"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.IX Pg.1-3
November 1947

Under The Right Tree

Cled E. Wallace

Brother Hardeman thinks, "the Banner Boys" have "Become Enraged." He reminds me of the alcoholic who staggered up to a policeman, accused him of being drunk and tearfully begged him to go home because he was in no condition to be out on the street. His "desperate effort to shift the issue and, if possible, prejudice the readers" makes it clear who is hot and bothered. His reckless and baseless charges lead us to expect nothing else from him than to "ignore everything, answer nothing and keep on bringing up something else" as far as the issue is concerned.

After all, possibly he is not to be blamed too much. I think he is doing the best he can under the circumstances. I am not "enjoying" his predicament as much as he thinks I am. I regret that a big man like he is can get himself into such a mess and feel sorry for him even if some substantial people think he doesn't deserve it. After holding me in high esteem for many years, or at least I thought he did, he has this to say of me:

"Brother Cled is indeed a garrulous writer. He seems to think he must say something regardless of its relevancy. He would, no doubt, love to be classed among the humorists. He will continue to talk. He can truly 'pace all day in the shade of a tree' and be no farther on his journey at sundown than he was at the break of day. He enjoys himself, and what he says does no harm to the arguments presented, so—let him rack on."

Brother Hardeman knows I'm not "enraged" and I know why he is worried because I "pace all day in the shade of that tree." He is up in it and he wants me to go away so he can get down. I'm under the right tree and I know what I have treed. And it isn't even smiling. The snarls and growls do not sound like Brother Hardeman used to, but I cannot be, mistaken. His name is signed to the scent I have trailed him by. No, I'm not ready to trail off after the "Sommerites" or jump on to the orphans' homes. I'll just pace awhile longer in the shade of the same tree. And I don't expect him at the moment to "class" me "among the humorists." I know that what I'm doing isn't a bit funny to Brother Hardeman. "Too bad!" Tree sitting isn't supposed to develop a sense of humor. And it is likely to breed queer ideas. For instance, he thinks that I have sawed the limb between me and the tree because I contend that "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."

If this is sawing the limb off between me and the tree, I think I'll just hang on to the limb and take my chances. Anyhow, I believe that to be the truth. The rejoinder that such a contention "estops" the church from building meeting houses and baptisteries and anything incidental or necessary in carrying out its appointed mission is cheap quibbling. Commands are inclusive and exclusive. In this instance our agitated brother is trying to torture it to include the financial support of "a human institution" with "a board of directors" which he defines as a business somewhat like a hardware company. He has no command, example or necessary inference that can be stretched that far. What is his answer to this? He "racks on" about "a list of things forbidden" and talks about somebody sawing the limb off between him and the tree, and tears his hair over "Sommerism." Who is making "a desperate effort to shift the issue and, if possible, prejudice the readers"? He can be located in the tree I'm "pacing" under.

Brother Hardeman up in a tree is the climax of some interesting events. In 1938 he said:

"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 then "certainly", no doubt about it, did "not endorse" what he now advocates. His twisting and squirming to get around that statement without disavowing it and frankly stating a change of views is one of the highlights of the meandering that led him to the tree I'm pacing under. What was the situation back there? From the first year that Foy became editor of the Gospel Advocate "beginning with 1930" until the last, he wrote articles on the subject "concerning the Church and the College." He took the same position then that he does now. John T. Hinds, C. R. Nichol and F. B. Srygley all wrote articles taking the same stand Foy had taken editorially. These articles were published and given editorial endorsement. These men "certainly did not endorse Brother Brewer's statements" any more than Brother Hardeman did. Throughout the years in the Gospel Advocate, the Gospel Guardian and the Bible Banner right up to date Foy has maintained the same position on the institutional question. In1938 in the very first issue of the Bible Banner Foy condemned "the current campaign to put Abilene Christian College in the budgets of the churches of Texas." He was fighting the same thing then that he is now. Brother Hardeman backed him up. He did not think Foy was inconsistent and contradictory. He did not think him "unstable." He does not think so now. He is treed.

Brother Hardeman's effort to reconcile his present position with what he said in 1938 is "about the weakest excuse I have ever read." This ought to take your breath:

"I did not endorse his idea, as reported in the paper, of putting schools in the church budget, and thus binding them upon the church. These Banner brethren have done their best to make me say that I favored this idea. They have absolutely failed. I have always believed that a church has the right to contribute to a school . . . if it wants to."

The truth is that back there nobody thought of the distinction between putting the school into a church budget and contributing from the church treasury. Brother Srygley, Brother Nichol and others specifically opposed churches making "contributions" to schools. They had editorial endorsement from Foy and every other kind from Brother Hardeman. He was backing Foy up against Brother Brewer one hunderd percent. That is what the statement of 1938 meant.

Brother Hardeman's current report of what happened when Brother Sommer came to Freed-Hardeman sounds like some of the facts had been juggled a bit. He is not too specific about what he said in his speech that so impressed Brother Sommer. Anyhow Brother Sommer was so overcome that he is reputed to have arisen and said:

"If Brother Hardeman wants to debate the merits of Freed-Hardeman College, I will not be his opponent. If that is the true story of this school, I have no criticism to offer."

