"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.4b-6
September 1947

A Nice Letter From Brother Brewer

Cled E. Wallace

Under the circumstances I feel certain that Brother Brewer entains a secret hope that his highly entertaining letter to me will appear in the Bible Banner. He possibly knows that I wouldn't think of enjoying it all by myself. And it belongs to that "half I write on my own plane" which could not find a place in the Gospel Advocate or the Firm Foundation. So he sends it to me.

Dear Brother Wallace:

Having just perused your persiflage in the Blasphemous Babbler for July 1947, I hasten to pen these paragraphs to you in appreciation of the praise you pour upon poor little me. You do me overmuch honor, not only in the fact that you and your comrades in casuistry and confederates in crime devote your entire magazine to a manhandling of my name and a mishandling of my statements, but you compare me to such literary characters as Hamlet and King Lear and Don Quixote and such modern paragons of perfection in the histrionic field as John Barrymore and Beelzebub, when I was all the time thinking that "you would scarce expect one of my age to speak in public on the stage" This again proves that neither of us has the power for which Burns so devoutly yearned.

Why such a sudden sunburst of fulsome flattery? Why grow so lyrical over my histrionic ability? And why this peon of praise of my personal pulchritude? No living mortal remembereth to have ever heard you sing in this key before! If, after twenty-five years of intimate acquaintance with me, you suddenly wake up to an appreciation of these personal talents and attainments, who can tell but that in another quarter of a century even you may abruptly recognize the soundness of my reasoning and the correctness of my position? It couldn't be that all these literary similes and histrionic hyperboles were simply used as a cover-up for someone who is running from that challenge for oral debate? Perish the thought! The Big Bad B. B. Boys wouldn't run from anything!! Or would they?

If I should engage in rhetorical reprisals, I might find a Shakespearean character to which you bear some more or less striking resemblance. Falstaff affords us an excellent example of your type of valor.

But, with these compliments and confessions of mutual admiration aside, it is now time to get down to a more serious side of our controversy; if, indeed, you ever get serious. You seem to think that I am pouting or that I am in high dudgeon about what you and your comic comrade babble about me in the Blasphemous Babbler! That is the most inaccurate feature of all your caricature of me. I am neither pouting, perturbed, peeved nor pestered by your perennial palaver. Once or twice in my early experiences, I looked into the muzzle of a gun in the hands of a mad moonshiner and did not faint; I hardly now would be expected to grow panicky over a squirt gun in the hands of a muddled monkey-shiner, though the material you shoot from the squirt gun does not always have a pleasant odor.

Let me make a confession: Instead of being properly incensed and insulted and scandalized by the Mardigras performance of you B.B. boys, I am always beset with an almost uncontrollable desire to get in there with you. Yes, sir, it is the truth! I may be by birth and training a patrician, but in principle I fear I am a plebeian, a proletarian, surely! I really get lonesome sometimes for you boys! When I think of this, I feel a sneaking suspicion that there may be more truth in that old doctrine of total depravity than we have ever admitted! I believe I am totally depraved; but I hope I am not teetotally depraved, however I may be, for I do actually often want to mix with you boys.

You go back on all your high compliments of me and state that I do not rate the attention that a discussion would give me! But I do rate all the space in each issue of the B.B.! Either that is a pretty high rating or your space is held at low value. And your magazine has credited me with changing the policy of all the schools, even with converting N. B. Hardeman! Still I do not rate any attention! These inconsistencies and contradictions, however, are nothin in the kaleidoscopic careers of some of the B.B. boys. They have left tracks on both sides of every creek. Want the proof?

You can tell your readers that you one time engaged in a discussion with me in which I was rendered hors de combat. But, of course, you would not boast! You leave that to egotists like me! Well, now if we cannot persuade you to enter a debate with me on the current issue—whatever it is—perhaps we can, with proper inducements, prevail upon you to repeat that old discussion in which you so ingloriously vanquished me. I am still of the same conviction on that point too. I have never changed my position on any doctrinal point or refused to discuss my viewpoint with any contender. My record is in print and is available. Do you want to enter a battle on that vantage point?

You indicate that you would like to discuss this point of a church's contributing to a college with me in the papers—not orally, I am too much of a showman— and your editor turns me over to the tender mercies of your facile pen, but he gets cautious and lays down the requirement that the discussion must be carried in the Gospel Advocate as well as in the B.B.! That was a valiant gesture and, of course, you feel perfectly protected. You know the G.A. is not going to carry your profane babblings. That paper will not publish half I write on my own plane, to say nothing of what I'll write on your plane. I am, therefore, making a counter proposal, but this does not nullify my challenge for oral debate. Here is my proposition: Let us have a written discussion—no matter what the issue is, you will not stay on that anyway—to be carried in the B.B. and in the Christian Soldier. Now what do you say? And, since all your B. B. writers insist on having their crack at me, we will let the Soldier boys contribute their two bits to the controversy also. I think they have some more to say anyway. However, I promise to make no attack on your character or the character of any of your colleagues. I have never done this, despite the statements that B. B. has repeatedly made with that ugly import.

