The Harding-Harper Peace Pact
The brotherhood had hardly grabbed breath after reading the breath-taking charges in the September Bible Banner brought by Brother E. R. Harper and others against the present administration of Harding College when the announcement appeared in the papers by the officials of the college that "an agreement" had been reached between the school and Brother Harper and that he had signed up to cease fighting Harding College and put his influence behind the school. The announcements appearing in the papers over the signature of Dean Sears made it quite plain that they had won a great victory in quieting Brother Harper and stopping his fight. But no one could get the impression from their announcements that they (the officials and faculty) had made any sort of changes in the order of things at Searcy or that any change in policy had been promised. They did not agree to remove any teacher nor to cease teaching premillennialism or any other error. Brother Harper did not agree to cease fighting premillennialism, he agreed to cease fighting the school on the mere assurance that an effort would be made to add a teacher who does not believe premillennialism, to the present faculty.
After his veritable barrage of testimony and evidence against Harding's unsoundness Brother Harper closed his articles in the September issue with the intimation that he had more and stronger evidence in abundance which would follow later. Accordingly, he immediately sent another article for publication containing further exposures of the premillennial tendencies, sympathies, and actual teaching found in the college. His article was scheduled for publication, but after it was already in type, the request came from Brother Harper to withhold the article, as he had signed an agreement with the college to stop the fight. But before submitting this article to the readers, and certainly without any effort or desire to prejudice the case, Brother Harper's own statement, which appeared in a recent issue of the Firm Foundation, is hereby given, with the request that it be read with due care and consideration.
"The Agreement To Cease The Fight"
Little Rock, Arkansas
January 26, 1940.
It is known to all who read our papers and hear me over the radio that I have been opposing premillennialism in Harding College. Other brethren have been with me in such opposition. I gathered evidence in document form and published some of it in the Bible Banner. About one week before Thanksgiving, Brother Benson contacted Brother Glenn E. Green, who was at that time in a meeting with us. He asked him to see if there might be any way to get me to cease my fight at this time against the school. While it is not a fight against a school yet the school is involved. The conversations between them finally resulted in an agreement, based upon certain conditions, and said agreement was finally consummated with the signature of Brother Sears, in my study on Sunday evening before Thanksgiving. This being done I then accepted an invitation to appear on their Thanksgiving program. Brother Benson also spoke at 4th and State. The agreement briefly is this, "We are attempting to add W. B. West Jr. to our faculty for this coming year as professor of Ancient Languages and Associate Professor of Bible. Of course, Brother West will have absolute freedom to teach on all subjects as his own, judgment dictates in harmony with the word of the Lord." This being the promise we were asked if, on this we could "Cooperate with" and "cease our fight against Harding College" to "help them struggle forward in peace and harmony for the advancement of the cause of Christ." This being the request made of us at the Fort Smith meeting as given on page 20 of the September issue of the Banner, I with them signed my willingness to cease the fight and try to carry out the agreement. If I have erred in this, time will tell. I regret that some have misunderstood the agreement to mean that a perfect reconciliation of these matters has been effected and as a result may have allowed doubt or suspicion to creep into their minds concerning my loyalty or soundness to the truth. I believe as I always have and stand for those same principles. So with this explanation of affairs, trust that confidence, if it need be with you, has been restored. By the above I simply meant to cease my fight until a reasonable time has been given to carry out our agreement; that all matters may be cleared up. I now wish to assume all responsibility for any mistaken idea that may have arisen and to exonerate all parties concerned. If there be any blame or injury on or to any one, I ask that I be the one to bear it alone and I do feel that the idea of a reconciliation with no understanding of matters published was a mistake. I trust that all may understand and that premillennialism may be overcome and peace among us may reign.
-Kindly, E. R. Harper.
Little Rock Arkansas, Jan. 10, 1940
Firm Foundation Co., Austin, Texas.
In as much as there has appeared in your paper an article from Dean Sears of Harding College concerning a "reconciliation" between me and them will you please publish this for me?
Let me say to my many friends who have fought with me against "pre-millenialism" and that this is not checking my fight against the evils of such doctrines in the church. Neither is it "tying" my hands so that I will not raise my voice against evils that may arise in Arkansas at any place. You may rest assured of that fact.
