Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 21, 1954
NUMBER 24, PAGE 8-11

Brother Douthitt A Man Of Honor

E. R. Harper. Abilene. Texas

My good friend Brother Cecil Douthitt has now come to the defense of our good Brother Tant in his fight against the work of the Highland congregation in preaching the gospel of Christ to a nation. We are somewhat surprised at our good brother and hope we can help him to better understand some fundamental principles of the Bible and its teaching concerning the elders of the church.

Our Digressive Pressure

In one of his issues he spends most of his time berating the elders at Highland for using what is called by the Guardian men the old "digressive pressure" against a brother in that they went to the elders of the College congregation here in Abilene concerning the articles written by their local preacher. He affirms that it is so because we do not have any statement from either the elders of the College congregation or Brother Wallace. Now, Brother Douthitt, I am sending you the information that will show you that you were entirely wrong and that your long tirade against us was out of order and that we told the truth in our bulletin to which you are referring when we said we did not use pressure upon the elders of the College congregation against Brother Wallace. You now have it. You now, KNOW you are wrong. There is but one thing for you to do and that is to write another article and just say "Brethren I did not know what I was talking about. I was talking when I should have been listening. I now know first hand that no pressure was used against, either the Highland elders by the College elders nor by the Highland elders on the College elders. I am sorry for this most grievous mistake of mine in writing so unkindly and accusing my brethren before I knew." Cecil it is up to you now. You and your conscience may fight it out. If you choose to let it go here, you will face it at the judgment. It will be too late then. When a man has first hand information that he has made a mistake, a grievous mistake and in that mistake has made false accusations against men, which accusations, are for the purpose of hurting their influence, and then does not make correction; well "the judgment lies ahead." If you wish to betray the confidence here in requested by these men, which request caused us to just state that which was true and leave it there, then it is up to you, but as in the heading of my article, you claim to be a "man of honor." We shall now see just how far that honor goes. It is your move next Cecil. It is going to take courage to do what you are honor bound to do but Christian men can do nothing else.

The Limitations Of Elders

Now with this out of the way; showing that the elders at Highland DID NOT use "Old Digressive methods of pressure" against any one, I now come to the defense of elders and to their limitations. It goes without trying to prove, if your own arguments be correct, that elders have jurisdiction only over their own flock. This being true they would have no right to enter the flock over which other elders are shepherds and undertake to discipline or correct the sheep under them. That would be the duty of the elders there. Do you DENY THIS? If so give us the scripture for elders having jurisdiction over members other than their own. This being true, if they do have, then your argument that they only have jurisdiction over the church where they reside as elders wouldbe destroyed. Since therefore Brother Wallace was a part of their charge and not that of the Highland elders, they had no right to call him in "before them" and undertake to discipline him, or to correct him, without at least first consulting their brother elders of the congregation where Brother Wallace held membership. If they have the right to go over their heads with Brother Wallace they would have that right to go over the heads of all elders and just take over every time some members of another congregation got out of order, making vicious attacks on Highland.

Brother Douthitt the Highland elders did the only Christian and scriptural thing they could have done by not by-passing the elders at the College and by coming to them as Christians and all of them talking this thing over. You know and I know, had they called Brother Wallace before them without having first respected the College elders that they would have violated the "local autonomous rights" of the Highland elders and the College elders UNLESS elders have "jurisdiction outside of their own flock." Prejudice and sentiment appealed to, that preachers may be wrought up over thinking that elders have this right, will not set aside the rights and limitations of elders in their settling things that come between them and members of other congregations. Elders who know their rights and limitations will respect us for considering their rights and for understanding our limitations.

