By Mike Willis
I am happy to announce in this issue of Guardian of Truth that Tom Roberts is being added to our staff of writers. In my judgment, he will contribute to overall work of the Guardian of Truth. He is an excellent writer who militantly opposes every device of Satan to destroy the people of God.
I do not have a close personal contact with brother Roberts because we have never lived in proximity to each other to make that possible. I have grown to love and appreciate him for his work through the printed page. There has not been a gospel preacher to my knowledge who has done more to fight the grace-unity movement in the Dallas, Texas area. While working with the West Side Church in Fort Worth, Texas, brother Roberts edited the Gospel Guide. The primary thrust of that journal in recent years has been to oppose the neo-Calvinism being taught by some proponents of the grace-unity movement in that area. Through this bulletin, I became exposed to brother Roberts’ material.
Later, I was privileged to examine some of brother Roberts’ material rather carefully while working to prepare the lectures which were presented in that area but later published by the Guardian of Truth Foundation under the title Neo-Calvinism in the Church of Christ. Brother Roberts was one of the primary movers in getting this material published. It remains the most extensive work printed on the grace-unity movement.
A product of northeast Texas, Tom Roberts began preaching the gospel near Gladewater, Texas. Born in 1935 in Gregg County, he attended public schools first in Kilgore and finished the final six grades in Gladewater. While still in his senior year, he began preaching for a small congregation in the rocky community near Gladewater. One of the earliest conversions during this time was Pauline Kelley who later was joined with him in matrimony in June, 1953. Three children have been born to them; one son, Tommy, was killed in an accident during the fall of 1981. One son and one daughter remain.
Preachers who made a lasting impression on him during his formative years were Foy Wallace, Sr., Paul and Tom Wallace, Foy L. Smith and Robert Turner. After one school year at Florida College (1954-55), brother Roberts began full-time preaching with the church at Sour Lake, Texas. Following this, he worked in North Carolina for a number of years, both in New Bern and Newport, helping also to establish a new congregation in Morehead City.
In 1961, Tom moved from North Carolina to labor with the brethren at Whitesboro, Texas. While there he became acquainted with some brethren in a small liberal church in Sherman, a larger town just east of Whitesboro in north central Texas. After a period of study, he encouraged them to take a stand against liberalism. This they did to the last member, which enabled them to take a stand for the truth and keep their building without the controversy that often marks such an event. This congregation continues faithfully serving God today with Robert Farish working with them as evangelist.
Following the work at Whitesboro and Sherman (1961-67), he moved to Crockett, Texas, then back to North Carolina where he preached for a second time at Newport. In the fall of 1972, he and his family moved to Fort Worth at the invitation of the West Side church where he has preached for the last ten years. In 1982, a number of brethren who had been driving a long distance to worship at West Side peacefully formed a new congregation in south Fort Worth identified as the Woodmont Church of Christ. They began to meet in May of 1982 and asked brother Roberts later to begin working with them. He did so in September of that same year and continues with them currently. They are meeting in the Danciger Jewish Community Center, 6801 Old Grandbury Road, have purchased property at Alta Mesa and Landview streets in south Fort Worth, and plan to build shortly.
Meeting work for brother Roberts includes efforts in Texas, New Mexico, California, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. While in college, he preached occasionally in Florida. In 1974, he became an associate editor of The Bible Standard and remained with it until it discontinued publication. Recently, he coauthored and edited material for Neo-Calvinism in the church of Christ, a study of issues centering on the graceunity controversy among brethren. In addition to bulletin work during most of the places where he lived, he also has preached the gospel over local radio stations, including one currently at Weatherford, Texas. During the years, he has contributed written articles to other religious journals such as the Gospel Guardian and Vanguard. He has expressed gratitude at being invited to be a staff writer for Guardian of Truth due to its policy of open discussion of issues, its militant stand for the truth and for the quality of writing supplied by those already associated with the paper.
Our readers will be blessed to have the opportunity to study the word of God under the direction of brother Roberts in the articles which he will be contributing to the Guardian of Truth. I know that you will look forward to reading each of them.
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 3, pp. 65, 86
February 3, 1983