"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.II No.VIII Pg.14-19
March 1940

A Baptist Pastor Hot And Bothered

W. Clarence Cooke

[The following exchange between Brother Cooke and the Baptist pastor is being published in the Bible Banner for special distribution in Cookeville, Tenn. The Cookeville Church ordered a special supply of Bible Banners for this purpose. We are glad to supply them. -Editor.]

There is a widespread belief among the less-informed members of the church of Christ to the effect that sectarian preachers and members of the denominations have in the last several years changed their attitude toward the church of Christ and its stand for New Testament authority in matters religious. It has been the writer's belief since he first began to preach twenty-five years ago, that the change has been in policy and not in attitude. So long as the church was struggling for its existence and fighting for every inch of ground it occupied, preachers and leaders among the denominational churches were bitter in their denunciation of those who were making an effort to plant the New Testament church in towns and communities where they held sway. This same condition prevails today when an effort is made to preach the gospel in denominational localities where the church is little known. But in towns and communities where the church has reached a state of social and civic respectability as the world measures such, the attitude of sectarian preachers has been camouflaged with a policy of hypocritical friendship and deceptive favor, while underneath there is that same desire to discredit, misrepresent and malign the mission of those who take the Bible as their only source of authority in religion.

Sixty-five years ago when Smith J. Denton was shut out of the Methodist church in Cookeville because he was reaching the people with the pure gospel of Christ, the brethren "went to the courthouse" that the gospel might be heard by the people of this community. This persecution resulted in knitting more solidly together the little group and with a determination to "carry on," in a few years they had erected a house of their own in which to worship God "as it is written." Only a few of the older members of the present congregation in Cookeville realize what a struggle these pioneers had. Our membership has almost reached the one thousand mark and we are a body of people commanding the respect of our town's citizenship, but there is still in the hearts of the leaders among the sectarian churches that prejudice which closed the doors against Brother Denton in Cookeville.

It is the conviction of this writer that when the church caters to popular sentiment civility and socially by soft-pedaling the gospel of Christ, sectarians lose their respect for it and such a condition results in the hindrance rather than the progress of the gospel. When members of the church of the Lord become so entangled with the civic and social activities as co-workers with sectarians that they compromise rather than emphasize the fundamentals of the gospel; and when the local preacher becomes a member of the "Ministerial Alliance" or the "Pastor's Association" in order that he may "more easily fight against the immoral conditions of the town and community," he in so doing has become, in principle, an officer of the law and ceases to be in the eyes of the public, a worthy preacher of the gospel. Soft-pedaling from the pulpit and sidestepping from the pew, lends encouragement to the enemies of Truth and brings reproach upon the Cause of Christ.

A recent experience of the writer, which confirms the above statements regarding the attitude of sectarian preachers is of special interest here in Cookeville, but will be of general interest since there are principles involved which may be found in any given community.

Mr. J. Harold Stephens, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Cookeville is in many respects a very fine young man and a man of considerable ability, but like all sectarian preachers he cannot defend the doctrine he preaches and he becomes very bitter when faced with the truth in the hands of a gospel preacher. This gospel preacher was asked by a member of the church of Christ to assist him in assisting a member of the Baptist church in replying to a letter which he had received from "The Pastor and Finance Committee" of the First Baptist Church, concerning "a budget for the Church and Associational Year." Upon receipt of my reply, signed by Jessie Lee Coomer, the member of the Baptist church who had asked for help in this matter, Mr. Stephens loses his temper and refers to me as "a man who is always putting his nose in other people's business." Mr. Stephens is very diligent in his efforts to persuade members of the church of Christ to "get saved" and "join the Baptist church," but when the errors and inconsistencies of Baptist doctrine are by request pointed out to one of his flock, he is greatly chagrined. I have in my possession a twenty-one page letter written by Mr. Stevens to one of the members of the Cookeville church of Christ in which he states that "The doctrine held by the people today who call themselves the church of Christ has only been practiced since about 1830, and is not based upon the New Testament scripture." In this letter he also says, "most Campbellites, deny the work of the Spirit."

