"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.VIII Pg.2-5
October 1947

Some Odds And Ends

Cled E. Wallace

Some queer goings on have been appearing in the Gospel Advocate and the Firm Foundation of late in connection with what has come to be known as "the college question." The responsibility, as far as I am concerned rests with the writers who are saying the odd things. There is no difference between us and the Firm Foundation on "the principle and the law" as far as I know. The editor has spoken out against putting the schools in the budgets of the churches. I do not know how the editor of the Gospel Advocate stands on the matter. If he has said, I have overlooked it.

Whatever a man's honest convictions are, even if he is honestly wrong, he ought to speak and write with some degree of sanity and regard for reason. He should manifest some poise and at least be tolerably balanced. We do not expect perfection along this line but we cannot think up a good excuse for going hog-wild.

Brother W. L. Totty in the Gospel Advocate wants to "Let there be Light" and thinks the way to do it is to have a big debate between G. C. Brewer and Foy Wallace. Being a humble sort of fellow, he proposes to write the propositions for both sides and turn Foy over to "the tender mercies of the gentle tongue of G. C. Brewer." Then in the cockiest sort of way he asks: "Will he let it 'pass'?" My first three guesses is that he will. He has never been known to gobble up irresponsible challenges with silly propositions written by the opposition. There isn't anything ignoble about passing a bantam crowing on a fence.

Imagine a man who thinks he is a debater demanding that an affirmant affirm that his "position" is "the only scriptural position." He tacitly admits that our position is scriptural, but he thinks something else is. In that case who affirms? Since Brother Totty doesn't seem to know, somebody ought to tell him.

In the first place, the Bible Banner has no way to prescribe for operating the schools, much less the only way. Brother Hardeman says they are human and private business institutions somewhat like a hardware store, only they are selling education. They are not church institutions. Let those who operate them do so anyway they please, but stay off the church. This appears to be both reasonable and scriptural. Brother Totty thinks this is "Sommerism." Well, honestly, I didn't know it. Is it possible that I have been a "Sommerite" for lo, these many years and didn't even know it? I admit I haven't had much "truck" with "Sommerites." I have seen only a very few in my whole life and they appeared to be fairly nice people. The strange creatures Brother Totty has been tangled up with must be pretty potent in view of the jimminy fits Brother Totty has when somebody like us reminds him of them. Something poison must have bit him.

The clumsy effort to scare us and confuse the brethren with the bogey-man of "Sommerism" is both thin and silly. Brewer "bluff," Totty "bluff,' Hardeman "bluff" or what have you, it won't affect anybody favorably who has a brain cell working. "But the Sommerites have always flocked to Wallace" according to Brother Totty. That might be classified as "lugubrious howling." Besides what else is wrong with the statement it is false. Because "the Sommerites have always flocked to Wallace" Brother Totty thinks the churches ought to put the colleges in their budgets. He is a debater you know and admits it. Brewer, Hardeman and Totty always stick to the issue! The thought of "Sommerism" doesn't make me have spasms like it does Brother Brewer and Brother Totty. It even seems to make Brother Hardeman act a little batty of late. My impression has always been that a dyed-in-the-wool "Sommerite" would not fellowship either Brother Totty or me. I admit, however, that Brother Totty is a little harder to fellowship than I am. I don't hate 'em like he appears to, and if they want to flock to me with "the position" I occupy, I'll give the whole shebang the right hand of fellowship. Besides, "the Sommerites" have not "always flocked to Wallace" as our agitated brother avers. The old he himself, the daddy of them all, started this flocking business to Brother Hardeman not very many years ago. Brother Hardeman was so tickled that he and Brother Brigance, who by the way does most of Brother Hardeman's writing for him, broke out in paeans of print and declared that no difference worth speaking of existed between them and Brother Sommer. They even accepted Brother Sommer's objections to the church going into the school business and took the same position then that we do now. Brother Hardeman declared that his sentiments and those associated with him had "ever been thus" or something to that effect. He liked Brother Sommer then a lot more than he did Brother Brewer and Brother Brewer didn't like either one of them any better than they did him. Brother Hardeman said along about then:

"I certainly do not indorse Brother Brewer's statements and would oppose any congregation putting Freed-Hardeman in their budgets. Such has ever been our sentiments."

