Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 11, 1955

Brother Harper's Expression Of Appreciation

Cecil B. Douthitt, Brownwood, Texas

In the Firm Foundation of July 19, 1955, Brother E. R. Harper says this:

"I appreciate the compliment that is to be paid my defense of churches having the right to cooperate at the Lufkin debate by Brother Roy Cogdill. He feels impelled to contribute six articles on that debate. This is an admission that Brother Tant did not do the job they wanted and now Roy is to try to bolster up Yater's efforts. Let us hope Roy gets them in soon that we may have the benefit of them for our coming debate here in Abilene."

I do not think that anybody who knows Ernest Harper as well as I know him will think that he states correctly the feelings of his own heart when he says that he appreciates and considers Cogdill's articles a "compliment" to his "defense" in the Lufkin debate. If he really feels that way about it, why doesn't he ask the Firm Foundation, Gospel Advocate and other papers to publish Cogdill's six articles?

Brethren Lemmons and Goodpasture probably would publish Roy Cogdill's six articles in the Firm Foundation and Gospel Advocate, if Brother Harper could convince them that those articles are a "compliment" to his "defense," and that he wants them published. Lemmons and Goodpasture are not so "dull of hearing" (Heb. 5:11) as to think Cogdill's articles are a "compliment" to Harper's "defense" in the Lufkin debate; in other words, they are not that dumb. If Brother Harper really does "appreciate the compliment," why does he refuse so vehemently to sign propositions and to debate with Cogdill? Why doesn't he give Cogdill an opportunity to "compliment" his "defense" all over the country?

In an article in some of the papers, Brother John F. Reese, an elder in the Highland Church where Brother Harper preaches, tries to defend Brother Harper's abortive endeavor to prove by "Principle Eternal" that the Herald of Truth is being operated scripturally, exclusively and independent of any command, example or necessary inference in all the Bible. If Ernest states the truth when he says that Roy's articles are "an admission that Brother Tant did not do the job they wanted," then it necessarily follows that Brother Reese's article is "an admission" that Brother Harper "did not do the job" that the Highland elders wanted.

Does Brother Reese believe that Cogdill's articles are "an admission that Brother Tant did not do the job they wanted"? Harper says he submits his writings to the Highland elders for their approval before he mails them to the papers. Does Brother Reese believe that his own endeavor to "bolster up" Brother Harper's "Principle Eternal" fiasco is "an admission" that Brother Harper "did not do the job they wanted? Did Brother Reese read Harper's statement and give his approval of its publication before Harper mailed it to the Firm Foundation?

Did Brother Reese give his approval of a statement that he himself does not believe? Or, did Brother Harper tell the truth when he said that the elders of the Highland Church read and approve his articles before he mails them to the papers?

Brother Harper's reference to his part in the Lufkin debate as "my defense of churches having the right to cooperate" is not correct; it misrepresents his opponent. He knows full well that Yater Tant believes and teaches that churches have a right to cooperate. He knows too, that was not the issue in the Lufkin debate. Brother Harper is not as careful and accurate in what he says as a gospel preacher ought to be. Does he think the missionary society promoters are careful and correct when they call their defense of the missionary society a "defense of churches having the right to cooperate?"

A very real danger of losing all regard for truth and accuracy faces every man who persists in defending a religious practice which he admits is not supported by any scriptural command, or example, or necessary inference. This proclivity is becoming more and more manifest in Brother Harper as he continues his defense of the erroneous practice of a thousand churches sending donations to one church for a work to which all the churches are related equally.