"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.III No.XII Pg.4-6
July 1941

A Review Of The Situation

Cled E. Wallace

It is generally conceded, I think, that we have done a pretty fair job in our fight against the future kingdom foolishness and certain compromises which we feared might become widespread enough to bring tragedy to the churches. In it all we have kept in mind the warning of that apostle of Christ who said: "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ." (2 Cor. 11:3) Corrupting influences both within and without have been, and are still, at work. We have fought them and shall continue to fight them where and when we recognize them. We are not fighting them with powder puffs and bouquets. This is not a battle or roses. We are using the sword on them. We are not claiming any undue credit, in fact we are not seeking glory from men at all. There are many others likeminded who are fighting for the same things we are. We have been actively supported and commended by some of the strongest and best men in the church for which we are profoundly grateful. Brother H. Leo Boles is reported to have paid us the highest sort of a compliment before a large and representative audience at Freed-Hardeman college. In fact we have had enough of such praise from men in responsible places to make us "cocky" if we had any inclinations in that direction. We have been accused of just that and if it is true we deserve rebuke. Christians should not be "cocky," they should be humble. However, the source from which such charges come reassure us. Men who know us, love us and endorse the truths for which we stand, do not so accuse us. We have the right to be bold for the cause we are pleading for deserves boldness.

It is tragic but inevitable that this fight should be the occasion of so much bitterness. The crescendo of the opposition is "Down with the Wallaces." Should that consummation so devoutly wished by some be reached, it would not settle these issues. Others, probably better qualified, would take our places. Personalities are merely incidental in this war. There are issues at stake and men will be found to fight for them whoever goes down or up. "For all flesh is as grass, And all the glory thereof as the flower of grass, The grass withereth, and the flower falleth: But the word of the Lord abideth for ever." (I Peter 1:24, 25) We are not primarily concerned over what our enemies do to us.

Withal, it is well enough to review the situation betimes and take note of who's who and why. There are some criticisms we will not condescend to answer for they carry their own condemnation. There are others we shall continue to pay our respects to. We will not be taunted into descending the depths into which some have gone, by charges of cowardice. We shall continue to choose our own battle lines and stick to our own methods. If any wish to think that we fight and run away, we shall waste little time arguing the point with them. They are possibly guilty of some wishful thinking and had better keep a weather eye open.

The latest sensation seems to be the "Battle of the Rio 'Grande." Our part in that battle was not the major engagement at all. The aspiring young editor who started it outraged all sense and reason in the harmful method he was employing. The rebuke we administered was merely an expression of a verdict already rendered by the preachers and churches throughout that section. If you have any doubt about it, go down and take a look, We have never yet opposed a good work anybody was doing. If Timothy had rated the same grade in deportment from the brethren "at Lystra and Iconium" that the "adolescent" editor does from the brethren in the Valley of the Rio Grande, Paul would have left him at home for he could not have used him without performing a major operation on him, "through the Holy Spirit which was given unto us." "John Q. Public" as interpreted by my friend Judge R. O. Kenley, recommends that this seething young editor "go and sit at the feet of J. D. Tant and W. M. Davis and he will thereby find his wisdom greatly increased." I was present when Brother Tant tried to reason with him without success and I know what Brother Davis thinks about the whole situation because he told me and he did not tell me to keep it a secret either. "John Q. Public" has rendered a severe verdict in the Rio Grande Valley. Compared with it, what we have said is not a "battle" but a mere skirmish.

The doughty young editor went fishing for help in his fight to down us. He baited his hooks with personal abuse a Christian should never direct at anybody and what do you suppose he caught! Well, of all things, G. C. Brewer, F. L. Paisley and L. C. Utley. Now, if I were not a charitable sort, after reading what they say about us, I'd be tempted to say that Ira pulled up a string of mud-cats that time. But I'm charitable and in a good humor to boot. When men of their reputation, not to say self-esteem, make such a paper a wailing wall for their bitter resentment toward us, we think the matter deserves some attention, unpleasant as it is. We, of course, deeply regret that these brethren think of us as they do and would be willing to remove the cause, if we could righteously do so. In looking over their complaints, I shall begin with the greatest and move on down to the least.

Brother Utley swallowed the bait away up on the shore of Lake Michigan and here is what Ira pulled in:

Dear Brother ........ (the blank stands for the unmentionable in Oklahoma City)

"I read your article on Foy E. Wallace, Jr. I have had no faith in him for several years. I know that many good brethren value him as little as I do. The dose you gave his should settle him, but it won't. I am fully impressed that he would boss the church if we would take it. If he or his paper have the cause of Christ at heart, I am crazy."

