Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 17, 1952
NUMBER 36, PAGE 8-11a

A Respectful Reply To Roady And Sommer -- No. 2

Chas. M. Campbell, Akron, Ohio

Roady's Tract and His Article — A Combination Of Calumny and Hypocrisy Following with evident premeditated proximity the truthless tirade of Sommer, Roady delivered his rancid, cantankerous rantings in the August issue of the American Christian Review. Characterized by calumny, hypocrisy, and puerility the article—as the tract—to which it was a proposed sequence—is replete with contradictions and stands self condemned before the minds of all who reason and reflect upon the mooted religious questions of the day. Nevertheless it is necessary that an answer be made to it; lest Roady should become wiser still in his own conceits. And, above all, lest the false position in which he poses before the brotherhood should have its intended effect upon those who are uninformed on the subject.

In his article Roady began with a childish complaint that Campbell could not write like that without bringing me into it. He doesn't like me and takes every opportunity to show it." Thus he attempts to prejudice the minds of his readers by contending that our difference is personal rather than doctrinal. Of course he knows such to be altogether void of fact or foundation. Really, I have never seen the man but once in my life. That was in a little congregation in a little town in Indiana; and the one incident that caused the occasion to linger in my memory was, a woman lead the singing. Yes, she stood right up before the audience with baton and book and directed the congregation. Will Roady deny that occurrence also? Then Roady criticized the Guardian for allowing me space to expose the position of the Review on the proposition of the church and the colleges. He thinks it is terrible that the Guardian does not use better judgment in selecting its scribes. However, a few lines later he proceeded to tell the world—that infinitesimal portion of it that subscribes to the Review—that "it is none of Campbell's business whom I agree with or differ from." So, the editor of the Guardian might with justification inform friend Roady that a phrase of his selection is very apropos to himself. Especially in view of the fact that Roady and Sommer would like nothing better than to monopolize all possible space to advance their sinuous system of Sommerism without anyone having an opportunity to reply to them. Moreover a man who uses as much space as Roady requires in the Review to say nothing should be the last person in the world to complain about an editor giving space to another. As Sommer said: "Hitler would have loved those boys." As to Roady's agreeing with or differing "from," it is very fortunate for most of the human race that he differs from it and it is not necessarily unfortunate that he differs with those of us who oppose the Review attacks upon the colleges in their proper place.

That this is the very point that is so provocative to Roady—that he represents the Review's position on the college opposition— is obvious in that he never fails to explode when it is mentioned to him. At least that has been my experience in correspondence with him on the subject. He attempts to evade the force of the fact by proposing to frame the language in which he would prefer for me to question his position. And by telling me that it is none of my business. If, however, he had ever entertained any idea of being candid on the subject he would not become so rash in his statements relative to it. He asked: "If Campbell wanted to know where I stand on the Bible College question, why didn't he come up like a Christian gentleman and ask for my position on it"?

In the first place, how could I act the part of a "Christian gentleman," according to Roady? And in the next place, he had manifested his true attitude and prefaced his suggestion with "it is none of Campbell's business whom I agree with or differ from." Notwithstanding several letters are before me now in which Roady was asked to state his position—that was several years ago—and he steadfastly refused to do so. I also offered to debate the matter with Roady publicly. So why does not he ask me? Too, his position is known far better than he thinks it to be. That is, unless he has changed it. Will he object if I ask him, have you changed your position brother Roady? It may be that Sommer thinks he has since he is the fellow who reprinted his statement regarding the matter. Here is what he said in May 1926 and which was reprinted in the Review in July of the current year.

"There has been a great deal said about the `Bible' college and what has come from it. Some may say there have been arguments against it that should not have been used. That may be true; but one argument can be used and has not been met: `By their fruits ye shall know them.' what have they produced?

"Those acquainted with them know what they have brought forth, and it has not been what the Lord endorses. Lay aside every other argument that may be used against them, and look over the world and see what they have given us.

"Has it been unity? No, it has been division. "Has it been peace? No, it has been trouble.

"Have they sent out preachers able to enlighten men's minds on God's word? No, it has been contrary to that. They've left God's word and spent the time teaching and telling things to please men's ears.

"But, thanks to be to God who rules the universe! the old church still stands and has (to my mind) her brightest future.

"Brethren, let us lay aside human organizations such as the colleges, lay aside hobbies, and work together until the Lord says 'it is done.' Doing this, the world can see our fruit as it should be, and that will cause them to think of the future as they should."