With this twenty-one page letter which he wrote in an effort to overthrow the faith of a member of the church of Christ, he gave her eleven tracts of Baptist literature with his name as "Pastor, First Baptist Church, Cookeville, Tennessee," stamped on the outside covers. As every intelligent person knows, these tracts were written for the purpose of converting people to the "Baptist Faith," and they are distributed for the same purpose. This is by no means the first and only effort of Mr. Stephens to increase his flock by shaking the faith of members of the church of Christ with his Baptist literature and personal contact, and it is only a matter of my duty when called upon, to expose the fallacies of his doctrine even though he charges me with "putting his (my) nose in other people's business."

Upon learning of the efforts of Mr. Stephens to reach the above mentioned member of the church and at the request of her relatives, I addressed a letter to him the first paragraph of which reads thus: "For some time I have been planning to write you relative to a matter in which we are both interested, and which concerns the two congregations for which we are preaching. I have hesitated to do this until I was assured that the information which was given me concerning your effort to persuade one of the members of church of Christ to join the Baptist church, was true. Now, that I have this information in your own hand writing, I am ready to present my proposition." With this letter I enclosed four propositions for a public discussion that the matter might be heard by all. Mr. Stephens refused to engage in such a discussion, saying, "I don't feel called to give people of an unlike faith to the one Christ cherished, an opportunity to magnify their doctrines upon provocation of my own. I trust that this may end our correspondence on this subject. I don't feel there is anything to be gained by it."

That the reader may consider with an open mind the correspondence which resulted from my being asked to assist in the matter, it is given here its original form.

Letter Written by W. C. Cooke for Jesse Lee Coomer, A Member of the Baptist Church

"Dear Brother Stephens: I received a few days ago a letter stating that 'our Church (had) adopted a budget, some few weeks ago', and not being able to fully understand how some of the statements therein made can be in harmony with New Testament teaching I have asked one of my neighbors to assist me in the matter with the following results:

1. What Paul said to the 'Church at Corinth' (2 Cor. 8:10) cannot be consistently applied to a Baptist Church since there was no such organization in existence at the time Paul wrote to this church at Corinth and for many years after. Evidently you have overlooked the fact that Paul addressed his letter 'unto the church of God-at Corinth' (2 Cor. 1:1), not the 'First Baptist Church' there. If there was a 'First Baptist Church' there at the time Paul wrote or in any other city in New Testament times, he failed to say anything about it in his epistles to the New Testament churches. If I am wrong about this will you kindly cite me to the scripture that mentions 'a Baptist Church?'

2. You speak of "our plan of using the envelope" and refer the reader to 1 Cor. 16:2 which says nothing about 'envelopes' and besides this letter was also addressed 'unto the church of God-at Corinth' and not the 'First Baptist Church' there. Furthermore, I notice upon reading the first verse of this chapter that Paul had 'given order to the churches of Galatia concerning the collection for the saints,' but I can't find where he called them Baptist Churches of either first, second or third rank or whatever it is that numbers them.

3. My friend insists that the purpose of their meeting (In New Testament times) 'upon the first day of the week' was to 'break bread' (Acts 20:7) or 'to eat the Lord's supper' (1 Cor. 11:20), which is not the purpose of our (the Baptists) meeting on that day. Is he right about this matter? Why don't Baptists 'eat the Lord's supper' 'upon the first day of the week' as they did in New Testament times?

4. My friend is also asking for New Testament scripture for adopting a 'budget for the church and associational year.' He says that none of the New Testament writers say anything about an 'associational year.' Why do we have it, and what is it for? Were there any associations among the New Testament churches? I need a little light here because it looks a little gloomy. I wanted to ask you about promising the Lord a tithe (one-tenth), but I shall await your information on this before going into that part of your letter. Very sincerely yours, (Signed) Jessie Lee Coomer."

Pastor Stephens' Reply

Mr. Stephens replied to this letter by addressing the envelope "To the Campbellite friend of Jessie Lee Coomer," and by writing on the margin and between the lines, as follows:

"Dear Jessie: 'Tell your Campbellite friend that if he met the religion of Christ he wouldn't know it." "Whether you have been saved or not he will tell you that you are bound for hell until your sins are washed away in a Campbellite pool of water." "We believe in the shed blood of Christ." Then follows his attempt to answer by ridicule the letter, and I give here his answers as they were written under each numbered paragraph:

No. 1. Cite Scripture for Baptist Church. "On the opposite where it mentions Alexander Campbellite Church, organized about 1827 A. D.-tell your friend.

