Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 3, 1964
NUMBER 17, PAGE 1,7b,8b-12a

Brother Wallace And The "Pseudo Issues"

Luther Blackmon

For the benefit of those who do not read that paper, the above title refers to an article by brother Foy E. Wallace in the April 28, 1984 issue of the Firm Foundation.

Within the last thirty years I have read just about everything that brother Wallace has written for publication, and have heard him preach when he was in reasonable driving distance. In years past he has been a source of help and inspiration to me in more ways than one. When he was editor of the Bible Banner he was generous in his praise of my efforts to write, encouraging me to write more. He said on one occasion that my style or manner of expression was similar to that of his brother, Cled. Considering the estimate that he placed on the writings of his elder brother, he could hardly have paid me a greater compliment.

Upon the tragic death of my sister in 1948, he came up from Galveston at his own expense, which included a night's lodging in the hotel, and preached her funeral, refusing any financial remuneration. But that was Foy Wallace. If he was a formidable opponent, he was also a loyal friend. It is hard to believe that the same compassionate spirit that was so often seen in his attitude towards his friends during those years could have written the article referred to above.

In reading his article I was reminded of an ugly and anonymous paper which was circulated against brother Wallace many years ago because of his unrelenting fight against premillennialism, college domination of churches and the maneuvering of such men as Clinton Davidson, Don Carlos Janes, et, al. He was sarcastically referred to as "Foy Esco Wallace" and once compared to "Scar-face Al Capone." I still have that cowardly and scurrilous article in my files. Brother Wallace is not a coward, does not write anonymously and has never compared any of his enemies to gangsters, as far as I know. But bitterness and personal resentment show throughout his article. He vehemently denies that his repudiation of position he attacks is prompted by any personal feeling and I think he has convinced himself that this is true. But I also think that any unbiased person reading that article would say that it reflects deep personal feelings against those to whom he refers. Note some of his descriptions: "partisan group of ambitionists"; "movement of madness"; "pretended and paraded loyalty"; (he does not hesitate to repeatedly charge those he attacks with dishonesty of purpose - (LB) "arrogance"; "there is need of mental morality in dealing with the sacred scriptures and ordinary honesty in the handling of the issues, and plain decency of conduct in general"; "fested minds" (I think he means "festered". Likely a typographical error - (LB); "the deranged and disordered minds which have been formed in the mold of radicalism"; "unbalanced reason"; "roaring radicals"; "bitterness"; "cynical complex of negativism"; 'second fiddlers of this imitation movement"; "crass stupidity"; "faction of fanatics"; "ego-centric men who will not turn back from diabolical designs to wreck the church"; "anti-ism"; "clique of cranks"; "unscrupulous conduct"; "wicked deeds"; "mendacity" (given to lying - (LB) "when the party bosses take snuff their followers all sneeze"; "opprobrious cause"; and on and on and on through an article of about ten thousand words.

In spite of my admiration for brother Wallace I have thought sometimes that he was unnecessarily severe in dealing with those with whom he differed, and his fight with brother Hardeman through the papers some back was too personal and vitriolic on the part of both of them, but if he has written anything like this article before, I must have missed it.

Demas Barnabas - Diotrephes

In connection with his denial that his present actions stem from personal feelings, brother Wallace goes on to say, "it is true that in the past there has been found a Demas of disloyalty, a Barnabas of broken company and a Diotrephes concerning whom it was necessary to 'remember his deeds and his 'prating against us with malicious words'. But no man past or present has been, or is, the subject of malice or object of personal opposition. The unscrupulous conduct, wicked deeds and fallacious issues have been, and are, the cause of my rejection of these men and their agitation movement."

I am not clairvoyant, but I have been close enough to the situation that precipitated this attack by brother Wallace, that I am pretty sure I know who Demas, Barnabas and Diotrephes are. But let's take another look at this drama involving a "Demas of disloyalty" a "Barnabas of broken company" and a "Diotrephes concerning whom it was necessary to remember his deeds and his prating against us with malicious words." Suppose that after a few years "Demas" had considered his actions with more mature thinking and had realized that he had wronged Paul personally. Then suppose he had written to Paul only to have his letters returned unopened. Suppose then that he had called Paul on the telephone and asked permission to come to see him, with the aim of making right his wrong, only to be refused the request. Suppose that Demas had heard that Paul was in a certain city holding a meeting and had tried to come to see him there, only to have Paul learn of his coming, close the meeting (his part in it) and leave to avoid seeing him. Suppose "Demas" had written to some elders of a church who were close friends of "Paul" and asked that they try to persuade 'Paul" to accept his apology for his past wrongs, with the result that "Paul" refused again, saying that "Demas" was making a grand-stand play. Then suppose that "Demas" had written to one even closer to "Paul" than those elders, asking this person to persuade "Paul" to read his letter of apology, only to have him refuse once more.

