"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.VIII Pg.12-15a
March 1943

The Advocate Editor And The Texas Brother

By The Editor

The February issue of the Bible Banner printed the full text of an article in the Gospel Advocate in which the editor of that paper ran amuck on the government issue and committed the Gospel Advocate to the position of the conscientious objectors. The fact that the editor of the Advocate has abandoned his ethical policies and has resorted to "sarcasm" in consecutive jabs at the Bible Banner is good evidence that the Bible Banner is having effect in Nashville, Tennessee. A man well acquainted with affairs in that city recently said that the Bible Banner is covering Nashville like a newspaper! That may account for the repeated jabs from the irate editor of the Advocate, so we will handle him as psychopathically as his periodical animadversions may warrant.

"A Challenge to Discuss"

That all may know what we are replying to the full text of the last jab up to now is inserted below. Here it is for what it is worth:

The Brother "Has Something"

A good brother from Texas, whose name need not be mentioned in this connection, writes:

"Your editorial of February 4 is fine. The truth is still the same as in 1936, come what may.

There is another inconsistency that appears on the "war question" that I would like to see you give some attention. Those who are leading the fight have been challenged to debate, but have given the answer, "They better agree among themselves before the war is over what issue needs debating," and some people have fallen for this and think that settles the question. Since when did all the premillennialists agree, and would it be wrong to debate them until they did? If that principle be true, then we might just as well let the denominations go.

Yes, we have been told that a challenge to discuss the "war question," even after the war is over, has been declined on the ground that those associated with the issuer of the challenge were not agreed, in all respects, on the question.

The most charitable thing that can be said of this "dodge" is that it is a very lame excuse, a mere subterfuge. Accepting it as a guiding principle, no discussion could be held with the premillennialists. They are hopelessly disagreed among themselves. No debate could be held with the "Christian Church," for they are divided into several belligerent groups. By the same token a denominationalist could decline to meet a preacher of the churches of Christ in debate on the identical ground that they are not "agreed among themselves" on certain questions. Not only so, but in the first century, an Epicurean philosopher, a Jewish rabbi, or a worshipper of idols could have declined to "dispute" with Paul on the grounds that there was division in Corinth and defection in Galatia.

Was it Falstaff who said, "The better part of valor is discretion, in the which better part I have saved my life"?

In making what the Gospel Advocate calls "a challenge to discuss the war question"' Brother H. Leo Boles sent similar, if not identical letters to C. R. Nichol, R. L. Whiteside, Cled E. Wallace and the writer. It now appears that a whispering campaign has been going on about these exchanges. The editor of the Advocate says that he has "been told" that "a challenge" was "declined." Has he "been told" that the letter from one of the above men on his staff to Brother Boles containing some important questions regarding the proposition was not answered, though an answer was requested?

"The Issuer of the Challenge"

Since some of the contents of the letters have apparently gained considerable currency by having been passed around, handed out and otherwise publicized, there is no longer any valid reason for withholding the full facts from our columns on the grounds that it was a private exchange. If the Gospel Advocate so regarded it, the editor should not have made public reference to it in his paper. The Bible Banner is not only willing but glad to let everybody in on the contents of that exchange. Here they are:

Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 8, 1942.

Dear Brother Wallace:

It seems that there is much confusion in the brotherhood on the question of Christians engaging in carnal war. I would like to make a thorough study of this question for the benefit of the great host of members of the churches of Christ; I would like for this study to be an inquiry and investigation into all the arguments that may be produced on both sides of the question. I am not making any challenge in the spirit of a debate; I am humbly making inquiry of you as to whether you have the time or inclination to make this study with me. I believe that you and I can discuss the question and still be friends as we are brethren in the Lord.

If you do not care to join me in this investigation of the Bible proof on the proposition will you suggest a reputable brother who has the time and inclination to enter upon a discussion of this question. I want the discussion to be written so that it may be free from all personalities, quibblings, and bitterness that sometimes are brought into a debate.

It is my desire that the discussion be as thorough as we can make it. After it is published in the Gospel Advocate, Firm Foundation, and Bible Banner I would like to see the discussion put in book form for future study of members of the church. We have no book covering this subject and it seems to me that the brotherhood would be eager to study both sides of the war proposition. I am here submitting a proposition which is brief and definite enough to bring the issue to the fore.

Brother Wallace, I trust that you will not think that I am seeking any notoriety, any victory, or conquest in a debate. I am anxious to give to the brotherhood the best that can be had on the proposition; I would like to investigate every argument that can be presented on the affirmative side of the proposition. Here is the proposition: The Bible Teaches That Christians Should Respond To The Call Of Their Government In Time Of War To Destroy The Property And Lives Of Its Enemies.