No, 2. Baptist Church not told to "Lay by in Store," Lay by in store! You had better put it in an envelope than in your pocket and then spend it for selfish purposes. It is just as scriptural to use an envelope to put it in as a basket-tell your friend.

" No. 3, Why don't Baptists "break bread on every first day of the week?" "Because the Lord didn't command it, and the Campbellites are so scared of their religion that they partake of the bread and wine every Sunday thinking that will keep them from falling away from the Lord."

In defense of his "Associational Year," he says, "The Lord expects us to use a little common sense if we have any, tell your friend.

Then he adds: "Those who are spending their time trying to get up something, seldom find anything to do, tell your friend."

Mr. Stephens did not sign this letter, although he accuses me of not having "the nerve" to sign letters which I had written for others as the reader will see further along in this correspondence, but on the envelope he wrote: "From the Pastor of the Church of which Jesus Christ is head and not Alexander Campbell."

W. C. Cooke's Answer

The reply to the above the following letter was addressed to Mr. Stephens and signed by one of the parties involved in this correspondence: Mr. Harold Stephens, City, Dear Sir: Upon being asked to assist one Jessie Lee Coomer who is a member of your church into a better understanding of things religious, I addressed a letter to you challenging the application of scriptures addressed to New Testament churches and applied by you to Baptist churches. Imagine my surprise at the tactics used in your reply to what I had written in the spirit of the Master! One can plainly see that the arguments presented by me; the scriptural quotations and the questions asked, put you on the spot. Why didn't you answer them instead of stigmatizing me a 'Campbellite?' In the first place I am not a 'Campbellite' because there is no such organization in existence and never has been except in the minds of prejudice opposers of plain New Testament Christianity as taught by the Spirit guided apostles. The people you stigmatize 'Campbellites' are a respectable people of this good town of ours, and they hold church property here, but their property is not deeded to the trustees of 'the Campbellite church'! This is true of their property holdings all over the world. Their property is deeded to 'the trustees of the church of Christ' and the state and government recognize their rights and privileges. Therefore, one does not have to go to the Bible to prove your statement false; it can be done by revealing the truth outside the realm of religion.

"You sign yourself 'The Pastor of the Church of which Jesus Christ is Head and not Alexander Campbell.' Well, let's see if your logic and reasoning (?) hold good in your practice: Paul says, 'For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is also the head of the church, being himself the savior of the body, (Eph. 5:23). Again he says, 'Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that ye should bring forth fruit unto God, (Rom. 7:4). All honest Bible students know that these figures of speech refer to the relation of Christ to the church. In the Gospel of John, chapter three and verse 29, John the Baptist tells his hearers that Jesus is the 'Bridegroom' and that he (John) is the friend of the 'Bridegroom.' Now, if the 'Baptist Church' is the 'church of which Jesus Christ is head, will you please give me chapter and verse where it tells you to name it for the 'friend of the Bridegroom?' John the Baptist calls himself "the friend of the Bridegroom', (Jno. 3:29). Why don't you name it in honor of Christ, 'the Bridegroom?'

"In 1912 your Baptist Board brought forth a translation of the New Testament that the writer of this epistle considers one of the best translations of them all. Baptizo, the Greek, in all its forms is correctly translated and in Matt. 3:1, it reads: 'In those days came John the Immerser!' Now, according to your present practice, using this translation, you would have to call your church 'The Immerser Church' or it might be more proper to call it 'The Johnnie Church!' You wouldn't do that? Why? Well, maybe that is the reason the 'Board' quit publishing this translation. You say, 'Jesus took the material John the Baptist provided and organized His Church! Good! Then why don't you call it 'His church'?

