"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.6-8
September 1941

That "Misplaced Confidence"

Jno. T. Lewis

Under the above caption, in "F. L. R.'s Notes," Christian Ledger August 5, 1941, we have the following correspondence.

Misplaced Confidence

In every business concern there are matters of varied importance that are known only to the ones in charge or their agents. Prices discounts and special information is furnished from the home office to all such representatives and all these matters are matters of strict confidence. Many times confidential matter is printed, sometimes typewritten, but always confidential.

This same strict confidence is observed in newspaper management. Publishers and editors are in strict accord. Woe to any who betray that confidence. The traitor would be branded and if connected with a religious house would be a traitor to a sacred cause.

Covering 53 years of close contact with editors and associates it has been a joy to all that never once had this confidence been betrayed. And this group of editors has included outstanding men like J. W. Shepherd, J. A. Harding, Jesse P. Sewell, Ira C. Moore, T. Q. Martin, H. H. Adamson, I. B. Bradley and six or more who were all men of God and true as friends.

During the past 25 years it has been my custom to write confidential letters to the editors on any matter of special importance concerning the Leader. This confidence has never been betrayed in all these 53 years until now.

Friday, July 3, I was the invited guest in the home of Ben F. Taylor at Bowling Green, Ky. I was there for the big day with the orphans, July 4. I was entertained in the same cordial manner as of old. In fact, they have a sleeping room that they called "Brother Rowe's room."

I left for home early Saturday morning, July 5th. Monday morning the mail, at the office, brought the June issue of the Bible Banner, edited by Foy E. Wallace, Jr. One of my clerks opened it and the first article she saw was the full copy of a confidential letter I had written to the four editors Jan. 8. I glanced at it and recognized my letter. The question immediately asked was, "Who has betrayed you?" I was like one in a daze. I dared not to suspect any of the four, for they had been my trusted friends for years. I could only think someone has stolen or purloined one of these letters.

However, I immediately wrote letters to the four editors, telling of the publication of a confidential letter of Jan. 8 and asking them if they had any solution to suggest.

Brother Bradley, Adamson and Martin got their answers to me in a hurry, all of them furious by such a betrayal. But Brother Taylor lives only five hours from Cincinnati, but it was six days before I received his reply and here it is:

Bowling Green, Ky., July 12, 1941.

Dear Bro. Rowe:

Your letter of recent date has reached me.

Yes, I have the June issue of the Bible Banner and have read the editorial. I too, was surprised to see this letter reproduced. Then your letter came to which I now reply.

I am the man.

Whatever criticism you have is due me. Bro. Foy Wallace, Jr. assisted the Twelfth St. Church here in two meetings while I was with the church as its minister. We became and have remained close friends. Later Bro. Cled came for a meeting and we became friends. I fell in love with Bro. Cled. I number these two among my dear friends. However, I try never to allow my friendship, for any person, to blind me completely to their weaknesses or faults. I am by nature too independent to follow any person blindly.

While I think Bro. Foy has done and is doing a great work, yet he has made mistakes and may have used poor judgment at times. He is of great value to the cause of Christ. In my personal view of Bro. Foy and Bro. Cled, I consider Bro. Cled the more intellectual and of the better judgment. With the pen he is superior to Bro. Foy. In the pulpit Bro. Foy is his superior by far. In the pulpit I consider Bro. Foy second to none of the men I know.

I relate this as a means by which you may understand my personal feeling toward them. As my friend and brother in Christ, I felt that Bro. Foy should know of the attempts being made against him under cover. Had you been in his place and he played the role you did, I would have conveyed the knowledge to you regardless of the personal consequences to myself. You may recall that I asked you to inform him.

On the other hand, I felt that Bro. Foy should understand the noble part you were playing in the matter of clean journalism. I am proud of you for the fairness you displayed. You proved yourself a friend of justice and cleanliness. These are my reasons. I now accept whatever of criticism or condemnation you may see fit to give. Should a like situation arise, I would again act as I have.