What Preachers Need To Learn

We as preachers need to learn that we are not a "free-lance" group that are beyond the jurisdiction of the elders where we work. We are not equal with them in the direction of the affairs of the church nor are we above or over them. We are UNDER them and a part of their flock and therefore we are subject to them as any other member and no set of elders has the right to come to us over the protection we are to enjoy from the elders under whom we serve. I recognize there was no little resentment created over the elders of Highland discussing this with the elders of the College instead of going over them direct to Brother Wallace, but we know our duties and our limitations. We know the congregation over which our elders are "overseers" and "shepherds." If yours where you are or if you, do not know, it is time both of you are learning. It is the duty of the elders where you now work to know if what you are saying about us is true and if not it is their duty to have you make corrections. If they are true it is their duty to defend you. But it is not our duty to call you on the carpet without respecting their autonomous rights" over their members. Cecil when preachers learn this fundamental truth and begin to teach it and practice it, elders of the church, will begin to prevent a lot of this bitter wrangling in the church today. The elders where Brother Tant preaches are scripturally bound to make investigations to see for themselves if what he is saying and writing is true. He is no "free-lance" who has the scriptural right to accuse and condemn at will. The elders where I am are bound just the same. They will answer for it all. That is why I submit my articles to them for their corrections that so far as we can humanly be certain my articles are true to facts. I do not know if you do that with the elders where you are or not. You men must remember that "local autonomy" forbids elders of one congregation interfering with the members of another without first coming to the "shepherds" of that congregation. Deny this if you will and destroy your argument that elders have no rights over anything other than their congregation.

Changes Made

No Cecil, I was not well when I wrote the article, that is correct, but I was not so mentally sick surely or it would not have sent all of you hunting every nook and corner for some eight months, each one trying to answer it and trying to off-set it by undertaking to prove that I also have changed. When I say to you that I have shed tears over the break in that once fine group of men who stood together, I speak the literal truth. When I say to you that the changes made have hurt "our" influence in many places I speak that which each one of us understands. You know that Cecil. I was not trying to insult nor throw off on this group of men but to state a fact which I hoped would cause all of us to consider prayerfully what was taking place. When two of our greatest men broke, I "wept." When the Guardian and Cled divided, the elders here, who were your friends, will tell you it hurt me no little. Now when "this" break has had to come, it was grounds to make me shudder and to make me face the cruel facts that our ranks have been hurt and our influence weakened. I was a part of this one time "united" force that stood as a wall against error. I stand where I did then on the issues before the church but some of the brethren have changed on many of them and you now differ on some of the major issues as this article will show.

Now it is no disgrace to change a man's views and this I emphasized in my article you are reviewing but my point was in, doing it too often, it hurts our influence; that is in changing on "principles" and "doctrinal issues," which terms are understood to be the same.

Now it has been several months since my operation and I assure I feel the same way about the matter, therefore you may forget your wonderful build up of the fine kind of man you think one side of "dual nature" is and just tell them I made that statement with my eyes wide open because I was hurt over the division and felt keenly that our strength against error had been hurt. You know in unity there is strength; in division there is weakness. It may take a rather "sick-psycho-somatic-berserk" fellow to see and understand this most sad and pitiful condition that exists among us. A man said to me this week, "that it might help in meeting you men for a man to be sorter crazy." Ha. Ha. Shame on you Cecil; you and Yater.