"Here is a statement concerning 'the friend' you have stigmatized 'Campbellite' that reaches the limit in the field of falsehood and misrepresentation: You say, 'Whether you have been saved or not, he will tell you that you are bound for hell until your sins are washed away in a Campbellite pool of water,' When you stand in the presence of Him who shall 'judge righteously,' what flimsy excuse will you offer for this misrepresentation of a people who are calling 'Bible things by Bible names and doing Bible things in Bible ways?' 'Woe unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord (Jer. 23:1) Were it not for such false statements and misrepresentations from men who claim to be preaching the Gospel of Christ, there would soon be unity among God's people. 'O full of all subtlety and all mischief-wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?' (Acts 13:10)

"In answer to my question under number one, of my other letter, where I asked you to 'cite me to the scripture that mentions a Baptist Church, you say, it can be found on the page opposite where it mentions Alexander Campbellite Church organized about 1827 A.D.' Do you really mean what you say in this statement? If so, let's see what you have admitted in your feeble effort to evade instead of answer my question. First, the Bible says absolutely nothing about a 'Campbellite Church.' Therefore, since we are to find a 'Baptist Church' mentioned 'on the page opposite where it mentions a 'Campbellite Church!' and since the Bible doesn't mention a 'Campbellite Church,' there is but one conclusion to be reached by your logic: The Bible does not mention a Baptist church. You said it yourself, in your effort to dodge the truth.

"Your effort at replying to number two, amuses me. Why didn't you give us some scripture on your 'Lay by in store?' Are we to be guided in our work and worship by 'things just as scriptural?' Suppose putting 'it in a basket-tell your friend,' isn't scriptural? 'Tell your friend' how you would do it then? On second thought, I believe it (the contribution) gets to the pocket first does it not? Or maybe Jessie could transfer 'it' from his 'pay envelope' to the 'budget envelope' without going through his pocket. This might work better, especially if he had a hole in his pocket; or maybe he could stop the hole with the envelope and save all his money for food and clothing, since the New Testament failed to tell anyone to give anything to 'The First Baptist Church' or any other 'Baptist Church.'

"In your effort to answer my question under number three, you do 'err not knowing the scriptures!' Get your Greek New Testament, if you have one, and turn to I Cor. 16:2. Here it is: 'Katamian Sabbatoon-Every first day of the week! Why did the early disciples meet 'every first day of the week?' Now, turn to Acts 20:7: 'And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread!' All authentic scholars of the Bible are agreed that this was to 'eat the Lord's supper!' Why show your defeat by saying 'The Campbellites are so scared of their religion' that they partake of the bread and wine every Sunday thinking that will keep them from falling away from the Lord?' Evidently you were somewhat 'scared' of your 'religion' when you attempted to answer my questions. But this scribe had rather listen to the Lord who said 'This do in remembrance of me' than to follow the illogical meanderings of a 'scared' Baptist preacher.

Under number four: "So your 'Associational year' is based upon 'a little common sense if we have any, tell your friend' and not on the Bible? Thank you. Shall I look for an answer to this? (Signed) Very sincerely, A Friend of Jessie Lee Coomer.

Mr. Stephens' Second Reply

In his purported reply to the above letter Mr. Stephens loses patience and speaks his mind in the following manner: "My Dear Sir: I would say 'My Dear Mr. ...?' but I find it difficult to answer letters which have not the writer's name signed to them. In the address on the envelope (This envelop was addressed to me, W. C. C.) I am making a guess as to who wrote the two letters which I have recently received. If I have guessed wrong, then maybe I'll learn better when the writer gets nerve enough to sign his own name to his letters.

"I am too busy preaching the gospel, winning lost souls to Christ, and organizing Baptist Churches to stop and argue with a man who is always putting his nose in other people's business. When I exhaust the gospel of Christ in my preaching and in my writing, I will then start in on the 'Campbellites.' It might be well for you to preach Christ and Him crucified instead of fighting others who are followers of His. 'I know whom I have believed' and don't have to go to any one in this world to find out about my relation to my Lord and His will for my life.

"Your first letter amused me, your second letter disgusted me, and your third letter should it come, will be ignored. My Lord commissioned me to preach His gospel, and not to debate with those who substitute water baptism for the shed blood of Christ in cleansing from sin; who substitute works and forms for faith; who substitute a manmade organization for the true church and the kingdom of God; who substitute fighting other Christians for preaching the gospel; who substitute religious bigotry for Christian love, and who deny the connecting, converting, regenerating, revealing and witnessing power of the Holy Spirit apart from the written word. But the carnal mind of man was never expected to discern the things of the Spirit of God.

"My prayer for you is that His Holy Spirit may so move upon you as to cause you to realize the error of your way and turn to Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, and follow Him as your Lord. If this happens you will then spend more time in getting sinners to put their faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood, and less time in trying to get those who are Christians to join the Campbellite Church. Sincerely yours, (Signed) J. Harold Stephens.