On the other hand, I see no reason why Bro. Foy should publish this letter at this time. I am inclined to think he used very poor judgment in doing so. I hardly think he is so hard pressed for material that he needed to use it at this time. Nevertheless it is done and I make no excuse for either myself or for him.

Yours in Christ,

Ben F. Taylor.

I was stunned. Betrayed by one of my closest friends! One clerk who had fullest confidence in him kept moaning, "Who can you trust?" Yes, it cast a gloom over the office that has not been lifted yet.

I immediately had photostats of the Taylor letter made and mailed one to each of the three loyal editors. I asked them what to do? I wanted their reaction. It came quick and positive. Here are their letters.

T. Q. Martin

McMinnville, Tenn., July 18, 1941.

F. L. Rowe, 434 Elm St.,

Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dear Brother Rowe:

Yours of the 15th received yesterday. Any unpleasantness that arises between or among my brethren is a source of grief to me, in my declining years.

I have ever held Brother Ben Taylor in highest esteem, and my relation with Brother Wallace has always been cordial. You inquire as to my reaction to the unfortunate matter.

I believe Brother Taylor greatly erred in submitting a private letter for publication, and I believe Brother Wallace likewise erred in publishing a private letter, without the consent of the writer.

This is my calm, unprejudiced, impartial judgment. I deplore this betrayal of confidence. Come soon.

Sincerely yours,

(Signed) T. Q. Martin.

H. H. Adamson

Lewisburg, Tenn., July 1, 1941.

F. L. Rowe, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dear Brother Rowe:

Your letter of July 11 is before me. No, I did not see the June issue of Bible Banner, and I am greatly surprised to know that your letter of Jan. 8 to the Leader editors had been given to the public through the pages of that journal. I have no way on earth of knowing—nor of even making a sensible guess—how the Banner came into possession of that letter. Not only did I not show it to a living person, but I did not so much as tell any one about receiving such a letter, and for the simple reason that I felt it was nobody's business. And furthermore I would regard any man a traitor to the Leader that would with intent place the contents of that letter in the hands of the Banner or any other journal. The whole matter is a profound mystery to me and I deeply regret it.


(Signed) H. H. Adamson.

I. B. Bradley

Dickson, Tenn., July 9, 1941.

Dear Bro. Rowe:

I was surprised to see the "confidential" letter in the Bible Banner, which I received Monday. How a "confidential letter could have gotten into the hands of the editor of another paper is a token to me of traitorism. Someone has either betrayed a confidence, or has been betrayed.

I see no way by which this could have gotten into the hands of the Banner, unless it was shown to a supposed friend, and this friend copied it; or someone took to himself the liberty of looking through the letter files of another, and copied this letter, and sent it on to the Banner editor. Either of which is too reprehensible to be thinkable of any one who is a FRIEND—much less a brother.

The letter you sent me has never been seen except by my wife and myself; nor has it even been spoken of to any one else. It has not been out of the files, so far as I know, since it was put there in January, until it was taken out for comparison after getting your letter yesterday. Such treachery indicates that editors will not only have to "copyright" the articles that go into their papers, but also their private correspondence, in dealing with unscrupulous men, who call themselves brethren (?).

I truly hope you may be able to find the traitor and he may be pointed out to the brotherhood as one unworthy of the trust and confidence of good men everywhere. Truly this is the time of which the Savior spoke: "Then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another." (Matt. 24:10.)

Faithfully yours,

(Signed) I. B. Bradley.

I held back any comment on the Banner article until I could confer with my closest friends. I did not want to write hastily. I wanted the judgment of others. I made a special trip to Nashville and beyond. I conferred with editors, business men and laymen. Everyone was most bitter in their denunciation of such betrayal. For one month the four editors were under suspicion by the entire brotherhood, many asking, "Which one did it?" The betrayal was an outrageous slap to the other editors, who were equally betrayed as I was. The honesty and integrity of each of the three editors has been impeached by his conduct and their reputation made to suffer.