Now at this time I do not have an article ready for publication concerning just what is taking place at Harding. I will in a very few days and I am asking that you do not judge too hastily and have faith in me and when I feel that I can do justice to what we are trying to do, I will write.
As to its being a "reconciliation," I would say that it is hardly that, at this stage. Yet it is very definitely trying to culminate in that very thing. It is a "basis for better understanding and grounds for trying to work out a situation that will be for the good of the church in Arkansas and the brotherhood." It may not materialize but let me say for Brother Benson, "If it does not it will not be because he has convinced me that he is now ready to try to do something to get the brotherhood at peace with the school."
Now brethren give me time to try out what we believe may be for the good of us all. You may depend on me coming out of it unscarred by error and neither will I sell the truth out to "premillennialism." You may brand me and leave me scarred but the error will not. However, I am willing to suffer, if I must, at the hands of my most loved and devoted friends, if I personally believe that I am trying honestly to do that which I feel is best.
In this fight I have made, I have made it for three years in Arkansas almost alone and many who are now going to cast suspicion about me, let me run the risk of dying with the brotherhood without lifting your voice to help me. I fought it almost alone here, "then," without much help and "now" brethren I am doing this with the same courage that I did the other because I feel that I am doing that which may result in good. The past year I have had some of the most faithful men in Arkansas with me; that have ever lived. I love them and they know it. Brother Wallace has been my best friend in this all and his help and "our" pleadings have now brought about a condition that I believe is going to be for the good of us all.
Brethren, give us time to at least try it before you execute me. Every man has the right to be heard and has the right under our "democratic form of government," to have time to prepare his defense. At least we are getting a man added to the Bible department that we believe is sound on the question under fire. I beg of you, give me and the school time to see what we can do. Any man who has had the courage I have had to make the fight I have made against error and for truth should not just be murdered over night. However, if that be the desire of some, then I will take the murdering.
If in the end it can't be done to the glory of the church and the truth and most of all to the glory of our Lord, then you may count on me coming out of it. Brother Benson, brethren, is trying now to help conditions. I feel that I know this. Yours for the truth and opposed to "Bollism."
E. R. Harper
The Firm Foundation is pleased to publish the foregoing from Brother E. R. Harper. We regard Brother Harper as one of the best of men and are in full sympathy with him in his fight against the encroachments of premillennialism. It is hoped that Harding College, even if it has not done so in the past, will work out a consistent program against this pernicious ism that is doing and has been doing so much harm in many parts of the country. Brother Harper need not fear that he will have any difficulty giving publicity through the Firm Foundation to his contributions against error.
(Editor, Firm Foundation)
"The Actual Facts" Continued
We are more than pleased that "The Firm Foundation is pleased to publish the foregoing from Brother E. R. Harper" and that it is "in full sympathy with him in his fight." We have two letters from Brother Harper stating that both the Firm Foundation and the Gospel Advocate refused to publish "The Actual Facts Concerning Harding College Versus The Benson-Sears Bulletin." It certainly strengthens the fight for the Firm Foundation, with its might influence, to carry within its sweep this potential statement: "It is hoped that Harding College, even if it has not done so in the past, will work out a consistent program against this pernicious ism that is doing and has been doing so much harm in many parts of the country."
There is power behind the pen in those words-power characteristic of the editor of the Firm Foundation. His pen is formidable once he declares hostilities to exist on issues and it is true that he has "a record in the editorial management of the Firm Foundation of more than thirty years during which there has not come before the brotherhood an issue that we have not spoken plainly on when it appeared that it merited space in our columns." I personally believe this to be true of the Firm Foundation and am glad that now "Brother Harper need not fear that he will have any difficulty giving publicity through the Firm Foundation to his contributions against error," in Harding College. But help sometimes arrives too late. Great Britian and France offered fifty thousand men and "complete assistance" to the fighting Finns after they had signed a forced truce with Russia. The Firm Foundation now offers Brother Harper "publicity through the Firm Foundation" in his fight "against the encroachments of premillennialism"-but Brother Harper has signed his peace pact with Harding College. And Harding College is the hotbed of these "encroachments," according to Brother Harper's own evidence.