He says that neither he nor Brother Brewer has changed. They are tied together now. I suggest that if Brother Totty really wants to have some fun that he hang them over a clothes line and let them scratch it out. It develops that Brother Brewer is as full of contradictions as Brother Hardeman is. He cannot very well affirm anything now. After all his "bluff" about wanting to debate just anybody, he refused to sign up with Brother Otey for the discussion of a specific proposition. No, he doesn't want to debate.

It hasn't been too long since we were both "safe" and "sound." Brother H. Leo Boles challenged us for a debate on the "war question." He insisted on writing out an affirmative proposition for us and would accept nothing else. We very properly, Brother Hardeman and Brother Totty thought, declined to affirm an unfair proposition. Brother Hardeman thought our handling of the Boles proposition was "well put." Brother Totty is rabidly against the conscientious objectors. In fact some well-informed brethren who know him think he is rabid about everything he goes at. So now since he is playing the role of valet for Brother Brewer, he adopts Brother Boles' way of challenging, only worse, crows as much like Brother Brewer as he knows how. We have been chided before for cowardice in declining to debate screwy propositions. We did not fall for it then and will not fall for it now. Maybe Brother Hardeman would now to affirm "Brother Brewer's statements." They seem to be in perfect agreement on "the law and the principle."

A late issue of the American Christian Review offers some evidence that the Sommerites" are about to take wing and flock away from Wallace.

"Usually accurate and fair, yet the Bible Banner (June '47) stoops to give space to that lite that because Daniel Sommer wasn't chosen head of Potter Bible College, Sommer began to oppose such misnamed schools. Well, if that's the way the Banner chooses to play, the readers can expect just any thing from now on ... but it does seem just too bad that a good journalistic reputation has to be soiled and so lightly tossed aside by catering to a fellow who hates the memory of Daniel Sommer more than he loves truth."

Now, wait a minute. You are hot under the collar. You should have cooled off a lot before you let the printer get hold of that. Maybe we are not as bad as you think we are. It is real refreshing to find somebody, even "a Sommerite" who thinks we have been "usually accurate and fair" and admits that we have had "a good journalistic reputation" is so hard to establish a journalistic reputation." We want to stay on speaking terms with anybody who thinks that much of us. I knew we were trying to be "usually accurate and fair" but "a good journalistic reputation" is so hard to establish and maintain that I didn't even know we had it. I know a lot of nice people who think we don't, but I have always consoled myself with the fact that it is plenty hard to tell the truth all the time and maintain "a good journalistic reputation" at the same time. So we decided to let the "journalistic reputation" go hang. I lost my "journalistic reputation" several years ago and never even stopped to go back and look for it. Its upkeep is too expensive anyway. Besides the thing never did fit me. It was too narrow in the middle and too short at both ends. It required that I be too nice to some folks who didn't deserve it. I think we are entitled to a "stoop" now and then according to the law of averages, but we ought always to be "accurate and fair" or at least try to be, and believe me we do try. Now, "that lie" or any other lie ought not to be published. If Brother Campbell "hates the memory of Daniel Sommer more than he loves truth" he ought to quit it and go to loving is enemies. And I get the impression that the Review maybe doesn't love Brother Campbell as much as it ought to. A little bird whispered to me that it doesn't love Brother Totty much either. Aside from "the law and the principle" I can't say that I blame it much. Brother Totty is a little hard to love at times. But then you know the Lord loves and chastens at the same time. Now about "that lie." Brother Campbell obviously thinks it is true. The Review thinks it knows that it is an old "lie." I have heard it off and on all my life and still don't know whether it is so or not. It is easy for some people to believe, hard for others, and impossible for still others. I personally never did put much stock by it and I hope the Review is right and Brother Campbell and Others are mistaken. It'll do to quit talking about anyhow. I met Daniel Sommer one time and had a conversation with him. I heard him make a brilliant speech. I liked him. He used to make me pretty sore at times, but then I'm doing the same thing to other folks at times, or oftener. Brother Showalter says that Brother Armstrong told him that:

'He had his debates with Daniel Sommer on the college question years ago, but that, as the schools are now going, Sommer was, after all, largely correct in his criticisms."

