"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.IV No.II Pg.4-5
September 1941

"The Highland Tent Meeting And The Scriptural Principles Involved"

Cecil B. Douthitt

Under the above heading in the September number of Word And Work, E. L. Jorgenson endeavors to assuage the chagrin of some of his embarrassed co-workers and apologists by explaining why he and the Highland church in Louisville selected a digressive preacher for a revival meeting. He says his explanation is for the benefit of "those we have not had the privilege of attendance at the annual Unity Meetings.' " He got his sentence a little mixed up, but he means to say that those who attend the Witty-Murch Unity Meetings understand why he exchanges pulpits with the digressives, and those who do not attend such "Unity Meetings" might question his conduct.

In his "brief resume" he gave four excuses for inviting S. S. Lappin for the Highland tent meeting. I shall give a "brief resume" of the persons, places and events involved before considering the excuses contained in his apology. E. L. Jorgenson is minister of the Highland church in Louisville and Don Carlos Janes is one of its leaders. Both are avowed premillennialists. They and the Highland church "withdrew fellowship" from C. A. Taylor and others about twenty years ago because they objected to Jorgenson's sermons on Premillennialism. Those turned out of the Highland church were some of the best people in Louisville as the passing years surely have proved. They were never guilty of anything except raising a protest at Jorgenson's continuous harping on his speculative theories. But this evidently rendered them unfit to hold membership in the same congregation with Janes and Jorgenson, the great promoters of unity and the marvelous advocates of brotherly love.

S. S. Lappin is a digressive preacher and never was anything else. He is minister of the Christian Church in Bedford, Ind., and a regular writer for the Christian Standard. But he does not publicly oppose Jorgenson's theories of a millennium, and therefore according to Jorgenson, he is "a capable helper for evangelism" at the Highland church of Christ.

On the Sundays that Lappin was in Louisville, Jorgenson went to Bedford, Ind., and preached for the Christian Church there.

A gospel preacher who opposes Jorgenson's sermons on his future kingdom theory cannot preach for the Highland church, nor even be a member of it very long; at least C. A. Taylor and some others could not. But a digressive preacher who does not oppose premillennialism can occupy the pulpit of the Highland church, and Jorgenson and Janes will tell the world he is one of their "capable helpers for evangelism"; at least that is what they did for Lappin. Perhaps some of those who have "had the privilege of attendance at the annual `Unity Meetings' "may wonder about" that.

In the Lappin- Jorgenson revival, in the Witty-Murch unity meetings, in the Wallace-Norris debate, and on many other occasions some of the premillennialists of Louisville have convinced me that the plan of salvation and the true worship mean but very little to them when their divisive speculative theories are at stake.

Now let us notice one by one the excuses which Jorgenson gave in his "brief resume" of his "thoughts and intents in connection" with his exchanging pulpits with the digressives.

1. He says it was "a step toward unity". Unity with what and whom? Would it not also be a step toward the same kind of unity if the Highland church would call a Methodist preacher for a revival meeting? It was not only "a step toward unity" with the Christian Church; it was a step into unity with the instrumental music crowd.

What were Jorgenson, Janes and the Highland church "stepping toward" when they withdrew fellowship from C. A. Taylor and others? With whom do they want unity? Not with Taylor, for they cast him out; not with Haldeman Avenue, for Don Carlos Janes has advised newcomers to Louisville that "Haldeman Avenue is a good place to stay away from".

2. As his second excuse Jorgenson says he was only following a principle advocated by M. C. Kurfees many years ago; that Kurfees once offered to work with J. B. Briney and others of the Christian Church if they would abandon their organ and societies. When did M. C. Kurfees become E. L. Jorgenson's authority in religion? Jorgenson has no more respect for M. C. Kurfees and his views than he has for C. A. Taylor and his views. He sacrificed the Christian fellowship of Taylor, Reuble, Kurfees and a host of other good men rather than cease his speculative teaching. In view of this, Jorgenson cannot deny that premillennialism is more precious to him than unity with loyal brethren.

There is a gulf of difference between Kurfees' proposition to Briney and the swapping of pulpits by Jorgenson and Lappin. Let us notice that difference.