Now, Brother Utley must be a pretty good sort of fellow. I do not know him very well, but my friend the editor of the Firm Foundation recently spoke of him editorially in the very highest terms and lauded him as both a good and a brilliant man. I also "read your article on Foy E. Wallace, Jr.," and it was the most abusive thing I ever laid eyes on. The maggots of malice wriggled in every line. I can't understand how Brother Utley can be so pleased with it and be all that the editor of the Firm Foundation says he is. If he really likes that sort of thing, we take it as a compliment that he has no faith in us. We are not crawling on our knees imploring the support of men who write such letters to the unmentionable from Oklahoma City who is starring for Ira's paper. We are not offended because Brother Utley dispensed with "Brother" in referring to the editor of the Bible Banner, and even express the hope that our many friends who know that we "have the cause of Christ at heart" will not start a movement to confine him in an institution. Maybe he is what Brother Brewer calls a "megalomaniac," sane except when he thinks about us, then he goes crazy. He ought to do his thinking about something else. If thinking about Brother Utley affected me that way, I wouldn't ever let him enter my mind, much less write letters about him. I wouldn't even smell of a "dose" somebody "gave him" to "settle him." No, beloved, we would not "boss the church" even if it should ask us to, but we do not mind saying that we would hate to see it turned over to the men who are using the valley sheet as a wailing wall.

Now, Brother Paisley, bless his little broken heart, stumped his toe in Temple, Texas several years ago and has been crying about it "in season, and out of season" ever since. He blames us with it when we were not even there and had nothing to do with it. We had something to say about preachers dividing churches, and although we did not call his name, he insisted on applying it all to himself. We really didn't mean it all for him. He should not have gorged himself on it and got a bad case of permanent indigestion. He swallowed the bait up in Dallas and Ira pulled in another helper via the unmentionable in Oklahoma City. He came in crying about Temple as usual. Between sobs he avers that

"The Wallaces have without fail been on the side of error, sin and division, defending the most glaring, outstanding principles of error found in the churches."

We do not need to pluck the petals of a flower to see whether he loves the editor or not. Every plucked petal says he loves him not.

"But I am not qualified to question the truth of one single statement you or others have made of the crookedness of the editor."

He rambles on hysterically for a whole page accusing us of cowardice, lying and the like and finally gets to this gem. "But I have written too much for your time." O, I don't think so. The editor of the "Soldier" must have really been enjoying it. After reading it, he broke into caps over "the sober convictions of a square shooter and straight thinker." Seriously, gentlemen, if your aim is to injure us, take a pointer from me. You are overdoing the thing. It is going to be rather difficult to make people believe that we are as mean as you say we are. And it just wouldn't do for anybody to get the notion that you are stretching things a little. You know some things are hard to believe, for instance that little yarn Brother Paisley tells everybody who will listen to him, about being "forced" out of the Temple church for righteousness' sake. Now, it so happens that I lived in Temple about a dozen years, held membership in that church and preached for it for months at a time and nobody ever tried to run me off "by force." It seems that they tied a tin can to Brother Paisley after I left. There seems to be a little misunderstanding about the matter. I was told later when I happened to be visiting up that-away, by men whom I had known for years and who never lied to me about anything else, that Brother Paisley got mad and ran off and took part of the church with him, the godly minority of course, and another church was split. It follows him around like Banquo's ghost. He talks about it by day and dreams about it by night. He is nearly as pitiful as Lady MacBeth trying to wash the blood off her hands. I can't be mad at him for feeling sorry for him. Maybe he is one of Brother Brewer's "megalomaniacs." Honest, we may not be as good as some people, but I have my doubts about us being as bad as they are proving we are. If they can find that anonymous crowd and get them to take off their masks and testify, but maybe they are already doing it. The size of the ears and the sound of the voice reminds me of something I've seen and heard before. They have accused us of everything but companionate marriage and I am looking for that next.

Our only salvation is that the people Brother Brewer is handing the "Soldier" out to may take time out to decide that the witnesses against us are all the way from slightly biased to being overwhelmed with an all-out desire for revenge. When they prove everything else on us, we shall endeavor to maintain a comparative calm, unless they accuse us of appealing to a congregation over the heads of its elders to hold a job. That is one piece of chicanery we cannot tolerate. The invariable charge in such a case that "the so-called elders" are not qualified is a smoke-screen to cover up an illegal operation. If we had "a desire to murder" as Brother Paisley charges, the professional church-buster is the first "megalomaniac" we would point toward the graveyard. All the victims of our murderous intentions are not dead yet, judging from the shrieks of agony that are rending the air. The charge of murder is a little premature. Besides, when dividing a church kills a preacher, it is a clear case of suicide.