You are a good writer and you could put up a fight worthy of any foe if you had an issue under your feet. At present, there is no issue between you and me upon which you hold any sincere conviction. That is too obvious. Your current contributions contain wit, humor, satire, rhetoric, literary allusions and everything else except sincerity and truth! It would be a pleasure to tear up your ostensible arguments, but I shall let that wait for the real discussion, oral and written.

In the meantime, let me assure you that I am not angry or in high dudgeon. I am calm and collected and colloquial, and I am still

Your Garrulous Friend,

G. C. Brewer

This letter goes a long way in justifying the recent remark that I made that:

"He is such an amusing clown and takes himself so seriously that it seems cruel to get mad at him. I just can't do it. If anybody feels any 'personal bitterness against' him they ought to quit it. He just doesn't rate it."

He is quite happy over "the sunburst of fulsome flattery" I gave him as I knew he would be. One thing I like about Brother Brewer. He is easily pleased and so appreciative. He likes "flattery" so well that when you sing his praises it doesn't make so much difference what "key" you "sing" it in. So it's all right if you get a little off key.

His letter reveals another thing that I knew all the time that some others do not seem to know. He does not want to debate. That isn't so bad. I don't either. The difference between him and me is that I have never pretended that I did. He modestly suggested himself as a champion in a big debate if the colleges, papers and brethren generally would endorse him as such. I haven't heard of him getting such endorsement. I suggested that if he did and nobody else could be found to meet him, I would if we could find an issue and agree on a proposition. As a matter of fact I never had a debate in my life, the formal kind you know with propositions, moderators, stenographers, sergeant-at arms, and the like. I could always think of and suggest somebody else who could do it better than I could. Of course it would be impossible for Brother Brewer to think of anyone who could do better than he can. Even I wouldn't expect that much of him.

The editor of the Bible Banner in a rash moment endorsed me to meet Brother Brewer in a written discussion provided the Gospel Advocate would carry it and we could agree on a proposition. That scared the daylights out of me at the time for it looked like I might have to debate. I feel easier now. Brother Brewer admits that the Advocate would not publish what he would say in a debate on "the plane" he proposes to say it. He must have been kidding about the colleges, papers and brethren generally endorsing him, for all the endorsement he suggests for a debate with me is The Christian Soldier. I'll admit that is some come-down on his part and I cannot allow it. I do not think as much of The Christian Soldier as he does. I have never circulated it where I preach or written for it like he has. Just to be plain about it, if it hasn't changed since I saw the last copy I wouldn't be caught dead in it. I do not claim to "be by birth a patrician" but I'm not "plebeian" enough either by birth or attainments to meet him on that low a "plane". He is evidently more highly immunized to bad smells than I am. If I ever have a formal discussion in spite of all I can do to keep out of it, I'll probably be as sedate and strict as a Presbyterian doctor and stick closer to the issue than Brother Brewer does his vanity.

"Your Garrulous Friend" speaks of "the current issue—whatever it is" and suggests "a written discussion—no matter what the issue is." If he wants to debate that bad, and I don't, he should have accepted Brother Otey's proposition which states an issue. Brother Otey accepted his challenge and he turned it down. Really, if I debate with him there'll be an issue and everybody will know what it is. He will affirm that it is scriptural to put the college in the budget and if he doesn't stick to that issue I'll see to it that everybody knows why. But he says he doesn't believe that. It seems that "at present there is no issue between you and me." Well, what are you crying about and challenging about ? That is what I have been talking against. "It would be a pleasure to tear up your ostensible arguments" but the "ostensible arguments" have been directed against what Brother Brewer says he is also against. The brother doesn't seem to know which side he is on as usual. He evidently likes a logomachies. Now if you don't know what that word means, it is not a cuss-word. The only reason I use it is to show that I can pick out a big word occasionally, even if I do not use them all the time like "Your Garrulous Friend" does.

Brother Brewer wants to debate so bad he is willing to "repeat that old discussion" we had many years ago. Well, that wasn't really much of a discussion. It was too one-sided. I made the innocent looking remark in the paper that it was good enough to just call the church anything and everything it was called in the New Testament and let it go at that. Brother Brewer, as usual was spoiling for a fight, and in knightly armor he rode at that "issue" and broke a few lances on it, got tired and quit. "I have never changed my position" on that point. If Brother Brewer wants to reprint it, he has my hearty permission. As allergic as I am to debates, I believe I'll agree to affirm in debate with Brother Brewer that it is scriptural to call the church anything and everything it is called in the New Testament; if he will affirm that it is scriptural to put the college in the budgets of the churches. But I want it understood that if he can't get any better endorsement or find a better place to have it that The Christian Soldier, we'll just call it off.

I appreciate a compliment as well as Brother Brewer does, well maybe not as, much. "You are a good writer and you could put up a figure worthy of any foe if you had an issue under your feet." Now, thanks! That's nice of you. Who knows but that some time you and I may be a thick as you and Brother Hardeman are? If you and he can love each other so dearly walking arm in arm back and forth between the Gospel Advocate and the Firm Foundation exchanging coy smiles "on the current issue—whatever it is—"; who knows what an affair you and I could carry on with an issue "under our feet" As it is, I wonder why that "mad moonshiner didn't go ahead and shoot you while he had a bead on you. There must have been some good reason why he let an opportunity like that pass I have an idea he took one look at you and started laughing.