"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.VIII No.V Pg.14-15
June 1946

Robert Alexander's Apology

Dear Roy:

I had the letter from you brethren in Lufkin a few days ago. I want to apologize for having written so poorly that you misunderstood everything that I said, even to the spirit in which I wrote.

I have no inclination to want to argue any point with you, for I concede that congregational autonomy gives you brethren the privilege of allowing me to come to Lufkin and talk to the brethren on Christian education, or to disallow it; and I have no inclination nor desire to override the authority of any congregation for any purpose whatever.

Since the beginning of my campaign for A.C.C. I have neither asked any congregation to put the school in its budget or to give from its treasury to the support of Abilene Christian College; and I do not expect to do either of these during this campaign.

In writing the two former letters to that congregation I merely desired to find out whether or not you brethren would be willing, according to your own plan, to help us, and whether or not you would be willing to invite the brethren from various congregations in that section into a Sunday afternoon meeting on any date that you select, in which we can arrange to be there for the purpose of discussing our program with them and in order to find out whether or not there could be some way the brethren in these communities could give us some encouragement and support.

Since you brethren represent the only congregation in the state of Texas which has refused to let us come and discuss the problems of Christian education, I want to say that we have no inclination to urge you to do what you are not inclined to do, nor to fall out with you because you are not inclined to help us. If you find there is any way that you can help us and would like for us to come and speak on the subject of Christian education, I assure you that you will find that I have no inclination to overemphasize the importance of the school, nor to make the school over-shadow the Cause of truth and righteousness.

I do not believe that the school nor any paper among us is vital to the cause of Christ; but I think that the school and papers are important, and are needed in the work that needs to be done for the cause of Christ.

Again let me thank you most sincerely for your letter and for your continued good will and for any type of assistance which you may see fit to grant us in the future. Most sincerely yours,

Robert M. Alexander


Dear Brother Alexander:

In reply to your letter of May 2nd, which for some reason you addressed to me personally, there are several things that I want to say and I trust that you know that I write you with the same personal regard that I have had for you through the years. The issues involved in the "college question" are larger than any one man or all the men involved in them. They involve principles of eternal truth and therefore the souls of men and the future of the Cause of Christ. They should be discussed therefore with all candor and settled by the word of the Lord. As I see this matter, it isn't a question of who is a friend of Abilene Christian College or who isn't her friend. I am not interested in that question primarily. It is altogether a matter of what is right and what is wrong and whether or not we are going to stand on the right side, whatever may be involved. I am interested in this alone.

I do not think you state the case when you say, "I want to apologize for having written so poorly that you misunderstood everything that I said, even to the spirit in which I wrote." You did not write poorly. Your letter to the elders here was artfully written. Let us examine some matters with reference thereto.

In the first place it was addressed to the "Elders" of this "congregation." It had to do with enlisting the help of this "congregation" and other "congregations" around. You state that the "congregations" where you have gone have responded in a fine way. Then you ask for help now and some "regular support." You did not specify whether it was to be "in" or "out" of the "budget" but you did put the whole appeal upon a congregational basis. I am not concerned with the "budget" part. It is the question of congregational activity and congregational support for the school that is the issue. Some congregations do not have a "budget." Some of the money given in your campaign has been raised by special contribution in some regular service or special service of the church—sometimes even on Sunday morning. It has been contributed on a "congregational" basis—by the church as such and the matter of whether or not it went through the regular channel of the church treasury is only incidental as long as it is the activity of the church.

You brethren have lost sight of the basis upon which "our colleges" have been defended through the past, that is, "any group of Christian individuals have the right to maintain a school and teach the Bible in that school." You have pitched your whole campaign on the basis of congregational backing and support and you evidence that in every appeal made and every letter written. In spite of all this you left the way clear to take refuge in the fact that "I have neither asked any congregation to put the school in its budget or to give from its treasury to the support of Abilene Christian College." To this I would say, you are dodging the issue by the use of such specific terms. You cannot deny that the whole inference left in the letters written here and in your articles in the papers was that you were asking for congregational support—as such. Your whole appeal has been made not to Christian individuals but to churches and it has been for church sponsorship and church support.

