"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.IX No.VII Pg.2-4
September 1947

The Wailing Twins Are Again In Trouble

Cled E. Wallace

Brother Hardeman and Brother Brewer appear side by each, in the same column of the Gospel Advocate of August 7th. They are dressed just alike and the only way you can tell them apart is that Brother Hardeman says he is smiling but the picture doesn't show it. Brother Brewer doesn't even claim he is.

They have both consistently ignored the responsibility of an affirmant of a practice to give the law that authorizes the practice. They insist that the negative state the law that forbids the practice. In 1938 Brother Hardeman said:

"I am truly sorry that we cannot get together on matters relating to our schools. I certainly do not endorse the putting of our schools on the church budget. I would oppose having Freed-Hardeman so placed. Such has ever been my sentiment."

He declares that the statement represents his present attitude but that he has never opposed the church giving the money if it will keep it out of the budget. Take it out of the treasury, but keep it out of the budget! He used to be a "strict constructionist." In the light of his present "loose constructionism" it would be interesting to see him try to explain the difference. Maybe he doesn't know what a "budget" is. He knows what money is when he gets it from a church. I conceded something to their insistent and inconsistent demands by making a statement which is obviously true and Brother Hardeman would have found no fault with it in 1938.

"The church can scripturally contribute to and support any work that the church is commanded to do, anything that is the work of the church; but the church cannot scripturally contribute to or support any work that the church is not commanded to do, that is not the work of the church. It cannot be shown that teaching secular branches of education is the work of the church."

Brother Hardeman thought he saw a hole in that big enough to crawl out of and made a dive for it—and stuck fast. Remember that he says that his school is "a human institution" like a hardware store. I possibly wouldn't go quite that far, but he has. Regarding the "law and the Principle" I stated, he has this to say:

"Now we have it. Churches are hereby estopped from contributing to the building of meeting houses, putting in baptisteries, building, buying, or renting a home for the preacher or a home for the aged and to an orphan home. I challenge this writer to give the book, chapter and verse where any of these things are commanded. If not, the church cannot have a part in any of them, for he says: 'The church cannot scripturally contribute to or support any work that the church is not commanded to do.' Now let us smile."

That is a gesture. Brother Hardeman isn't smiling. He is too desperate for that. In "law and principle" he is handing himself over bodily to the digressives. Some good brethren are laughing out loud at him while others, including some of his students, are chagrinned and disappointed. He has taught them through the years the very "law" he is now trying to "smile" out of court. In their efforts to justify instrumental music in worship, digressives have for years been demanding "a list of things forbidden" and shouting for "book, chapter and verse where any of these things are commanded" such as baptisteries, meeting houses, song books, blackboards. Brother Hardeman, along with the rest of us, has been telling them that the "generic" word "go" has "in" the command riding in whatever conveyance is available. The command to meet for worship authorizes a suitable place for worship. The command to support the preaching of the gospel authorizes the providing of a suitable place for the preacher to live. The command to sing authorizes the song books and the command to teach authorizes a blackboard and so on. But what about "putting in baptisteries" he suddenly seems as much concerned as the digressives have been for fifty years. Let Brother Hardeman answer. His memory seems not to be too good lately and probably he has also forgotten that he has some books in circulation. In "Tabernacle Sermons" Volume 4 under the heading of "Essentials and Incidentals" he shows that a baptistery is a part of the command to be baptized. Hear him:

"Suppose you dam up a branch and dig out a place of sufficient size and baptize a man in it ? What have you done ? Only that which the Bible demands."

Now, now, Brother Hardeman we want something out of you besides a forced smile. We want you "to give the book, chapter, and verse where you" are commanded to "dam up a branch and dig out a place of sufficient size" or any other "size." If Brother Hardeman can't do so, of course "the church cannot have a part in" it. What is the matter with Brother Hardeman? That is an easy one. He was right in 1938 and when he preached his sermons and had his debate with Boswell and is wrong now. He cannot smile off things like that! It is rather pitiful when a man of his age and experience turns flips that land him right smack into the middle of digressive quibbling. He doesn't need an "ace writer" like me to point out the fallacies of his embarrassed and forced squirming. Plenty of his boys inside and outside of Freed-Hardeman College can do it easily. The ones who can't, if they do not get over it, will land among the digressives in a few years if they follow his present line of reasoning, or rather quibbling. It might be well to remind the brethren that I am not answering Boswell, I'm answering Hardeman. Now, isn't that something! And he hasn't changed. No, not a bit!

A separate column of quotations from Brother Hardeman will be revealing. He said:

"Bear in mind that the word 'good' is a relative term. A thing may be good as determined by one standard and bad as measured by another. In all matters of religion the Bible is our standard if the Bible is absolutely silent regarding any matter, proper respect for God's word demands that it be not in the worship or work of the church."

Yes, that's right. He said "worship or work." A thing which is not within the "demands" of the Word must not be "in" the "work" of the church.

So what? If the Bible authorizes by command, example or necessary inference that the church go into the school business, that command would authorize the necessary equipment such as buildings, teachers, textbooks and everything else a school needs. Nobody would worry about "a list of the things forbidden." Brother Hardeman says the school is "a human institution." Because what God commands the church to do authorizes some essentials and incidentals" in effectively obeying the command, he jumps at the conclusion that the church is authorized to support "a human institution" with its long list of "essentials and incidentals." Does he have a command for it? Certainly not. Is there any example of it in the New Testament? Of course not. Is there a necessary inference justifying it? None has been offered. Why does Brother Hardeman jump at such a conclusion? It reminds me of a story. A little girl had a little dog she named August. One day little August ran out and jumped at the conclusion of a mule. The next day was the first of September for that was the last of August. "Now let us smile."