The Bible Banner feels justified, under these circumstances, in publishing the article held in type, which Brother Harper requested withheld. If these things were true a few weeks ago, they are true now. And Harding College still needs purging. Read it and weep.
Harding Men Speak
E. R. Harper
I am sorry to have to continue to write concerning such matters but as long as we have to encounter "Whispering Campaigns" which seek to deny the plain facts which we hold in our possession, signed and written by these men themselves and their students, it seems that the only way we have of letting you know the truth is in the Bible Banner. But I am saying to all who read these articles, we are not envious of those in the school. We want no place in their schools. I would not give my work for theirs, yet their work is honorable. All we want is a school that we can indorse. If they will surrender the positions taken in these letters that have appeared in the Banner, and will teach the truth against Boll and his destructive doctrines instead of defending him and denouncing those who are trying to save the church from them, then we will be back of them and have repeatedly told them so. They know what is the matter. They have been to see me too many times trying to get me behind the school and when I refused to commend them as sound in all points, then they started a campaign to kill me and those who would not speak for them and recommend them. We were not bothering them until they came and tried to force us to back them and tell the brotherhood they were sound. When we refused then the fight began against us. I have waited over two years to write and publish that which I have known to be true. The reason for this, "They promised to fix it." When I first came to Arkansas I did not believe it, and I was invited into the school, and I defended the school, and nearly caused myself trouble with the Fourth and State Church. I never let up until I got them to have Brother Armstrong and Brother Benson in here to preach. But I have my eyes open now and they have done it, together with their preachers boys who have visited me.
I know the Dean of Bible at Harding is a Premillennialist and so do the rest there know it and they have seen most of these letters.
I will make you this offer, "From anywhere in the United States" you may live, if you will make the trip here and I do not have the letters and articles that appear in the Bible Banner, I will pay your way here and back. If I do have them you Will have to pay your own expenses. Bring Brother Benson with you.
Letters From Their Men
In this I may not give the names of those who have written, for some students have requested that we not repeat them nor give the names of those from whom we quote. But I promise you that I have the letters that appear under my name. You can just depend on that.
September 14, 1939.
"Mr. E. R. Harper, Church of Christ, Little Rock, Ark., Dear Brother Harper: "I read with interest your article in the latest issue of the "Bible Banner." . . . "Though there have been noticeable weaknesses in Harding College during the...I have been there, I didn't suppose that the danger was so grave as you suggested in your article. On several occasions I have differed with Brother Armstrong, and others, in a respectful manner of course, but these differences were not over anything that I considered of more than secondary importance. It is possible, however, that these small things were out-cropings of something deeper underneath. The esteem, in which I hold these men, too, may have something to do with my overlooking some of their apparent peculiarities in belief.
"It would be improbable that a student would attend a school for ...and not enter into its various activities and not acquire a love for the institution, as well as a readiness to defend it against any criticism. I have always tried hard to see the good points of the school and to minimize the weaknesses and even now I would go a long way to justify the college if such were possible. However, I don't think I am so biased that I cannot see the truth when it is presented. If the things you called attention to in your article are so, (and I have no reason to doubt that you presented facts), there are far greater weaknesses in Harding than I realized. It is for this reason that I am writing you.
I stand ready to fight with all the ability and knowledge I can command the weaknesses in Harding College; and like you, I want to see it in every respect a symbol for soundness."
Fervently yours, A Harding Student.
The following is part of a letter concerning the above young man by a school mate of his. September 19, 1939.
"Mr. E. R. Harper, Church of Christ Fourth and State Streets, Little Rock, Ark.,
Dear Brother Harper:
"I received a letter from...today. You remember him, do you not. He read your article this week in the Banner on the college and wants to talk, with you about these things.
He is a strong defender of the truth always. You'll find him very open minded and logical, and willing to reason at all times. He says that he fears conditions will be harder for him (were he to come this year), in that he (would) not have such colleagues as .. .. .. and myself. So you need not feel that...is talking with you for any concealed reason, but merely to get a better understanding of the article you wrote to the Banner."
Yours in Christ, A Harding Student.
There are many things in these that I would enjoy being able to speak out about but I have given you the sentiment of these two fine letters by two very fine boys. These letters show that they realize there is something wrong and there is fear in their hearts in opposing the error.