It all seemed like a horrible dream and I can't realize it, knowing what Brother Taylor had been to me through many years. I tried hard not to think he had done it. I even felt that he might be under a hypnotic spell. I tried to feel charitable toward him, but when he says in his letter to me that he would do it again, then I began to feel rather harshly, the same as the other editors and brethren everywhere would.

You can place the matter before any businessman, any lawyer, any man of honorable occupation and he will immediately tell you that it was a case of studied betrayal.

One of my first thoughts and prayer, after receiving his letter was, Why didn't the Lord take me before I had to know this? I would have been much happier to have passed out with the thought that Brother Taylor was true and loyal than have to go to my grave with this knowledge on my heart and mind.

I thought I had gone through enough sorrow and heartache during the past two years. But this betrayal is the heaviest of all. One more experience like this last and I will be under the sod.

I think that copies of the Banner have been sent to every preacher in the brotherhood. This paper should also go to all of them but I haven't the money to send it, as it would cost about $50.00.

I apologize to our readers for printing this very unpleasant revelation, but my readers have been faithful to me through many years and I feel they are entitled to know all I have written, as hard as it is to write it and as bitter as it is to know it.—F. L. R.

I hope every reader of the Bible Banner will "read, study, mark and inwardly digest this" correspondence "as a whole". As you read do not allow the words "misplaced confidence," to confuse you, and cover up the diabolical suggestions made to Brother Rowe, and published in his "confidential" form letter "to Leader Editors." In his "confidential letter" Bro. Rowe says:

"Dear Brother:

About three weeks ago, Brother Davidson called up from New Jersey about 8:30 . . . The substance of his conversation was that if I would go after Foy E. Wallace and expose him in every way that I could and in every way that would be proven to me that such a work on my part would be financed by a Brother in Detroit." Brother Rowe has been an editor, publisher, and gospel preacher for nearly a half century. Each one to whom he confided this brotherly (?) suggestion is a gospel preacher, an editor, associate editor, or in some way connected with a religious paper. The suggestion was that Brother Rowe use his name and influence to destroy the name and influence of a fellow editor, and one of the outstanding gospel preachers of our day. Brethren forget the words "misplaced confidence," and substitute the words—character assassin. That is what Brother Rowe was asked to lend his name and influence to—to assassinate the character, and destroy the influence of Foy E. Wallace, Jr., as an editor and gospel preacher. More than forty years ago Brother T. Q. Martin and I were school mates in the old Nashville Bible School, then on South Spruce Street. He was a man of family, and a gospel preacher. I was just a green country boy just off the farm trying to work may way through school. I learned to love and respect Brother Martin then and my love and admiration for him have grown with the passing years. Brother I. B. Bradley and I were co-laborers in the City of Birmingham for several years. I never had a truer friend, and one that is as true to the Book as the needle is to the pole. In 1904, on my way to Meaford, Ontario, Canada, I stopped off in Cincinnati, Ohio and spent a very pleasant night with Brother F. L. Rowe in his home. I have been in his office a few times since when passing through his city. I was a subscriber for the Christian Leader for many years. The last time I saw Brother Rowe was about two years ago when we spent the night together in the home of Brother N. B. Hardeman, in Henderson, Tennessee. My sympathies were touched, and my indignation stirred as I listened to Brother Rowe relate to Brother N. B. Hardeman and H. Leo Boles how his confidence had been betrayed, and how he had been treated by Brother Davidson, and his staff of strategists, to whom he had turned over the Christian Leader—not the Christian Ledger—the paper founded by his illustrious father, and edited by himself for nearly a half century. With my acquaintance, and respect for Brothers Martin, Bradley, and Rowe, if some puny worm of the dust would suggest to me, if I would use my name and influence to destroy the influence and usefulness of one of these brethren, "that such a work on my part would be financed by a Brother in Detroit," I would consider the dastardly suggestion an outrageous insult, and it would go in the first mail to the one thus sought to be destroyed.

