Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 9, 1954

Otey's Memory Vs. Sommer's Statement

W. L. Totty, Indianapolis, Indiana

In the July 22 issue of the Gospel Guardian, Brother W. W. Otey took issue with what I had written recently about the position of Daniel Sommer. He said that he met Daniel Sommer in 1889 and knew him intimately for twenty-five years. According to that, it has been forty years since Brother Otey was intimately associated with Daniel Sommer, and yet he attempts to state Sommer's position by what he heard more than forty years ago.

He said concerning me, "So far as Daniel Sommer's position during those years is concerned, Totty is wrong. Whether ignorantly or knowingly, he seeks to deceive the brethren now as to Sommer's position, only Totty and the Lord can know." I hasten to inform Brother Otey and all concerned that I do not seek to deceive the brethren in any respect, ignorantly or otherwise. What point does Brother Otey think I would gain by misrepresenting Daniel Sommer's position since I do not believe either position attributed to him? That is not the case with Brother Cox, and others, because they have espoused the position of Daniel Sommer; and unless they can impeach his testimony, they cannot escape the inevitable fact that they are "Johnnies Come Lately" to his doctrine.

Brother Otey said of Daniel Sommer, "He denied the right of such schools to exist." Now let us hear what Daniel Sommer had to say himself in the Rhodes-Sommer Debate, page 30, "Now, I submit that when my respondent said I had written a tract against religio-secular schools he stopped short of telling the truth in the case, for it was not against such schools AS SUCH, but against establishing them WITH THE LORD'S MONEY and applying to them, and other human institutions, SACRED NAMES." Now Brother Sommer definitely said he was not opposed to schools "as such." Brother Otey said he was against schools as such, that he denied their right to exist. Shall we impeach what Brother Sommer wrote by what Brother Otey says he remembers took place more than forty years ago? At any rate, it is evident that Brother Otey's memory fails him when he attempts to state the position that Daniel Sommer took on Bible colleges forty-seven years ago in the Rhodes-Sommer Debate.

"Editor's Note: There is no contradiction at all between Brother Totty's quotation from Daniel Sommer and Brother Otey's statement of Sommer's position. Sommer did not object to religio-secular schools "as such," but he strenuously opposed the support of such schools "with the Lord's money" — that is, with money given to them by a Christian man or woman. Sommer urged no objection against a Lutheran or Catholic religio-secular school, but heatedly denied the right of Christians to support a "religio-secular" school. His contention was that a Christian's total resources belong to the Lord, and it is sinful to take one cent of "the Lord's money" for support of a religio-secular school. Brother Otey set that forth in his short article of July 22; the brief sentence Brother Totty takes from that article is not given in context. If it had been given in context, this article from Brother Totty could hardly have been written.)