It is too late in your campaign for Don Morris or others to deny it too. They have had speeches made in programs back through the years in preparation for the course that has been pursued in this campaign and of course have been fully aware of all your utterances and have even been included in helping to map out your campaign plans. They have not raised their voices in protest to any of this effort to enlist "church support" for the school. They shall not now say that they do not endorse asking for congregational support for they have done that as much as you. It must either be defended because it is right or renounced because it is wrong.

Whether or not you have actually asked any congregation to put Abilene Christian College in its budget, you have announced to the world that you think it is all right to do so and have preached that doctrine so there isn't any virtue in your not having actually practiced it, if you have not. In addition to preaching the doctrine, and coming so close to actually practicing it that by inference you have been taken to do so, you have also announced that if the congregation decided to thus do, you would accept the contribution. That amounts to saying, "I am not going to tell you to do it, and I won't ask you to do it, but my hand is out and I would be glad for you to do it." If I were you, I would put my hand out in front of my face instead of behind my back and practice what I preached, if I thought it was right and could be defended.

The brethren here understood that all you were asking was for this "congregation" to invite the other "congregations" of this section into a rally or meeting to discuss their returning home to their respective "congregations" and deciding upon some amount that said "congregation" could raise and then raise it and send it to you in your campaign. It was plain that the whole campaign was on a "congregational" rather than an individual basis, and that is what we don't believe in down in this part of the country; and we won't cooperate in having it preached and carried out. That doesn't at all say that there aren't some individuals down this way that would have contributed, as individuals, if they had been approached; at least they would have before Abilene became a church school."

You have a strange idea of congregational autonomy. Does each congregation have the right to determine for itself a question of right or wrong? Can the congregation decide for itself whether it is right or wrong to use instrumental music? Claude Witty seems to think so. Your thought seems to be that the congregation can decide by the principle of self- government whether or not it is right or wrong in God's sight for the church to support some extra curricular activity and do its own work through some human organization. I contend God has already settled this matter in heaven and in his word, and every loyal church on earth must abide by it. Any church that doesn't, has rejected God's government. As to this being the only congregation in the whole state of Texas that has refused to cooperate in your campaign, that isn't such a reflection if the stand that we have taken is right. We believe it is and are willing to defend it. If we should stand alone, which we don't, we would still stand just where we are as long as we are convinced that it is right. It happens though that I know of others who are of the same persuasion. You were publicly opposed at Temple in your attitude and plans and according to my information it has happened elsewhere. We are getting enough commendations on the stand taken in the Bible Banner to know that we do not stand alone.

All that is embraced in "Christian Education" does not have to come through the channel of "our colleges." There are many fine elders, deacons, teachers and preachers in churches all over this land that have never seen one of "our colleges." To read your articles in the paper, Brother Alexander, one could only judge that you think the church would fail miserably in its work if we didn't have "our schools." I believe you have allowed yourself to misplace the emphasis and get mixed up in your values. You need to get out of the midst of dollar marks and big figures for awhile and regain your equilibrium. You have done yourself, Abilene Christian College and the Cause of Christ immeasurable harm with your campaign propaganda and should call a halt, retreat from your false position and correct the wrong you have done by renouncing your plea for church support for Abilene and other similar schools.

The digressive doctrine of expediency will not justify your position. It cannot be classified with meeting houses or other matters incidental to the mission of the church. The parallel for it is found in the missionary society performing the function of the church, as an adjunct to it and supported by the church. That is absolutely indefensible. It is unscriptural and anti-christian and wrong. "Our schools" must either recede from their newly adopted position in asking for the church to support them or it will be a fight to the finish against the latest effort Satan has made to corrupt the simplicity of New Testament Christianity.


Roy E. Cogdill.