Change Noticed

  1. I have an article answering your charge concerning my statement used in the Tulsa lectures showing you men misused it; that you have done to it what Brother Tant said Totty did to a statement. Read his "editor's note" of September 9, page 10. last two lines.
  2. Brother Cecil, if you will present the differences that exist between me, Brethren Nichols, and Willeford, concerning this radio programs right to exist we shall be happy to see wherein lies the trouble. You made the statement but have you produced the proof? We all believe it can be operated.
  3. Concerning the orphan homes and your questions to me may I ask Roy, Charles Holt and Yater to get together on what they think of the home in Wichita and then write us. Yater indorses it as being on sound scriptural foundation. Charles is challenging for debate and Roy has taken issue with Yater. Try this one.
  4. Concerning the "changing with necessity" you will remember I said "in the minds of a great number the impression was that you change with the necessity" and then following that I suggested, "That is a man's privilege and EACH TIME TO THINK IT RIGHT." I stated a fact that is too much heard, Brother Douthitt, and yet I gave every reason in the world for a man to change and it not be wrong, only TOO MUCH of it, harmful. That is true with me, you, or any one else. This no man can deny. Or "could you"?
  5. Now to the elders of Highland and their changing. I must say they have made many changes, both in the work at Highland as to our Bible study, local visitations, arrangements of services, etc., just as they have made many changes in the operations that have to do with our radio program but as to their having made "many changes" in the DOCTRINAL TEACHING and practices with reference to our program, THAT they have not done nor have they made changes that affect our "doctrinal position" concerning this program. Now when they make mistakes of judgment and see how to improve upon them, that they do. They do covet your prayers that it may be carried out in the most economical manner possible and to the greatest good of all. When they started they had to learn these things. They are learning and they are profiting by suggestions but they stand today on the DOCTRINAL ISSUES of this program right where they stood at the beginning. Now when they begin to "waver back and forth doctrinally" from time to time their influence will soon die. They can even hurt themselves this way in the realm of human judgment but THAT realm is not the realm over which the church can be "split" scripturally. I will say however, that when as of today, we can preach to 4,000,000 people at an "over-all" cost per person for $1.00 per 500 people and during the time "Brother Otey" wrote about our "over-head" expense, as he had it, it was $0.000506 per person per week or $1.00 per 1,973 people per week. After all that is not too bad for "overhead expense" and yet they can improve.

Holy Rollers

Brother Cecil, after your articles about my "mental condition" even they would not want me. Ha. Now I never claimed "sinless perfection" but I have not changed my views on the major issues concerning, "schools and the church"; concerning "cooperation," for this I was doing in "Little Rock"; concerning churches "not having the right to obligate themselves beyond that which they are able to pay"; concerning "other congregations" having the "autonomous right" to assist them in "being able to meet that which they have not the financial ability to do of themselves"; concerning the "rights and limitations of elders" in the church over "other Christians" under "other elders"; concerning the right to "operate a radio program by contributions from other churches" as we did for nearly twelve years in Little Rock, Arkansas. Cecil, find in my writings over the past twenty five years, during, what you might call my active preaching life, where have I written anything to the contrary. Maybe I have forgotten. If so I will "confess" but just man's word for it with a life of writings and practices behind me, all to the contrary, will not be enough to convince that jury or court that you know what you are doing. Even Brother Tant agrees with me here. Read his defense against the elders in Gospel Guardian, September 16.

Poor Yater!

7. Yes, your influence, that is the Gospel Guardian's influence, is "weak" in many places. They are having to get OTHERS to pay for the paper and "send" it to the readers. One thing that makes me KNOW they are weak is the fact you brethren are CONTINUOUSLY trying to bring pressure to bear to force me NOT to let my articles be seen by any one other than the little Gospel Guardian subscription list. IF YOU had the circulation that OTHERS had, what would YOU CARE about WHEN or WHERE I wrote? This very fact is an argument UNANSWERABLE. Whoever heard of a group of "mentally well," "anti-psychosomatics" with a paper that is STRONG, crying and whining about WHERE you send your articles. For generations yet to come this will live to HAUNT YOU MEN in the minds of men of strength, who shall live after you are gone. They will wonder why it was that men so "mentally outstanding," with bodies so "physically strong" would make fun of and ridicule one who was as you say I am, "sick," and then beg like babies for him NOT TO LET ANY ONE READ HIS ARTICLES for fear they will hurt you STRONG, PHYSICALLY ALERT, MENTAL, WIZARDS. They will wonder why you men were afraid for them to appear in other papers if Brother Tant is right in his closing remarks of the Gospel Guardian August 16 issue when he refers to my articles as "meaningless and pointless statements" which statements have caused, the "almost entire Gospel Guardian family," to come undone and rush to Yater's help and keep trying for months and months to answer those "meaningless and pointless statements." Doesn't make sense, does it Yater and Cecil?