"P. S. We will let you know when [we] get ready for you to come over and tell us how to run our church."

W. C. Cooke's Final Letter

The above letter was addressed to me in care of a sister of Jessie Lee Coomer, who signed the second letter I wrote for the "friend of Jessie Lee Coomer." Upon receipt of this letter, I wrote as follows:

Mr. J. Harold Stephens, Pastor, First Baptist Church, My Dear Fellow Townsman: "Your letter reached me last night and in reply let me assure you that I am sincere when I tell you that what I have done, and what I shall continue to do in this matter, will be without malice toward you as a man and as a minister in this good town of ours. I am fighting against a principle that I know is wrong, and for a principle that I am convinced through diligent and prayerful study of the New Testament, is absolutely right and cannot be wrong.

"When I was asked by a member of the Church of Christ to assist him in assisting one of the members of the Baptist Church in reaching a better understanding of New Testament teaching, remembering that Peter said, 'But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ' (1 Pet. 3:15,16). I gladly pointed out some inconsistencies of Baptist Doctrine and turned the letter over to those who had asked for it with the understanding that it would be signed by the proper party or parties. So, it wasn't for the lack of 'nerve' that I didn't sign my name to the letter. You should have known better than to bring such an accusation against me. I had the 'nerve' to sign my name to propositions for discussion with you a few years ago, but you evidently didn't have the 'nerve' to sign your name to propositions in defense of Baptist Doctrine. Furthermore, you still do not have 'the nerve' to sign such propositions and meet me in Cookeville in a discussion of the differences between the church of Christ and the Baptist Church. You believe in a one-sided discussion where you can set up a straw man and fight him, but I have a letter written by you in which you say you do not care to 'expose' your religion before those who call it in question. Maybe you don't want your Baptist Doctrine deposed, and that is why you get angry when it is opposed by one who knows the truth as well as Baptist Doctrine whether it be Separate or Missionary as espoused by one man or a dozen men (Mr. Stephens was a Separate Baptist until he left home and became a Pastor).

"You claim to be preaching the gospel; then why not avail yourself of an opportunity to preach to a people you stigmatize 'Campbellites?' If they are as bad as your letter pictures them, surely, you think they need the gospel, don't you? In this way you would reach a great many more than you are reaching with your 'gospel' now. Here is the truth of the matter, Stephens: You Baptists learned a long time ago, through bitter experience, that debating with preachers of the church of Christ was hard on the inconsistencies of Baptist doctrine. Yes, you have heard about the battle between truth and error here in our town, when the lamented J, Petty Ezell defended the truth against Baptist error in the hands of 'Judge' Edwards. I am confident that your Baptist brethren don't want this to happen again for 'Truth ever gains and error uniformly loses in discussion,' and men in error have long since learned this truth and they confine themselves to one-sided discussions in which they exhibit 'nerve enough' to battle anything-or anybody that isn't present.

"Stephens, why didn't you try to answer the arguments I presented in the letters you have received? It would have been more manly on your part than what you have done. If I am wrong about this matter, why not show me by the New Testament where it is instead of vilifying and casting slurs on a people that love the Lord and His church? You say my first letter 'amused' you, but your reply doesn't indicate amusement. What sort of language do you use when you are 'amused?' You must have laughed out loud when you made this statement: 'Whether you have been saved or not, he (the Campbellite' friend), will tell you that you are bound for hell until your sins are washed away in a Campbellite pool of water! It would be hard for one to frame a statement farther from the truth than this misrepresentation of yours, and just think, you were 'amused' when you made it. One does not have to possess a degree in English to see the bitterness and anger you display in your letters. Yes, you were also 'disgusted' with the first letter, and it appears to me that you 'busted' in your effort to reply. It is plain to see what is in the heart of a man 'too busy-organizing Baptist Churches' to reply in a decent manner when the thing he is doing is challenged. 'Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh' (Matt. 12:34). Yes you have spoken and the people of Cookeville shall know it, whether you answer this letter or not. I certainly wouldn't acknowledge defeat before receiving the reply to my letter by saying, 'Your third letter, should it come, will be ignored.' Evidently you have somewhere in the past felt the force of New Testament teaching against the inconsistencies of Baptist doctrine. Was it at County Line in Moore County when I met W. S. Erwin in a four days debate some twelve years ago? (Mr. Stephen's home was near County Line. W. C. C.) Maybe you have just heard of that debate. Or perhaps it is the debate I had with W. W. Crouch at Fosterville seven or eight years ago? Well, the news will get around and a burnt child is afraid of the fire!

