"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.4-6
November 1947

Paradise Lost And Regained

Cled E. Wallace

One of the longest and most curious letters I have ever received is the "Open Letter To Brother Cled Wallace" appearing in a late issue of the Gospel Advocate. It was unnecessary for Brother Brewer to sign his name to it. Nobody else in the world, not even Brother Hardeman, could have written it. It laughs, it weeps, it cajoles, it threatens, it scolds, it apologizes and trumpets forth a scope of forgiveness toward his enemies, past, present and future that leads to the suspicion that he is in a trance and sees himself sitting on one of the twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Sinned against, but never sinning, he "turns out the forgiveness in wholesale lots," not even waiting to be asked. He appears to be wholly unaware of the fact that everybody who has kept up with the succession of events during the years, knows that his course has been so repeatedly provocative as to justify the chastening he has received at our hands. He even promises that after he gets through with his present spree of ugliness, he is "never going to get ugly anymore." He is going to climb back up on that "pedestal" where his friends, including some of the "Wallace in-laws and other connections" can again adore him, and be real nice the rest of his life. I hope he can do it, be real nice, I mean for even a reasonable spell, but I have known him a long time and feel compelled to put him on "probation." His spirit may be willing, but I think the flesh is weak.

It makes me feel a little cheap to look a gift horse in the mouth, but when Brother Brewer offers me an apology, unsolicited, unexpected and with that patronizing air in which he is above or below competition, my natural curiosity gets the better of me and I examine that horse fore and aft, and a strange mixup of horse feathers he turns out to be.

That apology is a Brewer classic. With gracious condescension he purrs that "I am going to apologize to you here and now for that letter of July 30, 1947." That was the letter which was published in the Bible Banner and which lost him paradise. It brought him "a dozen or so letters" from his "good friends" and revealed to him the pitiable condition into which he had fallen. We tempted him and he fell—right smack off the "pedestal" where his friends, including some of "the Wallace in-laws and connections," had exalted him—right down, down, down "to the level" where "the Bible Banner boys rage." His friends are "scolding" him "soundly" with the inference that he is getting to be no better than we are and it has broken his "big heart."

He is mistaken, his apology is not to me, it is a plea to his "good friends" to restore him to paradise, put him back up on that "pedestal" where he can again bask in the soothing sunlight of their admiration. He thinks it "may not hurt" me but it "does hurt" him for his friends to see him on my level and he proposes to make any sacrifice necessary "that my friends and your relatives will regain their respect for me and confidence in me" even if he has to refrain from getting "ugly anymore" and be nice for awhile.

I think a friendly warning is in order. If he succeeds in getting perched back upon that lordly "pedestal" and starts to preening his feathers and acting too important, I'll try to see to it that it is not all glory for him. I may not be able to knock him off again, but by the grace of God, I'll put a dunce cap on him if it is the last thing I ever do. I have never had any ambitions to get on a "pedestal" and if my friends ever act foolish enough to put me on one, I'll come down on my own power. I'd rather "pace all day under the shade of a tree."

It isn't too great a puzzle our apologetic brother poses about "members of some of the Wallace families—in-laws and other connections" having "too high a regard" for him and such a low regard for me and Foy. The Wallace tribe is numerous and it multiplies. I am the oldest of eleven children and naturally have some "in-laws and other connections." It wouldn't be at all surprising if one or more of them should stop to stare at Brother Brewer sitting on a "pedestal" and become a bit dazzled at the spectacle. I have an idea however that the whole thing is somewhat exaggerated. It is hard, I admit, to keep everybody, especially "in-laws and other connections" from having "too high a regard" for things they oughtn't to, but I'm doing the best I can along that line. I have one "in-law" for instance who, when I heard last, was an executive secretary of the United Christian Missionary Society. No telling what he is by now but it is something above "the level upon which" I "am now writing." He was at one time the protg of Jesse P. Sewell and David L. Cooper in the days when we kept Brother Sewell hot and bothered about some men he kept on his faculty at Abilene. This promising young fellow yearned for higher levels, collected as many degrees "as a thermometer" and has been flying high, wide and handsome ever since. He feels real sorry for some of his relatives, natural and spiritual, who have stayed on a low enough level to keep their feet on the ground. My advice to Brother Brewer is to sit somewhere where he can reach the ground with his feet, even if it does "disappoint" some of his "good friends" and some of "the Wallace in-laws and other connections." Such considerations are not a major problem with me when I am considering religious matters.

Brother Brewer is particularly anxious for us to know that there is no "coalition and collaboration between Brother Hardeman and me." Brother Hardeman wants everybody to know that there is no "collaboration" between him and Brother Brewer. I had an idea that neither of them was enjoying that reputation too much and I don't blame them for that. Under the circumstances, I would hate to be accused of "collaboration" with either of them. They do look quite twinnish but there is this difference. Brother Brewer is down off his "pedestal" and wants back up. Brother Hardeman is up in the tree I'm pacing under and wants down. If one can get up and the other get down, if it doesn't make them happy, they'll at least feel better.

