Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 19, 1955

Brother Gatewood's Trickery

F. Y. T.

Two years ago Brother Richard E. Smith was preaching for the congregation of Christians in Karlsruhe, Germany. He was ""sponsored" in that work by the Grove Avenue Church in San Antonio, Texas, being supported by a number of other congregations who sent their contributions to Grove Avenue.

Largely because of Brother Smith's unwillingness to send young converts from Karlsruhe to the school at Frankfurt, Germany, which was operated by Brother Otis Gatewood, and because of his not being in sympathy with the idea of such a school, the Grove Avenue brethren demanded that he return to the United States. When Smith indicated a desire to remain in Germany, his support was abruptly terminated by the Grove Avenue brethren.

About this time the Gospel Guardian published some letters and articles from Smith and from others setting forth the true status of the situation in Germany and particularly in Karlsruhe. It all boiled down to the fact that Smith wanted to remain in Karlsruhe; the Karlsruhe congregation (most of whom were his converts) wanted him to remain; but the Grove Avenue congregation was adamant in its determination to over-rule the Karlsruhe congregation and remove Smith from the scene in Germany.

When his support was suddenly stopped, Smith was reduced to rather desperate circumstances, and faced the prospect of having to sell off some of his furniture and personal belongings to buy food for his wife and baby. At this juncture, the Gospel Guardian entered the scene with an appeal to both individuals and congregations to send help to Smith immediately. His need was urgent. We gave Smith's address in Karlsruhe, and told exactly how the money could be sent to him. As a result of this appeal Smith received several hundred dollars, and was able to meet his temporary emergency.

Brother Otis Gatewood, residing at Frankfurt, only seventy-five miles from Karlsruhe, saw our appeal in the Gospel Guardian. He forthwith sent five dollars to his sister five thousand miles away in Muleshoe, Texas, Mrs. VeIda Garrett, and requested her to send this money by check to the Gospel Guardian, plainly writing on the face of it, "For Dick Smith in Germany."

We received the letter from Muleshoe in due time, with the check made out to the "Gospel Guardian," and marked "For Dick Smith in Germany." The letter was written on cheap tablet paper in a semi-illiterate scrawl. It expressed great indignation at the evil treatment being given Dick Smith, and an intense desire that Smith be enabled to remain in Germany. We were requested to send the check on to Smith at once!

We did so, endorsing it over to Smith, supposing that some good-hearted brother had not understood our instructions as to how money might be sent to Germany.

For many months now photostatic copies of that check (the original of which is, or was, in the possession of Otis Gatewood) have been exhibited over the United States with charges that the Gospel Guardian was a "Missionary Society," receiving and disbursing funds to the mission fields of the world! Brother W. L. Totty had an elaborate chart drawn for the Indianapolis Debate in which he pictured the " Gospel Guardian Missionary Society" — all of it based on the check which Otis Gatewood had managed to get by trickery and deceit!

Brother E. R. Harper had the same sort of chart in the Lufkin discussion. When Gatewood's deceit and trickery were exposed, Brother Harper expressed his deep regret at his involvement in any such underhanded and malicious scheme, and assured the audience that neither he nor the Highland elders had understood the details behind the check; and that if they had known of Gatewood's duplicity in the matter, they would never have had any connection with it at all.

So far as we know this is the ONLY such check ever received by us in Lufkin of this nature. It is quite evident now that Brother Gatewood thought he could trick the Gospel Guardian into forwarding a check on to a missionary; and then could make a great cry against the paper as a "Missionary Society." Well, he tricked us all right. But it is our opinion that the trick will back-fire! It is a modified version of the contemptible old "badger game" which gangsters and confidence men have pulled on many an unsuspecting victim with blackmail as their objective. Brother Gatewood, no doubt, hoped to suppress and discredit the criticism which the Gospel Guardian from time to time was making against the type of work he was doing.

We trust this will serve to clarify the matter; and the next time any of our readers see copies of this Dick Smith check, just remember how it came to be. It is the product of fraud and trickery, secured under false pretenses. If Gatewood was so very eager to keep Smith in Germany (as the letter said), why did he not send or take his contribution directly to him (only 75 miles away) rather than sending it 5,000 miles to Muleshoe, with instructions there to send it another 700 miles down to Lufkin, with urgent instructions to us to send it directly back to Germany, another 4000 miles away? Such deceit ill becomes any servant of Christ!