"Why be so 'busy organizing Baptist Churches'? Jesus Christ didn't organize any Baptist Churches; Paul didn't; neither did Peter; but maybe it was Judas? The doctrine of the impossibility of apostasy seems to indicate that Judas was the one. He 'by transgression fell' (Acts 1:25), so, he organized a church from which one couldn't fall, or did he? Just where is your authority for 'organizing Baptist churches? Chapter and verse, please.

I know you said in one of your attempts to cover the force of my arguments that 'Jesus took the material John the Baptist provided and organized His church!' So far, so good, but why not call it his church instead of John's? Stephens, you know as well as I that the New Testament doesn't mention a Baptist Church.

"You deal at length on 'those who substitute,' and if I have ever seen as many misrepresentations placed together, I have no recollection of it and I have done some extensive reading. I here note briefly your statements:

"Those who substitute:" '1. Water baptism for the shed blood of Christ in cleansing from sin.' Answer. Christ shed His blood in his death, (Jno. 19:32, 33). Paul says, "We were baptized into His death," (Rom. 6:3). We reach the blood through baptism. No substitution here.

"2. 'Works and forms for faith.' Answer, James says, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" (Jas. 2:24) We believe in "a faith that works by love." (Gal. 5:6) No substitution here.

"3. 'A man-made organization for the true church and kingdom of God!' Answer. In the language of Nathan to David: "Thou art the man" guilty of this sin. You are substituting the Baptist church for the church of Jesus Christ. Christ said, 'upon this rock I will build my church ' (Matt. 16:18), and it never was called a 'Baptist Church' by his faithful followers. You have made the substitution here, my friend. Can't you see it?

"4, 'Fighting other Christians for preaching the gospel,' Answer. Paul told Timothy to "Fight the good fight of faith." (1 Tim. 6:12), Again he said "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good," (1 Thes. 5:21) I'm teaching the truth, Stephens, and you are the one that is fighting against God. Shame on you.

"5. 'Religious bigotry for Christian love.' Answer. I shall leave it to the readers to decide who displays "bigotry" and who is "speaking the truth in love" in this matter and I can hear them say again, "Thou art the man."

"6. 'Who deny the connecting, converting, regenerating, revealing and witnessing power of the Holy Spirit apart from the written word.' Answer. Do you mean to say that the Holy Spirit does all this 'apart from the written word?' Then, in heaven's name, tell me why you are preaching the 'written word?' But you are not preaching the 'written word' when you teach that the Holy Spirit does his work 'apart from the written word' I challenge you to show one thing that the Holy Spirit does today that it is not said that the word does the same thing. You need to do a little discerning here, my boy.

"After the fulfillment of the prophecy pointing to the outpouring or, baptism of the Holy Spirit which occurred at Pentecost and at the house of Cornelius, (Acts Chapters 2 and 10) the baptism of the Holy Spirit ceased and is now history. Joel's prophecy (Joel 2:28) had been completely fulfilled and there is no repetition in the fulfillment of prophecy. Following this fulfillment, the miraculous manifestation of the Holy Spirit came only through the laying on of the apostles' hands. (Acts, chapters 8 and 19) and the "sign of an apostle were wrought." (II Cor. 12:12).

"The New Testament reveals three ages of dispensations of the Spirit: The receiving, the revealing and the discerning. You and I are subjects of the discerning age of the Holy Spirit and we are to discern that which has been revealed by those who received the guiding power of the Holy Spirit. Paul tells us that it comes 'through the hearing' of faith (Gal. 3:2), and we know that faith comes by the word of God. (Rom. 10:17).

I wouldn't attempt to tell you 'how to run' your church. It's yours, according to your statement, and you have a right to run it to suit yourself. Furthermore, I can't take the New Testament and tell one how to 'run' a Baptist church for the simple reason that it doesn't mention a Baptist church.