First, Briney and all other digressive preachers in that meeting refused to accept Kurfees' proposition. WHY? Because the Christian Church would have to forsake its organ and societies to do so. When Lappin and Jorgenson united in their recent efforts, Lappin did not forsake his organ and societies, nor did he show the slightest intention of ever doing so. He was called to hold a meeting for a church that did not use the organ, and he answered the call. As soon as his meeting with Jorgenson was over he went right back to his organ and societies at Bedford. If Kurfees had made the same proposition to Briney that Jorgenson made to Lappin, then Briney would have joined hands with Kurfees as quickly as Lappin joined hands with Jorgenson. The very fact that Briney refused to work with Kurfees makes it quite clear to all fair minded people that Kurfees was requiring something of Briney, which Jorgenson did not require of Lappin.

Another difference: During the Highland meeting Lappin reportedly told his prospective converts that they could unite with either the Highland church of Christ or the Eden side Christian Church near by. Is that the ground on which Kurfees offered to work with Briney? Jorgenson knows it is not. While Jorgenson was at Bedford what congregation did he advise his prospective converts to unite with? Did he warn them that the Bedford Christian Church is a "good place to stay away from"? That is the advice his co-worker Janes gives regarding the church where M. C. Kurfees preached for nearly half a century. When did Kurfees ever offer to make an agreement with anyone, which would compel him to extend an invitation to the unsaved at the close of his sermon with the understanding that the new converts were to unite with a digressive church? That is what Jorgenson did at Bedford, Indiana. Kurfees demanded that Briney and others leave off their organ and societies. Jorgenson at Bedford invited people to unite with a church that had the organ and societies. That is one difference between the "principles" of Kurfees and Jorgenson; and it seems to me that Jorgenson ought to be able to see it; others can.

3. In his "brief resume" Jorgenson further says he invited Lappin for the Highland meeting because the old Campbell Street church had a certain Brother Cappa who turned out to be a digressive to lead the singing. He says this man Cappa was a "professional" Christian Church singer. Even if Campbell Street (later Haldeman Avenue) made the mistake, many years ago, of employing a "professional Christian Church" singer, I do not see how that would justify Jorgenson in making a similar mistake. Is Jorgenson trying to repeat all the sins that have ever been committed in Louisville? Does he think one sin justifies another?

I have asked some of the brethren here about this man Cappa, and gathered the following facts: That he did lead the singing at Campbell Street and Haldeman Avenue many years ago; that the brethren were too tolerant with him and used him as a singer longer than they should; but after they were fully convinced that he was digressive, they dropped him forever. One brother also tells me that they made another mistake; that they continued to use E. L. Jorgenson as song leader even after he was tinctured with premillennialism; that they were too tolerant with Jorgenson and kept him longer that they should; but after they became fully convinced that he was a "professional Premillennial Church singer", they dropped him just like they dropped Cappa. The brethren here should have dropped both Cappa and Jorgenson a long time before they did, and some frankly confess it.

4. Jorgenson's fourth excuse for exchanging pulpits with Lappin is because "Brother Showalter wrote in Firm Foundation: `He (Lappin) is one of the sanest and most clear-thinking men in the Christian church'." What an explanation! Is he trying to leave the impression that Showalter endorses Lappin as a gospel preacher? If so, he is deliberately misrepresenting Showalter, for Jorgenson knows that Showalter would not endorse Lappin for the office of Janitor in a church of Christ, much less for the pulpit. If he is not trying to leave such impression, why did he quote Showalter?

The very fact that Jorgenson and the Highland church are compelled to send out leaflets explaining their conduct should convince the brethren that something is wrong; for something is wrong. The church where Jorgenson preaches is as digressive as the premillennial church at Horse Cave. They operate on the same principle. They both have restrictive clauses in their deeds and cannot install the musical instruments and legally hold their property, but they both exchange preachers with Christian Churches.

The Premillennial preachers and churches are losing their identity about as rapidly as any apostate people ever lost it. They are joining up with everything from the Holy Rollers to the Witty-Murch Unity Movement. More than a dozen of R. H. Boll's former students have severed all connections with churches of Christ. Others are following them about as fast as they can get through the gap. At the rate they are now going they will all be gone in a few years.

Janes and Jorgenson write as though they are very anxious to take "a step toward unity". If they want unity with the loyal churches of Louisville, I can tell them on a postcard how to get it.