Brother Brewer makes a whale of an admission for him. It is really a confession. There is "some basis for some of the things" we "allege against" him. "You represent me as having talked two ways on some issues and you cite the proof, but—" Well, I should say as much. "But" what? "You do not put a fair construction upon these circumstances and statements." He explains that there are times when he writes "in moments of sober thinking and deliberate expression." I agree with him that such is usually momentary. Then there are times when he orates "in the excitement of impassioned speech," is not to be considered too responsible and besides he gets misquoted. "Pacificism" is one of the four horses of communism, but he is a pacifist when he is sober and wants to fight when he's not. He begs for charity and I think he needs it. Wonder if Brother Hardeman, with whom he has developed such a sudden and wonderful "friendship," thinks he is "stable" ?

He wants to get back to his "life-long view of a Christian's part in war." He was "sober" when he said that "those who stay at home and buy war stamps, war bonds and in other ways contribute to the funds, are also participants in the slaughter." But he again must have imbibed a bit too freely of something "impassioned" when he reported that the church he was preaching for was investing money in "war stamps" and "war bonds" to be used in "postwar work." But he assures us that he is now "sober" and safe back home in the folds of pacifism. I have an idea that he may stay that way until he gets through at Harding College next winter unless something "impassioned" gets him excited again. I warned the readers some time ago that when Brother Brewer had one of his spells he should not be held too strictly to account, that he was not entirely responsible at such times. I hardly expected him to come right out and beg us to "put a fair construction upon these circumstances."

This "open letter" of Brother Brewer's is both "exciting" and "impassioned" and lacks soberness throughout. He really has a crush on Brother Hardeman. Brother Hardeman purportedly said some unkind things about me." Purportedly, my eye! He did, wrote it down and signed his name to it! But Innocent Brother Hardeman is not to blame in the matter. No, not he. He was the innocent victim of the depravity of Foy Wallace. "I know that Foy Wallace has prejudiced him and many others, and Brother Hardeman probably believed many things about me that were not true." Huh! Innocents abroad like Hardeman and Brewer should have some sort of protection against Foy Wallace.

Both Brother Hardeman and Brother Brewer have labored long and painfully to prove that Foy in the past endorsed what he is now fighting against—the colleges in the budget of the churches. They have brought forth about everything but the proof of their reckless assertions. The record is too clear. Foy is "purported" to have called Grover from Sherman to Denton to preach on the "budget system." "Foy publicly endorsed my sermons." It is significant that he does not claim to have advocated church support of schools in that "budget system." Foy tells me, we "collaborate" you know, that such a thing as Brother Brewer tries to remind us of did not happen at all. Something similar happened at Temple when I was there. I recall nothing of the kind. Perhaps it happened when I was not there. Anyhow it was nearly a hundred years ago and if I did listen to and endorse some of the foolish aberrations Brother Brewer can be guilty of, it merely means that I did not have as much sense then as I do now and that he ought to have "by reason of the time."

Those awkward propositions Brother Brewer submits for debate will not help him get seated back on his "pedestal" unless his "good friends" and "some of the Wallace in-laws and connections" are dumber than I think they are. I admit that I have some "in-laws and connections" who are not as smart as I am but I think they are smarter than that. Methodists have asked us to affirm that it is wrong to sprinkle babies and digressives have insisted that we affirm that they cannot scripturally use instrumental music in worship, but we have always understood that it was because they were unwilling to assume the burden of proving their own practice. Now we are asked to affirm that the church cannot scripturally support a "human institution" like a college out of its treasury. Evidently, they do not care to assume the burden of proving their practice, unless we handicap ourselves by affirming a negative. He claims the "endorsement of several colleges." It would be interesting to have him name them. I think I know of two that will not endorse him "in writing."

In 1938 Brother Hardeman said:

"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 sentiment's."

Now Brother Brewer says:

"You try to show that Brother Hardeman has reversed himself on several points. You quote him as saying he does not endorse my statements, but you do not show to what statements Brother Hardeman alluded. If he meant that he does not endorse the position that a church may donate to a college, then he would have contradicted things he had both written and said years before that denial that you quote was made. But Brother Hardeman was alluding to statements that were attributed to me, which statements I never made."

There is only one trouble with that "evasion," The facts in the case do not support it. We did not "try to show." We did. Brother Hardeman understood Brother Brewer all right and Brother Brewer understood Brother Hardeman and neither of them liked what they understood. But if that be true, then Brother Hardeman "contradicted" himself. Well, it looks very much like that is exactly what happened! I can admire Brother Brewer's sympathy with Brother Hardeman in a tight place and his newly acquired solicitude for his consistency, but he is at a decided disadvantage when it comes to the facts in the case.

Now, if Brother Brewer decides to get "ugly" some more, he might be able to justify himself in the eyes of his "good friends" and "some members of the Wallace family in-laws and other connections" by blaming it on me and Foy.