Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 17, 1955
NUMBER 40, PAGE 5,12b

Institutional Pressure Control

Roy E. Cogdill

"The writers of the Gospel Advocate" are being urged to "spear-head a movement to quarantine those preachers who today are sowing the seeds of discord among the brotherhood and thus prevent further divisions." They seem all set and eager to do so.

And this is the crowd that has been yelling about someone trying to dictate to the brotherhood and the elders of the churches about what they could do! One of their favorite arguments on church support for the colleges has been that no one has the right to tell the eldership of a congregation that they could not give money to a school. If the elders "deem it to be righteous," they have the right to do it. Yet now these same brethren are "spear-heading a movement" as "writers of the Gospel Advocate" to quarantine all those who do not agree with them on such questions as church support for colleges.

If a preacher will not line up under such pressure and give in and desist in his opposition to making the schools church institutions, to be supported out of the treasuries of the churches, he will have the "small-pox" sign hung around his neck and be crushed into submission. We have known all along that when they thought they had the power they would undertake such a movement. We are not a bit surprised that it has come. But for some reason most of us are not quaking in our boots, for we think they are "drunk on their own importance" and "think more highly of themselves than they ought to think." As far as this writer is concerned, and the same is true of many others, we have been extended no fellowship by this crowd for quite a long time anyway. So a quarantine won't change things much.

It has been obvious for some time that these brethren would not have fellowship with anyone who refused to go along with their plans to put the colleges in the church budgets, and thus do the work of the church through human institutions. Since the present editor of the Gospel Advocate has been at the helm of that journal, this writer has been in Nashville for meetings for a month at a time, has spoken on the program at David Lipscomb College lectureships more than once (in years past) and has never had the pleasure of even shaking hands with the high and mighty editor and speaking to him face to face without going to the Advocate office and forcing such attention on him. You see I happened to be associated with the wrong crowd to be accorded such recognition. I happened to be in good standing then with others who differed from him and who had incurred his enmity. And now because of our opposition through the Gospel Guardian to his campaign to put the schools into the budget of the churches and other institutional promotions, we have become "public enemy number one" on his list to be "black-listed and black-balled, disfellowshipped and destroyed" at all costs.

This is a concerted movement on the part of the "Gospel Advocate party" and all of the institutions that seek to promote their interests through Advocate pages go along with them. They are feeling the effects of the faithful Bible teaching which so many gospel preachers over the land are giving on the issues, and are determined to destroy these men if they can. When the president of David Lipscomb College was waging his fight to oust others and get control of the school a few years ago, he seized upon the premillennial issue as a popular club to use to achieve his purposes. He himself had been as silent as the tomb on the issue until he saw a chance to make himself a champion of "soundness" by opposing premillennialism. Since I had been more or less prominent in opposition to the heresy, I was cordially invited by him to speak on the subject at Lipscomb, which I did more than once. I served his purpose well, and he was able to gain complete control of the school. But when I dared differ with him and oppose his campaign to put the school in the budget of the churches, I was sent word not to come back on the campus of the school, and I haven't. I relate this to show simply that when you incur the wrath of these institutional idolators you come under the full power of their enmity and they will destroy you if they can. Since that time the president of David Lipscomb has gone about advising the brethren, when he could judiciously do so, that they should not use this writer for their gospel meetings because he was "opposed" to so many things! They disclaim that they want to exercise any control over the churches and then go subtly about doing that very thing to the extent of their ability. They control churches through naming the preachers that they use.

Recently the brother-in-law of the Advocate editor called long distance to a good brother in a small, struggling church in central Kentucky, and advised him that if they allowed this writer to come back to that town for a meeting there, the church where he (J. M. Powell, Fourth Avenue, Franklin, Tennessee) preached would withdraw their support of this small church that is struggling to get on its feet. They contributed all of $25.00 a month to that little congregation, and felt that because of such support they should be able to tell them who could and who could not preach there. Of course they were told by this good brother, as any self respecting Christian would have told them, to mind their own business and keep their 25.00. Brother Powell said, whether it is so or not, that he was speaking for the elders of the church at Fourth Avenue. That is the way it worked, and it is at work; it is not only aimed at some of us, but at all of those who will not "bow the knee to Baal."