Proven Thus Far

Thus far I have proven by the information you have in your possession that the elders did NOT use "old Digressive methods of pressure" on anyone and that elders do not have the right to attack, discipline, nor to call "before them," for corrections, members of other congregations without the help and consent of the elders where that person worships without violating "local autonomy" as we understand its "limitations."

That College Affair

Well, it seems that my good friend Cecil is also rather upset over my having proved that I did not work for Freed-Hardeman College begging churches to place the college in their budget. The letters from Brethren Hardeman and Roland caused Brother Tant to accept the fact that I was honest in my heart in not doing that but of course he had to ease the thing off some-how so he just said that I could not be understood many times. THANKS BROTHER TANT. Some people ARE hard of understanding, AT TIMES.

But here comes Brother Douthitt not satisfied with it and so he says that about twenty years ago when we were such good friends and working together in Jackson and Birmingham that "I know he did believe then that it was scriptural and right for churches to contribute money to Freed-Hardeman College, and I know he did advise churches to do that very thing." Now, now Cecil! I left Jackson more than twenty years ago. It will have been 21 years since I was there the first of January. In Brother Tant's language of Gospel Guardian August 16, "He is confused as to the time," etc. Isn't it rather strange that some two years before this time, I was invited by the school itself to work for them and I told them I did not believe that it was right and I would not solicit money from congregations but that I would ask individuals to support it, when all this time I was telling Brother Cecil it was scriptural and I was, at that very time "advising churches to do that very thing"? Cecil, can you explain to us just what good reason I would have for telling you that, and "advising churches" so, and then refuse to work for them, asking churches to contribute, when I was at THAT VERY TIME ALREADY ADVISING CHURCHES TO DO JUST THAT? Brother Douthitt, a group of men must be hard pressed when their position is in such dire circumstances that they are forced to make such ridiculous statements as you have just made. Here I am already preaching and advising churches to place Freed-Hardeman in their budgets and then during this very time, when asked to work for the school, I had the courage as a young man to tell even the president and the dean of the school that I would not do that! Now THAT makes sense to most intelligent thinking people, does it not Cecil? I would be ashamed! I think I would try a better one than that next time. Now be it understood the school did not ask me to "advise the churches" to place them in their budgets! I knew very little about their operations, but I remembered that one time in the college auditorium a check was announced as coming from a church. I did not know if they asked them to do it or if the church just sent it, but I knew that I did not do it that way.

Now we find that some TWO years before the time in your article, I told them I would NOT do it that way, and now you may search all my writings from then back or down and not one line will you find, I feel sure, in which I have ever advocated such. Now, Cecil, to that court you men are so anxious about, do you think they would "convict me" on YOUR testimony? Now REALLY, do you? Here is a good place, Cecil, to re-read Yater's plea concerning the "President" and the "Kremlin"! Every time you men write in your own defense, you put your foot in it! Don't you?


Cecil, COULD IT BE that you have the wrong SICK MAN who is suffering from "psychosomatics"? Just wondering! Instead of being so sympathetic about poor old "sick Ernest Rosenthal" maybe you should have someone to "psycho-analyze you." Ha. Ha. Aren't you brethren ashamed?

My Health

This brings me to your making fun of my health. Cecil, you and Yater, I have known you both for a long time but never dreamed that you two men would ever become so up-set over anything that you would make fun of and belittle a personal friend on the account of his illness. Yes, I have been sick, as both of you know, many times. I have had three very serious operations in the past thirteen years. But thank the good Lord I have worked right on and I believe, Brother Cecil, I have done about as much good constructive work as either you or Brother Tant even though you and Yater have made fun of me saying I am a "sick man mentally" and not really "responsible" as you men tried to imply. At least, Brother Tant, I am not stuck off down at Lufkin with a little church of about 100 members which split off as a faction from the other church. I believe if I were you, Yater, I would go slow on that "psycho-somatic," "berserk" business.

