In Response To The Invitation
In the June 27 issue of the Gospel Advocate, Brother Bill Rogers has an article entitled, "Whether Any Inquire About Titus." The title was taken from 2 Cor. 8:23, where Paul said: "Whether any inquire about Titus, he is my partner and fellow-worker to you-ward ...." Brother Rogers then said: "If any questions were asked about Titus or the brethren associated with Paul he could immediately inform the inquirer that they were his partners and fellow workers and the representatives of the churches in the matter of benevolence." Bill follows this up by saying that "in the heat of controversy some great and good men, without thinking through what is under discussion and under excitement and pressure, have aligned themselves with those who would bind human laws and interdictions upon the people of God." Bill then goes on to say that some who embraced these positions have been honest enough to renounce them. As an example of honesty Bill holds up Tom Warren and Roy Deaver who, he says, "Had the courage to renounce their fake positions and erroneous arguments and make a forthright statement of their change." In conclusion Bill says: "I wish that all such brethren would make a statement through the Gospel Advocate of (1) Their change, (2) the reasons for that change, and (3) why they now stand as they do on the issues which presently trouble the church." "This," he states, "would enable us to know his position and attitude so that if any did inquire of him we could immediately commend him."
As succeeding issues of the Gospel Advocate so abundantly testifies, this suggestion of Bill's was well received in the office of the "High Priest" of the Advocate. He no doubt laughed with glee at the prospect of listing the "faithful and true brethren," in order that the "Us" of the last sentence of the first paragraph might know his position. And not only so but that "we" might "mark well his bulwarks," and see if he would preach "our" peculiar theories, so that we might commend — or as it so clearly implied condemn him. Not only did this "invitation" find favor with Brother Goodpasture, but as time went on we see that it fell upon certain hearts and there was a ready response to this invitation. The editorial page of the Advocate became a "passing parade" of those who have flopped — Pardon, "changed" is the word they use. The editor was more than glad to give space to those who "responded to the invitation," and who desired to pour out their sins in the "confessional box" of the Advocate. These worthies all received forgiveness without penance.
In the Sept. 19, issue of the Advocate we read the account of Earl West walking down the aisle and surrendering his hand and his heart to the precepts and doctrines of the Advocate, 1957 style. His name has now been enrolled in the Advocate's "book of Life" along with Warren, Deaver, John Cox, and two recent "additions" — Jack Meyer, Sr. and Hugo McCord.
West, in his statement, complied in part with the request of Brother Rogers that all who change give their reasons for thus doing. West, of course, did not obey this exhortation from the heart; his response was not of his own free will. It seems that pressure was brought to bear and Earl meekly says: "while I have never felt that my thoughts would be of particularly wide interest, still others think so and I yield to their request to make this statement." In short Earl simply means: "I have tried to stay on the fence, but since pressure has been brought to bear, I find that I must get off." I was associated with Earl for a period of time in Indianapolis, and during the time that he was writing on congregational Cooperation, and exposing the sponsoring church set-up, he was promoting that very thing by encouraging the Irvington church where he preached to receive and oversee funds for an Indiana Old Folks Home.
The reasons for Earl's change all seem to spring out of a meeting in Ft. Worth. Present for the meeting were Tom Warren, Roy Deaver, Earl and two others. Earl says: "We went rather thoroughly into the problem." The result was that Earl now feels that he "cannot prove that the type of cooperation involved in the Herald of Truth violates a New Testament principle. It, therefore, belongs entirely in the realm of expediency." Well, since I was not present for the meeting in Ft. Worth, I do not know exactly what went on, but knowing what Tom and Roy usually do and the arguments they usually present, I would say that Tom enlightened Earl on the constituent elements while Roy threw in a few component parts to make the whole situation total. A total what, I leave it up to the readers who are familiar with such shenanigans, to surmise. If this be not so, I hope Earl will be kind enough to favor us with the scriptures that caused him to change. As the Lord said to Peter so say I to Earl, "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."
If Tom Warren produced any scripture which proved the Herald Of Truth to be in harmony with God's word, he has found it since the Houston debate. And if Tom knew where it was when he met with Earl he certainly should have been kind enough to have given it to Guy Woods to use in the Birmingham debate. For three nights Roy Cogdill pressed Guy Woods to give him the scripture where one church ever sent to another church except when the receiving church was in need, and Guy never produced it. He did "flash" Tom's syllogism one or two times, but, in the language of a fine gospel preacher, and a fair-to-middling philosopher, I say to Guy and Earl: "If you have scripture you don't need a syllogism."
Under the Old Covenant, on the day of atonement, the High priest" as for the people, so also for himself offered for sins." The reason for such was, "for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity." Now Brother Goodpasture, before you open the pages of the Advocate for the "offerings for the sins of others," it might be wise for you to take a look at your past. It was in 1939 that you reprinted an editorial by Foy E. Wallace with the following commendation: "The foregoing article reflects our present sentiments on the matters in question." In the article Brother Wallace wrote: "The disciples in Antioch cooperated with the churches in Judea through the elders in relieving an emergency in Judea. For one church to help another church to bear its own burdens has scriptural precedent. But for one church to solicit funds from other churches for general distribution in other fields or places, thus becoming the treasury of other churches, is quite a different question. Such procedure makes a sort of society out of the elders of a local church, and for such there is no scriptural precedent or example." Brother Goodpasture, is this your present sentiments on the matters in question? Or do you now believe there is an example of such? Were you, in 1939, "Aligning with those who would bind human laws and interdictions upon the people of God?" If such is still your sentiments on these matters, then you are in disagreement with the present position of the Advocate, and to be consistent, you must expunge yourself from the staff as you did Roy Lanier. If on the other hand, such is not your present sentiments, then you need to respond to Rogers' invitation, and "offer first for your own sins, and then for the sins of the people." For it is evident that in 1939 you were compassed with the same infirmity many of us still have. We will wait for your confession. As Rogers said, "SOME (Emp. mine — JLH) have been honest enough to renounce them."
Another convert who has not yet announced his change is the reluctant Guy N. Woods. Guy refuses to "face his sins," even though, "they are ever before his face." Guy will not be moved. He seems to think that in him is fulfilled Heb. 13:8 in part, "The same yesterday, the same today, and the same forever." But this will not do. His works "do follow him." Especially the 1946 Annual Lesson Commentary, and the 1939 A. C. C. Lectures. Brother Woods chameleon changes are so palpably evident that it would be superfluous for me to enter into such here. Suffice it to say he is; "Of protean shape and chameleon hue, Ever changing, ever new. He wires in and he wires out, and leaves the people all in doubt, As to the snake that made the track, Whether he is going North or coming back."
Thus far there has been one openly "cast out of the Advocate synagogue." The "temple" privileges are no longer extended to Roy Lanier. To him they no longer extend the right hand of fellowship. He has been turned over to the Firm Foundation "heathens." He is a "scapegoat" who must bear his sins and wander in the wilderness In him is fulfilled, in so far as the Advocate is concerned, 1 John 2:19 — a little revised — "He was sent out from us, for if he had been of us, he would no doubt have been permitted to continue with us, but he was sent out from us that it might be made manifest that he was not of us." Thus Roy Lanier has been put over on the left hand of the Advocate's division of the brotherhood, and he must graze around with the "goats" until he can swallow a home under a board.
As time goes by I am sure that many more will perk up their ears at the Nashville overture, and consider the advantages of changing. Those who change can then blend their voices with Tom, Roy, etc., and all together sing "When The Roll Is Called In Nashville I'll Be There."