Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 17, 1955
NUMBER 28, PAGE 5,10c

"Willing To Justify Himself"

Roy E. Cogdill

Some time ago Brother Robert C. Welch wrote several articles in the Gospel Guardian calling attention to the modernism and liberalism in the Gospel Advocate literature. He gave proof in those articles by citing instance after instance in several different pieces of their literature and particularly in their adult quarterly. He did not exhaust all of the evidence available by any means for there are many more instances of liberalism, modernism, and downright sectarian error which he didn't cite.

I called attention to the fact that Advocate literature was full of error several years ago when pointing out to B. C. Goodpasture that he had enough to do to take care of his own business without meddling in affairs that were no concern of his. I said then that he either didn't even read the literature which he was supposed to edit; or he didn't know error when he saw it; or he didn't care enough about the truth to correct the error in his literature. In either case he wasn't fit to edit a series of literature for Churches of Christ to use. The "Golden Anniversary" eulogy which he recently printed about himself didn't change my opinion.

Brother Welch's articles struck home and the Gospel Advocate writers have been busy ever since trying to blind the brethren into further complacency about such grievously false teaching. You can be sure of one thing. As matters stand at present, if a church continues to freely circulate Advocate Literature including the paper itself, it will soon be full of compromise and liberalism that will ultimately lead to complete apostasy. That is so and no amount of squirming and twisting can evade it. When literature teaches that the name Christian was given by the multitude; that Simon the Sorcerer was never truly converted; that Ananias and Sapphira died of shock instead of divine discipline; that "holy men of God spake of old" as they were moved by their own experiences and circumstances instead of "as they were moved by the Spirit", it cannot help but be destructive to Faith in the Gospel. This is the Advocate tone — not in just isolated instances by inexperienced writers but by the older and more experienced men who should know, and perhaps have known, better.

Brother Goodpasture and his chief lieutenants have sought in every way to try to justify themselves rather than simply face their error and be courageous enough to admit and correct it. They seem to think that smashing the mirror is equivalent to washing the face, but it isn't. They are on record with such error and it will stand against them now and in the judgment unless they repent of it and correct it.

Brother Welch did not personate the editor of the adult quarterly in his references to his errors but simply identified the quarterly and called attention to the error it contained. The quarterly does not carry the editor's name. However, Brother Guy N. Woods is the editor of it and he is in a bad humor because he has been criticised and accused of error and that is the unpardonable sin in his sight. He thinks he should do all of the accusing and use all of the harsh terms. Brother Woods has advanced rapidly in the Advocate ranks in recent years but the progress he has made in his own conceit and esteem is the greatest advancement he has made. He isfeatured as the Advocate "Goliath" whose voice should cause all to tremble and whose declarations without any scriptural evidence should be accepted as "law and gospel". He has adjusted his convictions to fit the position accorded him by the Advocate Editor. He gets in an ugly humor fast when some of his former friends who are now the object of the "Advocate Quarantine" write him and ask him about what was happened to him. They have been surprised to find him a first class opportunist.

Brother Woods could not deny Brother Welch's charges that he had copied much of his material from modernistic authors without any credit given to them. This was the source and reason for much of his error. He has been jumping from one defense to another to try to justify himself. He has decided to muddy the waters so as to cover his guilt. He has plead that he and Brother Goodpasture and other literature writers for the Advocate are not "modernists". Well, Brother Welch did not say they were modernists. I doubt if they are — many of them — at the present time anyway. But they are going to have to do better than they have done if they convince many thinking brethren that what they have "copied" into their literature isn't "modernism". If the samples given by Brother Welch do not constitute modernism — there AIN'T any such thing as modernism.

