"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.38-39
July/August 1944

Embarrassing Incidents Left Out Of The Norris Book

(F. E. W. Jr.)

Among the many artifices of Mr. Norris was the arbitrary arrangement he attempted to force on us in his tabernacle. It was his tabernacle - his layout - and he thought it was his debate. He insisted that my affirmative addresses be made all in one address of one hour and a half - to which he would reply with one hour and a half. This was obviously done so that his opponent would have no opportunity to answer anything that he said. Within my rights I insisted on alternate forty-five minute addresses so that replies could be made to arguments offered. After my affirmative address of forty-five minutes, Mr. Norris rather abruptly ordered me to continue with another forty-five minutes before he would speak. Just as abruptly I refused to do so. I took the audience into my confidence and told them what was being demanded, and why Mr. Norris wanted it that way. He then, seeing that he was on the spot, made a show of generosity and offered me the privilege of interrupting him anywhere in his address if he "misrepresented anything," or if there was anything "unfair" in his proceedings. Mr. Norris did not think that I would avail myself of his offer, believing that he had all of the advantage in having the floor if I should interrupt him. But I did it -- and to his sorrow -- on his own proposition. The embarrassing things -- to him -- that occurred as a result, are among the things left out of his book.

At the start of the discussion Norris stated that he "used to be a member of the Church of Christ' but quit it while he was a boy. It was his obvious intention to play up that claim for effect. His statement was passed by until he had repeated it several times. I then reminded him that Benedict Arnold "used to be" an American citizen and that Judas Iscariot "used to be" a disciple of the Lord - and J. Frank Norris "used to be" a member of the Church of Christ! Mr. Norris never mentioned it again. Personally, I seriously doubt if Norris was ever a member of the church. One thing is certain - Norris never intended to allow such replies to his arrogant assertions see the light of type.

I. The Repudiation Of Mark 16

It was the second day of the debate. I was affirming on the necessity of baptism. My first argument to prove that baptism is essential to salvation was "justification by faith." This was Norris' sugar-stick, and he had not expected me to take his own pet passages on faith and apply them to my affirmative proposition. After developing the argument on justification by faith, Mark 16:16 was introduced as proof that baptism is justification by faith - "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." No other passage on baptism was introduced in the first affirmative speech. Mr. Norris was visibly confused. He stormed and ranted as to why I did not use John 3:5 on "born of water" and why I had ignored Acts 2:38. He had prepared an answer to arguments that I had not presented, and his speech fell flat.

In his efforts to extricate himself from the unexpected turn of things he took the Bogard dodge and denied the inspiration of Mark 16:16. He said that it was not in two of the oldest manuscripts. He had been abroad, he said, and had looked down through a glass encasement upon these two old manuscripts that left out Mark 16:16! Furthermore, he averred that if Mark 16:16 is "good scripture" that we would have to take the snakes - he wanted to know if I would let the snakes bite me - and to the amusement of a few Baptist preachers he shouted "I am going to put Wallace to bed with the snakes!"

In reply to all of this, we pointed out first that Norris had been a great crusader against modernism among the Baptists and had waged a fight against Baylor University, and even the Baptist Seminary, because of their alleged "modernism" and lo! in order to get rid of Mark 16 he had himself turned modernist, and worse - he had flatly denied the inspiration of a part of the gospel record.

The great "fundamentalist" had turned modernist! That goaded him and his "Fundamentalist Baptists," and he backed up by saying that he had not "denied" Mark 16, he had only said that it was "questionable." The prompt reply was that since he had said if Mark 16 was "good scripture" he would put me to bed with the snakes - and now he backs up and says that he had not denied that it was, then what would he do with the snakes? He had put me to bed with the snakes only to find out that he would have to sleep with the snakes himself!

His greatest humiliation on Mark 16, however, was on the two manuscripts which he said he saw through the glass case. And Mark 16:16 was left out of those two manuscripts! We asked Mr. Norris if he did not know that the same two manuscripts that omitted. Mark 16:16 also omitted the entire twentieth chapter of Revelation. He did not know it - and he turned pale. Only the day before he had used Revelation 20 as his chief text on the millennium question. He had hung a chart on which the verses from Revelation 20 were printed - and then had drilled the Baptists to read it in concert - in unison. He had made a great show of it - he directed them, and they read it aloud in unison. That chart was still hanging from the wall above our heads, with the thousand years printed in extraordinarily large letters. I pointed to his chart and said: "Mr. Norris, do you know that the entire 20th chapter of Revelation is left out of the same two manuscripts that leave out Mark 16?" Since he had charged me with basing my argument on baptism on "a doubtful passage" I simply laid it back in his lap, that by his own statements he had based his entire millennial argument of "a doubtful passage," and reminded him that "sauce for the goose is salad dressing for the gander."

The weight of this incident was crushing. Norris felt it. Morris and Rice felt it; and Ballard told some of his Baptists that I ruined Norris on Mark 16. Sometime later saw Norris in a railway station in San Antonio, after he had broken with John R. Rice, and asked him why he had split with Rice. He said, "Oh, John has gone off with the Holy Rollers." I replied, "Sure enough! Maybe he has decided that Mark 16 is good scripture and has decided to take the snakes with it, like you said!" But Norris was gone - he would not stand still to exchange even a few remarks with me, and I had to throw it at him on the run - but he heard it!

