Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 8, 1952

Ralph Russell Leaves "Christian" Church


Willis G. Jernigan

(Editor's Note: The following two statements, by brethren Jernigan and Cotham demonstrate once again that an open and honest heart can and will find the truth of Christ. We congratulate brother Jernigan for the splendid work he did in bringing this sincere man to know "the way of God more accurately." This is no new story to him; wherever he has worked he has been unusually successful in reaching the ablest, most gifted, and most intelligent of denominational people. By patient, sympathetic, and brotherly consideration he brings the honest and inquiring heart to a knowledge of the truth.

We commend also the example of the Spur congregation in making arrangements for brother Russell to work there in Spur for a period that he may continue to grow in his knowledge and understanding of the simple gospel of Christ. Surely there are hundreds of devout men in the confused and chaotic toils of denominationalism who can be led to the light if we but make the effort to reach them. At a time when a few unstable souls, diseased by modernism, are betraying the true church of Christ by affiliating with denominational bodies, it is heartening to see that men like Ralph Russell are coming out of the darkness and into light. But here are the statements by brother Jernigan and brother Cotham. Read them.)

"On Wednesday evening, April 2, at the regular midweek prayer service of the Spur, Texas, Church of Christ brother and sister Ralph Russell left the First "Christian" Church for a complete stand on New Testament Christianity. Brother Russell had preached for the First Christian Church in Spur for several months.

The Russell's moved to Spur in September, 1951, in order that Ralph assume the duties of First Christian Church preacher. Shortly after their arrival it was my privilege to meet brother Russell, from our very first conversation I realized that Ralph Russell was not far from complete New Testament truth. As the months passed we developed a friendship that grew into mutual respect and love. We freely discussed mechanical instruments of music in the worship of our Lord, societies to do the work of the church, as well as other differences between the "Christian Church" and the original ground commensurate with New Testament teaching.

During brother Russell's period of study, which included several lengthy conversations in both his home and mine as well as in my office, brother Russell read with care, "The Voice of the Pioneers On Instrumental Music and Societies," by John T. Lewis, also "Instrumental Music In the Worship or the Greek Verb Psallo Examined," by M. C. Kurfees. Brother and sister Russell also attended some two or three times our recent spring meeting in which brother Perry Cotham of Paris, Texas, did the preaching. Upon my suggestion in the presence of brother and sister Russell brother Cotham delivered an able address on "Instrumental Music In the Worship," which was heard by the Russell's. After the close of the meeting our studies continued until the change was made.

Brother Ralph Russell is a graduate of Midwest Christian College, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, from which institution he holds the degree of Bachelor of Arts. The elders of the Spur congregation expressing their confidence in brother Russell have made him associate minister of the Spur church in which capacity he will serve for the present. Brethren use brother Ralph Russell, he is worthy of your complete confidence.

Perry B. Cotham

It gives me great pleasure to introduce to the brotherhood brother Ralph Russell who has recently come to us from the conservative group of the Christian Church. During a recent meeting in Spur, Texas, where brother Willis G. Jernigan serves as minister, I met brother Russell. He attended the meeting several times and I had the opportunity of visiting with him personally and discussing our differences. After previous arrangements with him, I preached one night on, "Why We Do Not Use Mechanical Instruments of Music In the Worship." For some time brother Russell had been preaching against the departures from the faith on the part of the liberal wing of the Christian Church. Seeing his desire to get people to come back to the Old Paths, I told him to be consistent that he, too, would have to give up mechanical instrumental music and go all the way to the New Testament ground. This, he was able to understand.

Brother Russell is well educated and has a pleasing personality. Sister Russell is a fine Christian companion. I predict for Ralph many years of faithful gospel preaching as he consistently pleads for a return to New Testament Christianity. Churches will not go wrong in inviting him for gospel meetings or for local work.

To brother Jernigan largely belongs the credit for brother Russell's change. He was very nice to Ralph, cultivating his friendship, lending him books to read on the subject of mechanical instrumental music, and showing an interest in him, even before the meeting.

I believe that many other men, now in the conservative group of the Christian Church, with proper love and teaching, can be brought to see the need of giving up all departures from the Divine pattern, and I sincerely pray that brother Russell's change may serve as an example to encourage others to do likewise.