Brother Woods has plead that such "copying" was the privilege of an "editor". He said that if he had been the "author" it would have been plagiarism. He contended that an "editor" could copy such material in what he "edits" and be perfectly honorable but it would be dishonorable if an "author" were to do the same thing. That takes the cake — platter and all. There is absolutely no foundation for such a contention. It is plainly ridiculous and probably was used in the hope that folks would not know any better. Brother Woods should write a dissertation on the difference between the devil and the boogerman. (I hope I spelled that right. If I didn't, it was a typographical error because I am a good speller — especially when I am copying from someone who is a good speller.) According to Brother Woods there isn't any way an editor can be guilty of plagiarism, not even if he copied what someone else had already "edited". He had better be careful and "edit" instead of "author" all the rest of his writings lest in some of the books he has "authored" some copying be pointed out. As long as he signs his name as "Editor" he can copy all he wants to and brethren will give him credit for profound scholarship.

More recently though our learned brother has hit upon another maneuver. He has decided to stir up the scent a little and try to throw brethren off his trail. So he has charged that even if he is a "plagiarist", that isn't too bad for so is Roy Cogdill. He undertakes to prove that I copied some of my "New Testament Church" from G. C. Brewer's book, "The Model Church". He finds us using some of the same words, arrangements, and drawing some of the same deductions from the same passages of scriptures. That is serious indeed. I am glad of one thing though: even if I copied from Brother Brewer's book, which I didn't, I at least did not copy any modernism or error. I must have known error when I saw it. Wherever my material came from, it wasn't a modernistic source and so if I am a "copier" I am a better one than Guy Woods.

Besides, what good is it going to do him to prove that I am as guilty as he? Is he justified in his wrong doing because I have done just as wrong? If that isn't his point, what is his point? And if that is his point, it is silly and childish. Let him answer for his own sins and he won't need to worry about mine.

The fact of the matter is that his charge against me is too ridiculous to take seriously. I do not possess a copy of Brother Brewer's book. I never examined it at length in my life. I was not even aware that there were any outline arrangements in it. I doubt seriously if there is anything in my book that G. C. Brewer wants credit for originating. There isn't anything in it that even I want credit for originating. I learned everything I know from someone. There isn't a thing original about me. I claim no scholarship and mighty little of anything else. What little I know I have learned from so many different sources that I could not keep up with them. Not much of it comes from Brother Brewer though. I lave never been associated with him in my life except for one short meeting in Cleburne years ago and then he got ill and I had to do part of the preaching. What I have read from him has had so much in it that I couldn't agree with that I have never sought any material for anything from that source. If, however, there is a sentence in anything I have written that is like anything Brother Brewer ever said, I am willing for him to have the credit and would have given it to him to begin with if I had known where I got it and that he originated it. I would guess though that even in that case we probably got it from the same source.

Just one more thing, I would not want to blame my use of "preventative" on Brother Brewer. Brother Woods mentioned that I had changed that word in my book in a later edition. He is right. For a long time I thought it was a good word (it wasn't even originally a typographical error), but my wife finally convinced me and when I learned better I corrected it. I am sorry for the error, brethren, but guess it isn't too vital for I am sure everyone knew what I meant by the word and it didn't teach any error. It doesn't hurt me to make such corrections for I have no claim for scholarship at stake anyhow. If Brother Woods can find any more errors in the book, we will fix them too. I wish he would hurry though so we can correct them in the new edition. This little book has been well received. It was published in 1988, and while we are on that point, Brother Woods took exception to the fact that Brother Welch went back some four or five years for the errors he produced in brother Woods "copying" and then he reversed his field and went back 17 years to find something to accuse me of copying. He is self condemned in that point.

Since 1938 the book, "The New Testament Church," has sold through a good many editions and is still selling at the rate of several thousand each year. It has been translated into Korean, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish. You can order the book from the Gospel Advocate in case some of you brethren do not want to violate the "Advocate Quarantine" and buy them direct from the Gospel Guardian. If anybody else wants to claim a part of it, we will feel complimented and likely will not contest the claim too seriously. Who ever may be responsible for the book, it is a good book.