by Connie W. Adams
In May, 1973 Ed Byers and I brought the physical properties of SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES to Louisville in a U-Haul trailer. As we pulled out of the driveway of the residence of H. E. Phillips, both he and his dear wife, Polly, stood in the doorway weeping. We were both too choked with emotion to say anything for a longtime. I wondered then how I would feel if I were bidding farewell to what had become such a vital part of his life. And now I know! As I write this last editorial for this paper, which ends thirty-three years of service to our readers, my mind is filled with memories and my heart is full to overflowing.
H. E. Phillips has given a history of this paper from its inception. My own involvement with it began with a gentlemen’s agreement sometime in the mid-1960’s when H. E. Phillips promised me that should it become necessary for him to give up his work on the paper, I would be given the opportunity to continue that work. The time came sooner than either of us expected. After major health problems brought pressure upon him from his doctors and family, he called me during the Florida College lectures in January, 1973. I went to his house where I found him struggling with the flu. He told me he could not go on with the paper and asked if I would take it and publish it. Over the years he had borrowed from his insurance to pay printing bills and that had accumulated to just under $10, 000. We made arrangements to retire that amount over the first three years of our ownership of the paper. That freed his insurance. That was just one sample of the many sacrifices the Phillips’s made in publishing this paper.
It was not the best time for us to begin this work. We had agreed to go with a new work which was a peaceful "swarm" from the Manslick Road church in Louisville and we had to borrow money to build a house. At first it seemed impossible to do all that and take on the work of the paper. But my wife encouraged me to do it and offered to help in every way she could. She gave up her teaching job and took on the business operation of the paper.
With her faithful help and the continued work of the brethren who were writing, plus the support of readers we were able to keep it going.
In the May, 1973 issue, I wrote the following:
Those of us who write shall attempt to be clear, concise, candid and always scriptural. When differences arise, as surely they will, we will do our best to practice the Golden Rule. The editor does not expect to agree with every sentiment expressed by every writer on every subject. Each one bears responsibility for what he says. Divergent views will be given a hearing when offered in proper form and in good taste. We shall reserve the right to decide when enough has been said on a subject and to choose what is thought to be the most representative material on a topic on which several have offered articles. We are aware that our writings constitute a part of our preaching and that we shall be called to account for what we teach. Our highest ambition is to please God. We do not expect everybody to like everything we have to say and sincerely hope that the Devil and all his angels will be sorely displeased.
At the close of that article we quoted the following from Ben Franklin as he began editing THE CHRISTIAN REVIEW: " This work is fully under our own control, and if it does not proceed with regularity, firmness and stability, the responsibility is OURS.
With Sincere Gratitude
We owe a debt of gratitude to so many people. First, the writers who have contributed so generously of their time and knowledge to benefit our readers deserve a special word of thanks. Over the years, several writers have left to publish papers of their own. Special notices given to the 25 years of service from Marshall E. Patton who during that span of time wrote our question column, Answers For Our Hope. The first twenty years of that column are now in a hardback book by that same title. It is a storehouse of rich help for Bible students and will remain a valuable tool as the years go by.
This work could not have been done without the patience and loving help of my family. The business work of the paper was ably handled by my wife, Bobbie, until about two weeks before her death in March, 1985.Our Wilson and Martin deserve a special word of appreciation. They helped in many ways to collate bound volumes, sort for mailing and other mundane chores. Wilson handled the news column for awhile and contributed many articles. Beyond that they endured the many demands on my time which often kept me from doing things with them. I do not recall ever hearing them complain, but I am sure there were times when they were tempted to view the paper as a rival for their father’s time and attention.
We have been blessed with good office personnel. Fay King and Nola Snell helped in the early days. Joan Rader (and Donnie) came to our rescue when it became evident that Bobbie’s time was growing short. Without them, we could not have kept the paper on schedule. When I married Bobby Hughes in March, 1986, she handled the business office until Jane Ashbrook came to work for us. This freed Bobby’s time so she could travel with me in gospel meetings. Jane worked faithfully withus until after her father, A. C. Grider, died and then resigned to help take care of her mother. Karen Arbuckle then came to work for us and continues through this final issue. Her work has been diligent and efficient.
