Cogdill, Woods To Debate In Houston?
I saw a picture one time of a little colored boy walking near the grave yard late at night. His eyes were about twice their normal size and his steps a little quicker. Such was the result of his fear of ghosts and his walk in the dark. In order to overcome this fear, he began whistling some tune. He was still afraid, but "whistling in the dark" may convince some that he was not so afraid of being without light.
Such reminds me of some of the institutional preachers of the day. They pretend to be anxious to defend the practice of churches building and maintaining human institutions such as Boles Home and Home For the Aged, Houston. Their "good words and fair speeches" are such as to deceive the uninformed. To hear them talk, one would think they could prove from the Scriptures the practice of centralized control of church resources. And if one would listen long enough, he would be convinced these eloquent speakers could easily defend their practice in public debate. But, if one will listen closely, he can begin to hear their "whistling in the dark."
For example, H. A. "Buster" Dobbs, preacher for Memorial Drive church, Houston, said a few months ago in a speech at the Milby Street building, Houston:
"Brethren may cry peace, peace — but there is no peace. The battle, brethren, is already begun and goes not to the idle, but to the strong, the brave, the active. Besides, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat, but in submission and slavery! Anti-ism is designed to take away our liberty in Christian service. The war with anti-ism is inevitable — and let it come! I repeat it, let it come!"
Why, when these people heard "Buster" make this speech, no doubt they considered this man to be the one ready to do battle. But, no one knows better than "Buster" Dobbs that he is anxious for blood to be shed — but not his own! It's too late for a retreat from the contest, that is, for all but "Buster". Where was this strong, active, brave soldier when the Frost-Rudd, Coon-O'Dowd and Coffman-Colley debates were taking place? When the battle waxed hot, "Buster" flew the coop!
In the June issue of PEACE, monthly bulletin of the Lyons-Majestic church in Houston, an "unsolicited letter" from Guy N. Woods was placed on the back page of that issue. If one heard Guy N. Woods long enough, he might be convinced that Guy would be willing to debate Roy Cogdill again. But, if you will listen closely, you can see that Guy is doing nothing more than "whistling in the dark."
"Dear Brother Wilhite:
A copy of your very fine bulletin, PEACE has lately fallen into my hands, and I have enjoyed it very much. I would, indeed, like to be on your mailing list to receive it regularly.
I note, with interest, a reference to me by your correspondent, and an insinuation that I might not meet Roy Cogdill again. It will interest you to know that since the Birmingham debate I have received approximately a half dozen invitations from brethren in widely separated areas, asking me to represent them in a discussion with either Cogdill or Curtis Porter, provided these brethren could get local endorsement and in each of these instances the brethren had been bantered for some time previously for such a discussion. In two of these instances, the brethren specified that Cogdill or Porter must affirm some positive proposition (which they have never done), but in other instances we will accept and have so indicated locally the propositions of the published debates. THERE HAVE BEEN NO TAKERS! It is apparent that the "giants" among them have abandoned the polemic platform in the advocacy of their hobby. Of course, the fact that they have steadily lost ground in such debates, and have seen their former supporters abandon them following such, is the reason.
Guy N. Woods If one did not know the facts, he would almost be convinced that Guy Woods would meet Roy Cogdill again as he did at Birmingham, Alabama. But no one knows better than Guy N. Woods!
Just one month before the Woods' letter was written, Roy Cogdill wrote an article, "In Response To Some False Accusations", which appeared in the GOSPEL GUARDIAN. On page 6 of the April 2, 1959 issue of that periodical, we read:
"Neither Cogdill or Porter has ever refused to meet Guy N. Woods anywhere and don't let him deceive you about it. It would please me to let Brother Curtis Porter do my debating for I am not -ambitious to be recognized as one and have never been. I do not covet the distinction of going about over the country egotistically "blowing" about how many I have or even how many meetings I have held or have booked like Guy N. Woods does. However, I have never turned a church down when I was called by it to defend what I believe to be the truth of God and I won't. Guy left himself a good getting out place in the above quoted statement. He wants me or Porter to affirm what he represents as our position. He won't debate either of us unless we will. He came very near running out on the Birmingham debate because I would not let him put me in a false position. If his crowd in Birmingham had not put the pressure to him, he would have refused. He wrote me once and told me 'good-bye' because I would not let him have his way about matters. Some of the things he and others of his 'promoting' crowd want us to affirm are the height of ridiculous absurdity and none of us have ever believed them.
