Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 3, 1957
NUMBER 34, PAGE 7-8,9b


Winfield, Kansas October 31, 1956

Mr. L. B. Clayton Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Dear Brother Clayton:

I agree with your article in the Gospel Guardian (October 25) without the least reservation. Your position that the work of elders is limited to the congregation in which they are members cuts the tap-root of all the big "sponsoring" projects. If it is admitted that elders can only scripturally oversee the work of the local membership, that ends such enterprises as Memphis, the first "big" project. Highland and Lubbock fail of a shadow of support in the word of the Lord. But if it is the OFFICIAL work of elders to receive money from a large number of churches and use it in a nation-wide evangelistic effort, that opens the door for the Episcopal diocese. Again, this is the tap-root of the tree.

More than six years ago when I first attacked the Memphis set-up I based my chief argument on the scriptural teaching that elders' work is confined to the local membership. When I was no longer accorded space in the Firm Foundation I wrote "Living Issues," stressing the same truth. Then when my three articles were written for the Gospel Guardian I again stressed that fact. I have also written scores of letters to brethren over the land emphasizing that the official work of elders (its limits) is the heart of the matter. But it seems that you are the first one who has attacked from that point of view.

I am greatly rejoiced to see so fine an article from you; and in my judgment, attacking the big "sponsoring" projects is the vital place. I am writing "Living Issues," Volume II, which I hope I can finish before deterioration sets in body and mind. I have written the Highland elders three times asking them if their work in conducting "Herald of Truth" is done as an association of individuals, or as an official work of elders. First letter was not answered. The last two they refused to answer my question. If they say "as individuals," that is equivalent to admitting it is a Missionary Society. If they say "the official work of the elders," they are irrevocably committed to the Episcopal diocese doctrine. They know that to answer either way will put them in a position that no one can make a show of defending.

I started in my opposition to all innovations about 70 years ago. The issues today are fundamentally the same, and defended by the same tactics.

It will take twenty years or more to settle the issues. The movement cannot be stopped; but many, I am sure, will ease out of their positions in supporting the institutions. If the church is not sufficient to do all that God wants us to do, then He failed in His greatest work.

In faith, hope, and love

(Signed): W. W. Otey Houston, Texas

July 15, 1956 Editor, Gospel Guardian

Dear Sir:

My wife and I with the children went up into Missouri this past June to visit with her folks, as is our custom every so often. We worship with the little group meeting there, and have usually had a part in their services at their invitation. I preached for them, led them in singing and in prayer, and taught them. They loved me and I loved them for the sake of Christ. (And I'm not one of the regular preaching brethren.)

On a Wednesday night I preached to them, using I John, chapter 1 as the basis of my talk. Following the service we were invited by the "leader" to come by his store the following day that he might bid us goodbye, as we were to leave on Friday thereafter to return to our home in Texas.

As agreed we stopped in the next day at the store to visit with this brother and his wife. During the exchange of conversation, the current topics of orphan homes and sponsoring churches came up. He asked me what I thought about the matter. I proceeded to state my views from the Scriptures, saying that I concluded the institutional set-up of orphan homes and centralized control evangelistic programs among us were without scriptural authority. He immediately took me to task, saying that some man had led me astray. I pressed him for Scripture for such set-ups of the orphan home, and when he couldn't think of one, I led him to James 1:27. This he seized upon and said that this authorized the local church to do anything that was good for orphans. He said, also, that this likewise went for preaching the gospel even to permitting a Missionary Society if the local group okayed it as being good. Finally, he said he thought it best that we not worship with them on any future trips to visit my wife's folks, but that we go elsewhere (this would mean a trip of 40 miles) because he was afraid that my influence would split the local church.

The full impact of this conversation hit my wife for the first time after we left, and left her depressed and tearful for much of the trip home. This is an example of how some of the brethren are reacting to current issues.

I feel that I'm old enough in the church to say that II Timothy 2:15 is still needed — and I'm not one of the regular preaching brethren.

In Christian love,

(Signed): James E. Wilson November 21, 1956

Yater Tant Abilene, Texas

Dear Brother Tant:

I have just read your ridiculous and repulsive statements under the heading: Quaking In His Boots. I feel that I am obligated to say something to you regarding them.

1. I am not even acquainted with W. O. Flatt. So far as I know, I have never even seen the man. I intend to get better acquainted with him.

2. After your article appeared, I called to talk with W. O. Flatt. I asked him where he got his information. He told me that he got it from an elderly brother who heard me preach October 4 at Grandview, Texas. I recall that as this brother came out the door he asked me if I would be willing to debate the cooperation issues with Brother Wallace. I told him that I was willing, but that I did not anticipate any such thing. This is the only statement that has ever been made by me to anybody anywhere, regarding a debate with Brother Wallace.

3. Brother Flatt tells me that he did not tell you that Brother Deaver was "anxious" to get a debate with Brother Wallace. Yet, Brother Flatt steadfastly refuses to write you another letter to correct the statements in your article. Brother Flatt has neither the courage nor the brotherly concern that would compel him to seek to correct this false impression.

4. I am not anxious to debate Brother Wallace. I am not anxious to debate anybody — not even a Baptist preacher. However, I will not refuse to debate when brethren call on me, and there is a difference. I count Brother Wallace my personal friend and beloved brother. He and his father have been my life-long benefactors. I have tremendous respect and admiration for him.

