Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 7, 1952
NUMBER 39, PAGE 1-3b

Thanksgiving At Harding College

James W. Adams, Longview, Texas

For a number of years, Harding College, at Searcy, Arkansas, has sponsored what it calls its "Thanksgiving Lectureship." When the beautiful hills and valleys of the great state of Arkansas are resplendent with their gorgeous garments of gold, red, brown, and yellow and the hint of frost makes crisp the autumn days, brethren from many sections gather in Searcy for a period of thanksgiving and edification. For a number of years, the program has been given dignity and prestige by the fact that brother G. C. Brewer has been one of its principal speakers. Brother Brewer has such close connection with the school that one can safely assume that his spirit and attitude represent the spirit and attitude of the school.

In the year of our Lord, 1951, brother Brewer filled his accustomed place on the program of the "Thanksgiving Lectureship." It was not the privilege of this writer to be present (though he had fully intended to be) to hear the lecture, but he did not miss it for yesterday's mail favored him with a copy in printed form. It is assumed that it is considered to be of major importance and that it was received by the college where it was delivered most favorably. Otherwise, why should it be printed? Having longed to hear brother Brewer and circumstances preventing, I have read without stopping his contribution to the "thanksgiving" that took place on that occasion. In the lines to follow, I simply set down my honest reactions to that which I have read. The reader may or may not be interested in my reactions, but it is hoped that they will help to publicize the tract to the extent that it will be read by many who would not otherwise read it. It is hoped that brethren throughout the brotherhood will read it carefully. There is an attitude in the church of the Lord today manifestly evident in brother Brewer's lecture of which all of us should be acutely conscious.

No Personal Issue

In my heart, there is nothing of a personal nature that I harbor against Brother Brewer. I have met him on two occasions only. Once I heard him speak with great power and eloquence on "The Menace of Communism." His learning and ability I have always esteemed. Once Brother Brewer heard me speak, though he may not remember it, on the Dallas Lectureship. He was a most attentive listener (which some of the prominent preachers are not) to my effort on that occasion. His remarks to me after the lecture were kind and encouraging. I appreciated them then and I remember them even now with gratitude. I do not endorse some of the positions which Brother Brewer takes on the question of "human institutions" and their relationship to the church of God. I should not like to think that such makes him my personal enemy, but after reading his lecture, I wonder! In times past, I have read some beautiful lines from the mind and pen of our brother so filled with pathos and spiritual insight as to impress one with the undoubted nobleness of mind and tenderness of heart that conceived them. In recent months, however, I have been shocked and pained to read continually from his pen such matter as characterizes his Harding lecture.

Harding College, Of All Places!

I am amazed, too, that such a lecture should be delivered at Harding College. Harding has always been known for its "accentuation of the positive" and its "deep spiritual atmosphere." It must have been electrifying to that staid group of gentle spirits to be exposed to Brother Brewer's verbal barrage characterized by such shocking language and manifest bitterness of spirit. How battered and bruised their tender spirits must have been under the scourge of such expressions as: "Casuistry; Pharisaism; not honest men; caviling; quibbling; fulminators; fallacious; factionists; lugubrious wailing; caterwauling." However, since they take it and request more, we are forced to conclude that they must be afflicted with spiritual masochism. They might call it "suffering for Christ's sake" since the program is reported in Brother Brewer's lecture to feature "Christ" as the first word of every subject discussed. As an example of what I mean by "shocking language" consider the word "caterwauling." When I began to read our brother's lecture, I thought I could do so without benefit of Webster, but I was doomed to disappointment. With the aid of a good unabridged dictionary, however, I soon learned what all those names mean which Brother Brewer called those of us who do not agree with his views on Christian Colleges and Orphan Homes. Out on the Mexican border where I was reared, one got along pretty well with the Mexican laborers until he learned their curse words. After that, relations became strained quite often. Our brother's four and five syllable words made a most pleasant sound as I rolled them off my tongue until I found what he meant. According to Webster, "caterwauling" means "to cry out as cats in rutting time." Honestly, brethren, I just cannot appreciate a comparison of that kind. Perhaps it is culture I need or a course in ethics and logic at Harding College, but I cannot help feeling that such language would be more at home around the old depot stove than at a Christian College Lectureship.

