Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 8, 1952
NUMBER 2, PAGE 10-11b

Unpuzzling A Puzzled Baptist Preacher

Geo. B. Curtis, Poteau, Oklahoma

A few days ago my mail brought me a little leaflet from I. D. Mangum, pastor Britain Road Baptist Church, Irving, Texas. Mr. Mangum is the proud author of the leaflet. On the front is a picture of a very puzzled looking gentleman — presumably a Baptist preacher. Below the picture is the inscription: WANTED ... 500 Men, Women and Children to help search the Bible to find "THE CHURCH OF CHRIST." The seeker for information tells us on the first page of the effort that, "The modern Christian started in 1827 by Alexander Campbell some time ask the question, 'If a letter was addressed to the church of Christ, Irving, Texas, what church in Irving would receive it'? It would be hard to tell because there are two churches in Irving calling themselves 'Church of Christ' and they do not fellowship each other." (This is the entire first paragraph of the leaflet.)

I can answer the question for the puzzled Baptist about the one by whom the letter would be received. Last Friday I addressed a letter thus: Church of Christ, Irving, Texas. Well, friend Baptist, whom do you think received that letter? Did you? Did you ever receive one thus addressed? Yes, you are right. The Church of Christ received it. My mail Monday brought me a reply from my good friend and brother, Hoyt Bailey. There is probably not a week passes that I do not have occasion to address letters to the church of Christ in various places. They have never fallen into the hands of Baptist preachers or churches. My brethren have always received them. Kind of strange, isn't it? If you are the New Testament church, your mail is going astray.

Brother Bailey informs me that there are two congregations in Irving, and that they are working together. In spite of the statement that they do not fellowship each other, they do.

Mr. Mangum tells us in paragraph 2 of this leaflet that if the letter was received by either of the churches of Christ there, it would not be received by the church that you read about in the Bible. Would you say, Mr. Mangum, if a letter addressed to the Baptist Church is received by you in Irving, Texas that this would be the church you read about in the Bible? If so, where in the Bible?

This sage of religious knowledge tells us that we should have to turn to history to find this church of Christ from which I received a letter. How do you know this, Doctor? He says, "You can find their church in MacMillians Modern Dictionary, Revised Edition, p. 128." Friend, you never saw any such dictionary — revised or otherwise. Even if you found it in McMillan's it does not affect the status of my brethren in Irving, Texas, or anywhere else. I'll guarantee that they do not teach, nor practice, one thing that they cannot find in the New Testament — and that includes the term "Church of Christ" too.

In paragraph 3 we are told for deceptive purposes and to draw unsuspecting and unsophisticated into our false churches that we declare that the term "The Church of Christ" is in the Bible. Now, friend, aren't you fudging just a wee bit there? I've known as many of the brethren in the church of Christ as you have. I have yet to hear the first one to declare that the term, "Church of Christ" is in the King James Version of the New Testament, but the teaching that the church belongs to Christ, is, in fact, the church of Christ, is there. Don't forget it.

Mr. Mangum talks of the challenge made to the church of Christ to find in history back through the ages, a church bearing the name of Christ and teaching the doctrine taught by the church of Christ today. He says that 1827 is the very farthest date to which we can trace our church ancestry. Didn't you know, friend, that the "word of God is the seed" of the kingdom, and that true succession is in the seed? You and your brethren in your attempt at historic succession base your faith upon the fallible history written by man. History, true history records the fact that Baptists cannot get back farther than the year 1644 for the Baptist name, and from your standpoint you cannot get back beyond the year 1910 when Ben M. Bogard wrote the constitution of Landmarkism. Then to be more specific, if you are of the Bogard school you can't be over a year or two old. D. N. Jackson carried your Association name, "American Baptist Association" with him when the Jackson-Bogard split came, and you took the name "North American Baptist Association." Isn't that right?

You tried to capitalize that there was division in the ranks of the church at Irving a few years ago. We deplore disagreement among brethren anywhere. But thanks be to God this division has been settled and peace prevails. Yet you still send out your scurrilous leaflet advertising the trouble that once existed. Has peace always prevailed in the Baptist ranks? Twenty different kinds of Baptists tell the story of strife unequaled in any other religious group. Has peace always prevailed among Landmark Baptists? In 1938 the Missionary Baptist Searchlight carried a challenge to D. N. Jackson to affirm that he did not steal some $8,000.00 of Baptist money. Jackson's paper carried a challenge to Ben M. Bogard to affirm that Jackson did steal this money. This strife has resulted in a complete severance of the Bogard group from the Jackson group, and certain of the Bogard group have stated recently that Jackson had founded a new church.

In a recent number of the Missionary Baptist Searchlight is the statement that Bogard "treed" Jackson in a hotel room under conditions that no preacher should be. Now preachers as well as any one else has the right to he in a hotel room. I do not know what the condition was under which Mr. Bogard "treed" Jackson; but the implications are pretty ugly. But according to Baptist doctrine, Jackson could be in a hotel room with a whole harem, drunk as a buzzard, die in that condition and be carried straight to the gates of pearl to walk the streets of Gold. And from the Baptist standpoint, why not be in a hotel room under any circumstances pleasing to the fancy of the preacher? Couldn't be lost no matter how hard he tried.

This "treeing in a hotel room" calls to mind an incident that took place in Texas along about 1918. Two Landmark Baptist preachers got to trailing each other. One of them wrote a book about the other. In this book he stated that he had "treed" the other preacher in a hotel room in Gainesville, Texas! This wasn't so bad, but there was a "she-coon" up the same tree. This other preacher had his secretary, a beautiful Baptist sister with him. All this was in the book. There were some things this Baptist secretary could do besides pound a typewriter; she could use a Texas six-gun. Her modesty was shocked and her Irish was roused by the accusations by the Baptist preacher who had dared to put her in his book. Taking her trusty revolver with her she went down on the streets of Sherman, Texas, and waited for this "treeing" preacher. In due time he appeared. The gun came into play. This irate secretary emptied it into the body of the leading Landmark Baptist of his day. Mr. Cagle lay dying in his own gore. A jury liberated the woman. She had defended her womanly virtue in true Texas style.

Now this incident presents a peculiar problem. Baptists say that a child of God cannot so far sin as to be lost. The three here discussed were not only Baptists, but the very highest of Baptists. The Bible says that no adulterer shall inherit the kingdom of God. It also says that no liar shall be there. And further no murderer can enter the gates of pearl. Cagle either lied, or he didn't. If he did, and Baptist doctrine be true, he entered heaven a liar which cannot go there. The other Baptist preacher was either a fornicator and an adulterer, or he wasn't. If he was he went right on to heaven an adulterer and fornicator according to Baptist teaching, but God's word tells us that no adulterer will be there. Then the secretary was either guilty of fornication or she wasn't. If she was she was a fornicator and a murderess, but she was also a Baptist and couldn't be lost. But the Bible says no murderer will be there. Baptists say she could not be lost. Won't there be great rejoicing around the courts of glory when Seagraves, Cagle and the secretary meet to discuss this "treeing" episode and the shooting scrape that sent one of them into the regions of the unknown.

I want my readers to pardon me for bringing this sordid tale of Baptist wrangling, divisions and murder before you. But my brethren have a little falling out in Irving, Texas, and a two by four Baptist preacher rears up on his hind legs and shouts: "Not the church of Christ. They don't fellowship each other."

Having got personalities out of the way and released a head of steam, I am ready in my next article to show the world in general, and this Baptist in particular, that the church of Christ is the New Testament church.