There we have it through the instrumentality of Roady, the medium of the Review, and the election of A. R. Sommer himself. Incidentally, could it be that Sommer is beginning to doubt Roady's position, or that his chief scribe and colporteur is not in agreement with the radicalism of the Review? If so, he should not be so perturbed because I have prodded his probity in an effort to induce him to state where he stands on the proposition. On the other hand, if Sommer has quoted Roady correctly, the latter should not be so irritated at me, for that is no more than I have done.

Furthermore the position as stated above from the pen of Roady and the pages of the Review is in perfect harmony with the position ascribed to him in the letter which the East Liverpool, Ohio, elders told me they received. They told Roady the same thing; and he quoted their letter to him in his little tract. Still he persists in stigmatizing me with the brotherly appellation, "liar," because I stated just what the elders told me and which they wrote to him. What kind of a spirit possesses and obsesses a man to cause him to wrest facts in such a worldly and wicked way in an effort to save his face? The idea of such a one using the ugly term liar so loosely. The idea also of his colleagues and conspirator writing about "the shady character." Of course if Roady wanted to be fair and honorable in dealing with the matter, any question of veracity involved would be between him and the elders. I am in no way responsible for what brother Harold Hadley, as one of the elders at that time, told me, and which is the same as the statement written by him and brother C. R. Plum to Roady. Here is the letter from the elders to Roady and which confirmed my statement about it all. This is from Roady's own booklet, page five.

East Liverpool, Ohio October 4, 1946 J. C. Roady Dear Brother:

Have been confined to my bed a few days. Am trying to answer your request while in bed. We received a letter about the time you were in Steubenville, Ohio, on this order. There was a plea for the old type Bible Study such as was formerly conducted here and elsewhere. Now you know what I am talking about. Then followed a list of qualified preachers for the work. Your name and brothers Burcher and Wickham are the only ones that I am acquainted with. Then followed the paragraph: "There must be something done about these young, inexperienced college preachers or we will all be on the shelf." This is off hand while I am in bed. If I can find the above mentioned letter, I will send you a copy of it.

Yours truly, C. E. Plum Now compare the sentiment of the letter with that of the article written by Roady and published by Sommer and see how emphatically they suggest a common origin. Like Roady and Sommer, they sound very much alike.

When Roady's little tract made its inauspicious debut the elders of East Liverpool church wrote to Roady a second time and reminded him that they received the letter which I said they received. They expressed their view of it—which they had not expressed to me—but they quoted from it just the same; and they declared Roady's name was affixed to it when they received it. And to show that Roady is rather free with the use of the vulgar term, liar, I quote from the letter—a copy of which is in my possession. "If you had used the love that Paul teaches in 1 Cor. 13, you would not have called me a liar, and brought disrepute to the East Liverpool congregation." The letter was signed by C. E. Plum and Harold Hadley.

Since Roady was determined to call somebody a liar, and after the publication of the pamphlet he called brother Plum one—according to brother Plum's letter, why did not he do that in the pamphlet instead of deliberately misrepresenting me and trying to make it appear that I had created the whole affair out of personal prejudice against him?

As further proof that Roady was only seeking a defense for himself in his childish effort to direct the readers of his pamphlet to the silly suggestion that I had actually originated the idea of the letter I shall quote a letter from him to me in which he showed plainly that be understood that I was relying upon the testimony of others for my information regarding the document. Here is the letter:

Paden City, West. Va. October 2, 1946 Mr. Chas. M. Campbell Brother Campbell:

Will you please answer the following questions for me? Did you see the letter that you said I wrote to the East Liverpool, Ohio, elders? Would it be possible for you to give me a copy of said letter? If you are not in position to give me a copy of the letter, or you did not read the letter yourself, would you favor me with the name and address of the one that gave you the information regarding the matter?

For your convenience I am sending a self addressed stamped envelope.

May I hear from you in a reasonable time.

Brotherly, J. C. Roady Remember, friends, Roady was in possession of the first letter from the East Liverpool elders when he made his false and unjustifiable accusation against me regarding the origin of the letter which they said they received. He even quoted their letter in his little tract.