This next letter will show why I withhold these names. They make it hard on their students both in and out of school if they side against them. I know what it means, but I am older and can take it. I do not want to make it hard for these young men. Here is what they are up against.
Dear Brother: "In that meeting that afternoon (the meeting was to clear up that Monday night speech of Brother Rhodes. E. R. H.) the other fellows that had made such rash statements about that Monday night meeting all retracted their statements, and signed a petition to the effect of my letter that the meeting didn't uphold the Boll theory. Or that Brother Rhodes's defense did not do that. One fellow had to retract this statement: "Brother Rhodes said that he wasn't defending Brother Boll, but he did a mighty good job of it."
"Then it appeared that there was nothing else left for me to do but to write as the committee suggested, telling him that I didn't mean that Brother Rhodes was defending Brother Boll. Well, I couldn't say that Brother Rhodes did openly defend Brother Boll as no one can say that, but I did imply in the letter that Brother Rhodes' speech did leave the wrong impression. And it is only logical that if Brother Rhodes had intended to defend Brother Boll it would have to be in a camouflaged manner.
"I'll have to admit, Brother...I suppose all of us fellows that spoke on that program, afterwards, did magnify the results in our minds. We were all terribly worked up for a while over the conditions, and it did stir us up for quite a while. We didn't think that Brother Rhodes did just right that night and we still hold that contention.
"I did not make the statement "Harding College is a Bollite school if there ever was one," as my own personal statement, but as a quotation that was made that night by one of the speakers.........it was merely a quotation which was retracted in this last meeting of the speakers. It with various others had to be retracted before the petition could be signed by the other speakers.
(The reason why he requested that some things he said not to be printed with his name is further shown in these statements from this letter. E. R. H.)
"I only anticipated the trouble that it would cause and it would naturally do so as I am yet a student of this institution...........(Last year).
"I think you can fully understand the position it places me in here when such meetings are called, as the one that was held recently. (I am sure we can understand. They put the pressure on the boys. E. R. H.) I hope you can see clearly, now, my position with regard to the meeting. And as I even told Brother Harper, (Yes, he as well as a half dozen others discussed that meeting on Monday night with me. E. R. H.) that no one could say Brother Rhodes openly defended Brother Boll, but his retaliation did leave an unfavorable impression. I hope you will realize too, that some things I told you in writing may have been exaggerated due to our stirred-up emotions about that time." Your Brother in Christ, Another Harding Student.
"Better Quit Kicking My Dog Around"
This same young man told me that after the meeting that Monday night he and Brother Rhodes went on the outside, and Brother Rhodes told him that "We" did not harmonize our theory with the Bible and that Brother Boll did try to harmonize his theory with the Bible. Another young man said the Brother Rhodes told them the story of the man who "Killed his dog and left him lying in the road. In two or three days he came back, got a club and began beating the dog again. Some asked him, Why are you beating that dog when he has been dead for days? The man replied, I am beating him just to show that he is already dead." All the students laughed. He applied that story to the boys talks that night. Brother Rhodes said "We have killed this question 20 years ago and now you boys are just beating it to show that it is dead." Well, that looked good, and may to you, but here is the thing this young man and the rest of them saw, and here is what he said to me, "Brother Harper, every year they have a night to discuss the war question. They killed that dog twenty years ago. Why do they keep beating him? Then, when we discuss it and kill it again, they always go away with smiles and pat us on the back and tell us how good we have done. Every year they have us the College question and others. They killed it twenty years ago. Why keep beating that dog? They praise us every time we kill it again. All are in fine humor. Every year we discuss the College Question and others. They killed that Dog twenty years ago. Why keep killing it every year? But they are always happy and no hard feelings no criticism for re-killing those old dogs that have been killed by them for the past twenty years. But you let us want to discuss and kill again, for us young men, the premillennial question and we have just such a time as we had that Monday night and we do not like the way Brother Rhodes did about it."
