Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 29, 1956
NUMBER 30, PAGE 8-10a

My Reply To Brother G. K. Wallace

Bryan Vinson, Houston, Texas


In the Gospel Advocate of August 23rd, Brother G. K. Wallace wrote on "The Pattern Again," in response to a previous review by me of his preceding one on "The Pattern." Having been approached about replying to this latter article of his, I feel it proper to explain both my reluctance to do so, and also the reason for this present notice. The contents of the letter below explains my reaction to this article of his, and the grounds on which I preferred to reply through the channel of a personal letter. Two months are gone since I wrote him, and he has not seen fit to either acknowledge my letter or attempt an answer to it. Too, he has not manifested any inclination to make amends for the misrepresentations and abuse of which he is guilty.

In view, therefore, of his prolonged silence I am persuaded he has no intention of doing so; hence, the decision to make public this letter. To not do so might be construed by some as indicative that I accept the treatment of my article by him as correct and the spirit displayed by him as justified. I do neither. The blow and bluster, the resort to vicious misrepresentation and the fulsome employment of a mean species of sarcasm and cheap grade of ridicule constitutes his principal stock in trade as evidenced by his writing. In such goods I have no interest in doing business with him or any other. If, and when, he or one of those of his persuasion as touching these issues become agreeable to discussing fairly and honorably the real issues involved, prompted by a love for the truth, I shall be happy to engage with him or one of them in such a study.

In this article of his he had to assure the readers of the Advocate that he isn't scared. While he avows a readiness to debate the issue and alleges he has several in prospect, yet I have learned of none which he has engaged in or arranged for the future. I wish he would let us in on these debates. If he agrees with Brother Tom Warren that the position to which he is opposed is the most ungodly and Christ-denying heresy he has ever encountered or known of, he should go forth as a knight in armor to slay all the heretics he can find without being too anxious that his dear brethren give him a vote of confidence as a prerequisite to so doing. If he appraises the situation as Tom expressed it. he should be too alarmed to delay the fight while waiting on the niceties of his self-created course of propriety.

Herewith is the letter written him as prompted by his article of August 23rd:

August 25, 1956 Mr. G. K. Wallace

Freed-Hardeman College Henderson, Tennessee Dear Brother G. K.:

Your article styled, "The Pattern-Again" in the Gospel Advocate has just been read. I have re-read the article of mine in review of your former article to see if I could discover within it that which justified the inferences drawn and the conclusions formed by you, along with the temper and spirit displayed by you toward me in this latest one in the Advocate.

First, I sincerely regret that you either think of me as a Moses, or feel that I think of myself as one. Of course I know you don't think I am, and thus I am constrained to regard your reference to me as such to be one of sarcasm designed to leave the impression that I view myself in such a role. Please accept my unequivocal denial of all thought and pretension of being a Moses.

Then you refer to me as this "giant among them." Neither you nor I think I am. Furthermore, I don't think you are — even a "little giant," such as Douglas was called. But the them — who are they? It has not been so very far back in time since you wrote for the Guardian — did this make you one of "them"? I am not on the staff of this paper, nor any other, but have contributed occasionally to its pages. I would be equally agreeable to submitting such to the Advocate if there was even a reasonable prospect of it being printed. As a matter of fact, do you think some of the articles you formerly had printed in the Guardian would now be published in the Advocate, if you requested such? Also, when you had articles in the Guardian were you then a "guardian of the souls" of your brethren, but now, on the pages of the Advocate you have ceased to function in this role? In all candor, as one Christian to another, I express my resentment against these expressions and terms as employed by you in alluding to me. You can disregard this protest or you can be gentleman enough to withdraw them — the decision rests with you. If you will point out one such offensive expression in my article I stand ready to retract it and ask your forgiveness. If your attitude and spirit as 'thus reflected constitutes your conception of Christian love and fraternalism, then you have learned it from a source other than the one on which I have depended.

You refer to the fact that I have argued in time past, as with most of you, that individuals have certain rights and may engage in certain activities from which the church is relieved, but that now I have surrendered this position mid affirm that the church may do anything that the individual may do. Where did you so learn? I have never so said, in this article or elsewhere, for I neither did nor do so believe. You inferred this from the statement you quote from me, but unjustly so. You have no right to infer that which was not implied. As a matter of fact I simply was pointing out that if you can argue that the Antioch case was individual disciples acting as distinguished from church action on the basis that the amount given was individually and personally determined, then for the same reason the instance cited from 1 Corinthians 16:1 and 2, would have to be regarded as individual action rather than congregational, since they were to give individually according as God had prospered them. There may be other considerations which would justify a distinction between the two instances and result as identifying one as individual disciples giving and the other as congregational action, but it certainly isn't on the point you raised, and from which you projected your unsupported assertion that Antioch was not congregational but individual saints doing the giving. Now you identify yourself along with others as believing that individuals may do that which congregations may not do. I subscribe to this principle. But in the article which I briefly noticed, you argued there is no pattern for one church to give to another church, but of individuals, as at Antioch, to give to a church, and in turn for a church to give to individuals, as at Corinth; however, you inferred therefrom that a church can give to a church, thus implicitly reasoning that a church can do what individuals can do, inasmuch as you cite an example of the latter and conclude from it a justification for the former. Yet I did not ascribe such a position to you, for I have thought all along that you hold that it is right and proper for individual Christians to support a college, but thought it wrong for a congregation to do so. I have no desire to put words into your mouth or charge you with a position that I don't believe you hold, as you have endeavored to do in your treatment of me.

