By Mike Willis
Through the years, those who have been associated with Truth Magazine have changed. I am the third editor of the paper and certainly our staff of writers is not the same as in the initial issue of the paper. Furthermore, our readers have changed; we are certainly not writing to the same audience we wrote to twenty-four years ago (as a matter of fact, I was only eight years old at that time). Consequently, a statement of our aims and purposes would be most helpful to those who are interested in helping increase our circulation through putting this paper into the hands of those who might benefit from its teaching.
A Weekly Subscription Periodical
Truth Magazine is a sixteen-page weekly periodical which is published by Cogdill Foundation. It is the only weekly periodical circulating among conservative brethren. There is only one other weekly periodical published among brethren (Firm Foundation which circulates among liberal brethren). We, however, are the only weekly periodical which stands opposed to church sponsored recreation, church support of human institutions, and the sponsoring church arrangement.
As a subscription journal, this fact needs to be kept in mind. When some people see that our price is $10.00 per year in comparison with $7.00 per year for Searching the Scriptures, $6.00 per year for Preceptor, $7.00 per year for Gospel Anchor, $7.00 per year for Gospel Guardian and $9.50 (!) per year for Vanguard, they forget that all of these subscription journals are monthlies whereas we are a weekly. Hence, by comparison, Truth Magazine continues to be the best bargain among religious periodicals circulated among conservative brethren.
An Uncompromising Commitment To Truth
Truth Magazine is a gospel paper which has an uncompromising commitment to truth. We intend to stand for the truth and make our stance known so clearly that no one will wonder where and why we stand. Brethren will not have to wonder what we believe about any subject, inasmuch as we shall be delighted to give an unambiguous answer through our pages.
Historically, Truth Magazine has been known for its stand for the truth. Under its former editors, Cecil Willis and Bryan Vinson, Jr., Truth Magazine has been known for its unflinching stand in opposition to church support of benevolent societies, the sponsoring church arrangement, church support of recreation, church support of colleges, and, more recently, the grace-unity apostasy. Its pages have been filled with instruction on these topics inasmuch as Truth Magazine was originally started to provide a medium for the discussion of problems within the churches of Christ.
If there has been one criticism of the paper which has had any legitimacy, it would be criticism that Truth Magazine is militant (indeed, too militant for some). For this, we make no apologies. We intend to always be militant against sin of any kind. We intend to expose the men who are espousing views which stand in direct conflict with God’s word in order that brethren might be aware of who they are, what they are teaching, and what is wrong with it.
To protect all of us from one man’s opinion, Truth Magazine maintains an open format in which issues might be discussed. Truth Magazine will publish both sides of an issue in order that brethren might decide what is right and wrong for themselves as they study from the word of God. We have no interest in seeing anyone else or to become ourselves the official spokesman for what those in the churches of Christ must believe. Therefore, we shall speak what we think is the truth of God’s word, but we shall offer those with whom we disagree the opportunity of public response. In this way, Truth Magazine maintains its commitment to truth.
A Good Staff of Writers
Truth Magazine is a paper which has an excellent staff of writers. The names of the men who comprise our writing staff are easily identified by those who do much reading of material written by Christians. Here are the names of our writing staff:
Donald P. Ames
Daniel H. King
In addition to this fine staff of writers, the following brethren also contributed articles for publication in 1979: Weldon Warnock, Leonard Tyler, Dudley Ross Spears, Tom O’Neal, Marshall Patton, Bob Buchanon, Leslie Diestelkamp, Norman Fultz, David Harrell, Hoyt H. Houchen, and many others
One can see from this list of names that Truth Magazine is not the work of one man; it represents the collective labors of many different brethren. I appreciate the many men who have taken the time to study the word of God on some particular subject, write it, and submit it for publication in Truth Magazine. I am thankful for the caliber of writers who send in material for publication.
A Channel For News
Truth Magazine is also a channel for news. In our Quips and Quotes, New Churches Established, and Field Reports columns, we try to report the news which might be of interest to brethren. We want to help keep brethren informed about what is happening throughout the world among God’s people. Hence, we encourage brethren to write their news and send it to us.
