Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 20, 1953
NUMBER 14, PAGE 4-5a

A Plea For Dick Smith

One again we open our pages to material concerning the tragic case of Dick Smith and the vicious (the word is a carefully considered one) treatment he is receiving at the hands of the Grove Avenue elders and the Gospel Advocate. Not content with exercising a control over the church in Karlsruhe to which they are entitled by law of neither God nor man, the Grove Avenue elders have set themselves the unenviable course of seeking deliberately to destroy a brother and crucify him so far as his usefulness to the cause of Christ is concerned. Aided and abetted in this despicable and infamous scheme by the powerful Gospel Advocate it seems entirely likely that they will be able to destroy Dick Smith, prevent his return to Germany, and thus throw mortal fear (they apparently hope) into the heart of every worker in the foreign field who dares to raise his voice against the "centralized control" machine.

No one can read Dick Smith's "clarification" and then read the statement of the Grove Avenue elders without realizing how cunningly and subtly they have perverted, twisted, and distorted what was said. We plead with all fair-minded readers to read Smith's "Clarification" and let it speak for itself. And remember, too, that this "clarification" was written under terrific pressure. Dick Smith has been the unhappy victim of a typical Communist "brainwash" by the Grove Avenue elders and the editor of the Gospel Advocate. Hammered, hounded, mentally tortured, he has finally been convinced that he made some mistakes IN JUDGMENT in the matters dealing with his recall. But even so, he stands adamant in refusing to alter, recant, or retract the basic doctrinal convictions — and it was his convictions on New Testament teaching that compelled him to decline becoming involved in the "College of the Church of Christ," and the other dangerous and unscriptural practices being advocated and promoted by Broadway in Lubbock and Grove Avenue in San Antonio.

Brother Cogdill has given a fair summation of the misrepresentations and outright falsehoods in the Grove Avenue statement. We urge a careful reading of it. It should make the blood of any Christian boil to know the treatment which Smith has received since his return to America. He stood firm and unyielding for the TRUTH, but in a truly Christian effort to "go the second mile" with the angry little men in San Antonio, has agreed to state that he made some mistakes in judgment. Others, fully aware of the situation in Germany and in America, feel that probably the greatest mistake of all is in his now surrendering of the Karlsruhe congregation to the "centralized control" of an American eldership who are determinedly bent on creating a faction within the Lord's church — a faction built around the false and long discredited theory of the unlimited extent of presbyterial authority.

What readers of the Gospel Advocate do not know (and will never be told by that journal!) is that the statement of Grove Avenue elders which is now being published (in this issue you'll find it) is NOT the original statement they wrote. Actually they wrote an eleven page attack on Dick Smith that was simply unbelievable — filled with hate, venom, bitterness, and malice almost beyond description. Smith knew nothing of this spiteful attack which was being readied and aimed against him until he read it in the office of B. C. Goodpasture, editor of the Gospel Advocate. That statement was of such a character that it made Dick Smith "physically ill" (those are his own words). He made up his mind then that he would withdraw from all public discussion of the issues with these brethren, and have nothing more to say.

Brother Goodpasture withheld publication of the slanderous calumny until Smith could go back to San Antonio for another "brain-wash" session with Grove Avenue elders. Smith returned for the meeting with Grove Avenue elders — and out of it came his "Clarification."

There are several completely false statements and implications in the Grove Avenue statement, which Brother Cogdill has pointed out. But we want you to contrast these two statements:

Smith: "I have already stated that I am convinced that Grove Avenue and the Broadway (Lubbock) church did not act together, and thus "centralized control" was not exercised by Broadway in my recall."

Grove Avenue elders: "Brother Smith's statement clearly refutes the charge of `centralized control' in his recall. We knew, and he so states, that no such `control' existed."

Study those statements. Smith says that no "centralized control" was exercised BY BROADWAY. But the San Antonio brethren wildly exult that this is a statement that NO SUCH "CONTROL" EXISTED! That gives you a fair sample of their wicked and deliberate distortion of Smith's statement. As a matter of fact the "centralized control" in this case was exerted by Grove Avenue, not by Broadway — as we thought everybody realized.

"Without Permission"

The Gospel Advocate giving total support to the Grove Avenue elders in their effort to exercise presbyterial control over the Karlsruhe congregation, declares that the original letters printed in the Gospel Guardian were published "without the permission of Brother Smith." That is technically true, but actually FALSE. Brother Smith wrote the letters to Keith Thompson, and requested him to get in touch with Cogdill and Tant and inform them of the situation, with the expressed hope that they two might be able to do something about the situation. After the letters were published in he March 19th Gospel Guardian, we had this letter from Dick Smith, from Karlsruhe, under date of March 24:

"The March 19 Guardian arrived and I must say you've really covered the ground. If the brethren can't see it now they never will. Let's hope they take the matter seriously and give the material you've put out some sober consideration.

"I hadn't expected to see all my letters in print, my intentions having been to let you know where I stood and give you the necessary information. However, I can see the need for quoting. It served as a lesson for me to be a little more careful about how I express myself. I express things to Keith in a way I wouldn't use for the general public. Such expressions as Gatewood and Company' might be interpreted by some to mean outbursts of hate, when actually it quite well expressed the actual situation. I do think I'll have more success in convincing my friends of the 'sponsorship' persuasion if I'm more careful to avoid giving offense in the future."

To those who are interested in the cause of Dick Smith in Germany, we plead for a sympathetic and Christian support of Dick Smith. His convictions, in spite of the pressure, the "brain-wash," and the virtual blackmail scheme of Grove Avenue and the Gospel Advocate, remain firm and unchanged. He has certainly gone "the second mile" in an effort to appease and placate the angry little men in San Antonio. Those who have known that church, and those men, for years could have warned him what to expect from them. But Smith has done all he can do. The results now are to be up to others.

We urge all who read this to give some earnest and prayerful study to the matter. That Smith has made some mistakes he freely admits. There are others who think he confesses the wrong mistakes — that the only REAL mistake he has made is in abandoning a bunch of babes in Christ to the ruthless "control and oversight" of men who are qualified neither spiritually nor intellectually to exercise such oversight . . . not to mention their living five thousand miles away from those whom they are determined to "control." But, be that as it may, we do believe Dick Smith is worthy of the support and backing of Christian people. We urge faithful congregations to rally to him in every way possible. If he wants to go back to Germany, then make it possible for him to do so.

Some of the workers in Germany are convinced that "the machine" will never, never be satisfied until Smith is completely debarred from Germany. Incidentally, there are other "revolts" in the making in that field. And Smith will not be alone when he returns to Europe to seek once again to build up a true congregation of faithful Christians there. It is time for those who believe in New Testament principles to assert themselves! Smith has a little more than half his support promised. He is still seeking others to help. He can be addressed as follows: Dick Smith, 2208 Pearl Street, Austin, Texas.

— F. Y. T.