When editor Ira went fishing, he showed some skill in the sort of places he dropped his hooks. He tells us that "a bundle was sent to the Broadway church of Christ in Lubbock in care of Brother G. C. Brewer." This "bundle" contained that now celebrated vitriolic attack on the personal character of the editor of the Bible Banner. Brother Brewer turned out to be a hungry fish. He announced "that the papers were here" and told the congregation they had an "opportunity" to "see the Wallace method applied to Wallace." "The papers were all taken and we had calls for more." How did I learn all this? Why, Brother Brewer wrote editor Ira a letter and expressly gave him permission to publish it. We can only imagine the glee with which Brother Brewer took advantage of this "opportunity" to partially satiate his consuming desire for revenge. He carefully refrains from referring to us as "Brother." It is Brother Rice, Brother O'Dowd, Brother Tant, Brother Srygley, but when he gets to us it is Foy Wallace, Wallace, He and Cled etc. Of course that is all right with us, since he feels that way about it, but I do not envy some of our critics the malicious bitterness of soul that burns inside them. I would not feel toward them as they do toward us for anything in the world.

Brother Brewer writes Brother Rice that "whether you are justified or not I can excuse you." Why, bless your heart, Brother Brewer would not have missed it for the world. He got more kick out of it than he did when he slew the four horsemen of Communism. He talks as though he were on the sidelines watching the young Samson of the Rio Grande Valley slay a thousand Philistines "with the jawbone of an ass" and intent on seeing that he did not run out of ammunition. If melodrama ever reached the ludicrous we have it here. He excuses Brother Rice, but here is a little bit of the lot he says about us.

"Wallace will not answer your charges nor will he meet you for any fair settlement of your differences or in any other way treat you with respect or decency. I speak from experience. I have tried him thoroughly. He is such a megalomaniac that he will probably assume that you are beneath his notice! He and Cled will also probably run for cover and claim that you boys are too rough to play with! Don't forget, though that they have written and preached for the last eight years about the method of approach' and have done all they could to justify abuse,' 'personalities,' `harsh,' crude,' and coarse' language in opposing error. They have cited Matt. 23 and Acts 13:10 to justify their methods. They have inveighed against every man who will not kneel at Foy's feet and call him Lord. They have filled their paper with invective, vituperation and falsehood...."

And on and on he goes in true Brewer style and finally gets to this point. "Well, I've written too much." Why, no, no, go on. Nobody ever wrote too much of that sort of thing for the "Christian Soldier" and according to Brother Brewer, the members of the Broadway church in Lubbock like to read it. One reason we touched the match to this inflammable situation to begin with was to give the wild boys an occasion to reveal themselves and Brother Brewer is even wilder than I thought he was. The brethren are learning things fast and it is not all on us. I take it that we will not be widely blamed for not meeting these softspeaking gentlemen "for any fair settlement." It would not be a major fault if we should conclude that they "are too rough to play with." Everybody who does not think they are "rough" stand on your head! It is not even necessary for us to deny these grievous charges. Our friends and supporters and fairminded neutrals do not believe them and our enemies would sneer at our denials. It is entirely possible that some of Brother Brewer's friends will lift their eyebrows at his latest display of "respect or decency." His imagination is running a high fever inflamed by pen-up feeling he has had no former opportunity to fully express in print. We do not feel any worse and I hope he feels better since he has vomited that gob of poison out of his system. After admitting that he had "written too much" he shows that getting rid of the poison did relieve him at least temporarily and added "but I do not hate him, and I would not harm him." Thanks, that is very nice of you indeed! We were beginning to think that maybe you did and would.

Something has made some strange bed-fellows in this fantastic situation. It tickles my risibles a little to see men like G. C. Brewer, L. C. Utley and F. L. Paisley crawling into the same bed with Ira Rice, John O'Dowd, and the Oklahoma City unmentionable. It is a short bed with a narrow blanket to hold all of them. They may lie together but we'll see to it that they do not do much sleeping. We can see that they stay warm without any cover. What makes these strange bed-fellows? As far as I can determine, they are victims of the same "megalomania." That is Brother Brewer's favorite word which he uses on a brother when he doesn't hate him and would not harm him. Incidentally, he used the word in the Gospel Advocate recently, applied it by inference to the editor of the Bible Banner and recommended that he be withdrawn from. Well, the "megalomania" that seems to hold these occupants in the same bed together has all the ear-marks of a common and consuming hatred for the Bible Banner and its editor. This hate is bred of disappointment and frustration as far as I am able to dispassionately determine. My conclusions are drawn from what they say about us in print. Theirs is not the language of soberness and straight-thinking. We have given them nothing in the way of rebuke that they did not ask for.

There is something ghastly about being hated as some hate us. We do not reciprocate it. We are more interested in issues than men. We have definite objectives which we shall continue to incessantly fire at. Whoever recklessly or carelessly projects himself into the line of fire will find that we will not elevate our guns to keep from hitting him even if "the Gentiles rage and the people imagine vain things." We do not believe that hate and injustice ever won any spiritual victories and we do not believe that they can triumph over us. If we go down, we shall go down fighting with our guns blazing. We shall not surrender. These men are wrong while we are right. We propose to outfight them, outmaneuver them and rate a much higher grade in decent conduct than any of them have or can, judging from their past performances.