his readers. Many of the readers in the early years of the paper received the paper because brother Phillips was paying for it himself. Not only that, but he sacrificed his health. After two heart attacks(1967 & 1971) his doctors and family urged that he reduce his workload.

Under the editorship of H. E. Phillips this paper enjoyed a large circulation, a good reputation and was respected as a paper that was set for the defense of the gospel.

Since the day he turned this work over to Connie W.Adams, he has faithfully contributed articles for practically every issue.

H. E. Phillips has been a friend and encouragement to many preachers, particularly young preachers, including this writer.

Thanks, brother Phillips. Without you thousands of readers would not have enjoyed Searching the Scriptures every month.

Connie W. Adams

Connie W. Adams became editor and owner of Searching the Scriptures in May 1973. He had carried the paper on the same steady path on which James P. Miller and H. E. Phillips placed it.

On numerous occasions Connie has expressed to me his view of what the paper was to him. He viewed it as a mere extension of his influence. He stated this in the May 1973 issue. “Then why do it? Every preacher wants to influence as many souls for good as he possibly can in his lifetime. Writing through such a medium as this affords such opportunity not only to teach truth now,but to put it in permanent form so that it may chance to have effect on generations to come…. This work is viewed as an opportunity to advance truth, as a challenge and as a fearful responsibility. ” Connie has never thought of this work as being a spokesman for the brotherhood. He never has viewed his editor’s chair as a lofty throne. In fact, having worked closely with him for a while, I know the editor’s chair is anything but that. At times it is a real hot seat.

Connie has sacrificed much as well. Other than his family, I have seen as much as any one what Connie has given to this paper. He has edited the paper longer than brother Phillips did. For nearly 20 years he has met two deadlines a month. First he had his editorial and news column to write and proof all the articles for the next month’s issue by the first of the previous month. Then on the fifteenth of the month he received the typeset galleys from the printing plant and had a “paste-up” to do and then proofread the paste-up. All of that is just getting the paper in the mail. Daily there are incoming renewals that have to be posted in the books. Though he hired someone to do his office work on the paper he had the responsibility of overseeing that the bills were mailed by the 20th and the mailing list updated by the25th of each month. Besides all of that, an editor receives a ton of mail. (I know -1 have picked his mail up when he was out of town. )

In addition to all of the time he has put into the paper,he has worked hard keeping the paper operating on abusiness basis. He, like brother Phillips, has sacrificed his health in the process. When he first got the paper he had it printed in Berne, Indiana which is about a four to five hour drive from Louisville. He would drive there every month to pick the papers up and brought them home to address and mail them. Hauling and lifting boxes upon boxes of paper wore out his station wagon,but worse, it wore out his back. In recent years he has had back surgery twice. He believes his problems go back to lifting all those papers.

I first met Connie in 1980 shortly after I moved to Louisville to work with the Manslick Road congregation. We soon developed a warm friendship. We have much in common. Our views on many questions and issues of the day are much alike. How we approached things are very similar. Besides our common love for the Lord and his word, we have a common interest in journalism and particularly Searching The Scriptures. Yet, there are many things that we don’t have in common: He likes basketball (a diehard Kentucky fan); I don’t care for sports at all. He can play a guitar or mandolin; I can’t play anything. Children make him nervous; they don’t bother me. I can do a few handy-man things; he can’t drive a nail. But, we still have a lot in common.

When Bobbie (Connie’s first wife) got sick, Joan (my wife) and I offered to help with the paper if needed. Within a week or two of that offer, Connie had put Joan to work. This began what has continued to be a close working relationship on the paper.

In December 1985 Connie came back to work with us at Manslick Road. While I did the local work, he taught special classes during December, January, and February. From March to November he was in full-time meeting work. We had an excellent working relationship. We never had a cross word one time. Some preachers may have trouble working together, but we never did. Having him in the audience was never an occasion for criticism. He always encouraged. He has an ability to deal with younger men as equals -at least he did with me. I learned much and still do from our association and friendship. When I left Manslick Road, I summed up our relationship by saying, “He is my Paul, and I am his Timothy. “

I love Connie dearly and rejoice to know that his workload will be lighter. Connie is a “work-horse” who needs to slow down a little. If he did not, his usefulness in the kingdom would be shortened. May God bless you Connie with many more years of effectiveness in his service.

The Policy Of The Paper

The policy of the paper is one reason it has been well respected. Though there has been no written policy, it has been to be fair and teach the truth found in the Bible. Three things come to mind about the paper’s policy. (1) Balance. There has been a good balance of milk and meat, positive and negative, controversial and non controversial and reproof and exhortation. The paper has never been top-heavy with one subject. It has never run any subject or issue in the ground. (2) Fair. While no topic has been ridden until it was wore out, the editors have given every topic and issue a fair hearing. There has been no closed-door policy that would not allow a response. (3) Exchanges had a limit. Exchanges and debates have been allowed in these pages. However,there was always a limit to how many articles there would be. The exchanges did not continue until the readers became weary.

The Paper’s Reputation

Some papers develop an ugly name and carry a bad smell about them. But, not Searching the Scriptures. It has not been a one-issue paper. Personal axes have not been ground. It has been held as a paper of respect and dignity. I believe it was Jeff Kingry who told Connie afew years ago that if he had to draw a caricature of Searching the Scriptures he would put a coat and tie on it. That suggests dignity and honor. That kind of reputation makes me proud to be a part of the paper.

The Good It Has Done

Literally thousands have been taught and edified. Many have been led out of institutionalism. One such example is Mike Baggett of Water Valley, MS. He was working with a liberal congregation. One of the members was receiving STS and passing the copies on to Mike. It was here that Mike was challenged to think about the doctrines and practices of liberal churches. He then studied his way out and took his stand. The good reaches far beyond the United States. Brethren in Italy and in the Philippines have been helped more than most readers realize. Every major issue to arise among brethren since 1960 has been addressed in these pages.

Those Who Have Worked Behind The Scenes

The readers of any paper do not see what all it takes to get a paper in the mail and keep it going. Connie has not been able to do all this himself. Several have worked hard keeping the mailing list updated, keeping bills paid and mailing the monthly statements. There is a lot more to it than might appear. Bobbie Adams did all of this before STS had a computer, before the printing plant did the mailing and when every bill had to be typed individually. Then Joan Rader worked for a while after Bobbie’s death doing the same work the same way. Then Bobby Adams helped get all the bills and mailing list on computer and has done a lot of work on the paper in addition to those Connie has hired. When Joan had to quit, Jane Ashbrook (wife of Lee Ashbrook, an elder at Manslick Rd. and daughter of the late A. C. Grider)worked a few years. After Jane quit to help see to her mother, Karen Arbuckle has carried the load until now.

Without the work of these godly ladies, you would not have received your copy of STS every month.

I am saddened to see STS come to an end. But, that eventually happens to papers. As the years go on others will start and cease as well. For the time, we give our honor to this paper it’s editors for a job well done.

From Searching the Scriptures, December 1992