"I am not trying to get anybody to 'join' anything, and certainly I have never asked anyone to 'join the Campbellite church,' because there is no such church in existence. Jesus purchased the church with His blood (Acts 20:28), and it is neither a Baptist church nor a `Campbellite church,' and that is why I am a member of neither.

"'My prayer for you is' that you may study the Bible and learn the truth and that you will have the courage to do it when you learn it and come out of a thing that God knows nothing about.

"Even though you are going to ignore this letter, I have written in the hope that I might say something that will cause you to see the absurdity of Baptist doctrine in the light of the simplicity of the gospel of Christ.

"Let me say again, there is absolutely nothing personal between us so far as I am concerned, and my feelings toward you as a man shall continue to be the best, but I have no patience with false doctrines and commandments of men. With the kindest of feeling, I am, very sincerely yours, (Signed) W. Clarence Cooke.

(This letter has not been answered. Evidently, it has been 'ignored.')

A Baptist Propaganda Scheme In Cookeville

The Baptist and Reflector a weekly publication edited by Mr. O. W. Taylor and the official organ of the Southern Baptist Convention, recently published a "special Cookeville issue" in which venture "Photographs and write-ups of all the Cookeville churches were requested." When the matter of their bringing out this "special issue" was brought to the attention of the elders of the church of Christ, they recognizing the move as pure Baptist propaganda at the expense of local business men, refused to lend assistance to the promulgation of Baptist interests. The promoters of this project however, in some way secured a picture of the Cookeville church of Christ and used it with only the name of the local preacher as the "write-up." An editorial note on the pages carrying photographs of the churches reads, "We regret that some did not comply with our request."

The Cookeville church from its beginning has stood without apology for the fundamentals of the gospel and against all denominational dogmas and sectarian error. The preachers who have labored with the congregation have been men of conviction and courage; men who have opposed all efforts of the various denominations of the city to ally the church with their movements in the spread of sectarianism. The present local preacher has always been in agreement with this attitude toward sectarian preachers and denominations. They should not be encouraged in their error by backslapping and hobnobbing from preachers of the church of Christ. This stand by the Cookeville church and its leaders has been a "thorn in the flesh" of local sectarians, and this recent move to align the church with an advertising campaign for the Baptists seems to have reacted beyond local boundaries and their failure to receive the cooperation of the church has provoked the anger of their editor and he takes a "dig" at those who are "trying to monopolize the name of Christ."

In the first paragraph of this "special Cookeville issue" he says: "The pastor is the key man. But sometimes he cannot unlock a certain situation because the lock is so rusty." Don Norman writing in this "special issue" tells us that the "invitation" for this "special Cookeville issue" was extended the "Baptist and Reflector" by "Pastor J. Harold Stephens, of the First Baptist Church" who "has his finger on the community pulse." These two statements taken together show that the Baptist and Reflector considers "Pastor J. Harold Stephens" "the key man" in the Cookeville "situation" that just wouldn't "unlock" all the churches in their effort to secure "photographs and write-ups." The conclusion reached by editor Taylor is that "the lock is so rusty" Mr. Stephens "cannot unlock" it. For the information of these very zealous Baptist propagandists, we suggest that "Pastor Stephens" failure to secure the cooperation of the church of Christ was not caused by a rusty lock, but because he was trying to use a Baptist "key" in a New Testament "lock" and it just wouldn't fit. The combined efforts of their "outstanding men" in cooperation with "Pastor J. Harold Stephens" to fit a Baptist "key" into a divine "lock" won't work in Cookeville. The only keys that will "unlock a certain situation" where the church of Christ is involved are "the keys of the kingdom of heaven" which were used by Peter at Pentecost but my Baptist friend Stephens doesn't have those keys. They will no more fit a Baptist lock than a Baptist "key" will fit into a New Testament "lock", therefore, "the keys of the kingdom" carried by all New Testament evangelists and all faithful preachers of the church of Christ are useless in the hands of a Baptist "key man;" he can't use them in any Baptist "situation" without demolishing his whole structure.

