"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.X No.III Pg.13a-15
March 1948

Some Teachers At George Pepperdine Reveal Their Attitude

Roy E..Cogdill

There follows this statement a report of a meeting held at Long Beach, California, on December 2, 1947. This report of the meeting is signed and verified by twelve Gospel preachers who for the most part live in this area. A copy of the report was placed in the hands of W. B. West, head of the Department of Religion of George Pepperdine College, and the men who teach at Pepperdine who were in the meeting have seen the report and were invited to write whatever they had to say about it and send it to us. We have had nothing from them in any way retracting the things that they said in the meeting at that time or modifying them. They must be accepted therefore not only as a correct report of what was said but as correctly setting forth their views concerning these matters.

On Tuesday, December 2, 1947, the preachers of the Los Angeles and Long Beach areas met in the Y. W. C. A. with Brother Harrison as Chairman of the meeting. About thirty-five or forty were present at the meeting including some elders and ladies. Among the preachers present were: James 0. Wilburn, E. R. Watson, Roy Tidwell, Hoyt Houchen, Gus Eoff, W. E. Irvine, Bud Irvine, Joe Gilmore, Jack Hardcastle, Morgan Harlan, Wade Ruby, Hubert Derrick, Woodrow Whitten, O. L. Castleberry, Roy E. Cogdill, Bro. Harriman, Marion Davis and Carroll Cannon.

According to previous appointment Roy E. Cogdill spoke to the group on the theme "What Should We Preach?" which theme was requested. In the speech emphasis was given to the charge "Preach the Word." It was pointed out that the "faith" was a definite system of teaching, that there is one faith and but one, that has been delivered to the saints of God once for all, that to preach any other doctrine brings condemnation upon the man who does so and will lead any who hear and believe into condemnation.

When the speech had been concluded, in accordance with the customary procedure in these meetings, the meeting was turned into a round table discussion and questions were asked.

In the discussion that followed the statements below were made by the individuals to whom they are attributed. These are not given in verbatim as to the exact words used but they represent correctly and exactly the substance of the things said.

Wade Ruby: Man can learn of God through other means than by divine revelation or though His Word. As proof of this Brother Ruby offered Rom. 1:20 "for the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God."

When questioned further about his ideas concerning this matter, Brother Ruby said: Man has come to know God in his heathen state without ever having seen or heard of the Bible and to worship God as the result. Even the American Indian worshipped God before the word of God was proclaimed in this country when he was worshipping the sun.

Woodrow Whitten: Jesus gathered some of his teachings such as the things he taught in the sermon on the mount, the golden rule for instance, from human philosophers who had lived prior to his day.

It was pointed out to him that Jesus said, "I speak not of myself; I speak only where the father has spoken", and he was asked whether or not he believed that Jesus taught anything that originated with human philosophers rather than with God. This question he refused to answer forthrightly and directly.

At this point Brother Ruby entered the discussion again and said that: Some of the things that Jesus taught can be learned by human experience, that is, man can discover for himself. He gave as examples of this—humility—and the golden rule.

When it was pointed out to him that Paul said, "Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not 'known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet", and that man in his heathen state did not know or observe moral principles and could not know the difference between that which was right or wrong except as God has revealed it, he insisted that the passage cited was misapplied and that man can discover and know moral principles without the aid of divine revelation.

Wade Ruby, Hubert Derrick, Woodrow Whitten—all three: There are some of God's children —Christians—Members of the Lord's Church—people who have obeyed the Gospel in human denominations —Methodists, Baptist, etc. Brother Whitten cited his father who is in the Baptist church and said that he wouldn't judge him.

Brother Ruby said further on this point: They are children of God—Christians—even though they are in denominationalism. They are in error, of course, and whether or not God will save them in their error depends on the attitude of their hearts. All three of these brethren definitely took the attitude that we cannot positively know the truth but that we might be mistaken and to condemn those in error is to sit in judgment upon them. Their plea was "let us not sit in the Judge's seat."

Brother Hubert Derrick expressed himself as thinking that we should not let the difference in the way we regard things alienate us. He put all differences in attitude toward God, divine revelation, the church, etc., on the basis of the difference in attitude toward the one cup idea, war question, etc. He gave emphasis to the fact that he believed baptism for the remission of sins and was asked if he regarded that truth as more essential and important than the truths concerning the Church, its organization, its name, its work, and worship. In reply he said that he could not be too positive about these matters concerning the Church any more than he could about how the Holy Spirit operates. If he dissented on any point with reference to those things advocated by the other brethren, Ruby and Whitten, he failed to let it be known but rather gave the impression that he was in complete harmony with them frequently nodding his head in assent while, they were talking.

