"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.VI No.XIII Pg.2
July/August 1944

Running Interference For Norris

Cled E. Wallace

The facts of the Wallace-Norris debate of some years ago were and are extremely well-known by the thousands who heard that debate. The defeat of Dr. Norris was apparent to even his followers who heard it. His refusal to repeat the debate in other cities previously agreed on, and his noisy and frantic efforts to cover up the facts before the part of the public who did not hear the debate, form a clear confession of what Dr. Norris knows happened to him in the debate.

After some years the wily doctor thought he saw an opening, grabbed the ball and lit out for the goal line. He was simply itching for another debate and issued noisy challenges. That challenge was accepted, Foy E. Wallace, Jr., was again chosen to meet him, and he was overwhelmingly endorsed by a long list of churches in the cities of Fort Worth, Oklahoma City and Dallas. The debate could be arranged in one or all of these cities. This was the kind of interference the doctor had not expected. The opening between him and the goal line suddenly closed. Dr. Norris knows and everybody else knows that he is not going to meet Foy Wallace again in debate, as much as Wallace and an overwhelming number of churches and brethren would like to see it. He told the truth for once in his life when he heatedly told some preachers that he would see Wallace in hell, not heaven,-before he would meet him again in debate.

The thing was pretty well sewed up to the doctor's chagrin and discomfiture, until interference appeared from an unlooked for source. Jake Hines, Eugene Smith and Ben Bogard teamed up to run interference for Dr. Norris and relieve him of his embarrassment. Jake and Gene like Norris as much as they dislike Wallace, think Norris is a very nice fellow and was mistreated by Wallace and so they up and arrange for a debate between Jake and Frank. Dr. Norris thought he wanted to debate with a man of national reputation endorsed by all the churches. He got too much endorsement for Wallace. How many churches in Fort Worth, Dallas and Oklahoma City will endorse Jake and Gene for anything? The publication of figures on that point would be more than interesting!

Jake writes an article in Gene's paper which was copied and commented on in The Orthodox Baptist Searchlight, Ben M. Bogard's paper. That article does not state the facts. It further states as facts things that are not facts. He declares that the brethren ignored and declined Norris' challenge. The facts in that connection are well-known and becoming more so. Norris refuses to meet Wallace more highly endorsed than any man should be called on to be endorsed to qualify him to represent a cause in debate. The endorsement is greater than Norris, Jake and Gene combined could get as the result of a radio campaign conducted with that end in view.

While Jake and Gene brag on Dr. Norris and lambast the churches, Ben M. Bogard crows about the "Campbellites trying to back out" because they will not endorse Hines to do the debating. Why would Norris rather meet Jake unendorsed than to meet Wallace endorsed? Just anybody who heard the other debate can furnish the answer and he would not be guessing. Bogard says Hines "is as strong a man as they could put up." He says he knows that he is and that the brethren also know it. Why, then do they not endorse Hines instead of Wallace? The brethren know, Norris knows, and so do Bogard, Jake and Gene. Everybody knows. They are running interference for Dr. Norris and nobody is happier over it than Dr. Norris is. The one thing he does not want and the one thing he will not have is another debate with Foy E. Wallace, Jr. The whole unholy set-up, including Jake and Gene know this. And the brethren know it.

Nobody is surprised that Bogard claims that the brethren "backed down," that Wallace was defeated in the other debate and went to every length, including legal interference, to keep Dr. Norris from publishing that debate. The facts are, supported by ample documentary evidence, that Dr. Norris had no intention of publishing that debate. He proposed to foist on an unsuspecting public a garbled misrepresentation of that debate and only such legal interference was employed as was necessary to keep him from perpetrating such a monstrous piece of chicanery. It is known that Dr. Norris went to every length an alert and evil mind could devise to prevent Wallace from even seeing a transcript of his own speeches, purportedly taken down by Dr. Norris' stenographer. The "inefficient bungling a few years ago" that Jake mentions was due to the trusting attitude of the brethren in placing any confidence in Norris' assurances, and allowing him the advantage that they did. In the light of recent events, it is not too surprising that Jake and Gene join Bogard in purring over the virtues and gentlemanliness of the great Fort Worth fundamentalist. Dr. Norris will not reach the goal line even with the unique interference he has. Even if he whips Jake in debate, which he well might do under the circumstances, nobody but a few Baptists will pay much attention to his crowing. Jake and Gene will crow some too, those two wouldn't know it if they got a whipping, and only a few of the brethren will pay any attention to them.

Some time ago Ben M. Bogard had somewhat to say about Dr. Norris in another connection. As I recall it, he did not consider Dr. Norris any too reliable in his handling of facts, accused him of gross exaggeration and came very near using the short ugly word about him. In short he did not rate him very high when it came to sticking to the facts in the case. However, he thought the doctor would go to heaven anyhow whether he told the truth or not. If Norris gets there, maybe Jake and Gene have a chance, but personally I'm a little uneasy over their present prospects. Editor Bogard says Jake is plainly "disgusted" with the brethren and the churches. Well, they possibly have an opinion about Jake and Gene I would not be presumptuous enough to express for them. Anyhow, this whole combination of Norris, Bogard, Jake and Gene is irresponsible enough under the circumstances to be more humorous than serious. Anyhow, Dr. Norris has finally found somebody he can handle, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it turns out that he is willing to repeat that debate.