At the request of one of the men,, I read the letter that "Demas" wrote to the men in Houston. It was humble and apologetic. In this letter he offered to break off his association with the men whom "Paul" considers his enemies, if this would help to restore the relationship which he had previously enjoyed with him. So much for Demas."

I am fairly certain that Diotrephes would cross the continent at his own expense (at least he would have a few years ago) to set right any wrong, real or imaginary, that stood between him and this offended brother.

I would not try to speak for "Barnabas," but I have known him for quite some time and he has always played fair with me. I am persuaded that he would meet any man half way at least.

Wallace And The Publishing Co.

I was a member and small stockholder in the Cogdill Publishing Company for most of its existence. We were to publish the book now called "Bulwarks Of The Faith," the second series of sermons preached in the Music Hall in Houston. Cogdill tried for at least two or three years to persuade brother Wallace to correct the manuscript so that we could get on with the book. He could not or would not do it. I was present when arrangements were made to advance him $1,000.00 on the book so that he could take off time to work on the manuscript. He accepted the money but still did not correct the manuscript. Then after five years had gone by, he and the Publishing Co. dissolved all financial relationship and brother Wallace took over his books, Of course the $1,000.00 was taken into consideration. There was no difficulty with brother Wallace in the financial settlement. But when he began the publication of "Torch," he published the following statement concerning his book.

"Dear Friends: Arrangements have been concluded with the Roy E. Cogdill Publishing Company for me to take over my personal books, including the publication of the second Houston Music Hall series of sermons on Catholicism and Denominationalism, to be published in a two-volume set. Publication will go forward at once." (Torch, Vol. 1 No. 4, Oct. 1950.) Then in the June - July 1951 issue he wrote as follows: "This book was intended to be the companion volume to "God's Prophetic Word," had it been printed by the original printers. After five years the publication has been turned over to me, and it is now being completed and ready for delivery." (Torch Vol. 1 No. 9, June-July 1951.)

After years of trying to get him to correct the manuscript, which only he could do, and after years of writing letters to the people who had sent in their money (many of whom I wrote personally) trying to explain why the book was being held up so long, (all of which didn't help our business nor increase the confidence of the people in our efficiency and honesty,) brother Wallace leaves the impression that the fault was with the publishing company! This, along with several other things he has said and done in recent years, has not added any lustre to his public image among those who know the facts,

Hearsay Evidence

Brother Wallace admits that the information upon which he launches his attack is based on hearsay and "what is observed." He won't read the writings of the men he writes about, and certainly would not hear them preach, but is willing to listen to what "others" say about what they write and preach and do.

I am not sure I know what he means by "what is observed," but if he were willing to do a little observing with the aim of learning only the facts, he could "observe" that many of the splinter factions among us came out of the churches which were established by "the truest and greatest preachers the church has ever known," because "these churches refused to support Herald of Truth or other projects and institutions which he has consistently opposed with vigor." Let somebody deny this and I will furnish a list of names and places.

Wallace And The Advocate

Now these factions will no doubt distribute his article with energy and gusto, and with some effect. Churches which ten years ago would no more called him for a meeting than they would have called me, will now rally around him. Even the Gospel Advocate editor who; in the past, has evidently regarded brother Wallace about as highly as he does the editor of the Gospel Guardian, is now running his article in that paper and, worse still, chopping it up into a series. But, Pilate and Herod made friends when they found a common foe.

Ironically, the very thing brother Wallace is raising such a fuss about, namely, that his writings are misused, he now seems willing to allow. Not only has his article appeared in the Gospel Advocate, the leading instrument for the promotion of church support for schools and other unscriptural practices which Wallace has fought all of his life, but it has also been printed in tract form and will be distributed by churches that he knows will squeeze out of it every ounce of Wallace influence that's left towards the promotion of things which Wallace for fifty years has opposed. Not only that, but he also knows that should he desire to repudiate any misuse of his article or his influence, he will not be allowed to do so in the Gospel Advocate. At least he would be granted that right in the unmentionable paper.