From the beginning of our ownership of the paper, RELIGIOUS SUPPLY CENTER of Louisville has advertised in the paper. Our relationship with David Key and all those who work at the bookstore has been most pleasant. Their advertising with us enlarged their business and provided us with needed funds to keep the paper going. They are a major supply house for books, tracts, and general church supplies.
Through the years, H. E. Phillips has been a loyal friend and trusted adviser. He has never tried to second-guess me but has always been ready to listen and offer counsel when I have called upon him, and that has been often. It has been an honor to have his material on the front page of the paper. I am thankful that the relief he gained from turning over the paper to me has lengthened his days of faithful service to the Lord. Among my fondest memories are moments HE. Phillips and I have prayed together. There was the time when we met in Atlanta to finalize the business transactions of the paper. Then in a private corner at Kennedy Airport in New York before boarding a plane to Italy in 1976 to preach among brethren there, we besought the Lord for his protection over us and our families left behind. His prayer at the funeral home the day Bobbie was laid to rest helped give me strength for that day. Again, we prayed together when I met with him to seek his advice about laying this paper to rest and accepting the offer to write and work with the GUARDIAN OF TRUTH. Our association has been long and pleasant, but those moments were the most poignant of all.
Where do I begin to express my love and gratitude to Donnie V. Rader? Over the last few years he has come to my aid countless times. He had edited the paper through the summer for the last three years, including the special issues which enjoyed a wide circulation and brought forth so many words of appreciation from those into whose hands they have fallen. Then when back surgery hampered me again, Donnie extended his editorial work until the first of this year. He has continued through this year to do all the paste-up work. We have consulted many times about many things. He is an excellent preacher of the gospel, deeply committed tithe truth and possessed of a considerate spirit which makes him all the more helpful to his hearers. The kingdom needs many more like him. He is like a son tome. The readers of this paper need to understand that without the faithful help of this good brother, we could not have met our schedule and would have found it necessary to close the paper much sooner. Donnie, keep you pen sharp, and continue to use your talent in both preaching and writing.
I am indebted to Bobby for her quiet support of all my work, including this paper. She is a devout Christian and a wise counselor whose input has been invaluable in all my work, including the editorship of SEARCHINGTHE SCRIPTURES. She has had a keen sense of the importance of this work.
Thanks are in order to Mike Willis and all those connected with GUARDIAN OF TRUTH for their generosity in satisfying the unfulfilled subscriptions with their excellent magazine and for working so thoughtfully and carefully in making this transition. The opportunity to write again in that magazine is appreciated and it is hoped that our readers will want to follow what we have to offer through that medium.
It is difficult to assess objectively what has been accomplished through this periodical. I am convinced that it played a significant role in the second wave of the conflict over the nature, organization and work of the church. Many are standing for the truth today because of these efforts. Others were encouraged who had endured much suffering in the jarring conflicts surrounding those issues.
But what of the last nineteen and a half years? We have tried to teach truth and oppose error on those questions while addressing a wide range of subject matter which, in our judgment, was needed by our readers. We have striven for balance. Every month when the paste-up was done, we have gone through the paper one more time to see how many different subjects were touched in that one issue. We have had our share of controversy. Some blunders in judgment have been made. But we have honestly tried to do what appeared at the time to be the wisest course of action. It has been impossible to please everyone and no attempt has been made to do that.
Over the years we have heard from many readers who have written, called or spoken to us during our travels to preach who have thanked us for our work and told us of something we printed which was especially helpful to them. We have received many letters from other countries from preachers who told us they have used many articles from SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES for sermon and class material. Our writers have heard from so many readers over the years. In 1975 in the Philippines I met two different men who told me that they had been denominational preachers and that they began learning the truth which led to their conversion from a copy of a special issue we did on "An Unchanging Kingdom in a Changing World. "
If we have helped one soul to learn the truth and obey the gospel, if we have strengthened one Christian, if we have stabilized one soul on the brink of apostasy, if we have lifted up one despondent spirit, if we have illuminated one Bible student on some difficult passage, if we have promoted greater zeal and interest in the work of the gospel around the world, then these 33 years have-not been in vain.
So then, with a heart filled with emotions, and with gentle hands, we commit SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES to the archives of history. "And now brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20: 32). "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, be with you all. Amen(Rev. 22: 21).
original post Dec. 1992