What we want is "the law and principle" authorizing the church to go into the school business. What have we had from the Siamese twins to date? They want a list of things forbidden." "Show us where it says you shall not." Sounds familiar doesn't? Brother Hardeman says:

"Christians are fundamentalists to them, the Bible and the Bible alone is the source of authority. Whatever it teaches, demands, or commands they are ready to accept. Beyond its declarations they dare not go it is either the sum of all authority or it is none at all they claim to be nothing, preach nothing, practice nothing, for which there is no authority in the word of God. When any matter is presented they ask: 'Does the Bible authorize it? Does God command it?' If so, they are ready to accept it and make it a part of their religious program."

That is what he said in Vol. 3 "Tabernacle Sermons" under the heading of "Authority." "Now let us smile." Tell us, Brother Hardeman, where "the Bible authorizes," where "God commands" the church to make it a part of its "religious program" to support "a human institution" like Freed-Hardeman College which you say is on a par with Hardeman Hardware Company. I think he was right in 1938 when he said:

"I am truly sorry that we cannot get settled on matters relating to our schools. I certainly do not endorse Brother Brewer's statements and would oppose any congregation putting Freed-Hardeman in their budgets. Such has ever been our sentiments."

Brother Hardeman's "sentiments" up until quite recently are very interesting. In his debate with Boswell, he pressed him hard.

"Where is the scripture, where is the commandment, where is the inference? Let me say, ladies and gentlemen, not one vestige can be found."

If Brother Boswell is reading this now he might say with Hardeman: "until you furnish me the list of things forbidden, it will not be necessary to write further." Brother Hardeman admits that:

"Since these schools are human institutions, the church is under no direct obligation to them, any more than to a hospital in which brethren might minister to the sick and dying."

but he wants "a list of things forbidden" and "book, chapter and verse" that says "thou shalt not." His predicament should provoke a smile, pity or whatever the humor of the observer suggests. He loves to preach that he is an "anti-federalist" like Jefferson and not a "federalist" like Hamilton in both politics and religion.

"Mr. Hamilton's party came to be known as loose constructionists,' that is, to construe loosely the Constitution, on the ground that we are at liberty to do anything that it does not specifically prohibit. Jefferson's party was known as 'strict constructionists,' that is, they proposed to be governed strictly by what 'was written,' and declare there was danger in 'going beyond'."

He agreed with Jefferson. He was a "strict constructionist." Hear him:

"Friends, what shall be my conception of the word of God Almighty? Do I look upon it as a law granting me the liberty to do anything not specifically forbidden therein? Or, on the other hand have I accepted God's constitution and do I propose to be governed by what it says rather than by what it does not say? We have drifted into this kind of an idea"

"We have drifted into this kind of an idea." Well, I should say as much with Brother Hardeman and Brother Brewer crying in unison back and forth in the Firm Foundation and the Gospel Advocate for "a list of the things forbidden." They are like a couple of bugs in a jug of molasses. S-m-i-l-e does not spell the buzzing they are doing. Brother Hardeman said it in 1938 and thereabouts, before and after, but he is taking it all back now. On the present issue "whatever it is" as Brother Brewer would say, they are both "loose constructionists," very, very loose. Brother Hardeman has progressed so very far from his former "strict constructionist" views that when he sees such views in print now, he just "smiles." He used to talk to weak brethren and digressives in Tennessee like this:

"My obligation toward the Bible is the obligation that Mr. Jefferson felt toward the Constitution I must do what the constitution says, and not presume to go beyond it worship according to his decree, and practice those things, and only those things, for which there is authority in his word... anything commanded by God, authorized by the scriptures, that we do not preach and practice, we will introduce it . . . on the other hand, if there is one single thing preached or practiced that is not authorized by the word of God, I stand individually pledged to give it up I do not want to be responsible for sowing seeds of discord or division outside of that which God commanded."

Here is some "law and principle" he knew many years ago. He has forgotten it and when I remind him of it he "loosely" says, "We demand a list of the things forbidden and if you can't give it to us, there will be no need to write further." Now, he just dares us to furnish book, chapter and verse for "a baptistery." Huh! Considering his former size as an advocate of "the law and the principle," he certainly has swunk up. "Let us smile."

As for the other twin, who admits that he can't get half he writes in the Gospel Advocate "on his plane," he does manage to get published that his "challenge" for a debate still stands. O, no it doesn't. Brother Otey knocked that challenge into a cocked hat. He accepted the challenge and submitted a proposition so fair that he left the word "budget" out and almost leaned over backwards to get you on the dotted line and you backed out. I figured it was all brag and bluster all the time. Further Brother Otey dug up a letter from you admitting the very thing you vehemently denied recently in the Firm Foundation. No, you wouldn't even be "showmanship" on a platform now. It appears that about all the endorsement you have left is The Christian Soldier. And a few other things you have vehemently denied appear to be backed up by documentary evidence, but that can wait.

Maybe I ought to call this article "Two Bees In A Tar Bucket" or "A Pair of Twins Who Have Lost Their Memories." Being a kind-hearted gentleman, I can hardly find it in my heart to "smile" at the predicament they are in. They should either go back to "the law and the principle" Brother Hardeman has been preaching lo, these many years, or "close up like a clam."