Harding College Goes To Press
In July, Harding College published a bulletin in which they attacked me most viciously. I was even surprised in the nature of the attack. I have been with them many times and have taken some awfully hard things but this bulletin surpasses even what I thought they would do. However, I am glad that it is out for all can now see just what we have to oppose in trying to get Harding to give up premillennialism and the men who teach the doctrine.
I now and here invite Harding College, any man among them, to meet me in a public debate or discussion, and deny publicly, the charges I have made. I have everything that I say I have, and they know I have, and neither Brother Benson nor Brother Sears will meet me openly before the brotherhood, and you know Brother Benson should be able to meet me if he is able to go to "congress" and tell them what to do.
The Spirit of Christ Exemplified
In this bulletin they call me either directly or by implications: "Backslapping," "coercing," "intimidating," "ostracizing," "politician," "political dictator," "traitor," "Hitler," wolf in sheep's clothing," "hypocrite." Besides that they say, I have never been "washed in the blood of the Lamb," and that it is "unthinkable that any gospel preacher should fall so low" and charge that the church that hires me should "blush with shame" when I "occupy the pulpit;" they charge me with "brazen deliberate falsehood," "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," and that I am "changed from the gentleman to the monster," and call me "Harper the Chameleon." This is enough for you to see what I have had to face for years. Perhaps this is what Peter meant when he said "Love one another with a pure heart fervently." Read my writings and see if I have ever called Brother Armstrong, or any of them, any such names as have been applied to me by him and Harding College.
An Appendectomy Performed Upon Harding's Bulletin
On page 20 of Harding's Bulletin appears the title "Part 11, Appendix." Now this "appendix" needs "operating on" and I have the knife that can do the job.
On page 20 begins this "appendix." There are such glaring contradictions that it is amusing to point them out so here they are:
Contradiction No. I
1. "The reader may wish to know just what Brother Armstrong's teaching is on the millennium. We answer quite frankly, he has never taught on it."-The Bulletin.
2. "What views he has expressed have been those he can read;" "for those however who honestly want to know what Brother Armstrong does believe we need only cite;" "here speaking of the theory of an earthly material reign of the Christ, which Harper says is "the heart of Premillennialism" Brother Armstrong says."-The Bulletin.
How did they know what he believes if he has never taught on it? For them to know he must have taught on it. This all appears on page 20. This needs explaining to me. How did it leak out so Harding College can tell us what is is if he has never told any one?
Contradiction No. II
1. "The subject is indefinite at best:" "no matter what you and I may think of it privately, all our argument will never change the matter."-The Bulletin.
2. "We need only cite his definite and positive article which appeared in the Firm Foundation of 1934."-The Bulletin.
Now we have statements absolutely the opposite the one from the other. You can't make them harmonize. I challenge them to try it with me in debate before the brotherhood. Here they are: "The subject is indefinite at best;" "We need only cite his (Brother Armstrong's) definite and positive article." How can he write a definite and positive article on an "indefinite at best subject" and make any sense out of it? Instead of calling me a "wolf in sheep's clothing," next time, let them harmonize their contradictions? It is their contradictions that make them cry "traitor:" "wolf;" "Hitler;" "hypocrite," at me. That is more easily done than to meet me as I have requested them to do.
Contradiction No. III
1. "In a long life time as a preacher, teacher, and editor of a religious journal he (Brother Armstrong) has not preached, written, or taught on the subject."-The Bulletin.
2. "For those however, who honestly want to know what Brother Armstrong does believe we need only cite his definite and positive article which appeared in the Firm Foundation of 1934."-The Bulletin.
I can't understand why a man who is able to tell "congress" what to do and who is able to "run the world," can not see that he is letting poor Brother Sears and Brother Armstrong "rupture" this "appendix."
Now, Brother Armstrong in a "long life time has never written on the subject," yet if you "honestly want to know what he does believe" we need only cite you to his definite and positive "article which appeared in the Firm Foundation in 1934." "How could an article have appeared on that subject by Brother Armstrong if in all his life he has never written on the subject? If they will leave Congress long enough to look into this, we might get an answer.
On page 2 the Bulletin says: "J. N. Armstrong on premillennialism." On page 20 the same Bulletin says: "In a long life time he has never written on the subject." Which article, which page, which statement am I to believe. I can't believe both of them for they contradict each other. It is claimed that this bulletin was "authorized by the board." I talked to one member of the board, Brother Ganus of New Orleans, who said he never authorized any such a thing as this bulletin to be published; he apologized to me for it and said "Brother Harper you have grievances and justly so, against this bulletin." He asked me to give him thirty days to see if he could get something done about it. The thirty days are over and he could not do anything except write to me and say they were going to "work it out to the satisfaction of the sound preachers of the church." That of itself was a slap at the past policy of the school. I have had that promised to me at least three times and it has never been done, so I asked him for his reasons for thinking it could be done this time, and begged him to publish them that we might not go further into this affair. This is November 12th and I have no answer as yet.
The board authorized them to answer my "doctrinal" charges but not this "personal abuse" tirade made by them upon my character.
