"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.V No.XI Pg.10-11
June 1943

Has The Condition At Harding College Improved?

E. R. Harper

In this article I shall do as I have always done when writing about Harding College, confine my remarks to principle rather than personal attacks upon the character of the men. In their bulletin you will find in their references to me such expressions as "political dictator," "the Fuehrer," "a wolf in sheep's clothing," and "deliberate hypocrisy." Such attacks have never come from me, in private conversation, over the radio, or in my writings. I am interested only in the truth as it concerns the position that Harding College takes.

Reporting A Meeting

Harding College students speak again. Read the following report and decide if such men are safe as the heads of the Bible department in our schools.

"A personal report of a meeting held in Brother J. N. Armstrong's office on the night of June 1, 1942, with Brethren J. N. Armstrong, Batsell Baxter, T. H. Sherrill, Emmett F. Smith, and myself present. Written by me sometime after the meeting occurred, giving from memory things that were said and impressions made upon me." Signed--Q. H. Gately.

"A few days before the meeting transpired, Brother Armstrong asked Brother Smith and myself to meet with him the following Monday night at his home. Later, however, he said for us to meet him in his office in the administration building of the college at about eight o'clock--giving as his reason that we would have more privacy.

"Brother Smith and I went over to the meeting together and found Brother Sherrill and Brother Baxter already there, although no mention had been made to us of their presence before that time. Brother Armstrong opened the meeting by explaining that he thought the lack of friendly feeling between him, Smith and me, was due to a misunderstanding of what he really believed, and he wanted to clear up that misunderstanding and pave the way for more amiable relations between us.

"Brother Armstrong then began reading from several pages of notes, which provided evidence that he had carefully planned his part of the meeting, endeavoring to prove that his views on the premillennial return of Christ were no more radical or different than several of the pioneer preachers and scholars of the church, by reading numerous excerpts from their writings. Some of these men were Lipscomb, Harding, Hinds, Larimore, and Brents. As I didn't know exactly what these men taught I stated that it didn't matter what these men taught, if it was not right. Brother Sherrill laughingly asked if I was trying to put myself ahead of them in scholarship, but no Bible proof of their statements was presented.

"Brother Armstrong went on to show that although they believed in different phases of Premillennialism that they were not disfellowshiped but rather held in high esteem. To that I replied that if they taught Premillennialism, they should have been. Whereupon Brother Armstrong asked me, What was so wrong and bad about Premillennialism? When I told him that the primary premise of Premillennialism was two bodily resurrections and the Bible taught only one, he, said that he wasn't so sure but that the Bible taught that there would be two. He then brought up Rev. 20:6 and commented that as the Bible named the first resurrection there must be a second one implied. When I remarked that that passage was figurative, he asked, how I knew, and if it were, what did it really mean? When I said I didn't know exactly, he said that if I admitted that I didn't know, how could I be so positive that there were not two resurrections mentioned?

"Brother Armstrong went to I Cor. 15:23-24 to prove that there would be time between the coming of Christ and the end of time. This was provoked by my statement that I understood from the Bible that there would be no time measure after Christ's return. He went into the Greek to prove that the then' in verse 24 carried with it the idea. of a lapse of time. Smith and I, after some quibbling, were forced off our positions by our lack of the knowledge of Greek. Brother Smith brought up John 5:28-29 to show that there was one resurrection. After which I used Acts 24:15 to a good advantage to supplement his arguments. When Brother Baxter endorsed our position on that, Brother Sherrill commented that we should make those passages harmonize with the more plain passages of I Cor. 15:23-24.

