Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 29, 1951
NUMBER 30, PAGE 8-10a

The Advocate Editor Can't Take It

Roy E. Cogdill

The editor of the Gospel Advocate has been deeply wounded and is whimpering considerably in the recent issues of that paper. He set out, so he said to find out if I could "take it as well as I could dish it out" and we have found out that he "can't take it" at all. If he can, then why all the crying and begging for sympathy. His humor (?) in the issue of October 11, about "heap big wind, no rain" has backfired. The tornado that hit him has been followed by a torrent of tears. He avowed in that editorial that he had not been hurt but had only been "slobbered on." It is not surprising that he has been "slobbered on" for in the phobia he has shown he could not expect to do all the slobbering he has done without getting it all over him. As for being hurt, if he isn't why all the complaining? Is he just trying to arouse sympathy? He reminds us of the German who shouted in World War I that he wasn't hurt when the negro slashed at him with his razor. The negro replied, "No? Yo jist try shaking yo haid?"

Errors In Their Literature

The "unchanging" editor made a weak effort to parry the point made concerning the errors in the Gospel Advocate's literature. We did not miss the mark too far in our prediction that he would not do anything about it even though we were not claiming to be an inspired prophet like Ellen G. White or even as perfect as the Advocate editor thinks he is. He tried to break the force of the blow by stating his own personal beliefs concerning the errors mentioned. That is to answer at all. We did not charge that he believed error but that it is very definitely taught in the literature which he edits and fundamental error at that. We neither knew or care what his personal belief is so far as the harm done is concerned. The point is that according to his boast "hundreds of thousands of users" of his literature are being taught error. Many of them may know and recognize the error and correct it in the class but Goodpasture deserves no credit for that. Many others will swallow blindly the error that is taught in their devotion to the Advocate. If the influence of this literature is powerful for the truth, it will be even more powerful for spreading the error that it is teaching to unsuspecting souls. Who is responsible for those who are led away from the truth among the "hundreds of thousands" who use it? If those who use it believe what it teaches and "hundreds of thousands" use it, the whole church might well be led into apostasy by it and Goodpasture will be responsible for it as the editor of it. He doesn't seem to be concerned about such harm being wrought and weakly replies, "I do not personally believe these errors." Isn't that impressive?

I have in my possession one copy of an Advocate quarterly which teaches that Simon, the Sorcerer, was never truly converted. Goodpasture says, "I believe his conversion was genuine." Then why didn't he correct that error in his literature? I also pointed out that in a recent lesson in his literature it is taught that the name "Christian" was given to the disciples by the public and not by the Lord. To this he weakly replied, "The editor thinks that the name Christian was given by Paul and Barnabas to the disciples." Such weakness is sickening. Why did not "the editor" strike out the false teaching if he did not believe it? What conclusions are the people to reach about the literature? Doesn't it have an editor?

To the charge that a recent quarterly was full of modernistic teaching he also feebly replies, "He (the editor) is opposed to every kind of modernism, and makes it a point to have good articles dealing with the different phases of modernism in the Advocate frequently. At present he is delivering a series of lectures against modernism—one a week—at the Chapel Avenue Church here in the city." Does he actually think that these articles in the Advocate and his weekly speech will overcome the harm that his literature is doing among its "hundreds of thousands" of users? Can't he realize that all of this only means to his readers that he and the advocate are teaching one thing and some of his Sunday school literature is teaching another thing? Since neither of them can afford to "change," it must stay that way without any correction.

He wants me to be specific and tell him where these errors are taught. What is the matter with "the editor"? Doesn't he know what his literature teaches? He either does know or he doesn't know. If he doesn't know, why doesn't he? Has he edited it without reading it? If he has not read it, then the literature doesn't have an editor and he is misnamed. If he has read it and failed to recognize the error that is in it, then he is incapable of editing it. If he read it and noticed the error but willfully let it get by rather than correct it, he is unworthy to be the editor of anything that is supposed to teach the truth. You can have your choice. I am under no obligation to edit it for him and point out the errors. If he thinks that we cannot point them out though, let him deny that they are there and we will produce them.

The Rumor About The Staff Writer

"The editor" devoutly wishes that I would turn detective for him and ferret out the staff writer about whom it is rumored that he has a standing offer of a "$25 reward for anyone who visits the Advocate office and hears brother Goodpasture mention any preacher in conversation without trying to knife said preacher in the back before the conversation ends." Well, I am not going to play detective for him either. He can determine for himself whether or not the offer was actually made and the rumor is true, and if it is, then he can find out for himself who the guilty party is.