Did Brother Hardeman tell Brother Sommer that he thought a church had a right to contribute to Freed-Hardeman out of its treasury if it wanted to? And that Freed-Hardeman was glad to accept such contributions? I'm afraid he didn't. It so happens that Brother Brigance deposed on this point. He wrote of that occasion:

"He thought it wrong for such schools to call on the churches for donations out of the church treasury ... When he found Freed-Hardeman College to be practically free from these objectionable features... and that we were in substantial agreement with him in his objections, he had no fight to make against us."

Brother Hardeman wrote:

"After full and free discussion, we found there was very little difference between Freed-Hardeman College and Brother Sommer on the 'Bible-school' question."

That was because Brother Hardeman then believed and talked like we do now. That was when he did "not endorse" Brother Brewer's ideas. He thinks it would bind the school upon the church if the church puts the school "in the church budget." But it can "contribute" to a school if and when it wants to and all binding ceases! Brother Hardeman ought to put a sign over the door of his office: "All Sorts of Turning and Twisting Done Here."

Brother Hardeman's rage is directed chiefly against Foy.

"Foy's radical changes on vital issues declare him Unstable. Being unstable, he cannot be a safe leader."

"Foy is an isolationist."

"Brother Foy has broken connection, with all of our schools, and he cannot endorse any of them."

"He has severed connections with all of our papers and editors, except the Bible Banner, and he is at variance with both Cled and Roy in it."

"He has broken relations with many of the oldest and most influential preachers in the brotherhood."

"Is it possible for it to be possible that all of our schools, our papers, our editors, and many of our ablest preachers are all in the wrong and Foy alone is in the right? Truly the whole army is out of step and only Foy is in line."

The malice and falsehood seething in these sentences are plainly evident. When did Foy become so "unsafe" and "unstable" in Brother Hardeman's eyes? As late as September 1946 he wrote a personal letter to Foy in which he commended his "love of the truth and sound position." In 1943 Brother Hardeman wrote:

"I am far from believing that your efforts have been in vain. I have frequently said that you will not be fully appreciated, until, perhaps, you have ceased from your labors...I think the reason the fight has been left to you (while others of us have escaped personal opposition) is because we recognize your superior ability and your medium to put things across.

" I have seen but few things you have ever written but with them I agree one hundred percent. I have sometimes questioned your judgement of propriety but I 'never doubted your sincerity. I have always admired your bold, fearless stand on what you believe."

What "radical changes on vital issues" has Foy made since then? None. The so-called "broken relations with many of the oldest and most influential preachers in the brotherhood" had all taken place. He mentions Brother H. Leo Boles as one of them. What was the "broken relation" there? Brother Boles challenged for a debate, sent propositions to several of us and we turned them down as not properly worded. Brother Hardeman thought what Foy said to Brother Boles was "well put." He commended "the spirit" of it. He mentions Brother C. R. Nichol and Brother G.H.P. Showalter. Wonder why? They have both spoken through the years and not as Brother Hardeman now speaks. Only recently Brother Showalter wrote an editorial voicing opposition to an orphan home operating under a board made up of brethren from different congregations. He says it is unscriptural. Just how "safe" and "sound" is he, Brother Hardeman? Did anything that ever happened between the men he named and Foy Wallace turn Brother Hardeman against Foy and lead him to the conclusion that he is "a double minded man and unstable in all his ways"? It did not! While all this was taking place, and Brother Hardeman's insinuations along this line are both base and baseless, was "the whole army out of step and only Foy in line" according to Brother Hardeman's current sneer? He never thought of such a thing and was all the time loving and flattering Foy. But now, right lately, he has become "unstable" and "unsafe"! Ah, Brother Hardeman, something has happened to you.

Since Brother Hardeman has made false charges and cried "unsafe," "unsound" "unstable" I am going to make a true charge backed up by the strongest evidence. Brother Hardeman sent Foy those Davidson letters. He sent a personal letter along with them. He sent Brother Whiteside a copy of them with a personal notation attached. Brother McQuiddy was quite put out when he found that they had gotten into our hands. He did not know it until he saw them in the Bible Banner! He phoned Brother Hardeman and asked him how Foy got the letters. Brother Hardeman told Brother McQuiddy that he did not know. He said the same thing in a letter to Brother McQuiddy that Foy read with his own eyes. Question! Is Brother Hardeman qualified to pass judgement on a man for being "unstable"? What can Brother Hardeman do under the circumstances? He can just "rack on" as long as the Gospel Advocate and The Firm Foundation are willing to let him "rack." Under the circumstances, the course he has chosen to pursue is contemptible.

This is not pleasant, of course. I am not enjoying it as Brother Hardeman suggests that I am. The nearest to "a radical change on an important issue" that Foy has ever made as far as I know was when he took a forthright position on the government question. He frankly stated the size of the change and why he made it. It was all right with Brother Hardeman then, but not lately. He is in a terrible state of mind and proposes to hang Foy's scalp on his belt by fair means or foul. Well, he won't!

If Brother Hardeman makes it necessary, I may have to pace some more under the same tree.