Well, I ain't scared. If any man is, let him go home; the Lord can't use him anyway. Gideon's three hundred put to flight the whole host of Midian 'because they had the Lord on their side — better still, they were on the Lord's side. My guess is that when all are counted and the score is posted, the "mighty" Advocate editor will be tremendously surprised. His quarantine will be a fiasco of the first rank. Most of us are getting along fairly well without his assistance and endorsement, and likely we will continue to do so. The trouble with him is the "bighead"; he is bloated with his own importance. Brother R. L. Whiteside, respected and loved by those who love the Lord and the truth, and now gone to his reward, incurred the wrath of the Advocate editor because he would not go along with him, and said concerning him that he was "a little man trying to swell up like a frog and fill a big job," Well, he "swole" and now is about to "bust" with his own power and importance. All he needed was some self-important elder of a big church to write and give him the word that what the church everywhere needs is for the "writers of the Gospel Advocate" to take the lead and "spear-head a movement to quarantine" all who do not agree with them.

Editor Goodpasture has sought to dictate to the church by prescribing the kind of articles that should be written and has refused for years to print anything that is contrary to his own ideas. He will not allow discussion of any question on which he has not spoken (or, more accurately, on which he has not quoted somebody else, for he rarely has the courage to use his own words on an issue). Both sides cannot be heard — only one side, his side. If any man is misrepresented or an untruth is printed and an injustice done, he refuses to correct it or even allow space for anyone else to correct it. If what a man teaches is misrepresented, and this has often been done, he will not allow a correction to be made. It would be easy to establish that absolute untruths — violent and unjust — have been printed in the Gospel Advocate of late years and never corrected. This is so generally known that it is not even open to argument. Sectarian error has been taught and no effort made to correct it. We have and can furnish conclusive and compelling evidence for all of this.

Our brother has assumed the attitude of a "communistic Stalin" and has sought to enclose his "kingdom" behind an iron curtain and make it impenetrable to insure his security. Now he seeks to institute a "purge" of all who disagree with him and will not "bow the knee to Baal" — his institutional god. Line up boys, or the axe will fall! You must either give evidence of your support by a list of subscriptions (money talks, especially in the G.A. environs), or by writing an endorsement of the "Advocate" in glowing terms, praising the editor as a "mighty man of valor" and castigating all who disagree with him. Weaklings are climbing on the "bandwagon" and deserting their convictions with the prospect of rapid recognition and promotion. We shall see just how many are willing to sell the truth short and barter away their spiritual birthright for a mere mess of pottage.

Give this editorial Mussolini the 50,000 subscribers that he is campaigning for and the "headquarters" of the churches of Christ will be officially proclaimed to be Seventh Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee. No ambitious politician has ever sought more complete power and control over his party. No "association," convention, or missionary society ever sought to exert any more pressure than our present day "institutions and brotherhood promotions" seek today to exercise over the preachers. So, brother preacher and elder, better find out where you stand and make up your mind whether you want to stand with the truth and do your best to serve the Lord through his church, or are willing to yield to pressure and go along with the "Gospel Advocate Institutional" crowd. The call once again is, 'Who is on the Lord's side?' With the apostles of old I can only say, "Whether it is right to hearken unto men rather than to God, judge ye; for we cannot but speak the things which we saw and heard." The Advocate editor should know by now that true servants of the Lord cannot be intimidated. His "quarantine movement" will be a fiasco.

It will be interesting to see the list when it is published, or circulated privately, just to see who is endorsed and who is quarantined. There are a number of rather prominent names that I wonder how the Advocate will list. Every institution will have its own list — a list of those who have come under its condemnation because of adverse criticism — and in order to "spear-head the movement" the Advocate will have to go along with all of them. Institutionalism, modernism, liberalism, worldliness, and other compatriots will all join hands in this "quarantine movement" and what a conglomerate mess it will turn out to be! Well, get with it brethren — the quicker the sooner — and some of the rest of us will profit by your red and yellow tags.