He deals with the matter in his characteristic way by misquoting and misrepresenting it almost every time he refers to it. It seems impossible for him to represent anything accurately. Over and over in his editorials he gives me credit for saying that such an offer had actually been made. I did not say it. Here is what I did say:

"I am wondering from the tone of this last article if it is actually true, as reported, that one of Goodpasture's own staff writers on the Advocate has a standing offer of a $25 reward for anyone who visits the Advocate office and hears brother Goodpasture mention any preacher in conversation without trying to knife said preacher in the back before the conversation ends."

Here is how he quotes my statement, compare the difference:

"Since we published the statement from the publisher of the Guardian that a staff writer of the Advocate has a standing offer of a $25 reward for anyone who visits the Advocate ..."


"Of course, we do not certainly know whether or not a staff writer made any such statement as the publisher of the Guardian reports."

and again,

"In the Guardian of September 20, the publisher carried the statement that "one of Goodpasture's own staff writers on the Advocate has a standing offer of a $25 reward for anyone who visits the Advocate office . . ."

Do you see how adroitly the statement is misrepresented? I referred to the statement only as a report. I wondered if it were true and stated that the thing had caused me to wonder about it was the article written by "the editor" in which he had definitely "knifed me in the back." He quotes me as making the statement as a fact. Well, I didn't and again he misrepresents and distorts the truth. I do not know whether such an offer was ever actually made by anyone, or, if so, in how much sincerity it was made. But I do know that it is reported. Many have heard it and it has been discussed generally among preachers in groups upon various occasions and that can be established. It might, even be interesting to cross examine some of the witnesses he has produced, especially if you could put some of them under oath. There are many others who are wondering, just as I am, if it is true. That he does frequently stab someone in the back can be abundantly established by his editorials in the Advocate. But I did not allege the truth of the report, I do allege the report and its commonness.

The Witnesses

Goodpasture puts all of his staff writers on the witness stand to testify that they did not offer such a reward. He makes a desperate effort to "put someone on the spot." He would like to "put his finger" on several and order them "taken for a ride" but he is afraid that he wouldn't get away with it. "The spot" he is on is the one that is really worrying him. After offering all the testimony of his writers he then refers to the matter in this way,

"If some staff writer made the statement in question, he has since denied it; and should be exposed in his duplicity. If no such statement was made by any staff writer, as the testimony indicates ..."

"Even if it should turn out that some staff writer has made the statement which all have denied, his testimony would not be impressive; since he has contradicted himself."

There is considerable doubt in the mind of the editor as to whether or not he can absolutely rely on the testimony of his staff writers. He is not too impressed with their testimony himself. We suggest that he might put them under oath or require an affidavit, and then "if it should turn out that some staff writer "was not telling the truth about it, he could really "put them on the spot" for committing perjury. As it is, I guess brother Brewer will just have to continue to worry about getting "the shadow taken off" of him.

It is just barely possible that "the editor" may have scared some of his staff writers by the threat to fire them that he made in the editorial of October 11. Such would almost constitute duress and an intimidation of the witness for to be fired from the staff of the Advocate and have the wrath of "the editor" descend upon your head would be almost more than any one of them could be expected to bear. They would get "knifed" plenty then and they all know it.

Cheap Gossip

The editor of the Advocate assails us pretty strongly for "peddling cheap gossip" and asserts that if no such statement was made then "Cogdill stands before the bar of brotherhood justice and truth, discredited and condemned as a convenient and willing medium for the circulating of gossip and slander." That is the first time he has indicated that he knew of the process of "hailing anyone before the bar" for justice or anything else. It has heretofore been his custom to neglect or ignore that process. Every reader of the Advocate will remember that "Cogdill stood condemned" before editor Goodpasture's Advocate bar without any investigation, notice, or opportunity to offer any defense and upon the testimony of some witnesses with prejudiced interests in the case. It was the Advocate editor who went into his editorial columns with such a pronouncement of condemnation and rendering of judgment and he did so with evident glee in the thought that now he had something with which he could do away with some opposition.