But here are the facts he didn't tell his readers in his article and in the paragraph quoted above from it. He has refused to meet me again both in the Los Angeles area and in Honolulu and perhaps elsewhere where he has been approached about it on the same propositions and the same agreement that we had in the Birmingham debate! He won't repeat that one anywhere. Now will he discuss the same propositions under the same agreement with Porter? I had a letter from brethren from both Honolulu and Los Angeles (Wilmington), asking me if I would meet him again. I wrote both of them that I would on the same propositions and agreement as we had in Birmingham and he and his crowd turned it down. If he and his brethren think he won such a great victory in Birmingham and they have so much to crow about, why don't he repeat it? And while he is naming the places — how about Nashville, Ft. Worth, Dallas, Houston, and a multitude of other places? If he thinks endorsement is lacking, let him get on the dotted line and we will see. Now Guy either put up or shut up!"
That sounds like there have been some "takers", doesn't it? And when Guy N. Woods says the "giants among them have abandoned the polemic platform", he is just "whistling in the dark."
But, Guy N. Woods seems to think that local endorsement may be lacking in some quarters. So he includes in his terms of battle" these "brethren could get local endorsement." But, before the ink on the PEACE bulletin was good and dry, the elders of the Oak Forest congregation in Houston issued the following letter under the date of June 14th.
"To Whom It May Concern:
In a letter from Brother Guy N. Woods to Brother J. Porter Wilhite published in the June, 1959 issue of PEACE' — a magazine under the oversight of the elders of the Lyons and Majestic Street church of Christ — Brother Woods said that he would meet Brother Roy Cogdill on the propositions of the Birmingham Debate if local endorsement could be secured.
We, the elders of the church of Christ in Oak Forest wish to state that we know Brother Cogdill will meet Brother Woods on these terms — and if anyone is reluctant to meet, it is Brother Woods.
And we further state that we, as the elders in Oak Forest, publicly endorse Brother Cogdill on the terms herein stated; and that we will provide suitable space for half of the debate — if — Lyons and Majestic or any other congregation will endorse Brother Woods and provide the other half of the space.
Sincerely in Him,"
It J. Faught, William N. Kelley,
J. W. Lee, Elders The church of Christ in Oak Forest
Well, there it is! Guy Woods says he will meet Roy Cogdill provided local endorsement is secured. As we have quoted above, Roy Cogdill not only stated his willingness to meet Guy Woods again, but the elders of the Oak Forest congregation have issued a statement endorsing Roy Cogdill and are willing to provide suitable space for half of the debate. Now, it is up to some church in Houston to endorse Guy N. Woods. As brother J. Porter Wilhite said in PEACE, May, 1959:
"So far as Roy and Guy meeting in Houston, believe me, there are more churches in this city that will endorse GUY than will endorse ROY. If I'm not right I'm badly mistaken, and will prove it if you wish to help me." (PEACE, page 5).
Now then, one church has already endorsed Roy Cogdill for a public debate with Guy Woods in Houston. We now wonder if there is a single church willing to endorse Guy N. Woods to meet Roy Cogdill? What about the Lyons-Majestic church? What about the church in the Height ? Maybe the Lindale church would endorse Guy Woods even though Guy Woods and Reuel Lemmons have recently crossed 'swords about the church support of institutions such as Boles Home. One can never tell, Central in Houston may endorse Guy N. Woods to debate Roy Cogdill No doubt, brother Wilhite knows of many churches in Houston willing to endorse Guy Woods.
When men leave the light of God's Word, they walk in darkness. In darkness, every kind of religious error is to be found. Such error can not be brought out into the light for all to see, for honest souls will forsake the "wisdom of the wise" for the "foolishness of God." Jesus said, "For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." (John 3:20,21). When men leave the Word of God, they had better start "whistling", for they truly walk in darkness.