Brethren that young man has something there as surely as you live and breathe. Really, why can they kill all those other dogs every year and enjoy it and then when you beat premillennialism again they get all hot and bothered call meetings and have the boys to retract the statements that beat the old dog all up again? Only one answer. They love that old Dog-Premillennialism. "You had better quit kicking My Dog around." Those other things are not their dogs. But you can't criticize Brother Boll and his premillennial theories. You can criticize those who are fighting premillennialism and they will smile, and help you; but lay off those who are teaching it such as Janes, Jorgenson, Blansett, and Boll. They will even challenge us to show one thing destructive to the word of the Lord that is taught by Brother Boll in his millennial theories. Yes I have that in black and white signed by Brother Armstrong. It does look to me like brethren could get their eyes open, and see that it is not jealousy and envy that is back of this. It is the future of the church under such conditions that so much concerns us.
Statement From the Pen of Brother Benson
In a recent bulletin sent out by Harding College it plays up Clinton Davidson's financial success and states that during all that time he has "Remained humble and devoted etc." I have a letter written to him (Benson) in which this statement was challenged and here is his reply: "The particular phrase stating that he had remained humble and devoted may be questioned." Well he knew it was not true at the time he published it. Nevertheless, he has sent the bulletin to hundreds of people that will never read the letter. Is Brother Benson sincere in this affair? We will let you be the judge. I quote from this same letter concerning Brother Davidson:
"He has remained humbled and devoted and according to his own confession, believed he was taking the best course at the time he was meeting with the Christian Church believing that he could lead them out of error. (That is the excuse of every one of our preachers nearly who begins to play around with them. This man is too smart to offer such excuse. It is but a dodge. Let them stop trying to justify his deserting the little church in New York and taking up with the Christian Church. Let them just admit he sinned and did wrong. Baptists are honest in what they do, but they are wrong. E. R. H.) Finding that impossible he has come back to the group at Manhattan and made his confession and even during the time that he was with the Christian Church he was doing definite giving to those of our own loyal brethren. I am personally acquainted with Clinton Davidson and have found him one of the most devoted and humble Christians that I have been with at all. He would put many of our church of Christ preachers to shame in his faithful devotion to the Lord, (By deserting the church in time of need I guess. E. R. Harper) having Bible reading and prayer faithfully in his home and observing the Lord's supper with his wife when unable to meet with a body of Christians on the Lord's day."
(What is meant A Body of Christians by them. E. R. H.)
Now, I can't help replying to this. Here he says Brother Davidson would put many of "us" (we know who they are he has in mind) to shame with his devotion to the Lord." Well, here we are, we remained with the church, never have deserted her in her hard times. We have sacrificed to preach for the church, never did quit preaching the gospel to make a fortune, have fought her battles against the enemy, all the time he has been with the enemy. He was with them, lending his influence to them and against that little band meeting in a rented hall, in New York, and then Brother Benson comes out with a denunciation like this against his brethren who have fought the battles of the Lord while this man he upholds as one devoted to the Lord, quit us for 20 years during the hardest period of our war. Now, he comes back to "show us and tell us" how to run the church. Brother Benson should get down on his knees and beg the pardon of his brethren who have to fight for the church, for his insulting insinuation about their devotion to their Lord. If I had taught and defended one time Boll and his theory, had believed and express myself to the effect that we could cast out devils and perform miracles today and if I had signed a statement, which I have today, "That the devil was loose and would not be bound until the millennium which is some time in the future" as Benson has done I would be trying to get right instead of casting reflection upon brethren who have fought all this time for the truth. Brethren, we are telling the truth. Harding needs to get right.
The Inconsistency Of The Situation
In commenting upon the inconsistency of the situation in which Brother Harper is involved the Bible Banner wants it understood that we are not fighting Brother Harper, nor making any attack upon him personally in his present predicament. We sympathize with him in this plight. The Bible Banner has been his friend and has published what no other paper would in an effort to aid in the good fight of faith he has been making. But without reflection on his sincerity or personal integrity, the effects of the course he has pursued in Harding are all that has been formerly said of it. It has turned his victory for the truth in Arkansas into defeat and given triumph to the forces of error in Harding College. We can voice the sentiment of the Firm Foundation that Brother Harper is "one of the best of men," but we are also compelled to say that the Bible Banner cannot go along with him in the compromise with Harding College.
