Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 22, 1956
NUMBER 45, PAGE 8-9a

Let's Keep The Record Straight

Luther Blackmon, Houston, Texas

I have before me an instrument prepared by Wilburn Whittington which has evidently been given rather extensive circulation. It purports to set the brethren straight on some matters that came up at the recent Abilene debate. These matters have to do chiefly with the work of certain preachers who were on the payroll of the Lufkin church during the time that Roy Cogdill was preaching there. My name was not mentioned as far as I know, and it does not appear in the paper referred to, but I am one of the preachers to whom reference is made in the paper.

The inability of brethren to support their Romish practice by the scriptures has driven them to the "skeleton closets" of the preachers who oppose them, and they have declared open season the year round on Tant and Cogdill. Brother Whittington evidently thinks he has found an argument (?) here that will confound the mighty. If these men could prove that Cogdill and Tant have been guilty of every error which they now oppose, that would not prove that "it is scripturally right for many churches to combine funds from their treasuries into the treasury of one church to be spent by that church in a work of general evangelism." This is the thing that is being done by the Highland church in Abilene, the Broadway church in Lubbock and others. This is the thing which no amount of persuasion has thus far been able to induce the promoters and defenders of this practice to affirm. They find it easier to affirm that someone did something several years ago that looks like something that is being done today; that someone's practice several years ago is inconsistent with his teaching and practice now. This is an all too obvious admission of the weakness of their position. This is why some preachers have to ask their elders whether they can debate this subject or not. They did not have to do that when they were challenged to meet a Baptist or a digressive.

He Misses The Point

Brother Whittington tells how that two other preachers and himself worked in the Cogdill printshop while they were being paid by the Lufkin church. I had not heard that anyone denied that. About that time Roy Cogdill and I were alternately preaching for the Lufkin church and holding meetings. Whichever one of us was in town spent a good part of his time in the printshop. I did not attend the Abilene debate because I was in a meeting in Reno, Nevada, but it is my understanding that what Cogdill denied was that the Lufkin church was paying us to work in the printshop. There is a good deal of difference in a church's employing a man to preach for them with the understanding that he is going to spend some of his time working on his farm, and a church's employing a man to run a farm. I know some preachers who spend a lot of time fishing, but I didn't suppose that the church was hiring them to fish. I will speak only for myself, but the Lufkin church did not hire me to work in the printshop, and I doubt that the four former elders who signed Brother Whittington's statement will say that they hired Cogdill and me to work in the printshop. But what on earth does all this have to do with the proposition Brother Harper signed to prove in Abilene? If it could be proved that the Lufkin church hired forty preachers to work in a printshop it would prove that the Lufkin church had gone into the printing business, and it would not prove that many churches can combine their funds into the treasury of one church to do a work to which all the churches are equally related.

Why He Left

Brother Whittington says "I left the company because I was asked to cooperate and sanction their cause in the Bible Banner and could not conscientiously do so." I had a letter from him shortly after he left Lufkin in which he said that he left because he and Roy did not seem to be able to get along. Now I have no way of knowing what kind of mental reservation Brother Whittington had, but I spent a good deal of time with him during his stay in Lufkin, and if he ever said anything to me about leaving the company because of his convictions on the issue I do not recall it. I know that he complained about the "spirit" of the writers and accused them of using sarcasm, but I do not remember his having said that he was opposed to the position of the Bible Banner on "sponsored cooperation" and "centralized control." He says in this statement that he worked a year in the printing establishment without pay and that he considers this time donated to a cause he could never endorse. Why a man would work for a whole year in a place without pay to support a cause he believes is wrong, I will leave him to explain. I have not seen Cogdill lately but I understand that he says he has the cancelled checks to show that Whittington received pay from the printing company all the time he worked in the printshop.

As I said, I do not know what mental reservations Brother Whittington had when he left, but I was standing only a few feet away when the disagreement arose Which precipitated his leaving. Cogdill asked him to work some at night and he refused. This led Cogdill to observe that he (Whit) did not seem to have the interest of the work at heart and suggested that he turn his stock over to someone and get out. (He had not paid anything on the stock up to this time.) Whittington said it would suit him fine to get out of the business and thus it was agreed.

The Photostat Brother Whittington submits a photostat of a check from the Livingston church to the Lufkin church to show that the Lufkin church was doing the same thing then that Highland is doing now. At least, I suppose that is the purpose of the photostat. But I wonder if he really thinks that when the Livingston church sent a fifty dollar check to the treasurer of the Lufkin church to be paid to Brother Whittington, and the treasurer of the Lufkin church in turn gave Brother Whittington a check to cover the fifty, plus the amount Lufkin was paying him, that this was parallel to what Highland in Abilene is doing? In that case the Lufkin church was helping the Livingston church support her preacher. The Livingston church and the Lufkin church were combining their money into one check and giving it to the preacher. It was Livingston that was on the receiving end of this, not Lufkin. The fifty dollars that the Lufkin treasurer received from Livingston, he 'handed right back to Livingston along with several hundred more. And Brother Whittington is hard pressed for argument when he tries to make this a parallel with what Highland is doing by calling it "a cooperative arrangement of one congregation receiving contributions from other congregations when said congregation was strong and well able to carry on her own work." Brother Whittington, "said congregation" was doing "her own work," and helping Livingston do her work to the tune of several hundred dollars per month.

Preachers Turned In Their Money

Brother Whittington thinks that when we preachers held meetings and turned in the money that we received for the meeting, to the Lufkin church, that these churches were "making contributions" to the Lufkin church. The Lufkin church paid me a salary. What support I received for the meetings I turned in, after subtracting from it expenses for the trip. There was no understanding or connection between the Lufkin church and the congregations where I held meetings. Some of the churches did not know, unless I told them, that I was being paid a straight salary. They were simply paying for a meeting. It was none of their concern what I did with the money.

It is my conviction now, that such is not unscriptural. If Brother Harper or anyone else will show me that it is I will apologize and not be guilty again. I will do the same with Herald of Truth and the other brotherhood programs. If anyone will convince me that they are scriptural by arguments from the scriptures, I will support them to the extent of my ability. But I will not be convinced by this syllogism: Yater Tant endorses something we think looks like Herald of Truth: therefore Herald of Truth is scriptural.