Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 2, 1950
NUMBER 38, PAGE 1,6b

In The Middle Of The Rock Fight

Cled E. Wallace

Who would have thought that those few innocent looking observations I made recently about "That Rock Fight in Italy," would have made me the target of some figurative rock-throwing right here at home? Well, some of the boys are taking up stones to cast at me, and by the time you read this I may be standing in the need of "protest." My beloved kinsman, both in the flesh and in the Lord, aims this one at me.

"I have just read your article in the Guardian of January 19. I have always enjoyed your writings so very much, but I cannot explain the feeling of disgust and revolt at your comments on the Italian situation. You have been the cause of great joy to the Catholic Church and I predict that your article will be reprinted in many of their papers. In your efforts to get a backhand slap at Delmar Bunn in Germany, you have done an injury to these young men in Italy that cannot be repaired. I am sorry that you do not know more about this condition. If you would take time to get the facts straight, and not depend on the newspapers, you would write in a different tone about this work."

With a running start like that, "AIR-MAIL," Glenn L. told me off to the "tone" of about a page and a half, single-spaced. Glenn is the very capable minister of the College Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas, and is in a position to know what he is talking about. Possibly that accounts for "a different tone about this work" in what he has to write.

When I got to "I have always enjoyed your writings so very much," I was so tickled? I came very near overlooking the rest of the letter. It was worth dodging the rocks just to find that out. I believe it is the first time I had heard it. Thanks, Glenn, if you have been reading and enjoying my writings all these years, and have just now developed "a feeling of disgust and revolt," I must have been doing very well most of the time. Maybe you ought to overlook this one slip. A man is entitled to at least one mistake in a life-time.

Now, really, I had no idea that I am as important and influential as you say I am. I have just been too modest. It never occurred to me that I could cause such great joy to the Catholic Church and get any of my writings in "many of their papers." And as for doing "an injury to these young men in Italy that cannot be repaired," honor bright, I never even thought of such a thing. You must be right, for I got a letter from Jesse Doggett, saying about the same thing, and his even came a day ahead of yours. It is an ill-wind that blows nobody good. It may be that I'll get an audience with the Pope and get my picture and a write-up in "TIME."

Glenn says, "it is time someone does something about preaching the gospel in the right way without calling every effort to do so 'half-cocked' attempts. He asks me if I have "encouraged any one to go there or anywhere to do the job 'right'." Well, now, if I encourage anybody to do anything, anywhere, I try to encourage him to do it right. I have been fairly busy of late, not even having time to go to England, to see that things are being done "right" over there. I guess I really ought to get around more, but I can't get off right away. This church here in Lufkin spent about $36,000 in gospel work last year, and they are keeping me pretty busy spending that much or more this year. I do not have much to do except preach a sermon over the radio each morning, preach three times on Sundays, including two one-hour broadcasts, teach a class of about one hundred and fifty Sunday morning and Wednesday evening, and conduct a training class on Monday evening. There are numerous mission meetings to be held, enough work to keep Bill Thompson and me both fairly busy. Maybe, Bill ought to be in Italy, but at present we think he can do more good among the heathen in East Texas than he could dodging rocks and papal bulls in Italy. Besides, if he needs any prayers and protests, we can do it ourselves without calling mass-meetings all over the brotherhood to attend to it. The church is also "sponsoring" a rather ambitious program of evangelistic work among the Negroes of this section, which means that we are paying for it ourselves and not arranging programs for other congregations to pay for. However, I know I ought to be doing more, so if I can find a "sponsoring church" with enough vision and persuasion, I may decide to set up headquarters within a few blocks of the Kremlin. If I could handle Stalin and "these young men in Italy" could bind the Pope, who knows but that between us we might prevent the next war.

Glenn thinks that Cline Paden "has done nothing, either here at home or abroad to deserve such an insult" from me. Well of all things! I just hope that Cline is not as "tetched" as Glenn.

Another thing. When did it come to pass that any project or movement among the brethren becomes such a cow" that it cannot be criticized, if somebody thinks it needs it ? I understand that Jimmie Woods got a hot letter from a Catholic Father in New York telling him off in the language of Catholic intolerance. What kind of intolerance is it, when the brethren try to match him, and just about succeed at it? Better cool off, brethren, and as Glenn says to me: "Please use reason." I admit that I haven't as much as Glenn thinks he has, but I try to use what little I have.

Since Glenn knows so much and I know so little, maybe he will help me "get the facts straight." I'm a bit worried about a church's right to plan a big program that it can't pay for, and too sacred to be criticized, and line up "contributing churches" to work through "the sponsoring church." If he can't find anything like that in the New Testament, he can repeat, "No good can come of a cynical, carping, snapping at these boys who are doing what you and others here will not attempt." I wish them well, but it begins to look like that is not a "boy's " job over there.