Not Of "Their" Party

Under the sub-title, "The Charge of Changing," brother Wallace says, "Not being a subscriber to nor a reader of their papers, all I know is what is heard and observed; so it comes to me through others that the chief party paper has currently castigated me, which castigation, of course, will be re-echoed and parroted in the chain bulletins and satellite mediums of the party. That is altogether good news as it should be the final proof to the whole brotherhood that I do not belong to their party. He evidently refers Bryan Vinson's recent articles in the Gospel Guardian. If he had read Vinson's articles instead of depending on "what is heard and observed," he would have seen that it was not a "castigation" but a brotherly effort of an old friend to point out the inconsistencies of his present conduct and teaching in the light of his former statements regarding the same matters. And a commendable job it was.


Brother Wallace cannot bring himself to even mention the name of the Guardian, the men connected with it or those who write in it. This is singular action for one who says that "no man, past or present, is, or has been the subject of malice or object of personal opposition." Those of us who can remember his dealing with men and papers in years gone by know that he was not hesitant about calling their names. Such men as R. H. Boll, the recognized leader of the premillennial faction; G. C. Brewer, after his Abilene speech in which he minimized the importance of the fight against premillennialism; Eugene V. Wood, who "sat" with J. Frank Norris in the Ft. Worth debate; Chas. M. Neal with whom brother Wallace debated the millennial twice; Don Carlos Janes who was often referred to as the "one man Missionary society," and who came in for repealed treatment by brother Wallace; 'Clinton (copyright) Davidson" he called him; were given considerable space in his writings for a while. All these men were targets of his pungent pen at different times, and he left no doubt as to the identity of either the men or the papers in which they wrote. He called names. The fight that was waged between him and brother Hardeman over the college question in the Gospel Advocate and the Bible Banner, just before brother Wallace relinquished his post as as editor of the latter paper, caused many people to write in, asking that we stop sending the Bible Banner to their homes. I read some of the letters and answered them myself. But withal, brother Wallace never held these men in such contempt as to avoid the mention of their names or the papers in "Which they wrote. Surely he does not regard the men to whom he now refers and the teaching he calls "anti-ism" as a greater threat to the cause of Christ than the men who led the premillennial movement! (He does not think that this "imitation movement" amounts to much, it seems.) For many years he preached against premillennialism from Mexico to Canada and from coast to coast. He not only preached special sermons of two hours or more on the subject, but he seldom preached on anything else without taking a crack at the premillennial crowd before he finished. The softies and compromisers screamed "hobbyist," "dictator" and other such epithets, but he kept right on with the fight. He believed, as does every other faithful gospel preacher, that premillennialism is subversive of the gospel and destructive of the church of the Lord.

But now the scene has changed. The persecuted becomes the persecutor. He now heaps upon others the same kind of invective and abuse that he once received. And for what? In the answer to that question lies the irony of this whole business as it concerns brother Wallace. He now heaps ridicule upon men who are opposing the very same things he opposed ten years ago, his statement to the contrary notwithstanding, and this we shall later show. He charges that his writings have been mutilated, his position misrepresented by designing men and an effort made to commit him to a position which he has never held.

I don't read everything that everyone writes, and it may be that some statements by brother Wallace have been quoted out of context or something left out that changed the meaning which he meant to convey to the readers. I don't know. That has happened to most of us who have written anything much. But I doubt that any of the men who were targets of his recent tirade have intentionally misrepresented him in this manner. Let me say, that here is one preacher who has not "misquoted" him because I have not until now, "quoted" him since I learned that he is so touchy about being quoted and having his sermons taped. I didn't need what he had said to prove what I wanted to prove. I have quoted from numerous other preachers in the tracts I have written, in order to show that opposition to benevolent organizations and brotherhood cooperatives did not begin in Lufkin in the early fifties as some have been led to think. Brother Wallace accused those whom he attacks in his article of "misappropriating the pioneers," and singles out brother F. B. Srygley. I don't know what brother Srygley said in sermons or conversation. I never met him or heard him preach. But I know what he wrote, and I didn't "misappropriate," in my quotations, what he wrote.

Misappropriating The Pioneers

Under this sub-title brother Wallace says: "It appears to be the conspired stratagem` and understood party policy to print purported quotations from writings of earlier widely known and honored men, in order to add the prestige of these respected names to an opprobrious cause which has declined into general disrepute — though it is factually and indisputably in the record that not one of these men of venerable memory subscribed to the formulated opinions now being ascribed to them by the formulators of the various inconstant and changing whimsy's of this peculiar party's beliefs.