"Another inquiry from Brother Armstrong concerning the evils of Premillennialism brought from me that they had pushed their theory to the dividing of churches. When asked for names Brother Smith, Brother Baxter and I named Louisville, Ky., Winchester, Ky., and Dallas, Texas. Then Brother Armstrong insisted that the divisions in those places were caused by the opponents of Boll and his men, that Boll never split any church and that everything would be forgotten soon if men like Foy E. Wallace, Jr., and E. R. Harper would quit disturbing everybody about it. He then brought up how that Brother Harper had caused trouble in the church at Morrilton, Pine Bluff, and Camden. Brother Baxter, who had preached there regularly last winter cleared that situation up by mentioning, that, apparently there were two factions there and indicated that they had been for a long time. But we all agreed on the fact that Brother Harper has done some good there by his meetings in the past three years. No one present knew very much about the condition that Brother Armstrong said existed at Pine Bluff, but as I am well acquainted with "'all the happenings in Camden, we quibbled about that for some time. I remarked that I knew that the leaders of the church there were displeased with an attempt to undermine the meeting by sending literature to the town condemning Harper. Brother Armstrong countered with the statement that so far as he knew only a very few bulletins were sent and they had been requested by members of the church at Camden. He (Brother Armstrong) and Brother Sherrill both cautioned Brother Smith and me not to believe everything that Brother Harper told us. They did not seem to realize that we had seen the documentary evidence about those things that Brother Harper has in his possession.

"Brother Smith and I then questioned the prudence with which the school has been operated in favor of the Premillennial bunch.

"Brother Armstrong said we should be broadminded enough to hear both sides of the issue and suggested that the reason so many prominent Premillennialists have appeared before the college assembly was that he has had others to speak against the theory such as C. R. Nichol and H. Leo Boles. He said that he would be glad to have one of them come again and lecture a week against the theory but he thought that the following week there should be some one of the Boll faction to speak for it. He further stated that he would never consent to any kind of a debate being held on the subject before the college assembly, giving as his reason that the spirit of debating is detrimental to the cause of Christ and would do more harm than good.

"That part of the meeting being over Brother Sherrill then tried to explain the reason for calling off a debate between Brother Smith and me the previous week. It was one of a group of practice debates supervised by Brother Sherrill on Premillennialism with Brother Smith taking the false side. Brother Sherrill gave as his reasons that he found out that we were going to expose Brother Armstrong's position on the subject and that we had invited several preachers from the state. He said that it was not open to outsiders, although the week before when we debated on a different phase of the same subject there were over twenty-five visitors from out of town (Searcy) that are known to be Premillennialists.

"This statement true as to facts."

(Signed) --Q. H. GATELY, "EMMITT SMITH." (NOTE: Brother Smith and Brother Gately are both preachers. Brother Gately is a graduate, and Brother Smith has had two years at Harding-E. R. HARPER.)

Summary Of Facts

1. Brother Armstrong is not understood by his own students, according to himself.

2. He begs for a more friendly feeling between him and the preachers.

3. He tried to prove that his views on "the premillennial return of Christ" are no more radical than others. (We have been told that he did not have any such views.)

4. He contends that we should make no difference between the Premillennialists and those who oppose it.

5. He demands of the boys to know what is wrong with Premillennialism, when he should be the one to show them what is wrong with it.

6. He defends the "two resurrections" theory, giving Rev. 20 as the proof.

7. He declared that there would be a "space of time" between the "coming" of Christ and the "end." His proof was I Cor. 15:23-24, and he tried to prove it by the Greek.

8. He denied that Boll and his men have divided the church but declared that the division was brought about by those opposed to him, and defended Boll and the Premillennial group.

9. He admitted that the school has been operated in favor of the Premillennial group. Keep that in mind.

10. He would be glad to have one who opposes Premillennialism to speak if the next week they would have Boll or one of his men.

11. He refused to have any kind of a debate before the student body on the Premillennial question because it would do more harm than good.

12. Sherrill called off a "practice debate" on the question because they were going to "expose Brother Armstrong's theory" on the question. But their bulletin said that he had no theory, that he had never in a long life time, preached, taught, or written on the subject. Yet they knew his theory and were going to expose it.

13. It is plain to be seen that Brethren Sherrill and Armstrong tried to "browbeat" these boys, but they failed.

14. Let Sherrill meet me and stay off of these students. I will affirm that J. N. Armstrong is a Premillennialist, and will do it in Searcy.