EDMOND, Okla. (BNC) by Phil Sanders — A recent letter to a brotherhood publication, signed by some progressives, accused the Gospel Advocate and Firm Foundation of racism in the 1950s and 60s. It is safe to accuse people who cannot respond but not convincing. More than 50 years have passed, and the accusers used anecdotal evidence and a supposed absence to assume their broad-brush case.

We have no doubt that ugly attitudes were present among many from all sides. But we are hardly able to castigate everyone for the weaknesses of some. That is what bigotry is all about.

At least some of the authors of this letter are known for their outspoken disdain for the church of Christ.

No one approves of racism, prejudice, or bigotry shown by anyone. To suggest that the writers, publishers, and editors approved of this form of hatred is presumptuous. Changing the culture is not easy, and we do not know what might have been happening behind the scenes. Assuming the worst in others is no virtue.

If the letter had spoken of the need for every heart to judge himself to see whether he permits himself to be bigoted and racist, I would have appreciated it; but the merciless pointing of fingers speaks as much of the accusers as the accused. We are all tempted to distrust people who differ from us. We all stand in the need of drinking deeply from the milk of human kindness.

I cannot think of five churches where I have spoken in decades that did not have an integrated congregation. I am thankful most of our people have moved beyond the disgraceful passions of the past. I have enjoyed immensely the students I have had of all races in more than one school. I do not know of a single Christian College or School of Preaching that is not integrated.

Do we still need improvement? As long as a single ugly bigoted attitude exists, we have work to do; but let’s get rid of the broad brush and finger-pointing. Let’s examine ourselves.

Phil is the speaker for “In Search of Truth.” He published these comments on social media.



  1. Good article! Just one correction, the title of bro. Phil’s show is “In Search of The Lord’s Way”. Of course, both would be accurate! 😉

  2. This letter is making the rounds on Facebook and people are falling for it. So sad when the Church is attacked.

  3. The God who created us choose the color of our skin, only we can choose the color of our hearts.

    1. It is always easy to condemn those who lived in a different time; in a world so unlike our own! Yet, if one would truly take the time to study those who live then, we might learn that they were not so much unlike ourselves. Go study the family history of the David Lipscomb and their efforts to free their slaves! There were laws that had to be obeyed. The question of how be to reach blacks of the 1950’s and 60’s was a question with no easy answer! Was it best to support black preachers to teach to the black people; or was it best to send white workers into black areas and try to teach them? Which would the black folks open their doors to? It was a matter of opinion then, and it is still a matter of opinion! I believe the record will reveal that churches of Christ did both; as the opinion was divided and it still may be divided even among the blacks of today. Then, it may depend on the area, the state, the part of town; as which is best. On the other hand, blacks were being converted in the 1950’s and the 1960’s. No, not in the number we would have desired, but this is also true of today; among all nationalities!

  4. Racism is alive and well in America. God requires us to love each other and He is not a respecter of persons. God looks at the heart of a person and not the outside . Unless we come together and love people regardless of race we will not inherit the kingdom of heaven . God is love and He has commanded we love each other . Jesus prayed for it in John 17 . Love is the only thing that will last.

  5. Would love to know the name of the person who created the accompanying illustration. I would also love to see it “going viral” with a brief comment such as Sam Craft’s.