Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 2, 1954

Strange As It May Seem

Roy E. Cogdill

It is rather singular that "The Gospel Advocate" was founded by Tolbert Fanning in 1855 for the express purpose, among others of course, of having a medium to freely investigate and discuss the "district cooperation meetings" of that day that had led to the American Christian Missionary Society. (See Earl West's tract on "Congregational Cooperation" — pages 10-11.) The Advocate under the leadership of Fanning and later of Lipscomb led in the opposition to such unscriptural "cooperation" and kept Tennessee free from it to a very large degree. Hence the churches in Tennessee were not led into wholesale apostasy by the digressive movement as were the churches in other areas of influence. That explains the strength of the churches in Tennessee in later years. But isn't it tragic that this publication, "The Gospel Advocate," founded for the purpose of opposing such unscriptural cooperation would in this generation be the leading influence to promote such "unscriptural cooperation" among the churches and in the specific area saved from digression in another generation by the same medium? How tragic that the paper does not have the guidance now that it once had and does not stand today where it once stood. What do you suppose its founder would say and think of these "Johnnies come lately" of digression who are using the paper he established to promote their departures from the simplicity of the New Testament pattern? Lipscomb says that he would not even read the paper with its present policy; much less would he subscribe to it.