It may be that you do not think the question is of sufficient importance to take the affirmative side and attempt to prove the above proposition, however, I think that it is an important question and that the peace and good will of the brotherhood can be maintained better by discussing in a brotherly way the above proposition. Please let me hear from you as to what your wishes are with respect to such a discussion.

I wanted to see you and discuss this with you before I left Norman, Oklahoma, but did not have the opportunity to do so. Remember me in Christian love to your family.

Yours fraternally,


H. Leo Boles.

P.S. It may be that the Firm Foundation and the Bible Banner do not care to publish the discussion; I can see that it would occupy so much space that a monthly like the Bible Banner would not care to publish it after it had appeared in the Gospel Advocate. If these publications do not care to carry the discussion, the Gospel Advocate will carry it anyway.


Oklahoma City, Okla., Oct. 24, 1942.

Dear Brother Boles

This is the first reasonable opportunity I have had to answer your letter of October 8. My reaction to your suggestion is that there would be no need to go outside the Gospel Advocate for such a discussion as you propose. You and brother Goodpasture are on one side of the question, such men as R. L. Whiteside and C. R. Nichol are on the other side. Why not keep the discussion in the family?

As for the proposition you have worded and suggested, I do not think any discriminating man would accept such a proposition. In the first place it fixes a motive that no good man, to say nothing of a Christian, could possess, and which I certainly would disclaim. I certainly do not believe the statement you have drawn and could deny what it implies. In the second place, whether it is the "duty" of an individual to join the armed forces depends on various considerations. You could as well insist that all who believe that it is all right to accept noncombatant service should join up for that service. All that is beside the question. In the third place, it does not allow for discrimination in the thing the government is doing-whether it is carrying out the mission of government or one that has become an outlaw, criminal nation instead. In the fourth place, the issue does not pertain to Christians as such; being a moral issue, it is an individual issue, and if a Christian individual cannot participate morally in it, no individual could morally participate in lt.

The question of war is not the fundamental issue--it is only collateral to the main issue. The issue is the individual's relation to civil government. The military issue grows out of that whether it is a local war on criminals and outlaws through police departments or national defense through an army. In either case the principle is the same, being one of armed forces for protection and defense. So it seems to me that it is a matter of whether one can engage in war a little or a lot, combatant or noncombatant, and here again, there is an issue to settle among yourselves, it seems to me, before you banter anybody else for debates.

As for affirming a proposition, it occurs to me that those of you who teach that civil government belongs to the devil are under as much obligation to affirm a proposition as any one else. Especially since it is the government question that is back of the whole issue, whether the nation is in an actual state of war or not.

The purpose of the editorial in the March Banner was simply to publish a statement of views. The Gospel Advocate has done as much repeatedly, not only before a state of war existed, but since. Except for the outburst of attacks on the Bible Banner, and on us personally, the issue would have rested there, with the statement made. When the Advocate made various statements setting forth your own views, there was no "confusion" such as you refer to. Why should there be so "much confusion" when the Bible Banner carried a statement of the matter? It seems to be a matter of whose ox is gored, and rather indicates where the confusion is being felt. Personally, I have not observed any such confusion among the brethren where I have gone. Their views appear to be fairly well defined and settled in the matter, and they are tolerant to a remarkable degree of the attitude in which they, and their sons in the service, are held by those who are loud in denouncing them.

But this is not intended as arguing the issue: I intend it only as an exchange between us in mutual social vein and conversation, in the spirit of your own letter--the spirit of which I appreciate. But your suggestion for discussion makes it appear that the Gospel Advocate will espouse your side of the question, when I know of course that such is not true. Brother McQuiddy does not hold your view. Nichol, Whiteside, and Brightwell are all against your view. The Bible Banner is a monthly, the Advocate is a weekly-why go outside the Advocate and the Advocate staff for such a discussion? In other words, why pick on me? You have men right on the staff of the Advocate who are bigger and better than I am. For instance, R. L. Whiteside was a student of David Lipscomb; you are a student of David Lipscomb. He is query editor of the Gospel Advocate; you are literature editor of the Gospel Advocate. You are near the same age, you are editors on the same paper. He is on one side of the question, you are on the other side of the question--why don't you just debate it in the Gospel Advocate?

Now, if there is any valid reason why you and Brother Whiteside should not debate the issue between yourselves in the Gospel Advocate (since both of you have already expressed Your views in the Advocate), certainly any reason that might be assigned for not doing so would be a sufficient reason for me not to do so. I am of the opinion the public will be able to see this point.

It was my intention to visit you and hear you preach at Norman, and I regret that it was so inconvenient for me to come. We all like to hear you preach, and all the members of my family are particularly fond of you, including myself. When you come this way again I hope to be in a better position to attend your services. Remember me in kindness to all that are in your house, and with kindest personal regards to you, I am, Faithfully and fervently yours,

Foy E. Wallace, Jr.