"In my earlier and their later years it was my providential good fortune to be associated with the men whose writings these unscrupulous quoters have attempted to adapt. The chair occupied by F. B. Srygley was situated within thirty feet of my own desk in the Gospel Advocate office, and with me it is a matter of personal knowledge that he was not in accord with the factious views that have been imputed to him. To the exact contrary it was that as he consistently endeavored to deter deviations in teachings and practice, he was engaged also in constant editorial exchanges exposing the inconsistencies of the anti-college and anti-orphanage contentions of the Sommer movement. And to him was largely due the credit of destroying the Sommer influence by his relentless parallels — that while opposing 'institutions' the Sommer's were themselves operating a religious institution depending upon the contributions of their brethren for existence and support. True to this pattern, these late Sommer imitators themselves practice now in some form all of the things they condemn in some other form in others. Their whole agitation movement is one of institutional domination and a centralized control of churches and preachers, a peculiar brand of their own creation."

In a tract titled "Benevolence, The Brethren And The Bible" I quoted an excerpt from an article by brother F. B. Srygley which appeared in the Dec. 3, 1931 issue of the Gospel Advocate. I did not quote the whole article, but nothing in the article contradicts what I quoted Brother Srygley said, "They (first century churches, L.B.) had no organization larger than their local churches. There was no discussion among them about how to build and — control institutions such as orphanages or homes for the aged, or hospitals for the sick. There is no more authority in the New Testament for the control of such things than there is for the control of a farm or a health resort."

Perhaps brother Srygley, at some time earlier or later than this, said something that does not agree with this statement, or, perhaps his practice with regard to church support of orphanages and homes for the aged was not always in harmony with what he wrote here. I don't know. But I know what he wrote here, and it could not possibly be construed to mean that he thought church support for orphanages and homes for the aged was supported by New Testament authority. And if quoting what he said in 1931 to show that opposition to church supported benevolent institutions is not new makes me an "unscrupulous quoter," then I am guilty. In the same connection I quoted brother Guy N. Woods who wrote in the 1948 Annual Lesson Commentary of the Gospel Advocate Company page 338 and 340, "For another such contribution for the poor in Jerusalem, see Acts 11:27-30. It should be noted that there was no elaborate organization for the discharge of these charitable functions. The contributions were sent directly to the elders by the churches that raised the offerings. This is the New Testament method of functioning. We should be highly suspicious of any scheme that requires the setting up of an organization independent of the Church in order to accomplish this work..." "There is no place for charitable organizations in the work of the New Testament church." (emp. L. B.)

As everyone knows, brother Woods has, in recent years, defended in debates the right of churches to build and support such "charitable organizations", and yet he stoutly denies that he has changed. If brother Woods wants to deny that he believed what he said in 1946 he is welcome to whatever advantage he thinks he may get out of it. But I can read what he wrote, and it cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be harmonized with what he now teaches. Perhaps if brother Srygley were living he would say that, like some of the rest of us, he did not always make proper application of what he taught to what he practiced.

Wallace And Sponsoring Church

I remember that brother Wallace himself, urged brethren to support brother James E. White in his work among the Indians in the area of Oneida, Wisconsin, by sending to a sponsoring church. The work for some time was under a church in Flint, Michigan. The "sponsorship" was later assumed by the Highland Church in Abilene. Later it died out. When the sponsoring business continued to increase among the churches and brother Wallace began to vigorously oppose it, he was reminded that he had endorsed such an arrangement among the Indians in Wisconsin. Later on, in the September 1950 issue of "Torch", page 25, he had this to say:

"It is to be admitted that these extremes in this so-called cooperation have slipped up on us all. Most of us in the past have acquiesced in cooperation plans, one way or another, and have said things that may have been taken as a past endorsement of what is presently being done. But it has developed into something that was not expected. Even the brethren who have assayed to come to the defense of the central sponsors are now conceding that this cooperation thing may be carried to extremes. That being true, it really becomes their duty to point out when and how these churches may practice the extremes they concede to be a possibility. If they are not already doing so, I confess a loss to know how they could do so. If it has not already gone to an extreme when would it and how could it? When the conceded extreme is named, and an attempt made at an argument made on it, the conclusions will contradict the premises."

In the Oct. 1950 "Torch", page 23, brother Wallace says:

"There are some issues that are defined by positive precept and specific command, and are, therefore, automatically resolved and immediately composed. There are others that find definition in development and application of principles. Extremes grow out of some things less dangerous in themselves and seemingly innocent, in the work and activities of the church. In this category some things have mistakenly been taken for granted in their start which had to be abandoned and repudiated in course of development. Any man who would say that he has never sanctioned, approved or participated in some activities of churches that he did not later find necessary to reverse would be egotist and could not be trusted for honesty."

Perhaps he had forgotten this when he "castigated" some others for repudiating such cooperative efforts as the Music Hall Meetings and Louisville cooperative meetings.