The chances are that Brother Armstrong and Brother Sommer would have gotten along pretty well together in their later years. Both have gone—to heaven we hope—and we can afford to let them both rest in peace. Now, the Review ought to cool off a bit and quit sobbing over our departed "journalistic reputation." If it can help us keep the schools and Brother Brewer trimmed down to the size of their britches without going to an opposite extreme just as bad or worse, we may yet be able to flock along together. You ought to be able to see where my "journalistic reputation" went to. At any rate we feel capable of giving Brother Totty's challenge the same

"well put" treatment we did Brother Boles', without any help from the Review or anybody else.

We saw something else in the Firm Foundation I suppose should be classified as an "odd." 'Brother M. V. Showalter, a brother of the editor of the Firm Foundation seems to be out of step with both his brother and us. His "observation" is that "treatments of this topic manifest strongly a preacher-writer ecclesiasticism in the church today." He thinks that we writers "seem never to care" what elders of the churches think and that we "expect those men to accept without question the writers' opinions." So his solution is to quit writing and let the elders of the churches decide these matters. Simple, isn't it? My impression has always been that such matters ought to be decided according to "the law and principle" laid down in the New Testament. As a preacher and a writer, if I think the elders decide wrong by what principle am I to be "stopped" from saying so? There may be an elder here and there who knows more than I do, but I doubt it. Now, don't get me wrong. I have "submitted" to a number of elders who didn't know half as much as I do. I never take charge of a church where I preach and if Brother Hardeman and Brother Brewer are a mind to and keep snooping around they are liable to find some church I have preached for doing some things I did not and do not endorse. If expressing my honest convictions contributes to the mulcting up or " a preacher-writer ecclesiasticism in the church today" I don't know that I can held to it. What does Brother Showalter think an editor should do? Personally, I don't think I have as much influence with the elders of the churches as he seems to think I have. My "observation" is that if elders think I'm right they act accordingly and if they think I'm wrong they follow their own "think" in the matter. Churches and elders quite generally do as they please. Even if all elders should put the colleges in their budgets. I still reserve the right to express the conviction that they are wrong in that action. What would have happened if the pioneers had kept quiet and let the elders decide whether or not to have the instrument in the worship? Or whether to put the missionary society in its budget? Brother Showalter has made an odd suggestion. I think he has made a very, very lame excuse for an unscriptural practice. He will, of course, continue to think as he pleases. In this case we agree with the practices of his brother, the editor of the Firm Foundation.

Brother Frank Cox of the Firm Foundation thinks "we are discussing dead issues" that "should have long ago been buried" and that we should quit it and go to fighting the Catholics. The editor of the Firm Foundation is right and Frank is wrong. These are not "dead issues." It is refreshing and encouraging to find Frank even willing to fight the Catholics. He will probably write a sermon outline and print a prayer occasionally against the Catholics, which they will never see, but we will continue to discuss any issue we think affects the church even if Frank does think it "dead." I may try to regain my "journalistic reputation" some day but it has never occurred to me that Frank could be of much help to me along that line. He doesn't like "tirades or abusive" language. Neither do I and I'm glad Frank has changed. I recall that a few years ago when the Christian Soldier made precisely that sort of attack on us, it tickled Frank so that he ordered two hundred and fifty copies. That is the issue that G. C. Brewer circulated in the Lubbock church. I'm glad to hear that he lost his taste for that sort of thing.

Now, that we have looked over some of the "odds," there is one thing appearing in the Firm Foundation in several installments that may be called an "end." Brother S. H. Hall has thought the thing "through." As usual Brother Hall always dreams and talks big things, even when he is talking about what he has done in Atlanta and elsewhere. He thinks the church ought to go into the school business on a big scale and can never touch the hem of the garment of the great commission until it does so. It appears not to have occurred to him that the early church carried out the great commission without going into the school business. He thinks we ought to have at least one thousand schools and really outdo the Catholics in that respect. The church should provide for and oversee the education of all the children of its members. That education should include everything from elementary to advanced training in all "honest occupations." If a man wants to be a doctor or an engineer the church ought to have a school where he can get the training he needs. He doesn't enter into a discussion of how the details of such a huge program could be made to fit into the simplicity of the New Testament order and the obvious mission of the church. I think Brother Hall just had a brainstorm. If he had been a Methodist, he would doubtless have been made a bishop. Personally, I'm thankful that we have a tax-supported public school system which offers high-class educational advantages to our children and that the church is free to concentrate on its divinely appointed mission of preaching the gospel to the lost and relieving the needs of the poor.