For a long time Baptist debaters tried to make contact with the New Testament church by the use of a chain, but when they pulled the chain it just wouldn't "rattle back to Pentecost." The lap-link of the fifteenth century wouldn't hook-on to apostolic authority and there the "rattle" died. Now, they are evidently trying to make contact with "the key man," but they are faced with the same impossibility. The New Testament church had no Baptist "pastor" serving as a "key man" in the local congregation because that New Testament church was not a Baptist church in any sense of the appellation. Furthermore, the members of the New Testament church were never called Baptists by any of the divine writers. The only Baptist mentioned in the New Testament died before the church was established. John was never called "a Baptist," but he was called "the Baptist," because he was the baptizer of all those who went out unto him to be immersed in the river Jordan. Even though he was one of the greatest prophets, Jesus said: "he that is least in the kingdom is greater than he." This would not have been said if John had been "in the kingdom," but he died before the kingdom was established. John was not a Christian, he was the forerunner, not a follower of the Christ; he was in front of the Lord, and Baptists have always been affrontive toward all those who have dared challenge their name and doctrine. Therefore, the Baptist "key" cannot "unlock a certain situation" where a New Testament church is involved; the "key" is of no more value than the chain that wouldn't rattle back to Jerusalem.

A Baptist doctor with "his fingers on the community pulse" can never correctly prescribe for a New Testament church, because his man-made timepiece will not record divine pulsations. The pulse-beat of the church of Christ is normal in every respect and in perfect harmony with the heart of the Bible. Therefore, since the "heart is right with God" the church will register no fever from the false diagnosis of Doctor Stephens and his associates; their doctor book, the Baptist and Reflector is not authentic; "Doctor" Taylor, its editor is without divine license and not a mother's son of the "key men" are members of the medical association of heaven.

In the second paragraph of his editorial, Editor Taylor "takes another rap" at the church and says, "It has been suggested that probably the most troublesome group in the divided church at Corinth was that which said, 'and I of Christ' trying to monopolize the name of Christ to gloss over the fact that it was a schismatic group." When a passage of scripture is in conflict with "Baptist usage" there is no hesitancy on the part of Editor Taylor to try to destroy it's teaching by implication and misapplication. But the "Word of God shall stand forever" in the face of their efforts to destroy its influence. Those who have had the courage to honor Christ by His appointments and in His name have been stigmatized "a schismatic group trying to monopolize the name of Christ." No, Editor Taylor, we are not "trying to monopolize the name of Christ;" we are trying to persuade Baptists to leave off their unscriptural name and cease to practice in their work and worship those things for which there is no divine authority. Paul, in his epistle to this "divided church" admonishes them to "speak the same thing...that there be no division among" them, and this they could not do so long as these "schismatic" groups insisted on following men instead of Christ. The only divine course for the church at Corinth that they might "be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment," was to say in one voice "and I of Christ." Was Paul "trying to monopolize the name of Christ" when he said "Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ?" If Editor Taylor would cease to lay emphasis on John the Baptist and do the very thing he condemns in members of the church of Christ who, like the faithful "group" in Corinth, are saying, "and I of Christ," it would be no longer necessary for him to misapply scripture to protect his "schismatic group" of Baptists. No amount of sectarian polish administered by "the key man" will "gloss over" a "schismatic group" of Baptist. Their inconsistencies are so glaring in doctrine and practice that "the key man" must spend much of his time misrepresenting those who teach the New Testament as it reads, and misapplying plain statements of the Bible.

Unity in the Corinthian church could not be attained and maintained by their saying, "I am of Paul, I am of Apollos and I of Cephas." The disposition to thus follow and honor men [who] fostered division and made the unity for which the Savior prayed impossible. It is very evident that the church at Corinth had no "schismatic group" of Baptists saying, "And I of John the Baptist." It was not until the fifteenth century that such a "group" added their contribution to the denominational confusion of religious Babylon. "Come out of her my people that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues."

We agree with Mr. Taylor that "a false gospel is worse than immorality" and that "Paul waxed hotter over error...than over immorality even." But Paul's fighting was not in behalf of "Baptist usage" nor was it done through a Sectional Baptist Convention. He did his fighting as a member of the New Testament church and if he were on earth today he wouldn't preach "any other gospel." Paul was never "exceedingly and excessively 'sweet' in dealing with" error and when a minister of the gospel that Paul preached is called upon to expose the false teaching of Baptists it is next to impossible for him to be "exceedingly and excessively sweet" in his opposition to a "philosophy and practice" that is "damning the souls of men" by its "perverted gospel." Woe, is unto me if I preach not the gospel" that Paul preached! -W. Clarence Cooke.