His fear of being murdered by any of us who have been his friends in his fight is but shying at the shadow of his own mistake in this matter. The "murder" took place at the conference table with the officials of the college when he signed an agreement with them. It was a fatal mistake to go into such a conference. Issues of truth are not settled at conference tables. Conferences invariably end in compromises. We have had too much of that already. Truth signs no truce with error. The simple fact of this whole matter is that Brother Harper has been outgeneraled at a conference table about like Hitler out-maneuvered Chamberlain at Munich.
Why an "agreement?" Why sign on a dotted line to cease hostilities? When the error ceases to be taught, and the teachers of it removed from their places, the opposition would automatically cease. If the error is still taught, and the teachers of it are still in their same old places, then any agreement to let-up in the fight is worse than a compromise, it is a virtual surrender.
Let us look at the facts as they actually are in the present status of this case
First: There have not been any changes in Harding College since Brother Harper gave "The actual facts concerning Harding College versus the Benson-Sears Bulletin," in the September Banner. Benson, Armstrong, Sears and Rhodes have made no denials of the charges on one hand and no confessions of the evils in conduct and teaching on the other. If the charges made against them by Brother Harper were true then they are true now. Our understanding is that the only reply that was made to Brother Harper's array of evidence against them was that they would just "pray for him." If Harding College has convinced Brother Harper that his charges were false, he should withdraw them. If the charges were true then, they are true now and the peace pact is an out-and-out compromise.
Second: It has been disclosed that there has been absolutely no agreement to cease teaching premillennialism in Harding College, or any of the other softness that goes with it, nor to remove a single premillennial or other objectionable teacher. It was only agreed that an effort would be made to add a Bible and language teacher to the faculty of the present regime, and permit this new man to teach "as his own judgment dictates in harmony with the word of the Lord"-that is, anything he pleases. It was agreed it seems that this man (if secured) may teach against premillennialism; but it was not agreed that those men on the faculty, including the Head of the Bible Department, who are premillennialists will not teach premillennialism. Therefore, on the mere ground that one teacher may be added who will not teach premillennialism, Brother Harper signs an agreement to cease the fight against the school and put his influence behind a school in which he knows premillennialism will be taught by some of the teachers. This disarms Brother Harper in making any criticism against premillennial influences in any other school among us as long as one teacher may be found in them who believes and teaches the truth.
The Bible Seminary at Cincinnati, operated by the Christian Church, would doubtless be more than glad to enter such an agreement. That is, to add any recognized teacher of our choice to their faculty who would be permitted to teach what he wished, provided we would sign an agreement with them to cease the fight, put our influence behind their Seminary, but let them retain all of their digressive teachers. R. H. Boll has a school in Louisville. It is our conviction that he would be glad to add a teacher to his faculty who would be free to teach what he wishes if we would sign an agreement with him to cease the fight and put our influence behind him and his school in Louisville, and have that "good fellowship" with Boll and his party that Brother Armstrong talks about so much.
The promoters of the Unity Meetings between leaders of the Christian Churches and some self-appointed leaders among churches of Christ, have not proposed more than Brother Harper's agreement with Harding calls for. Indeed, James D. Murch would be elated (and would join the Harding College jubilee) if he could effect just that sort of an "agreement" in his Unity Meetings, and he has never demanded of Witty and others more than that.
An Incubus Of Error
According to the testimony of E. R. Harper, B. G. Hope, George W. DeHoff, George B. Curtis and many former graduates of Harding College, including the president of the board of trustees-a galaxy of damaging evidence-the head men at Harding College are unsound.
(1) The views of J. N. Armstrong. Of him Brother Harper says: "Of course, we know that Brother Armstrong is a premillennialist and will remain one until he dies." In addition to the questions presented to Brother Armstrong in their recent lectureship, and his answers, which were published in the January Bible Banner, we have from Brother Cecil B. Douthitt, of the Haldeman Avenue Church, Louisville, Kentucky, the following:
"On December 16, 1939, the Louisville, newspapers carried the announcement that J. N. Armstrong would preach morning and evening, for the Highland Church in Louisville. This church is the one that withdrew from Rubel and Taylor, and is one of the rankest premillennial churches in existence. Armstrong never comes near any of us who are opposing premillennialism here in Louisville. This does not look much like he is one who has changed, for he continues to associate with the speculators as he has always done."
