"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.VIII Pg.7
March 1944

Is It The Truth-Or The Person?

E. R. Harper

In this article I am discussing what seems to me to be a most tragic trend in the discussion of the "kingdom question." I am asking this question, and then pressing for an answer. The question is, is it a personal difference between men, or is this a vital issue over principle? If it is a personal affair with a personal grudge between men and a desire to hurt some leader in the church because of popularity in fighting him, or because of envy concerning his stand in the church, then please count me out for I know that neither of the above causes enters my defense of the truth.

I "jump on" no brother because it is popular to do so, neither do I envy my brother his stand or place of prominence in the church. I would to my Lord that all men were "strong and influential" to the "fullest possible" degree that we might reach all who are lost. I attack no man unless I believe that there is a vital principle involved and that he is the man who is teaching it or openly defending those who are. By openly I simply mean doing it so that it is influencing others to "smile" at the error and "receive" without question the man who is teaching the error.

I do not believe it is fair, neither do I believe it is right, and least of all Christian, to make "one man" the "goat" when there are others involved, who are just as set in their convictions as he is. This seems to me to be the order of the day by many preachers, papers, and institutions. They will fight "one man and his group" over a vital question, or is it vital in their sight, and at the same time refuse to expose others, but go so far as to fellowship them, have them to speak for them, defend them and oppose all who try to point out their errors, which errors are related to that of the man or men they have been exposing. If it is a matter of "principle" I press the question above. Why shield some and expose others? If we do that, and I know it is being done, how can it be an honest matter of principle? If it were, why not be willing to "find out all who are guilty" and expose them?

An example outstanding: R. H. Boll has been fought by every paper, pulpit, preacher and most schools, here of late, "generally speaking" and the men who are his close defenders, who live in Louisville, are put down with him as unsound and therefore have been "marked and avoided" by the church in general and the papers no longer allow him space to write his views and the pulpits are closed to him, and his men, who live in Louisville, and most schools will not allow him to enjoy their fellowship. Now why this when others who believe very much as he and his defenders do and men who defend him and condemn those of us who oppose him, are allowed free access to all our papers, except a very few, to our pulpits, and are kept in our schools and are influencing the youth of to day, in the church, in the wrong direction.

Why is it that if you wish to condemn "premillennialism" you must write and quote from R. H. Boll, or one of his "Louisville buddies," and are not allowed to quote from, nor call the names of, others in the church who are premillennialist and whose writings we have and can produce and no man will deny its being premillennial? Now again I press the question, if this subject is a vital one, then why expose some and "cover-up" others. Any man who will expose "one man" and cause him to be "marked" because of his "premillennial" views and will "defend and cover up" another, must be charged by me in my way of thinking, as unfair to the man exposed, unfair to the truth, and in it, not from a matter of "principle" but because it is "popular in the church" at this time for a man to "jump on a certain group." If not, why not "want to know who the premillennialists are among us to day and expose all of them?" Any paper that will not let you discuss one man's premillennial views and name the man but will allow you to quote and expose another's views and call his name, is, from my view point, not sound in the faith and the love of the truth. He must think it is setter from the publicity standpoint and therefore a better financial scheme. My way of thinking is this, if there is nothing to this "fight over the kingdom issue" then for heaven's sake let us stop it, but if it is vital, and you know it is, then let us be fair and discuss all who are guilty. Now just point out to me wherein I am wrong at this point. The trouble in this entire affair is that we have become "loyal to men" instead of the truth. We have become "loyal to institutions" instead of the church, and we fight only those whom we do not love personally and those whom we think can be criticized without harming us in the discussion of the subject.

R. H. Boll and his men, who are openly with him in Louisville, are not the men today who are harming the church, so much, for they have been "marked and set aside," but it is that group of men in our institutions who have books, letters, articles, and students, who tell you that they are premillennial. It is that group that is not so openly defending Boll but who are trying to eat from both sides, that is causing our trouble today. I could call them by name but if I did this article I am sure would never see the light of day.

Now brethren what is the matter? Really are we serious about this thing or are we just fooling ourselves? I assure you that I want the love of all men in and out of the church and I am not in this fight over the kingdom question just to be fighting over something. You make enemies, divide congregations, split states, and the work of our Lord is hindered in this fight over "premillennialism." My point in this is; if there is nothing to it then for the sake of unity, peace, and love among us all, let us stop it, but if it is vital then let us be no respecter of persons and institutions. Why jump on R. H. Boll and his men, and Clinton Davidson, and "mark them" while at the same time we let run loose in our midst the men who believe and teach premillennialism to our children and who run with and keep alive Brother Davidson's views, and who fight, try to kill, and ruin the influence of those of us who are openly defending the truth against such innovationists as the above. To this question there is but "one" answer and that is, treat all of them alike.

I am ready to take the stand any time and defend publicly all I have said and every accusation that I have ever made against any man or institution and if I am wrong I am willing to admit it, but if I am right then what are you willing to do? How many of our religious papers will open their pages to me, or to any of us, and allow us to publish the articles, and name the men who wrote them, and then expose the article and show the danger of the man being where he is? If you will allow R. H. Boll's name spread all over your paper why not allow any man's name spread over your pages if he is a "premillennialist?" If it is the "principle" you are after and not the man, then open your pages and we will "see what we shall see" and this thing can more quickly be brought to the light. I am willing to take the "rap" and run the risk of "living or dying" as a result of such an opportunity. Given this opportunity and you will see the pressure being brought to bear to keep me out, for I have things that will be like a revelation.