McGary Asks for Forgiveness

Several days ago I posted a paragraph by Austin McGary (1846-1928) whose language astonished (and saddened) many of you. In fairness to brother McGary, I want to note his apology in the May 31, 1923 Gospel Advocate. Here he apologizes for what he wrote in the Gospel Outlook which he published from 1903-1905 after he was dismissed from the Firm Foundation.  He wrote (“A Sincere Apology,” GA 65 [31 May 1923] 529):

Brother Boles and Brother McQuiddy have both written me concerning some very improper and unchristianlike things I said about Brother D. Lipscomb in the Gospel Outlook many years ago. I sincerely and deeply and penitently regret having said these things, and I unfeignedly and feelingly beg all of Brother Lipscomb’s friends and the brotherhood in general to forgive me. It will be a lifelong regret with me that I did not apologize to Brother Lipscomb before he died for saying these things about him.

J. C. McQuiddy (1858-1924), editor of the Advocate, responded:

I most heartily commend this Christian apology, and would be glad to see many others follow the good example set by Brother McGary. Many apologies are needed just now, and those who should make them would be better for the making.

While it is not best to grieve over spilt milk, I would have been very glad for David Lipscomb to have read such an apology during his life, for I am sure he would have rejoiced to have received it and would have freely forgiven Brother McGary. We must forgive if we expect to be forgiven. This is a lesson that not only needs to be learned, but also one which should be practiced.

Terry Gardner noted this quotation in “Lipscomb, McGary and Forgiveness,” GA 145 (1 April 2003) 26 as well as in his lecture on McGary at the 2009 Freed-Hardeman Lectureship (available on I-Tunes).

7 Responses to “McGary Asks for Forgiveness”

  1.   K. Rex Butts Says:

    Well that is good to read and it actually says much more about McGary as a person than do the vitriol comments he made towards Lipscomb. We all make mistakes, it takes a person of great conviction and humility to admit the mistakes and apologize/ask forgiveness for them.

    As my friend Donato (whom you met in NJ) say…don’t judge a man by the decisions he makes, judge him by how he lives with his decisions.

    Grace and Peace,


  2.   Randall Says:

    Thanks for following up on the earlier post. It is nice to read something favorable about McGary. In a way it confirms my hope I will be forgiven so many of the unkind words I’ve said in my life.

  3.   Terry G. Says:

    McGary was a man who feared no one but God. He tried to do right but sometimes his own anger got the best of him. When McGary was right it was grand thing. When he was wrong he apologized … something most of us have a great deal of trouble doing though sometimes we say and think thinks that match McGary’s vitriol.

    Here is McGary at his bravest in the Houston Chronicle circa 1921 confronting the Klan:

    “I’ll try to set you right on this point—though I know it’s an almost impossible task to set a klansman right. The Bible teaches in many places and in various ways that even God Himself “hates sin.” And the inspired Psalmist said, “I hate all false ways.” The ways of the klan are “false ways.” “False” to Christ and Christianity, “false” to our nation and its constitution and Bill of Rights, “false” to our state and its constitution and laws, and “false” to every principle of justice, right, morality, democracy and civilization. And as David said: “Through the precepts I get understanding, therefore I hate all false ways.” So I say, through the precepts of the Bible and the constitution and laws of our nation and state I get understanding concerning Christianity, morality, democracy and Americanism. Therefore, I hate false ways of the devil and the Ku Klux Klan.” A. McGary

  4.   Christine Parker Says:

    Stating the obvious: Agree or disagree with the voices of Christendom, but do so in a Christ-like spirit with words you would not mind your grandmother hearing you say.

    There are many, many of us (that is, Christians in general) who sin today as McGary did then. May we be so godly as to recognize our own foolishness and humble ourselves before the Lord in apology.

  5.   rich constant Says:

    john mark:
    the more i that i think the more relevant god’s forgiveness is grace. we are all BUTT HEADS in the current vernacular…
    boy oh boy
    blessings rich

    •   rich constant Says:

      and of course my grand mother would say
      “oh Richard no one’s perfect….
      not even relavent
      but then she has been gone for fifty years or so….
      funny wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    •   rich constant Says:

      just as a p.s concerning, the vernacular.

      a perspective as far as the Creator is concerned.


      THANk god all things are possible through Christ and his faith
      humility, kindness, and hope.

      blessings john mark

Leave a Reply