Harding College Admits Being Premillennial
1. The Buzzard Feast—Revelation 19 must be literal. Bulletin, page 20: "Where -John says, "the birds were filled with their flesh Harper (notice they never call me brother Harper), evidently thinks they are not. But where does this place Harper? The people who give this a merely figurative meaning are the Russellites."
I have told you all the time that Harding College and Brother Armstrong taught that the "birds would literally eat and devour the fleshly bodies of those slain by the Lord at his coming." Here they admit that and call all who deny its literal interpretation Russellites. Now you have it. This bulletin speaks for itself.
In addition to this, they try to bring in Brother John T. Hinds, (a man they put out of the school and who had nothing to do with them while he lived) to prove that he took the position that this was literal. I deny it. Get his book on Revelation. He denies that it is literal and shows all the way that it is symbolic and even says it is a symbol in the part they quote from him.
On page 336 in Dr. Brent's Sermons, he says, concerning this passage; "Is this symbolic, or is it a literal description of what will happen? We think it must be under stood literally—why not? Brents was a premillennialist and Brother Armstrong says he has believed like Dr. Brents for over forty years. This is the position of Harding College. What about the students who go out from there?
2. The Word "Then" -1 Cor. 15:24
Now, I have told you all the time they are premillennial on this, saying that "then" in 1 Cor. 15:24 may be as long as "2,000 years" and here they admit it. "As far as the word then itself is concerned it might mean a "few hours" or even the "two thousand years" which the first then has already covered."-The Bulletin, Page 24.
You will notice that they are talking about the "thens" in 1 Cor. 15:23-24. If their idea of it is right then tell me how you would answer Brother R. H. Boll's position when he says it will be 1,000 years? Harding College will have to say, and that they do say, we do not know, Boll, you may be right.
In the Neal-Wallace Debate 1 Cor. 15:23-24 is one of the foundation arguments used by Neal.
3. The Second Coming
"Jesus warns us about speculating on just when he will come, and what will happen at his coming."-Page 24- The Bulletin.
Now you have something. Harding is teaching their preachers that it is "speculation" to talk about what the Lord will do at his coming. They have stopped them from preaching on it if they follow this suggestion. I am still saying that Harding College is not sound and her way of teaching, if this is it, will ruin the church.
Harding College says on page 20 of the Bulletin that Brother Armstrong "has never taught speculations." Yet Brother Armstrong says that "when the Lord comes "he is going to slay the wicked, destroy the nations of this earth, re-establish his rule over all the earth, and have his reign on earth with his disciples, and that there will not be one enemy of God and of Christ on earth." When is this? At and after his coming, and he closes by praying for the Lord to come that it all might be brought about.
Now, according to their own admission on page 24, they, not "Harper," make Brother Armstrong a teacher of speculations. Again it is Harding versus Harding. I read in this bulletin where they called somebody "Harper the Chameleon."
Brother Armstrong Admits It
In the Bible Banner August '41. Brother Lewis publishes Brother Armstrong's letter, all of it. Here is what Brother Armstrong says, "concerning the teaching" of Dr. T. W. Brents: "I have held the same position on the millennium for well-nigh forty years, or else I am incapable of judging my own position. Either this or I am a plain liar." The words "liar;" "traitor;" "wolf;" "hypocrite,' "fuehrer" etc., are always at their tongues convenience. I know it can't be the "howl of the wolf" for I am that. So there is but one thing left for it to be and that is "the strange fruit to come from the spirit of our Lord but they claim to have it. I, of course, am the "hypocrite." Bring on another bulletin boys. If they will just keep on writing you will see what I am "fighting."
But to Dr. Brents and his position. Harding will never out-live this one. Brents Sermons, page 339, after having given 1 Thess. 4:13-17 and Rev. 20:1-4 he says: "This is the Millennium," and, "If this does not express a literal reign with Christ for a literal 1,000 years. We know not what assemblage of words would be capable of expressing that thought."
Again on page 352 he says "The thousand years between the first and second resurrections is the only single point now remembered that is `dependent' upon John's vision alone for support. Being sustained in so many points by other witnesses, is he not worthy of credit in this?. Now, let us have another bulletin, boys, Brother Armstrong says he either believes the above like Dr. Brents or else he is a just a plain liar! Well, far be it from me to call him a liar of any kind in this matter of believing in the Lord's reign here on earth. I have said all the time that he did believe it, but his boys have tried to patch it up for him. Now "Dr. Benson," of congress fame, and Dean Sears of, bulletin fame, you must stop calling Brother Armstrong a "plain liar." You are trying to say he does not believe it. He says he does or else he is a "plain liar" Again it is Harding College versus Brother Armstrong.
I trust that some day this may all be settled and that Harding College will stop her defense of premillennialism stop running with them, the Premillennialists, and place their fight upon a higher level, stay out of personalities, and not make it a "personal" fight as they definitely have done. I challenge them to find where I have ever called Brother Armstrong the things Harding College has called me in this bulletin. I have said that he is a premillennialist and that they are defending and running with the premillennial group and that they should stop it. I will affirm this with any living friend of theirs if they will have it at Harding College where the students will get the truth on this thing. Then, if they want to have it at Little Rock, we will come here, and I will meet them. They will never allow this to go to Harding College. They know I have what I say I have and that they cannot stand up in a personal public discussion of the accusations I have made.