Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 20, 1955

Religious Megalomania

Vaughn D. Shofner, Camden, Arkansas

The lust of the flesh and the pride of life have always been busy planting the grandiose delusions of religious megalomania in the minds of Christ's disciples. The fruits of religious megalomania are as evident today as any of the departures and innovations which it produced along the historical road leading to any apostasy of the past. Mocking the simplicity of God's pattern for his church and its activity is always manifested in plans toward these grandiose delusions, and always ends in the wake of spiritual destruction and the smoldering ruins of apostatized churches.

The moves of religious megalomania gain their church-destroying momentum by the promotions of pragmatic preachers. These "cultured" charlatans become so inflated with self-applause and the ecstasy of their universal schemes, that those who dare even whisper a question about their plans and practices are quickly branded "ignoramuses" who are not capable of thinking coherently, and in their helpless condition the promoters speak of them as little and insignificant vessels vainly trying to sail over the depths removed from the shoals where such ordinary people should quietly stay. These worldly wizards become ipsedixitists in conduct, and under the influence of their own effervescence they dogmatically decree that any person who raises a single point against them is guilty of hindering progress, is making only a personal attack against them, and is certainly a "Sommerite" or "anti." Yeah, they make known their laws against the "heretical" opposition, even before the echoes of their own onslaught fades from earshot!

From January 10, 1955 to February 26, 1955 I corresponded with a brother recently victimized by religious megalomania. I engaged Guy N. Woods in correspondence (6 exchanges) relative to positions he has taken and my opposition to them. I say "Guy N. Woods" because he is the one to whom I wrote, and his name to me is not so powerful or sacred that I must refrain from mentioning it in this paper. Certainly the great amount of bluster he has issued concerning others should help him to such an understanding.

I told brother Woods that I had long wondered about his silence on the issues of the day, previous to the then recently published fact that he was in sympathy with the big organizations of the day. I commended his impartiality of the past, contended with his present positions, mentioned some of the times ten years ago when I asked his advice about certain like trends which he then condemned, and I plead with him to consider his influence and the future of the church before he led many away from the autonomous government of the Lord's church.

For this he charged me with being "hypnotized by a specious and fallacious mode of reasoning." He claimed, "vicious personal attacks, twisting of truth, false representations, will not cover up the fact that in the last five years a small segment of the brotherhood is driving the brotherhood to the brink of division." He continued, "As to the Herald of Truth, if it is unscriptural, there is no such thing as church cooperation taught in the Bible." And, gentle reader, he gave proof for his position. Said he, "When the smoke and rubbish of criticism is clearedfrom it, the truth is there is nothing but simple church cooperation involved."

I solicited his forbearance on behalf of my "smoke and rubbish", informing him that I was sincere. I asked him, "If it is right for one church to assume responsibility where there is no ability, is it not the right and responsibility of all churches to do the same? If one church can solicit, receive and direct funds of sister churches in sponsoring a brotherhood radio program, can not one church solicit, receive and direct funds of sister churches in sponsoring a brotherhood program of establishing new churches? in distribution of tracts? in evangelizing the world? in advertising throughout the nation? If not, why not?" Over and over I asked the questions in our correspondence, and he never cleared up the "smoke and rubbish" by answering them. He knew I was hypnotized, he said I was, but he never tried to break the spell.

I suggested a debate between Roy Cogdill and him. He made a show of the strength of his position in writing of this debate. He wrote, "Why are you so concerned about a debate between Cogdill and me? Garrett has exactly the same position; so does Ketcherside and Allen Sommer. Would you endorse them to meet me on the Herald of Truth? Tipton orphan home? Don't forget to answer this."

In my candid way of putting it, that is a very poor attempt to hide face while continuing in the practice of things you know you cannot find scripture for. Guy N. Woods knows that such men as Cogdill and Curtis Porter will show beyond doubt the unscriptural positions he is now taking, and he chose this way out. Or, by later "loophole" hunts he happened upon the idea of refusing to face the music of a debate because his suggested disputant was not "representative." Some of us recall when "Representative Woods" was out beating the bushes for debates, engaging the old Baptist "Dr." Pepper, and working up to D. N. Jackson, on his way up to "representation." And, hear me! I am not opposed to such training, but I do wonder why humility cannot be allowed a place while pride takes a seat! Faith and humility will never search for a "representative" while truth suffers! And no christian characteristic will ever dictate an unreasonable proposition. Said I to brother Woods, so say I again, "With no experience in debating (representatively, that is), I feel completely capable of holding the truth above the arguments you have for your positions today."