You say there is a long list of quotations from the Wallace-Ketcherside debate. Those who read my article and yours will know better; those who read only yours will not. I only cited two statements from that debate, and am wholly unaware of any misuse or misapplication of them, as you parenthetically charge. It would be more pertinent if you would show that I so used them rather than to merely assert I did. You say Carl's plan was not one of congregations cooperating; am I to conclude from this if it were you would not have opposed it? You said it was a centralized plan to govern and control the churches by him. I am unable to see how this could effectively be done without a general and concurrent operation by those participating, and hence a species of cooperation. Centralized action certainly does require cooperation as between those involved, does it not, or am I mistaken?

You charge me with being close to Ketcherside on the basis that both he and I are opposed to orphan homes as currently existing and operating among us. If this makes me a first cousin to him, you must be at least a second cousin, since you are opposed to some of these homes, or at least you were. Are you now opposed to Boles Home, and others of this kind? If not why have you changed? The reasons you may have for changing, if you have, I'd like to have; they may be sufficiently strong and secure to justify me changing towards the popular side, and really derive no pleasure in being at variance with my brethren on any question, and am only so for reasons of conscience and an overriding desire to be right. It has been my understanding that you believe an institutional orphan home is scriptural only if and when it is under the elders of a local congregation. Just why you think thus being it is scriptural and otherwise it isn't I am unable to fathom. You sneer at what you call the scarecrow of a central agency. You voiced alarm over Carl's central agency, did you not. Maybe that was a figment of your imagination as much so as you regard the present situation to be one in the minds of those of us with whom you so strongly dissent. There were those who thought your cousin Foy's alarm over and opposition against Bollism was largely a case of inflamed imagination on his part, and you may rest assured he thinks the conditions now are real and not imaginary and in all kindness to you I think he knows more about God's Word, the history of the church and current conditions than both you and I do, or are able to know.

You have capitalized throughout your article on the "box-in-the-vestibule" and affix such as an identifying epithet in referring to me, and yet I never mentioned in my article the box in the vestibule. Yes, you could have written me and found out whether I believed in this sort of arrangement, before so speaking of me — you have my address, do you not? I have not, nor now do I believe in the box in the vestibule for any reason or cause whatsoever. I don't even believe in having one for Freed-Hardeman College. If you are endeavoring to indict me on the principle of association, by reason of the fact my article was in the Guardian, then by the same token I can charge you as favoring putting the college in the budget by reason of your connections with F-H C, both under Brother N. B. Hardeman's administration and the present one. Yes, far more so, because you really sustain a connection with the school and I've never been connected with the Gospel Guardian in any way other than an occasional article, such as you have — or were you once on its staff ? — I never have been. Another statement of yours: "Too, the eldership of a congregation is a divine arrangement. If you have fellowship with an eldership and the congregation they serve, we have fellowship with a divine institution. He who fights such is fighting the church of the living God."

May I ask: If you have fellowship with a congregation that doesn't have elders, do you have fellowship with a divine institution? Your statement implies that you think you would not, since you insert the qualifying condition of fellowship with the elders precedent to your statement of fellowship with the congregation. Certainly you do not believe a congregation is not a divine institution from its beginning until it has elders, do you? I ask you further is an orphan home under an eldership a divine institution? If you think a congregation is dependent on having elders over it in order for it to be divine, then paralleling such reasoning, you may ridiculously think an orphan home is divine institution because it is under an eldership. Paul said the Philippian church had fellowship with him in the gospel from the first day until the time he wrote those words. Did they have elders from the first day of their existence? If not, was Paul in, and having, fellowship with a religious body that was not a divine institution?

Your final slap was in reference to my statement to the effect I knew of no debates recently engaged in by you. That is a true statement. Really I had not thought I would be under the necessity of writing you in order to learn whether you had any debates lately; I see reports from you all along of your activities, your meetings, etc., but I recall no mention by you in these reports of any recent debate. Why didn't you report it? Even in this issue of the Advocate you list several meetings you have engaged in the past few months, but no mention of the debates. I shall look forward to the announcement of those pending, and if I can shall attend.

Finally, you may wonder why I have not answered your article in the paper rather than personally. I have no taste for the kind of exchange which your article descends to. I would be delighted to discuss with you the true issues of the current controversy, but I hove more regard for the finer sensibilities of my brethren than to indulge in the type of discussion filled with insinuations and slurs against your opponent as characterizes your present piece. I have known you since I met you in ACC. I have thought of you as a brother in Christ; I have thought you so regarded me. You have invited me into your home, and I accepted and enjoyed your hospitality. Simply because you and I do not see eye to eye on these matters does not, in my judgment, merit such an ill-tempered spirit being displayed toward each other, and I refuse to cherish or employ such a feeling. I believe you are wrong in your position and in the reasoning you have employed to reach and defend this position. I still think of you as a brother and am perfectly agreeable to a brotherly exchange of views designed to resolve our differences on these questions. Otherwise, or for any other reason and on any other basis, I have no interest whatsoever. Bitterness and rancor will never contribute to our good as individuals, and exploiting such feelings will do no one in the church any good. If all the papers had allowed the 'issues to be discussed pro and con free of all personal reflections against one another I verily believe we would all be standing together. I do not believe in the one-sided policy of the Advocate which allows you to say what you said about me, and would not allow me to reply. You may say that you didn't mention my name; I have no objection to anyone identifying me by name in regard to what I should write, but I do resent the remarks so insidious in nature you have made about me.

In conclusion, I sincerely wish for you and yours every blessing our heavenly Father can and does so richly bestow on those who are His.

Fraternally yours, Bryan Vinson