While we are on the subject of letters perhaps it is just as logical here as elsewhere to introduce another letter about which Roady has cried persecution and misrepresentation. 0, yes, as is common with him and Sommer, he called me a liar about it. In a recent letter to brother Fred E. Dennis dated July 2, 1946, brother Chas. Degenhart, Jr. wrote of Roady calling on sectarian preachers to pray. Brother Dennis sent the letter to me. When I reprimanded Roady for it he wrote: "that is another of your dirty statements that there are no truth in." 0, he is a jolly good fellow. Later in his tract he said: "He didn't say it had been reported, but made it plain that I did call on sectarians." Here is what I said in a letter dated November 19, 1946 and which Roady had in his possession when he wrote the above statement. "Well, here is the statement of one on the ground, 'your old friend J. C. Roady calls on sectarian preachers to lead in prayer and dismiss.' The man continued, 'I have that from a source that is above reproach." Now who but a cad or a charlatan would fail to perceive that I told Roady that my statement was the result of information given by another? But, let us look at the letter from brother Degenhart. His statement—which is before me as I write—is, "Your old Sommerite friend J. C. Roady calls on sectarian preachers to lead in prayer and dismiss. I have that from a source that is above reproach." Yet Roady said in his tract: "I shall always believe that it originated in the mind of the man that wrote it to me."

In the Roady-Review article Ready attempted to explain the nature of the so-called Bible readings prevalent among the anti-college group. He declared them to be comparable to a protracted meeting and far from anything pertaining to a school. Yet in his pamphlet he used two full pages in giving the contents of a letter from one A. R. Kepple; in which the so called Bible readings was discussed and explained. Let us compare what Roady reported about the Readings with what Kepple, whom he quoted, wrote about them. Here is Roady's statement.

"Brother Campbell, what is the matter with you, anyway? Why do you stoop to such things? A Bible Reading is no more than a protracted meeting. The church through the elders calls a man to hold their meeting; the church through the elders calls a man to come and spend time teaching in the Bible. All are invited to attend the meeting and all are invited to attend the Bible Study. The preacher in the meeting does what he can to get the people interested in reading the Bible and helps them to better understand it. The teacher of a Bible study does all he can to get people interested in study of the Bible and helps them understand it better. The congregation through the elders supports the teacher and the preacher in this work.

"I don't expect Campbell to see this, but I think you other readers can."

Here is Kepple's statement: "Now, as to the 'HOW' of such readings. How are they conducted? In days gone by they were conducted after the following manner. Some congregation somewhat strategically located would sponsor such a protracted study of the Bible. A competent teacher would be secured to lead the studies and the brotherhood was invited to attend. In some cases certain congregations would send some of its young talent and support them while they were studying. In all such places suitable accommodations were supplied for all who attended." In the same paragraph he said: "In these Readings rehearsals are conducted in which all who have the desire to do so are pressed into public work. Thus combining newly acquired knowledge with the experience of reciting it before the public."

Now just what fault could the Review find with such work being done in a school room, if nothing more nor less was done? If such work actually constitutes a school when it is done within the walls of a building other than a church building, why does it not constitute a school when done within a church building. Verily, I expect Roady to see this, as well as the other readers. In fact, I think he sees it. That is why he prefers calling me names to attempting to discuss the matter. As I have told him several times, if and when he is willing to affirm the position of the Review on the college question I shall be very glad to deny it. Now if he is interested in discussing the school business perhaps we should present the divergent views advanced by Roady and Sommer and see if we can assist them in reaching an understanding. Otherwise Sommer might disfellowship Roady, and that would be fatal. In Sommer's article he cried "Campbell and the Guardian say its right for a Christian to support so-called Bible colleges. Well, if it's right for one Christian it's right for all others, even all congregations! If not, why not? Or, could it be wrong thus to donate simply because 'The Review's like the College." On page thirteen of Roady's tract he excused himself after this fashion. "I never complained about individuals sending money to a college, but I do say they are not to be supported by the Lord's money." Ah, it looks as if Roady is with the Guardian and Campbell and against Sommer just here. Wait till Sommer and his schismatics view this situation, and Roady will have some more explaining to do. Do not call me any ugly names, brother Roady. You and Sommer just get together and see what you can do to deliver yourselves from the dilemma.

Next let us turn our attention to the Grants Pass, Oregon, division and Roady's comments concerning it. He admits that the clause to which I referred is in the deed at Grants Pass. He also confesses that there has been a division there. However, he gives his ipse dixit as proof beyond doubt that the college question did not have any part in the trouble. He gave the names of some preachers who had preached there as proof of his position. He also said the clause in the deed which mentioned the college simply forbad the teaching regarding such from the pulpit. It happens that I, too, have a copy of the clause in the deed and it does not so state, the word pulpit is not there. By that I do not mean to call brother Roady a liar. He is simply mistaken. Let him read the clause again. As to the real source of the trouble, perhaps a brother on the ground is capable of relating the facts. In a bulletin called Telegram Sermons brother M. Loyd Smith gave the following report of the division and its origin.