The above represents as correctly as the matters could be stated the attitudes expressed and the statements made in the discussion in this meeting without giving them in the exact words used. I heard it all, listened carefully, and give my unqualified endorsement to the correctness of this report.

Signed by:

O. L. Castleberry

Marion F. Davis

Jack Hardcastle

Hoyt H. Houchen

Roy Tidwell

W. C. Harrison

Joe Gilmore, Jr.

John W. Baker

H. M. Harriman

W. E. Irvine

Wm. S. Irvine

Roy E. Cogdill

That the statements contained in the above report were made by men who profess to be Gospel preachers and who are teaching in a college that advertises and features its school of religion, Christian teaching and influence, and invites Christian parents to send their children there for "Christian Education" and young Gospel preachers to come and finish their education is absolutely astounding to our readers I am sure.

Some time ago an article was published by the Bible Banner from the pen of Brother John Wolfe concerning the conditions that exist at Pepperdine. Brethren were astonished at that article. It was reprinted in last month's issue of the Bible Banner and along with it the reply of Brother Tiner to Brother Wolfe. It is even more astonishing that brethren connected with the school instead of trying to correct the condition that exists there will actually try to defend it. That their defense is too flimsy for words goes without saying for those who read Brother Tiner's attempt at reply and Brother Wolfe's answer to that reply.

Their efforts to explain away, discredit, and justify the criticisms brought against them only corroborates the criticism. Those who know Brother John Wolfe will not question his veracity as to the facts.

The facts in the above report cannot be questioned by those who want to honestly face the truth. The statements are honestly and accurately reported and they speak for themselves. Let us look at the substance of them.

1. Man can discover and know God through nature without Divine Revelation.

2. Man in his heathen state without ever having come in contact with the Bible has come to know God and worship God. When the American Indian worshipped the sun—that was worshipping God—to him.

3. Jesus gathered some of his teaching from human philosophers who lived before his day. The "Golden Rule" is cited as an example of this.

4. Man can learn through his own experience the principles of moral character and come to know the difference between right and wrong and can learn moral principles without the aid of divine revelation,

5. God has some children in denominations today and we have no right to sit in the "Judge's Seat" and say they won't and can't be saved therein.

6. We should not and cannot be too positive about such matters as the manner in which the Holy Spirit operates, the identity of the Church, etc.

7. We should not allow differences such as exist in our attitude toward the necessity of divine revelation in knowing God and learning his Church; differences concerning the manner of the Church; differences concerning the manner of the Spirit's operation; to alienate us and disturb our fellowship.

To attempt to argue the falsity of such statements before the readers of the Bible Banner or any audience made up of people who believe the Bible to be the Word of God would be a reflection on their intelligence as well as their convictions. These statements dispute every principle of divine truth that I have been taught from my childhood and for which I have tried to contend through more than twenty-five years of Gospel preaching. They do not represent the convictions of the Churches of Christ but deny them. They dispute the very faith for which we have been contending in our efforts to further the cause of New Testament Christianity in the world. They nullify every stand made by Gospel preachers in the years of the past in their battles against infidelity and denominationalism. They make ridiculous every sacrifice that has been made by faithful Christian men and women of the Church through the years. They brand our preaching, our worship, our very existence as a religious body of people as vain. They dispute every truth fundamental to the very identity of the Body of Christ and deny what the Bible teaches at every point. That men who believe such should 'be accepted and used in the pulpits of the Churches of the Lord and should teach our young people and our young Gospel preachers, that they should even be held in fellowship with those who are "contending for the faith once for all delivered unto the saints" is almost unthinkable.

That is strong language, brethren, but this isn't a personal matter. These things very vitally affect the very future and life of the Church. Already the influence of such teaching is being felt. There are churches in the area of southern California where such teaching is being done that will fellowship anything and do not draw the line against error at all. If such corrupt teaching is countenanced within the church it will be only a matter of time until many others will become so weak and soft that they will do likewise. Educate our young people and our young preachers under such teaching as this and the Church of the next generation will suffer untold injury as the result. The souls of men and the future of the Church is the price to be paid for tolerating such error. What should be done? The faithful elders of the Church of our Lord, with the faithful Gospel preachers, and the devoted members of the congregations throughout the land should refuse to countenance such men and their teaching lest we become a "partaker of their evil works."

I had heard rumors and was disturbed but when such statements came to my own ears from the mouths of these men themselves, I was so astonished that I said, "Brethren, it is apparent to me that instead of just one modernist on the faculty of Pepperdine College, they have a whole nest full of infidelity up there". That is my conviction about the matter. If these statements cannot correctly be described by that term what would you call it?