The thing that he calls the Norris-Wallace Debate leaves out this very embarrassing incident. It cannot be an oversight that every thing that happened in his own speeches to his humiliation and embarrassment was overlooked - his stenographers did not take it! Those things are not in the record! That being true, what do you think Norris and his stenographers did to my speeches? If they exist at all, they exist in such mutilated form that they could not be recognized or identified as the speeches that I delivered in that debate. And the addresses in the Norris book are not the speeches that he delivered in that debate.

II. The Martin Luther Incident

In full knowledge of the fact that he was misrepresenting the sayings and writings of Alexander Campbell, at one strategic point, Mr. Norris shouted that he could prove that A. Campbell did not believe that baptism was essential to salvation and that he would read where Campbell actually said that it was not essential to salvation. So he produced a book, written by Campbell. He read a statement to the effect that baptism is not essential to salvation, and attributed it to Alexander Campbell. I rose to claim the privilege he had offered me, and asked him for the title of the book. I had to insist before he would tell me the name of the book. I then asked for the page from which he was reading, and again had to insist before he would give it. I had that same book in my case; I reached for it, turned to the page, and read the statement which Mr. Norris attributed to Campbell, and lo! it was an extract from Martin Luther, set off on the page as a quotation, and credited to Luther. It could not have been a mistake. Mr. Norris had deliberately attributed a statement of Luther to Alexander Campbell. I asked him before the audience, Mr. Norris, why did you do it? In white anger he threw the book down - and proceeded along another line. That incident is left out of Mr. Norris' book - the Norris-Wallace Debate, falsely so-called!

Later in his same address, he shouted again that he would read from Alexander Campbell, which was an admission that he had not done so. He took the book again and read where Campbell said that "baptism is not essential in all cases" - and in louder tones he yelled, "if baptism is not essential in all cases it is not essential in any case!" Again I claimed the generous (?) proposition that he had made, and interrupted him. I asked: Mr. Norris, is faith essential in all cases? He started to say "yes" but thought of the infants and changed it to "No." When he said "No" I said to the audience, in Norris' words, "if faith is not essential in all cases, then faith is not essential in any case," so away went his doctrine of salvation by faith! It was then shown that Campbell was making a statement with reference to infant baptism, showing that infants are not subjects of baptism, and therefore baptism is not essential to the salvation of an infant. Mr. Norris tried to laugh this off by remarking that the argument was "childish" - but it wasn't funny either to him or the Baptists and the laugh didn't lather.

That incident was not allowed to go into his book, as it occurred. A garbled account of it appears, an incomplete statement of it, giving only a few of my words, and leaving the thing as much in Norris" favor as possible.

There are other instances in the unworthy thing that he calls the Norris-Wallace Debate that represent me as asking and answering questions in the course of his speeches - but in no case does the report accurately represent what was said and done. The record is "fixed" to favor Norris. Also in those instances of where "applause" and "laughter" are inserted into his speeches, an entirely overdrawn picture is given to his readers. Men of the world, who make no claims to being religious, would not stoop to the dishonor or resort to the dishonesty of the things that Norris has perpetrated in the publication of his fraudulent book, and the ten years campaign of misrepresentation and falsehood he has waged to his own shame and disgrace since the debate was held.

Some honorable men of the Baptist affiliation have testified to his dishonesty and treachery. Notable among them is A. R. Scherling, of North. Dakota, whose letters in this Special Number are an example of what some Baptists, above the Norris strata, think of the conduct of a man whom they followed and trusted until his own actions proved him unworthy of their confidence.

For precisely the same reasons that these embarrassing incidents did not seethe light of type, as they actually occurred, in the Fort Worth debate, many other things unfavorable to Norris were culled out. Does anyone believe, in the light of such as this, that my speeches were taken and transcribed correctly?

The testimony of A. O. Colley was given to the effect that he sat near the stenographers and saw them "lay down their pencils," apparently in obedience to some signal from Norris, at certain points in my addresses when withering exposures were being made of Norris and his positions. I witnessed the same, and called attention to it, and was met with silly Baptist grips.

III. The Threat Of One Hundred Armed Men

It was in the midst of one of these interruptions, so embarrassing to Mr. Norris that he lost his poise completely. Laboring under great pressure evidently, defeated in argument and in repartee on every point, he went into a rage on a certain point of interruption and screamed "shut up" - and added that he had "one hundred armed men" placed in that audience to carry out at his command!

To cover these things up Mr. Norris has diligently endeavored to make it appear that I was ill-tempered during the debate. I am absolutely confident that no unprejudiced person, or even few extremely prejudiced ones, would accuse me of getting out of humor even once during the entire proceedings. There was not one moment in all of the sessions when I was not fully composed and in the best of humor - and Norris knew it, a thing that irked and angered him. Knowing, as he does, that he himself became extremely angry, he would have the people believe that it was I. But the people know better, and they have not forgotten these devastating things that happened to J. Frank Norris, though he did expunge them from the record.

Like the Martin Luther incident, this "one hundred armed men" threat was left out of the Norris record, though it happened in his speech, not mine. That shows what kind of a representation of my speeches the public would have been treated to if J. Frank Norris had been-left unrestrained to bring out the sort of a book he intended to publish - and it is such diabolical conduct as this that has made the present exposures necessary.