Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 28, 1955

Open Letter To W. W. Otey -- And Reply

W. W. Otey, Winfield, Kansas

Dear Brother Otey:

In the Gospel Guardian of January 13, 1955, on page 11 we note the following statements in your article titled Harper and Otey.

.... "But I predict (AND MARK WELL THE PREDICTION) (EMPHASIS BROTHER OTEY'S) that the Highland elders will never permit a discussion between Tant and Harper or any other two men, on any proposition that affirms scriptural authority for the Herald of Truth set-up. If they do I will make a public apology" ...

. ... "Not In Twenty-Five Years Will Any Man Of Note Publicly Affirm Scriptural Authority For The Herald Of Truth, Or For The "Lubbock Plan" Of Church Cooperation." (Emphasis, Brother Otey'S.)

WE NOW QUOTE from Deuteronomy, chapter 18, verse 22. "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." Again may we refer to Numbers 30:2, "If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth."

As promised by Brother Harper, Brother Tant and the elders of the congregation meeting at South Fifth and Highland in the city of Abilene, Texas, a debate was held in Lufkin, according to and on a prearranged schedule of April 11 through 14. This may and can be verified by the Gospel Guardian and subsequent issues of same.

The date for the discussion in the city of Abilene has been rearranged to be held in November of this year instead of in June as originally set up.

Fraternally yours, John F. Reese

My Prediction Still Stands

Some weeks ago I received the above communication signed by Brother John F. Reese. I wrote by return mail asking for a copy of the proposition Brother Harper had signed. I stated that if it had the key words, "scriptural authority" in it, and Brother Harper was affirming such for Herald of Truth, I would indeed make the apology. To date no reply has been received. Brother Tant has sent me a copy of the proposition, and it reads, "The church of Christ, South 5th and Highland, Abilene, Texas, is Scriptural in organization, and teaching and practice of congregational, church, cooperation."

I did not claim Spiritual guidance in my prediction, as Brother Reese seems to think. But I have been dealing and debating with those who practice the same character of human institutionalism for more than sixty-five years, and not one has claimed specific scriptural authority for such institutions. My prediction was based solely on my observation of the course which has been pursued for all these long years by those who know (as I firmly believe) that there is no specific scriptural authority for the kind of institutionalism they are promoting. My apologies will be made, and with pleasure, when I see Brother Harper and Brother Reese departing from the normal standard practice of their predecessors in these matters. Brother Tant writes me that for many long, weary months he tried in every way he knew to get Brother Harper to sign a proposition affirming scriptural authority for Herald of Truth. Brother Harper refused to sign, but sent his own proposition (above) with a statement "Sign this or there will be no debate."

W. W. Otey, Winfield, Kansas