Elegant Railer

Another thing pained me exceedingly as I read our brother's address, and I say this with all sincerity void of facetiousness: On page 5 of this tract, brother Brewer characterizes all who differ from him on the question of the organization and support of human institutions in religion as "Pharisees." He points out that all "true Christians" instinctively revolt at such men and that Christ holds them in contempt. It is logically inferred from this that unless one agrees with our brother completely on this question, he is a Pharisee, revolting to all true Christians, and contemptible in the sight of Christ our Lord. With all of our brother's obvious frailties, I think I should be not only ashamed but afraid thus to indict him. This is not all. He says further on the same page and emphasizes it that the Pharisees "showed no mercy, cared nothing for justice, and had no real faith in God." This is followed by the statement, "The Pharisees of any age are the antipodes of the real servants of God" Our brother having already called those who differ from him on the "institutional" question, "Pharisees," therefore affirms in these statements that all who do not endorse G. C. Brewer's position in these matters are without mercy, devoid of justice, and destitute of real faith in God. Such unmitigated arrogance and venomous indictments alarm me, not for fear that they might be believed and that I and others should be personally injured, but rather that our relationship as brethren has thus degenerated and that our hearts have become so filled with "the gall of bitterness." Surely, our brother did not mean what he said! If he did, it is my studied opinion that Brother Brewer can rail against his brethren more elegantly than any scribe after whom I have ever read. A Texas trail driver might well admire his talent. Who knows what gifted Christian college lecturers and religious scribes these noted cattle-trail orators might have made had they only been exposed to a little culture in a Christian College and introduced to Noah Webster?

Let Us Compare

Apart from what may be the truth concerning the manner in which we should care for orphan children or operate a Christian College, we ought not thus to charge one another. I think if our brother will investigate —though such personal considerations should never have been introduced as they have in a discussion of issues —he will find that there are hearts many among those who do not agree with him on these issues that are fully as tender as his own. He will find a commensurate degree of love, justice, mercy, and real faith in God. He will find Men whose ears are open to the cry of the widow and the orphan to the extent and perhaps beyond the extent of his own. It is my conviction that he will also find many who have in a degree of which he has not even dreamed "preached the gospel to the poor." One does not have "to sound his trumpet before him in the streets" —or in the gospel papers either for that matter—to have fulfilled his Christian responsibility to the lost and needy of this wretched world. Our brother perpetrates a grave injustice against countless God-fearing men and women "whose names are in the book of life" with his unrestrained indictments. Have we reached the place where it is impossible for us to differ from one another and discuss issues without such matter as Brother Brewer includes in his lecture? If so, it is a sad commentary upon the status of our intellectual stature, the gentility of our manners, and our Christian character.

Those Florida Lectures

In this connection, it is deemed timely that a few things be said about the lectures at Florida Christian College in 1951. Recent publicity is our excuse for introducing this matter. Brother Yater Tant and I spoke on subjects assigned to us by the college—at that time I had no connection with the Gospel Guardian other than being an occasional contributor to its columns. Brother Tant spoke on "Centralized Control and Oversight" and on "Institutionalism." In our addresses, both he and I confined ourselves to the issues and men and churches were mentioned only to establish the reality of the issues involved and to define the exact positions which we occupy. All references to our brethren were courteously and respectfully made. Two lengthy open forum discussions were conducted after our addresses to give opportunity to all who dissented from our views a chance to be heard. A forty-five minute unscheduled address was allowed by a representative of opposing views in addition to the scheduled speakers who entertained opposing sentiments. Brother Tant and I spent very little time on the floor during the open forum discussions as tape recording of the proceedings will show. Brethren who agree with Brother Brewer — like R. C. Walker and others spread the completely false report that said lectureship "a Guardian affair," and that Brother Gatewood was "persecuted." Brother Tant and I along with Puckett and the administration of Florida Christian College have been indicted with many false charges.

A comparison between the Harding College lectures and the Florida Lectures will show: (1) That the addresses on "institutionalism" and "mission work" at F. C. C. were delivered without rancor or bitterness arid set forth precise, scriptural objections to the practices attacked whereas Brother Brewer's lecture at Harding on a similar topic was a vitriolic harangue of unsupported accusations overflowing with pure sophistry; (2) That the opposition was given ample opportunity to reply at F .C. C. whereas no such opportunity was afforded at Harding. The reader may judge from these facts who it is that really seeks unity and peace on established principles of truth in the church of the Lord today.

Regarding the positions advanced at F. C. C. on "institutionalism," the tape recordings will show that no brother of opposing views—not even Brother R. C. Walker who does not know the difference between the church of God and a Christian College—engaged to show that they were scripturally unsound. They had ample opportunity and spoke at length several times but attacked not one argument which was made. Piety that effervesces in accolades of praise at the hearing of Brother Brewer's outpouring of sophistry and accusation and is revolted by an open, orderly, clean discussion of vital issues is, indeed, a spurious product of doubtful ancestry! Lord, deliver us from it!

Space forbids a review of Brother Brewer's reasoning in the lecture in question. In an article to follow, his argumentation will be reviewed.