Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 27, 1955
NUMBER 37, PAGE 2-3b

Sommer's "Snapshot" Scenes

Joseph H. Cox, Louisville, Kentucky

In November, 1954, A. R. Sommer slid a few "snapshots" from his critical camera upon the smoldering screen of The American Christian Review — pictures which he evidently thinks he saw in the recent Indianapolis debate. Brother Allen thinks he saw fire and "hate" looming from the heads and hearts of ". . . . both College-ite Digressives" — The Gospel Guardian and The Gospel Advocate. Brother Sommer says: "For they seem to hate each other and enoy it even as intensely as they both hate the Sommerites ...." With all the family feuding which has gone on among the Sommers through the years, and with the present ferocious feud flaming between Sommer and brethren Ketcherside and Zerr, it seems that Brother Sommer should slaw down on his "hate" propaganda lest some of his Review readers get the idea that his heart is filled with "hatred" for his own brethren.

Better Days Ahead

The conclusion of the crisis seems to have come with comfort and consolation to Brother Sommer and his American Christian Review, according to his "snapshots" taken of brethren Totty and Watson. Before the debate he saw Totty "tightly drawing the line of fellowship" against the Sommerites." But the scene changes when Totty became ill during the debate (not too ill, however, to be present and turned his responsibility over to his friend, Sterl Watson, to finish his part of the debate. Watson posed gently for Sommer's camera and the picture developed shows that "Watson . . . . made none of the humanisms under discussion tests of church fellowship (that's the Review's stand ....)." Brother Sommer should now feel secure in that Watson is indorsed by Totty, for Watson will no doubt tell "Little David" to put away his stone and sling — that he has just been having hallucinations about the "Sommerites" constituting the real Goliath. Since Sommer and Watson have locked arms in "church fellowship," and with the prospect that Watson will keep "Little David" (Totty) from planting a "College-ite" stone in Allie's (Sommer's feverish forehead, it certainly looks like the fight between them on "humanism" is over.

A Prospective Debate?

Brother Sommer "seems to hate" the Guardian as much as he does the Advocate, for he says: ". . . . the Advocate and the Guardian" . . . . are "both boosters of humanisms in church work." It would be enlightening to Brother Sommer for him to learn the difference between the positions of the Advocate and the Guardian. But what Brother Sommer needs to learn first of all is the rightful place of his own "humanism," The American Christian Review. How can he have the gall to criticize even the Advocate for soliciting funds from churches for colleges ("humanisms"), when he does the same thing to support his "humanism," The American Christian Review?

While Brother Sommer is furnishing brethren Goodpasture and Totty their weakly weapons to wield against us — "Johnnies come lately" and "half-baked Sommerites" — let Brother Sommer be reminded that by his own rule and practice he has reduced himself to a "half-baked" Institutional-ite. At the risk of Brother Sommer getting antagonized to the point of "intensely hating" some of us, we suggest to him the following: affirm the scripturalness of your practice on "humanism in church work," namely The American Christian Review's soliciting and accepting contributions from church treasuries. If he will do so, "Joie" Cox will consent to be "injected into . . . . debate" with the great "Goliath" (Sommer) through the columns of The Review and The Guardian. We shall see what we shall see.

One Picture Sommer Omits

Brother Sommer sought to impress his readers that "Joie Cox tried to inject himself into the debate" . . . . with Brother Watson and that Watson capsized "Joie's" canoe. In this Brother Sommer is mistaken. Watson made no direct challenge for me to meet him in debate at any specified place. While "Joie" is not "spoiling to debate" Watson, he is ready to meet Watson or Sommer or both of them any time they want to furnish a "battleground."

If Brother Sommer had been fair in his report, he would have allowed his Review readers the privilege of knowing that Brother W. L. Totty had misrepresented Cox publicly, and after fading out of the debate with Brother Holt, came back before the crowd the next night (after Watson had replaced Totty as a debater) and sought to justify his misrepresentation of "Joie Cox" which he had made the night before he quit the debate. Cox arose in response to Totty's misrepresentation and also reminded Totty of his challenge to "Joie" for debate on church support of colleges, made more than six years prior to that time, to be held at Garfield Heights, Indianapolis, and Lebanon, Indiana, respectively. It was pointed out that Totty's only excuse for not having the debate at Garfield Heights was on the ground that Cox would not "admit" that he was "fighting the battle for the Sommerites." Totty was informed before the Garfield Heights audience that Cox would still meet him on the college question any time Totty desires a debate at Garfield Heights or can get the elders there to arrange for it. Many of us have no idea that the elders will allow "Little David" again to affirm the scripturalness of churches supporting colleges from their treasuries in their building, seeing the colossal failure he made in the contest with Brother Charles Holt.

A Picture For Goodpasture

Since Brother B. C. Goodpasture of the Gospel Advocate has been aping Brother Sommer by hurling the epithets, "Johnnies Come Lately" and " Sommerites," at the heads of the "Guardian group," it may now be that he will resent Sommer's new classification of the Guardian with the Advocate, calling them both "College-ite Digressives." Brother Goodpasture may not "hate" the "Johnnies come lately" as severely as Brother Sommer thinks, for Goodpasture says in the Advocate, September 10, 1953, that "Brother Srygley fought Sommerism to a standstill ...." Brother Srygley held the same position on the college question now held by the brethren, whom Brother Goodpasture delights in calling "Johnnies come lately." Let Goodpasture be reminded that this "giant of the faith," who so successfully stopped the surging tide of "Sommerism," said: "I do not believe that contributions should be made to the schools or any other secular business from the public treasury of the church." (Gospel Advocate, April 13, 1933.)

If Goodpasture does get to "hating" us like Sommer's "snapshots" show, surely Brethren Sommer and Goodpasture will slip away together into the silent city of the dead, and with chisel and mallet, carve their carnal cavil upon the stone of Srygley — "Johnny come lately." What next shall we expect to see from editor Goodpasture's pen, seeing he has been aping Allen Sommer in singing his "Johnnies come lately" song? Will he join now the chorus with Sommer as he serenades us with his new song, "College-ite Digressives"?