There is rarely a year that goes by but that an extended report is printed regarding the work in the Philippines. As brethren conduct meetings in various parts of the country which might tend to be isolated, they send in a report regarding their labors there and the condition of the churches in those areas. Hence, the news items in the paper make it especially helpful to brethren.
An Advertising Medium
Truth Magazine is also an advertising medium for churches, brethren and Truth Magazine Bookstore. Inasmuch as the funds necessary to pay the bills come from the sale of books by our own bookstore, the primary focus of our advertising space must be given to Truth Magazine Bookstore. Hence, all of the books\which are published are available through Truth Magazine Bookstore. Furthermore, we emphasize in our advertising those works which are published by Cogdill Foundation.
Occasionally, however, some person will publish something which he needs to advertise. He will then purchase advertising space in Truth Magazine to get his publication before the brethren. Others sometimes lead ,a group of interested people on trips to the Bible lands. They also advertise in our pages.
However, one of the most significant advertisers is the local congregation. Many local congregations advertise their location and times of services on the pages of Truth Magazine. This is not a back-door method of making a contribution to Truth Magazine. It is the purchase of a legitimate product. Hundreds of elderships across this land have accepted the fact that brethren are traveling more these days than at former times. They recognize that these brethren will want to worship while away from home, so they advertise their locations to assist them. Those of you who travel any at all and have sought to find a place with which to worship know how useful these ads are to you. On my vacation to the Northeast last year, I took a copy of Truth Magazine with me to help me locate places to worship and had no trouble locating a place to worship.
Furthermore, Christians are constantly moving because of their jobs. As many are transferred here and there, the problem of finding an acceptable place with which to worship becomes greater in direct proportion to the number who are re-locating. There is hardly a week which goes by but that someone is contacting me, trying to find faithful saints in some area of the country with which to worship. Frankly, I become more convinced each day of the need of brethren to advertise their places of worship, times of services, and the name of someone to contact to help brethren who are traveling and re-locating. Hence, the advertising medium of Truth Magazine is another service which we provide for the brethren.
A Balanced Journal
Truth Magazine is also a balanced journal in that it contains articles on a number of different subjects in each and every issue. Last year, we had three special series of studies on Romans, worldliness and worship (these issues constituted 20% of our total publication last year). In addition to these special issues, we had articles throughout the year on such topics as the church, worldliness, authority, assurance of salvation, attitude, baptism, Calvinism, Catholicism, cults, drug abuse, faith, grace, heaven, immodest dress, instrumental music, Jesus, Jonah, liberalism, Mormonism, situation ethics, the temptations of Jesus, personal evangelism, and a number of other topics.
Those who circulated the statement that “all that Truth Magazine publishes is fights among the brethren” are either misinformed or lying. Indeed, the number of articles pertaining to problems among brethren would certainly constitute a small percentage of our total output of material.
In preparing Truth Magazine’s layout, I seek a balanced presentation. I want to print something which will help the weak Christian, the non-Christian, the mature Christian, and the growing Christian. I want to publish things which my wife will read-as well as what I would like to read. I seek for balance in our pages.
I suppose that this is the reason that many congregations think that Truth Magazine should be sent to everyone of their members. I would agree with their judgment, however biased I may be. I would think that brethren would recognize the need of an informed membership (not just an informed preacher and/or eldership). The key to doctrinal soundness is a taught membership. Some brethren, therefore, send the paper into the homes of every member of the local church as a tool for helping them to teach their members.
The rates of Truth Magazine are such that this is not much of a financial load for the local church. Sending the paper directly into the homes of ten people only cost $7.50 per month (larger quantities can be figured at the rate of $.75 per person per month). Many individual Christians purchase groups of subscriptions in order to personally send the paper into the homes of some of their friends (even as I do).
To the best of my ability, I have sought to inform you as to the purpose and work of Truth Magazine. Again, if any of you have any questions pertaining to our work, please feel free to personally contact me and I shall attempt to answer your letter. We have nothing to hide so I shall be as forthright with you as I know how to be. If there is any way that Truth Magazine can be of any service to you, just contact us and we shall do what we can to accommodate your needs.
Truth Magazine XXIV: 5, pp. 83-85
January 31, 1980