By Mike Willis
With this issue, we officially begin publication under our new banner Guardian of Truth. We also have added hundreds of new readers to our mailing list through the purchase of Gospel Guardian. That being the case, to write an article respective to our purposes and goals through Guardian of Truth seems appropriate. It should serve to introduce our new readers to this journal and acquaint them with what we intend to do through its pages. To the rest of our readers, this should serve as a reminder of our goals and as an opportunity to assess how well we have been doing in attaining them.
Our Twenty-fifth Year of Service: The Old and The New
We commence our twenty-fifth year of service with renewed determination embodied in our new name, Guardian of Truth. For twenty-four years, Truth Magazine has circulated among Christians; through its pages many people have been taught the truth on apostasies such as church support of human institutions, church sponsored recreation, and the sponsoring church arrangement. Numerous articles on good moral living, biblical studies, news of the brethren, etc. have been published which have encouraged and edified many faithful Christians.
Last year, after the Cogdill Foundation accepted Theron Bohannan’s sacrificial offer to sell the Gospel Guardian, our Board decided to simply merge the Gospel Guardian and Truth Magazine into one paper. This step unites in one journal the high standards of gospel journalism represented in the past two separate mediums of the same truth. Hence, Guardian of Truth is born. We have retained the volume number of Truth Magazine in order to remind brethren that we have been publishing for twenty-four years and to indicate that the thrust of Guardian of Truth will be the same as that of Truth Magazine. But we bring aboard part of the respected name of the Gospel Guardian to indicate that our thrust will be in the high tradition of Yater Tant during the years that Roy E. Cogdill and others stood at his side, the tradition continued by Eugene Britnell and James W. Adams more recently. In fact, we invited brother Adams to come onto our staff, but he preferred not to take on new obligations now and wished us well in our venture. Hence, we begin our twenty-fifth year of service – a full quarter of a century – with every intention of continuing the finest ideals in the militant propagation of New Testament Christianity. As I reflect upon the stand for truth which has been made in the past through the pages of these two gospel papers, I recognize the rich heritage which has been passed down to us. “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).
What do we hope to accomplish during 1981 through the pages of Guardian of truth? We certainly have some specific goals in mind, but let me address the general goal first of all. Our primary goal is to publish a paper which contains articles on Bible subjects which are true to the Book. We have no desire to see so much as one page or one line directed toward the teaching of falsehood; if we should deem it necessary to publish an article which defends a false position, we shall strive to be sure that it is answered and in the same issue, if possible. Hence, our foremost aim is to teach the word of God in its purity.
Though Guardian of Truth will continue to be largely addressed to the Christian, non-Christians can continue to read it with profit since the fundamentals of the gospel must be stressed and emphasized again and again on our pages. We have addressed topics of controversy among Christians on our pages, just as the New Testament itself does. When it is necessary to call attention to a false position held by a Christian, every attempt will be made to make sure that the discussion is held on an honorable level. Though no man is infallible in this regard and every writer views his own material subjectively, I shall strive to present controversial material in a manner which is as inoffensive as possible. But we are more concerned about the danger of offending the Lord and undermining the truth by failing to defend it than we are of offending the nicer-than-the-Lord sensitivities of some apostates.
Brethren should be mature enough to realize however, that there is no way to expose a man as a false teacher which will please that man. He will cry “foul” regardless of how careful his opponent is in trying to call attention to his false doctrines. Luther Blackmon used to say, “There is no way to skin a cat which the cat will like.” I have already found this to be so in my little experience as editor of Truth Magazine.
Guardian of Truth will be a militant journal. As editor, I have no interest in seeing us compromise with denominationalism either inside or outside of the Lord’s church, with worldliness, or with any of Satan’s disciples. The staff of writers whose names are assembled on our masthead feel exactly as I do in that regard. We shall not hesitate to call sin by its name. Neither shall we hesitate to expose a false teacher who is posing as a teacher of righteousness when he seeks to make inroads among the people of God.
We seek to be a Guardian of Truth. We do not seek to sit on the truth to keep others from sharing in it but we do seek to guard the purity of revealed truth. When the Judaizers tried to bind circumcision on the first century church as being essential for salvation, Paul said, “. . . to whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you” (Gal. 2:5). This expresses our attitude as a Guardian of Truth. We do not want to see the truth of God shackled by human tradition; we do not want the wisdom of God hidden beneath the philosophies of men. Consequently, we shall guard the precious truth to be sure that it is not tainted by human philosophies and traditions.
A second major goal of Guardian of Truth is to publish a balanced paper. There will be times when doctrinal errors’ must be dealt with; however, we shall attempt to publish articles on other subjects than these doctrinal issues in the same issue or in issues before and after that. We do not want to see the paper become obsessed with one issue. My idea of what a paper should be like is that it should contain material aimed at the new convert, the growing Christian, and the mature Christian; in that fashion, every Christian would find something which would be of interest to him.
A third major goal of Guardian of Truth will be to inform brethren of the news among brethren. We have invited and encouraged gospel preachers to send in field reports to keep brethren informed of the progress of the work in various parts of the country. Many have responded and we hope that many more will begin to send in their field reports.
In the past, Truth Magazine has published several special issues which have provided more in-depth studies of different topics. We have two specials planned for 1981 which will be multi-issue specials. The first special will be a study of 1, 2, 3 John. The material for this special is already in hand. I can assure you that this material is exceptionally good; the writers have provided questions with their articles. Hence, the material would make a very good class workbook. Those who might be interested in purchasing extra copies of these issues should send in their orders prior to publication so that enough can be printed for brethren to use them in their Bible classes as they desire.
The second special issue which is planned for 1981 is a special on the eldership. This will also be prepared with questions in case brethren desire to use it in an adult Bible class. Assignments for this material have not yet been made but we hope to have this available for publication by late summer or early fall.
Let’s Get Together!
If we sound excited about 1981, that is because we are. We are excited about hundreds of new readers, about the specials which we have planned, about the warm reception which we have been getting among brethren, and about the encouraging words which we have received regarding our labors. We are excited because all of this means more service and better service to you, the reader! Consequently, we are looking forward to another year of service through the printed page under our new masthead Guardian of Truth.
You are invited to be a part of this effort to preach the gospel of Christ in keeping with the highest ideals of the New Testament. Pray for us that we turn not to the right or to the left from that highway of holiness. Send us your suggestions for articles, special themes, workbooks, and other improvements. Your constructive criticisms are valuable to help us see ourselves as others see us and to help us make corrections where needed. We are always happy to consider for publication in Guardian of Truth your manuscripts which proclaim the gospel of Christ in its purity and simplicity.
Help us introduce the paper to new readers. Let us know if you can use a few sample copies of the paper. Why not personally subscribe for an individual ($11.50 per year) or a group (10 copies for $7.50 per month)? Would the church where you worship consider sending the paper to each family as an aid to enrich their Bible study, knowledge of current problems, and the positive application of spiritual principles to daily living? More churches are using this service and enjoying its benefits, but someone must make the suggestion – let it be you! Let’s get together to make the Guardian of Truth as effective as possible during 1981 in the spread and the defense of the gospel of Christ!
Guardian of Truth XXV: 1, pp. 2-5
January 1, 1981