When I began preaching I had little preparation. My education was very limited and my knowledge of the Bible was equally limited, so I leaned heavily on the help of men in whom I had confidence. I soon became an avid reader of the original Gospel Guardian and later the Bible Banner. Through the help of such men as Foy E. Wallace I learned that the only organization that God has authorized to do the work of the church is the local church. I preached this with conviction, and still do. But while I was preaching this, I was, for a time, encouraging churches where I preached to support from their treasuries such organizations as Boles Home. When I realized that my preaching was not in harmony with my practice, I changed my practice. It was then that I got into trouble. I learned that it is all right to preach that the local church is sufficient to do everything God wants the church collectively to do, just as long as you don't ask brethren to practice it!

Cooperatives, Large, And Small

My last visit of any length with brother Wallace was several years ago when we were engaged in meetings in neighboring towns. He told me with apparent delight that according to his information, Yater Tant had taken a beating in the debates with E. R. Harper in Lufkin and Abilene. Of course, he didn't call names. One of these men is unmentionable as far as he is concerned. Like brother Wallace, I was not at either of these debates. I was in meetings both times, one time at Marshall, Texas and the other at Reno, Nevada. So, I don't know anything about it except what I heard. But what I heard did not jibe with what brother Wallace heard. I was told that Tant gave a good account of himself in spite of Harper's bluster and experience, except on one point he tried to defend the Montana radio work where several churches were sending to one church to put on a local radio program, which program was being heard in seven states, I can well understand how he would have trouble with this sort of thing, because it can no more be defended than can the Herald of Truth. YET THIS IS THE KIND OF ARRANGEMENT BROTHER WALLACE WILL ENDORSE AND LASHES OUT AGAINST THOSE WHO HAVE REPUDIATED SUCH. He has nothing but contempt, it seems for those who have repudiated such cooperative efforts as the Music Hall Meetings in Houston and the cooperative meetings in Louisville. I don't know anything about the Louisville meeting, but I do know, about the first Music Hall meetings in Houston. The elders of the Norhill church received money from about twenty other churches and financed the meeting. And, although there is a difference in the size and scope of the works and the purpose for which they were planned, there is no difference in the principle involved. If the elders of a church can oversee a city-wide work of two weeks duration, involving the funds of many churches, they can oversee a country-wide work, or a state-wide work or a nation-wide work of such nature. If not, why not? Is it the length of time it continues that determines whether or not it is unscriptural? Is it the number of contributing churches? Is it the scope of the work? Brother Wallace seems to think that the elders of a church can oversee a city-wide work like the Music Hall meeting for a week. Suppose we make it country-wide and two weeks, or state-wide and six weeks? There are some states where there are not enough members of the church to fill a good sized tent. Could all the churches in a state have a six weeks meeting under the supervision of one eldership? Would brother Wallace do the preaching in such a meeting?

Let me remind brother Wallace that he said in 1952, "It is to be admitted that these extremes in this so-called cooperation have slipped up on us all. Most of us in the past have acquiesced in cooperation plans, one way or another, and have said things that may be taken as a past endorsement of what is presently being done. But it has developed into something that was not expected.

Brother Wallace has preached all over the country that the Herald Of Truth Type of arrangement is unscriptural. Since he thinks that an eldership can oversee a city-wide effort for a week, and cannot oversee a nation-wide work for 13 years, and since he had so much to say about it, he ought to be able to tell us where these cooperative efforts become unscriptural. As he said, really becomes their (his) duty to point out when and how these churches may practice the extremes they (he) concede (s) to be a possibility." Let brother Wallace tell us what scriptural principle is violated when 1,000 churches over the nation send to one church to do a cooperative work for 13 years that is not violated when 20 churches in one city send to one church to do a cooperative work for 8 days. When he does, "his conclusions will contradict his premises". It would be interesting to him try to defend the one and oppose the other in debate with somebody like Guy Woods. Could brother Wallace have more than one reason for his repeated statement that he would not be caught dead at one of these dogfights between brethren that they call debates? He didn't think that a debate between brethren on premillennialism, was a thing to be shunned, and evidently he thinks that what he calls "anti-ism" is just as bad as premillennialism.

Why the sudden timidity or aversion towards debates between brethren? Anyone who cares anything about the church hates to see a situation that makes a debate between brethren necessary, but when such situations arise, debates of the right kind often help honest people to see the truth. And whether he thinks so or not, there are some of us whose love for the truth and care for the church run as deeply as does his. And as for the "dogfights", I wonder if an ugly tirade looks any better on the pages of the Firm Foundation than it would sound in oral debate.

-La Porte, Texas