After Brother Davidson and his staff had made a high class religious magazine out of the Christian Leader, instead of turning it back to Brother Rowe, they carried it down to Austin, Texas, after the Gospel Advocate would not take it, and turned it, with its shriveled subscription list, name and all over to Brother G. H. P. Showalter. After the magazine was removed from the Christian Leader's original field, Brother Rowe, and those good brethren who have been sorely grieved because Davidson's latest stroke at Wallace's influence had got out of their confidential files into the Bible Banner, decided to start another paper and call it "The New Christian Leader". But Brother Showalter, not considering Brother Rowe a Brother, threatened to prosecute him if he did not drop the name that had been at the head of his stationery for fifty years. Brother Rowe not having the money to fight the case through the courts, and evidently not wanting to take the pauper's oath, dropped the name "Christian Leader," and took the name "Christian Ledger," for his paper. I said Brother Showalter did not consider Brother Rowe a brother, because, you know the Scriptures "dare" Brethren to have lawsuits one with another" (1 Cor. 6:1-8). Of course a gospel preacher, and an editor of several religious papers, and especially one that had swallowed up such a high class religious journal as the Christian Leader, would not accept such a challenge from the Scriptures.

But I must get back to Brother Rowe's "confidential letters to Ledger Editors". The second paragraph reads as follows: "Then this week, Monday, Claud F. Witty came to Cincinnati and called on me and talked to me privately about lending my name and influence to a paper for a few months at least whose purpose would be to expose Foy E. Wallace because of his bitter attacks upon Witty and others. I told Brother Witty I could not lend my name to any such a proposition and I suggested that he get some small town printer to get the paper out for them and that they mail it themselves. I told him I was through with all that manner of contention among brethren. I asked him why he came to me. His answer was: He wanted my name and reputation. I told him he would have to find some one else that I would be no party to it." If I am capable of reasoning there is a vast difference between "bitter attacks" upon one's teaching and practice in religious matters, the only kind of "attack" I ever knew Foy E. Wallace to make upon anybody, and a "bitter attack" upon one's character, for the sole purpose of destroying his influence and usefulness as an editor and gospel preacher. The kind of "bitter attacks" that were made upon Wallace a year or so ago when the brotherhood was blanketed with anonymous, scurrilous letters against his character. That campaign was an abortion, so their next effort was to find some docile Brother, who would use his "name and reputation" to accomplish that which the anonymous campaign had failed to do—to destroy the influences of Foy E. Wallace, Jr. Of course they knew that such efforts would not be rewarded in heaven, so they suggested to Brother Rowe "that such a work on his part would be financed by a Brother in Detroit". If Brother Rowe had said: "One of my first thoughts and prayer was, why didn't the Lord take me before I had to know" that anybody would make such suggestions to me. I could have understood and appreciated his outraged feelings. But I am stunned to know that instead of resenting the suggestions, Brother Rowe rather acquiesced in them by suggesting "that they get some small town printer" for the job. My idea is, they could more easily find a large "town printer" for such dirty work than they could a "small town printer". I would hate to live in either a "small", or a large "town", with such a "printer". I can understand why Brother Rowe would pour out his vials of wrath upon Brother Ben F. Taylor's head for letting the brotherhood know that he would connive in such ungodly efforts, than try to seal them up in confidential" files. Ben F. Taylor is the kind of man that I would not be afraid to hitch my cart to. As to "business concerns", I have enough confidence in them to believe you would search their "confidential" files in vain to find suggestions that they use their "names and reputation" to destroy the business of a fellow business man. Ought gospel preachers and editors be less honorable? Brethren if you want to locate me, you will find me in Ben F. Taylor's class in matters like this.

I am publishing this correspondence because Brother Rowe says: "I think that copies of the Banner have been sent to every preacher in the brotherhood. This paper should also go to all of them but I haven't the money to send it, as it would cost about $50.00". So you now have it all without cost to Brother Rowe. I hope this generosity upon the part of the Bible Banner will please Brother Rowe, Davidson, and Witty.