Let it be noted that this trip to Louisville by Brother Armstrong was made after Brother Harper's agreement to cease the fight and put his influence behind the school, and moreover it is the second time Brother Armstrong has filled engagements with the Boll element in Louisville lately. This fact alone shows the attitude of Harding College toward the peace treaty with Brother Harper. They are laughing up their sleeves now that Harper is silenced and his hands are tied.
(2) The testimony concerning George S. Benson. It has been brought out in direct testimony that after Brother Benson returned from China he taught that miracles were yet in force and that he was a witness to the casting out of devils in a man in China and, moreover, by a sectarian preacher! And it is also shown in this array of charges that until very recently Brother Benson admitted his premillennial views. But since all of these things have come to light Brother Benson says that he has changed his views, and no longer believes these things. It is very remarkable that a man as mature as he was supposed to have been, supported by the churches in the mission empire of China, brought back to the U. S. A. to become president of one of our colleges, could have held such views, and it seems strange that he made no change in his views on these subjects until the heat was turned on. But grant that he has changed and no longer believes these things-can anybody persuade themselves to think that any man who has been so weak as to believe such sheer error can become strong enough almost over night to qualify as the head of one of our colleges? If my twelve and fourteen year old boys did not know any more than that I would have them both bored for the simples.
Between the two, J. N. Armstrong and George S. Benson, we have far more respect for Brother Armstrong, who has stood up for his premillennial views under all the fire and criticism while Brother Benson has reversed himself over and over, used whitewash and putty to conceal the facts, and has been guilty of unparalleled duplicity in his effort to hold the favor of all the elements from which support for Harding College could be drawn. How can Brother Harper harmonize the "actual facts" that he has himself made public concerning Brother Benson (and he says he has even more yet unpublished) with his endorsement of him in the Firm Foundation of recent date?
(3) The general influence at Harding College. Premillennialism is not all that is wrong at Harding. The byproducts of this theory are many. Brother Armstrong has been wrong on nearly everything, and has planted all of these errors in his schools in various locations, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. We can furnish plenty of witnesses from Oklahoma. Brother Harper has already furnished them from Arkansas. His teaching on the work of the Holy Spirit has been contradictory to the fundamentals of the gospel, which accounts for his public statements that Bogard whipped Hardeman on the Holy Spirit debate-he is more in agreement with Bogard than Hardeman or any other gospel preacher. His teaching on miraculous answers to prayer in connection with direct special providence is carried to the worst sectarian extremes. An example of it is Clinton Davidson's testimonial that when he was an employee of a bank the Lord laid his hand on a cancelled check, in answer to prayer, that it would have taken him several days, or weeks, to find; and while he was an out-and-out digressive in a New York Christian Church, the Lord performed a direct operation on a telephone switch-board, plugged him on a busy line which revealed a secret and put over a million dollar deal for him and other financial sharks in New York who didn't even know the Lord-and that in answer to his prayer! Brother Armstrong has taught this kind of foolishness all of his life in all of his schools. He has been wrong on the sectarian baptism question, and would hardly baptize a Baptist, if he wanted to be. He was dead set against the Firm Foundation in all of these controversies of the past and has never strengthened any young preacher along any of these lines. The young men who have come from Harding strong in the faith, are strong in spite of the fact that they attended Harding College and not because of it.
Harding College is the hotbed of premillennial sympathy, influence and teaching, by Brother Harper's own testimony. Yet he signs an agreement to put his influence behind the school, which means that he will advise the fathers and mothers of Arkansas to send their sons and daughters to a school that teaches premillennialism with all of its latent errors and by-products of false doctrines-an incubus of error!
Brother Harper has made a mistake-doubtless an honest one, but a grave one. We hope he will repudiate his agreement, renew his fight, and like Nehemiah, stay on the walls with hammer and sword until every premillennial teacher or sympathizer has been removed, and other serious weaknesses corrected.
If he will do so, he will again have the help of all who stood by him in the good fight he was making, and he will see that, the only ones who are trying to "murder" him are the ones with whom he has entered this pact of peace. A war on error cannot be won in diplomatic chambers.
"Harding needs to get right." Verily, it does. Like some of the other schools it needs renovating from the attic to the cellar. And any agreement to stop the fight, signed or otherwise, until it is done is beyond any satisfactory explanation. - F. E. W. Jr.