5. I cannot understand the make-up of a man who feels no moral obligation to investigate before he prints. You could have written me. Brother Flatt could have called me. Yet, neither of you has said one word to me about this matter. You had the suggestion, and evidently a suggestion is all you need to write a story — regardless of truth. You misrepresented me in your use of the word "anxious." Brother Flatt says he did not say this. You lied when you said I was attempting to "inveigle" Brother Wallace into a debate. "Inveigle" means to win over by guile, to deceive. I do not appreciate this statement one particle. I'm sorry for the man who will make such statements.

Sincerely yours, Roy Deaver

3029 Handley Drive Fort Worth 12, Texas

November 21, 1956 Dear Brother Tant:

Last night after I got home from the shop, Brother Roy Deaver called me on the telephone and really worked me over about his "quaking in his boots." He wanted to know if I wrote you saying he was anxious to meet Brother Foy E. Wallace in debate. I told him I didn't use the word "anxious," but Brother R. L. Yancey told me that he (Deaver) had said he would be "glad" to meet Brother Wallace in debate. Brother Deaver demanded that I write you and tell you I did not use the word "anxious" (I guess it's a bad word). And he said if I didn't, he would take it up with my elders (Northside). Of course that has me "quaking in my boots."!! I told him I would not write you about it, but after thinking it over, I thought it might be possible I did use the word "anxious," and if I did, I herewith apologize to Brother R. L. Yancey and Brother Roy Deaver. If I did not use it, you had every reason to think he would be "anxious" from what he did say.

(Editor's note: Brother Flatt did not use the word "anxious.")

Now about Brother R. L. Yancey, there is no man on earth that I have more faith in for telling the truth and preaching the truth than he. If he says it is true, it is.

Here are some more words Brother Deaver may not like to hear, but he likes to use them. To me he was insulting, abusive, and threatening. He said I should have come to him about it; that was what he was doing — coming to me. Well, the way he came, I'd just as soon he stayed at home.

There are some other things I learned from Brother Deaver. First he is willing to debate; second, the preachers and elders who contend for these things (Herald of Truth, institutional homes, etc.) have erected an iron curtain around the churches where they oversee and preach, and are NOT WILLING for the members to hear both sides of the question. There will be no debates in their church buildings. This is the same attitude as shown by the Roman Catholic Church. And another thing: I sort of got the idea that Brother Deaver does not like the Gospel Guardian, or any of its writers — especially Yater Tant, Roy Cogdill, and Paul Foutz. One other idea I got was that Brother Deaver is really NOT "anxious" to meet Foy E. Wallace in debate! Well, I am "anxious" to get this letter finished, so will close with best wishes to you and yours.

Your brother in Christ,

(Signed): W. O. Flatt

The Tipton Home

Tipton, Oklahoma November 20, 1956

Gospel Guardian Lufkin, Texas

Dear Brethren:

The article which you recently published in the Guardian tells only a portion of the facts in the case. As you know part of the facts often tell an untrue story. That is most certainly true in this case.

Here are more of the facts. After the father of these children was killed the mother was reported as not conducting herself properly. She worked in beer parlors. Brother N. F. Jones, one of the elders of the Mangum church, called and asked if we could take the four children as the mother was not caring for them. We later received word that the people of the town were demanding that something be done with the children because of the conduct of the mother. I preached in Mangum one Sunday and Brother Jones and I visited in the home. Two men were in the room with the mother. Each had a beer can by them. The children were in bed. There were other things about the situation that did not look good. We took the children. They were nice intelligent children. As stated in the news article the mother later remarried and after a while asked for her children. We asked the church at Mangum for their recommendation. They recommended very strongly that the children remain here as they did not think the home was a proper place. As stated in the article the mother then went to court and sued for the custody of the children. She had started going to the Baptist Church at Russell, a small community near Mangum, but had not joined the church. Her husband did not attend, but his mother did. The Pastor of the church and several other members were at the trial and testified. It looked like they had made it a church matter. The judge is also a Baptist. There were indications he had made up his mind in the case before the trial started. Among others the Sheriff and Chief of Police testified they had seen the mother visiting in beer parlors just recently. The judge gave the children to the mother. Our attorney, Mr. Cecil Chamberlin, of Frederick thought the court had no jurisdiction in the case because of a recent Supreme Court ruling. Our elders wanted to find out if the Home could have anything to say about the fitness of a home to where should children be returned.

After keeping these children for nearly three years we felt like we had some right to determine the fitness of a home to which they should be returned. We wanted to know if we had any right to keep them from a mother whom we regarded as being unfit. The Supreme Court ruled against us.

Just why was our action in this case something "shocking to every Christian"?

We do return children to their parents when they ask, but we do want to know something about the home to which they are to be returned. We ask for the recommendation of the nearest congregation. We also ask for the recommendation of the Child Welfare as they can find out a lot more about the financial stability of the home, and also about the probable marital stability. We are unable to see just what is "shameful" about this procedure.

We are not asking that you publish this letter. We are not asking that you make any kind of statement about the matter. We just wanted you to know that you "slipped." What you do is for you to decide.

Faithfully yours, Byron Fullerton