Gospel Advocate Apology to J. D. Tant

More disturbing to Tant was the realization that a man who was BLUNT and was trained only as a COMMON CARPENTER couldn't teach at the schools either

Jefferson D. Tant - J.C. McQuiddy Exchange


by Terry Gardner

See the Gospel Advocate and H. Leo Boles on the radical view of the Godhead as three separated Beings made of the same 'god stuff.'

Tant was barred from the Gospel Advocate starting in 1909 for some ten years. In Tant's biography this is attributed to the fact that the Advocate became more "literary" with the addition of men like R. H. Boll to the staff. Also, at this time the paper moved from newspaper size to its present format. The story goes that David Lipscomb objected to Tant's being banned but had turned effective control of the paper over to J. C. McQuiddy. The justification for the ban was a report that Tant had used "profane" language in the pulpit, a report Tant denied.

J. C. McQuiddy offered this apology:

"Some years ago J. D. Tant was shut out of the columns of the Gospel Advocate on what was thought to be reliable evidence, but further developments proved this to be untrue. For the injustice done him I offer my apology, and deeply regret the occurrence.

The Advocate never charged nor believed him guilty of any criminal conduct, and only thought his plainness of speech often amounted to bluntness, which offended some people.

The management of the Advocate was only anxious for him to prove himself innocent; but when his accusers refused to meet him in Nashville, J. D. Tant offering to pay all railroad expenses to and from Nashville, he had no way left to exonerate himself. It now appears clear that there is no truth in the accusation." (Gospel Advocate, 7 October 1920, p. 977).

J. D. Tant responded as follows:

"Brother J. C. McQuiddy: I am glad to note in the Gospel Advocate of October 7 that you consider one, J. D. Tant, worthy of an apology from you on account of certain treatment given him by the Advocate in the long ago. While said treatment caused some of my friends and myself to lose respect for the Advocate, for we felt I did not have fair treatment, yet I assure you with all love that I accept your apology in full, and we will rub out the past and be brethren, as we were in the long ago.

"It is also quite true that my language is blunt and plain; having been reared in the West, where we all use plain speech, and being an Irishman (for I'd be ashamed to be anything else), we all use language out there that can be understood.

When I heard many of my brethren, especially among the pure- hearted preachers, claiming that my language was offensive because I said 'bull' in the pulpit, I hardly knew what to do. After all, a preacher must try to please the Lord instead of men in preaching the gospel. "David could not wear Saul's armor to fight Goliath, yet he won the victory. Paul's brethren said his speech was contemptible; yet he fought a good fight. Also, Paul said, "To the pure all things are pure; but to the defiled nothing is pure'. Many of my brethren who are shocked at my speech, I believe can not show up a better moral life than I can. "I shall not quit preaching to go to college now to learn smooth language that will please my brethren, but shall continue to preach the gospel straight and keep in touch with the Lord, and keep myself unspotted from the world. I will work and pray for the salvation of all men I may influence, for I am more anxious to fill heaven than I am to get a college education so I can use language that will please my brethren. I well know that I must soon give an account of my stewardship to God, and I think if I have preached the gospel and lived right, God will give me one hundred percent on language. And Freed and Hardeman will give me one hundred percent on penmanship, and then I'll be on the safe side." In love, J. D. Tant. (Gospel Advocate, November 30, 1920)

Here is Tant on several of his favorite themes. Those with fine speech who are educated at "our" colleges are embarrassed by J. D. Tant as we move through the new century. To such men, Tant's work for God matters not at all. Tant is not "refined" and he holds no degree. There was, of course, no college for which the blunt J. D. Tant could teach ... he would have told the truth boldly in all matters that he believed to be right, true and just. That would not do ... even in 1920. And of course he had no "credentials," he had no degree, not even one in penmanship!

More disturbing to Tant was the realization that a man who was blunt and was trained only as a common carpenter couldn't teach at the schools either ... then or now. He sees where we are drifting ... Form will matter and substance becomes secondary. The way you say things is important ... its ok to lie, commit adultery, et. al. as long as you are discreet and educated. Tant finds this offensive. Tant, to the end of his days will call it, as he sees it and as often as it truly is. He refused to pretend things are alright.

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