"On April (1948) issue of 'The American Christian Review' brother J. C. Roady had an article which makes some false statements. One in particular, where he stated: 'The church in Grants Pass, Oregon, has gone through a great deal, and all because a preacher wanted to take over and run the church.'

"Just recently the two so-called elders who were withdrawn from for lording it over the church have confessed their sins. So the men whom Roady has claimed were in the right have confessed they were the guilty ones. Thus brother Roady's charge against a preacher wanting to run the church is false. Does brother Roady get his meetings by shielding unqualified, ungodly men who have been put into the eldership? I wonder?"

Roady has written in defense of his pal Jess Michels and with severe condemnation of me upon no higher authority than the vicious and malicious assertions of Michels himself. Roady resents being classed with the anti-literature factionists, but he can never truthfully and convincingly deny his identification with them while he associates with Jess Michels. Another article will deal with the episode in detail. Nevertheless, that the reader may have sufficient knowledge of Roady's friend from Vincennes, I shall introduce an excerpt from a letter from brother S. J. Rigsby, an elder in the church at Crothersville, Indiana.

"This letter is to inform you of my experience with Jesse Michels. Brother Michels preached at Crothersville a few years ago, at which time brother Joseph H. Cox was preaching at Salem. Brother Cox was invited by the Crothersville church to preach here on Sunday afternoon, and he did so. Brother Michel tried to stir up trouble in the congregation against brother Cox, calling him a digressive, because brother Cox and the Salem church were using outline lessons in the Sunday morning Bible school." Further in the letter brother Rigsby said: "Brother Michels refused to preach at Crothersville after we allowed brother Cox to preach to preach on that Sunday afternoon declaring that we were 'innovators' and that he didn't care to have anything to do with us." Again, brother Rigsby said: "To my certain knowledge, Jess Michels is unreliable, fanatical, and dangerous to the peace and harmony of the cause of Christ." So much for Roady and his anti-literature friends.

Last but not least, let us notice the deception deliberately attempted by Roady regarding the reason for the private circulation of his little tract. On page two lie wrote: "Several elders and preachers have insisted that I make my reply a reply to them. It has also been requested that I make my reply through religious papers (which papers? C.M.C.) but I have always been opposed to putting our troubles before the brotherhood, and also the world, through religious papers, as people do not subscribe for a religious paper to get that kind of reading." If such were the rigid rule of the readers of religious papers surely the Review would go out of business. Thus, though, the pharisaical champion of the anti-literature fanatics would impose upon the credulity of the Review readers. However, that the accusation may be seen to be just beyond doubt, let us notice the closing remarks of Roady's Review article. Hear him: "I will gladly send a copy of the tract to anyone requesting it." What is the scheme of the "shifty" fellow? Well, it is almost a reflection upon the intelligence of the reader to expose it in detail; for certainly it is so obvious in every way that even a casual notice of it should cause one to detect its deceitful nature. Yet, perhaps it is not amiss to uncover its primary purpose in a manner that none can fail to see it. At the beginning of this controversy, Roady wanted the advantage of circulating his tract privately, that no answer could be put into the hands of those who received his prejudiced and perverted misrepresentation of the matter. Then when he saw that he was not succeeding completely with his plan, he elected to utilize the columns of the Review as an advertising agency for his tract, and at the same time to use the same medium to proclaim his unmitigated, unmentionable speech from the whited sepulcher of a self imposed martyr against those who dare to defy his doctrinal deception of a proposed neutral position on the church-college question. He, as Sommer, would feign have the brotherhood believe that he occupies the position of the Bible Banner (from which Sommer is constantly quoting) and the Guardian relative to the church-college controversy. While all of the time he, as Sommer, knows it is not so. And, if they wish a discussion of the matter, just let them prepare a proposition which will fairly represent the issue and open their columns to a discussion of it. As to Roady's fear of the brotherhood and the world seeing something of a controversial nature in a religious paper, such is not just a laugh, it is a guffaw. Who ever read a copy of the Review without reading of the "College-ite-digressives, etc.; ad infinitum in base misrepresentations of the whole situation?

Now, if there is any honor or honesty in Roady and Sommer, they can demonstrate it by allowing the readers of the Review to see the answer to Roady's tract, or by furnishing a list of those to whom he mailed it. If they will do so, I promise to get the editor of the Guardian to publish what they have said in their articles, although it would make him guilty of the waste of space with which Roady charged him. If Roady or Sommer wants a discussion, he can get it. Or, if they prefer the two of them, that will be all right.