"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.II Pg.7,16c
September 1943

Mcgarvey And Johnson

(F. E. W. Jr.)

The Gospel Advocate recently asserted that so far as they knew only two representative men connected with the history of the church in this country held the views on civil and military government that have been set forth in the Bible Banner. We challenged their statement and produced the proof that the Advocate had erred, and we have more proof, just as strong, if and when it is needed.

In an effort to break the force of our evidence in this case, the Advocate tells its readers that B. W. Johnson was only "about twenty-eight years old" when he replied to the "Manifesto" against war which was signed by some notable brethren, including J. W. McGarvey. But the Advocate failed to mention that McGarvey was about the same age when he signed the manifesto to which Johnson replied. Was this another oversight, or was it "downright ignorance" again?

It was in the year 1861, the year of the manifesto against the war between the states, and the year of Johnson's reply to it, that McGarvey was writing his renowned Commentary on Acts. The author's preface reveals that he and Johnson were very near the same age. If the Advocate seeks to discredit Johnson's reply to the manifesto on war, because of his age, will they not be compelled to discredit McGarvey also as a signatory of the document to which Johnson replied? "If not, why not?"

We are next told that the sentence from Johnson's comments on Rom. 13 that "we should not obey wicked magistrates when they command us to disobey God"-indicates that Johnson changed his views when he had "older grown." But there is no contradiction in that statement and his earlier contention that a Christian may, under certain circumstances, bear the sword without disobeying God. Nobody believes that we should ever obey "wicked magistrates," or anybody else, when they "command us to disobey God." The efforts on this point are a pitiful begging of the question.

If the Advocate thinks it finds in Johnson's comments a faint intimation that he later changed his views--what would the later statement of J. W. McGarvey on the right of resistance indicate to them? Lest this should also be "overlooked" we again refer the Advocate to McGarvey's comments on the Sermon On The Mount in his Fourfold Gospel.

"This command which enjoins non-resistance, like most of the other precepts of this sermon, does not demand of us absolute, unqualified passivity at all times and under all circumstances Absolute non-resistance may so far encourage crime as to become a sin". "lf preservation is a law of God giving rights, which under most circumstances, a Christian can claim. He may resist the robber, the assassin and all men of that ilk, and may protect his person and his possessions against the assaults of the violent and the lawless (Acts 16:35-39).

That is what McGarvey said on the subject of nonresistance when he had "older grown." And he gave the case of Paul as an example. There is not one sentence in the comments of B. W. Johnson on Rom. 13 that contradicts his reply to the manifesto on war in 1861 or that contradicts the position of the Bible Banner now. But the later statement of J. W. McGarvey certainly is against the non-resistance position of brethren Brigance and Goodpasture.

As for his credentials as a historian, which Brother Brigance says he did not know that he had, the catalog of Freed-Hardeman College lists him as professor of religious history. He has for ten years been the editor of a department on church history in the Gospel Advocate. I

thought that was "credentials." Hence, it was suggested that his effort to minimize our position on the government issue had only discredited his credentials as a historian and we still think that is exactly what happened.

This is not "a broadside." We have the ammunition with which to fire one, but that is not the purpose of this piece. We merely want to keep the record straight. When a man claims to be writing history, he ought to know that what he is putting in the record is right. We love Brother Brigance as a man and as a friend, and we will still stick up for the school with which he is connected, but he should not expect us to let his pass at us "pass."