Have any of the witnesses or the readers stopped to think that the worst crime Cogdill had ever committed against editor Goodpasture or the Advocate to deserve such treatment was to oppose some of the things they teach because we do not believe them to be according to the word of God? False teachers have always followed the same tactics. When you cannot answer the argument in the discussion of an issue, discredit the man and destroy his influence. The Advocate editor thought he had found such an opportunity and was not hesitant to employ such a low and cheap method in order to have his way. It is becoming more and more evident to thinking brethren through the land that when these idols of the institutionalists are criticized, they will destroy you if they can. Schools, benevolent institutions, and centralized elderships have employed such means and the editor and some of the chief writers of the Advocate are the chief contenders for these institutional idols and commonly employ such tactics. They show the weakness of their cause in the effort they make to discredit, castigate, inflame, and arouse personal bitterness by any means at their command. No one is a better example of such than the sage of Memphis, G. C. Brewer. He is the Advocate's chief expert at vilification, abuse, and misrepresentation. Goodpasture's unwarranted and unprovoked attack upon me personally was prompted by no interest in the local affairs of the church where I live or in the good of the cause of Christ as a whole but in a desperate desire to destroy those who oppose him and the Advocate in the thing they are trying to do to the church.

In his editorials concerning the Lufkin matter (about which he has become exceedingly quiet of late) and especially in the issue of August 23, 1951, he did not stop with "cheap gossip" but was a very "willing medium" for the propagation of malicious falsehoods better described by a term which it does not take so many letters to spell. He was prosecutor, judge, and jury in passing sentence upon Cogdill and manifested so much eagerness to destroy with his slander that he laid himself open to what came later. Let all Gospel Guardian and Gospel Advocate readers remember that Goodpasture introduced all of this matter in an unprovoked and unwarranted attack upon Cogdill in the columns of his paper. He is the one who not only alleged facts concerning me which were wholly untrue, slanderous in their nature and for which he could be held answerable in a court of law but it was he who resorted to the very tactics about which he has cried so much in his recent editorials by such statements as this, "Is it true that the publisher of the Guardian, according to reports from Lufkin, got mad because the Lufkin church did not want him as their preacher and as a result, took one elder and about twenty percent of the congregation as a "minority faction to the courthouse"? That was not a case of "cheap gossip" but malicious misrepresentation. It was such knifing as that without any opportunity given for defense either before or since, the withholding of evidence which he alleged he had in his possession and which he has refused to print but gives only garbled quotations that misrepresent it, and other such misrepresentation that caused this exchange and the readers of both papers are not going to forget it.

If no such offer of a reward as that reported was actually ever made, and I have never said that it was, where did the story start and what gave it foundation and what caused so many to wonder if it were true? At least such an offer would have been perfectly safe if only one provision had been made in it and the dear editor has demonstrated that time and again. It should have been made with this provision: "a reward for anyone who listens to Goodpasture long or reads much of what he writes without hearing him knife in the back and misrepresent anyone who disagrees with his views about institutionalism and dares to speak out against them or who has any connection with the Guardian." He has done plenty of that as every reader of his paper has witnessed.

The whole situation reminds us of this story. Upon the occasion of a damage suit trial in an east Texas court the attorney for the defendant insurance company conscious of the fact that the attorney for the plaintiff would have the last speech to the jury sought to warn the jury of their obligation to decide the case on its merits, taking into consideration the preponderance of the evidence presented and admissible under the law and not be swayed away from the same by the eloquence of the attorney for the plaintiff who had a reputation for such ability. In that warning he told the jurors that the plaintiff's attorney was a very eloquent man and that in his last speech he would "soar in the heavens among the stars like an eagle." When the plaintiff's attorney arose to make that last speech, he assured the jury that the case of the plaintiff merited all the eloquence with which he could possibly set it forth. Said he, "I do not know whether I can soar in the heavens among the stars like an eagle or not but if I can I will in my appeal to you to decide this case aright. Whether or not I can do that, there is one thing, gentlemen of the jury, which I will not do, I will not swoop like a buzzard to pluck the entrails from an injured man." Upon such an evident personal reference so uncomplimentary the defense attorney arose to vehemently object, whereupon the old judge trying the case interrupted and looking down at the defense attorney over his spectacles inquired of him, "Now let us see, sir, who brought the birds into the courthouse"? Courts of law are sometimes fairer than brethren.

So with an apology to our readers that we have felt impelled for the sake of truth to burden with these matters introduced by the Advocate, we leave it to "the editor" to do his own "sherlocking" and trace down the truth of the rumors in which he is so interested. We ardently hope that he will edit his literature and eliminate the mistakes and errors which it teaches in consideration of truth. His whimpering and crying has not impressed us one whit. He needs to remember one thing; "he brought the birds into the courthouse."