A Challenge

Now you brethren are warning that the church is going to be divided and that "we" are going to divide the church, as a letter I got the other day said. Well, let me make you brethren this challenge. I challenge you men to draw off all your followers in every city and completely disfellowship us, (for as you now stand you do not fellowship us) and do it by the first of the year and then try to grow. I am not afraid of the number that will follow you. Just try it and see how far you get. But here is WHY I challenge you to get your group and take off. When you get off to yourselves, then I want to see you undertake to do the following things, namely:

  1. Send out and support missionaries in establishing congregations throughout the world.
  2. Take care of orphan children and give us the EXACT pattern for it and raise the money for it.
  3. Erect meeting houses for your group and for the mission places where you send your preachers based upon your argument that a congregation can't do more than it is able to finance, with the conclusion you have drawn from that, that it can't be made able to do this work by the "cooperation of other congregations." I believe congregations can be "made able" to do that "which they of themselves do not have financial ability to do," just as I proved in my Tulsa Lecture that you men have "taken out of its context," as Brother Tant says in G.G., September 9, page 10, 1954, concerning Brother Totty.
  4. Do effective scriptural radio work in all the places where radio and TV should be used; raise the money for the same.
  5. Cooperate with each other in getting all this done without VIOLATING EVERY principle you have been criticizing others for doing.

How Can You Grow

You talk about "anti-radicals" — your group will take the prize, for you have no constructive method of doing the work mentioned above.

You men will have to grow off the converts made by others in preaching the gospel just like the "anti-classcups-literature-college, and anti-located preacher groups" do. If you were off to yourselves you would soon devour one another because here is Brother Tant defending the orphan home in Kansas and Roy and Charles taking issue with him denying them to be scriptural and one of them wanting to debate it and show it is all the "bad things they are trying to "fight," (my quotes). Wouldn't THAT SOON be a HAPPY SMELLING MESS AMONG YOU, shall I say "mentally well" brethren or among you "anti-psycho-somatic" brethren? No you would not have the split to come for your lives for you would starve your congregation to death and destroy yourselves in no time. Men would be coming home by the droves, even Brother Yater would be knocking on our doors after Roy and Charles got through with him about this "Wichita Orphan Home Affair."

Well, better next time brethren, in opposing your old "psycho-somatic-berserk-sick" Ernest Rosenthal!


Now, Brother Cecil, this is my only article in answer to you. Say what you please about me, but when men reach the place where you have gone, to attack the health and do your best to belittle the mental condition of a "Bosom friend," that you might create in the minds of the brethren that he is "mentally ill" and not in condition "to preach the gospel," it is time to stop. You can call me a "Chameleon"; a "hypocrite"; "dishonorable"; ascribe every act of degeneracy possible to me, and I will fight right on. But when men stoop to the level of making fun of a 'bosom friend" because he has been sick, and ridicule him for such, then I am through with such men forever. Nothing you can ever say or write about me will cause me to engage you in a further discussion in the Gospel Guardian. I may differ with you but I shall always "respect your mental faculties" for you have been my personal friend, and if you ever have to go through with what I have had to go through I shall come to your aid and certainly be Christian enough NOT to make fun of you. You are welcome in my home any time as of all the years back but my discussion with you on religion is over in the Gospel Guardian. You think all this over and then ask yourself Cecil, if it is becoming of men to resort to such levels as you and Yater have in ridiculing a brother's health and making fun of what you call a "psychosomatic" condition. Can't you meet issues without such unkind insinuations? Suppose I were "mentally unsound," do you feel that it would be an act of Christian understanding to make light of it? Had you and Yater REALLY THOUGHT this, I am sure you would not have so done.

Brother Douthitt or Brother Tant, I am only sending this to the Guardian. In the event it finds its way into publication I shall not submit it to any other paper since it is my last to Cecil and rather long and some of it is personal and not of a general nature. I am expecting this however to appear soon since it is a direct answer to Brother Douthitt. If not I shall understand you mean to refuse it and then I shall send other places.