With that exchange the matter was dropped with me. But since other letters passed between Brother Boles and his fellow-staff members, the Gospel Advocate's charge that somebody is guilty of "a dodge" and "a mere subterfuge" certainly operates against brethren Nichol and Whiteside as much as it does against brother Cled and me. Will the editor of the Gospel Advocate publish what passed between H. Leo Boles and C. R. Nichol? We would all like to know who on the Advocate staff is doing the dodging and subterfuging.

"The War Question"

As for the proposition that was submitted for discussion we have all heard of challengers submitting propositions which the submitter knew that no intelligent man could or would affirm. Sectarians have very frequently pursued that course. Unfortunately, brethren sometimes do. Just why should Brother Boles write out a proposition for another man to affirm? If he wants a debate, why not write out what he wants to affirm? Personally, when I want to debate I will reserve the right to word my own proposition.

Let the wording of the proposition submitted by Brother Boles be applied to non-combatant service:

"The Bible Teaches That Christians Should Respond To The Call Of Their Government In Time Of War To Make Warplanes, Tanks, Guns, And All The Munitions Of War, To Destroy The Property And Lives Of Its Enemies."

There are some conscientious objectors who will deny this proposition if Brother Boles will affirm it. If he will not affirm it, he puts every non-combatant worker in the same place that he has put the soldier. Is this the position of the Gospel Advocate? If so, say so. If not, let Brother Boles withdraw his proposition and Brother Goodpasture his jabs.

Everybody knows that this government is not waging war for the purpose of destroying the property and lives of its enemies, but in defense of the property and lives of its citizens, and of its very existence, we are made to wonder if Brother Boles is the logician that he is reputed to be. His proposition does not indicate it.

I have "been told" that Brother Boles has declared both publicly and privately in various places where he has held meetings that it is even wrong for the members of the church to buy war bonds. But have you noticed a certain clause in his proposition? Go back and read it--"that Christians should respond to the call of their government." Whose government? If Christians respond to the call of their government--it belongs to Christians, does it not? What becomes of the contention that civil government belongs to the devil? If it belongs to the devil, no Christian should support it, much less defend it. Who wants to support the devil? But if the government is "theirs," and Brother Boles says it is, then it may turn out according to his own "logic" that they should defend it "in time of war" as well as enjoy its prosperity in time of peace. If it be replied that Christians are commanded to support the government, we merely repeat, that is why we know it is not the devil's government, because no Christian has ever been commanded to support and serve the devil.

After all, is that really the proposition the Gospel Advocate wants to debate?

Speaking of things we have "been told' --I am reminded that it has been told, and so far has not been denied, that while Brother Boles was president of David Lipscomb College an armed officer was employed to patrol the premises of the school. What was the purpose of that? Was it "to destroy the lives" of criminal invaders and make widows and orphans out of their wives and children, in case he had to shoot? If not, why did the school of which Brother Boles was president employ such an officer-and why did he tote a gun? Is it right for the president of the school to pay such an officer, but is wrong for him to buy war bonds? And if a member of the church could be that officer, can a member of the church not also be a soldier? If not, why not?

May be, perhaps, Brother Boles would like to switch propositions and affirm:

"The Bible Teaches That a Christian College Should Employ An Armed Officer to Destroy the Lives of Its Enemy Intruders."

What is the difference between a Christian College providing police protection for its students and the government providing military protection for its citizens? If one armed officer should not be enough to protect the school, for instance, the women and girls in the dormitories, in case of an emergency, would it--be right to increase the armed force? Somebody in Nashville should offer that five or ten dollar proposition for "chapter and verse" to Brother Boles instead of us.

Anyway, these questions are based on what we "have been told" and are therefore as legitimate as Brother Goodpasture's editorial.

"Not Agreed Among Themselves"

We have said repeatedly that the issue is not one of war, but of government. The war question is only corollary to the main issue. We all know that both Brother Boles and the editor of the Advocate know enough about the rules of procedure to know that the one who seeks a debate should submit the proposition he is willing to affirm. He says that he is not seeking victory, but his proposition certainly smacks of seeking an advantage. If they are really desirous of being fair, neither their proposition nor their procedure indicates it. Since it is Bother Boles who seeks the debate, the proper procedure is for him to submit a proposition on the government question that he will affirm. When he does so fairly and squarely, my hunch is that he will not have to go outside the Gospel Advocate staff to get his debate.

The effort of the Gospel Advocate to show that their disagreement among themselves is no ground for us to "decline" to debate with them only proves that they feel the weight of the outstanding fact that the Gospel Advocate is a divided house on the government question. The effort to parallel debating with premillennialists, digressives and denominationalists is no parallel at all. Those of us who oppose Boll, Neal and Norris are not divided on the issues involved. If the Gospel Advocate were divided on the use of Instrumental Music, Boles for it and Nichol against it; or Goodpasture for it and Brightwell against it--and should challenge the Christian Standard for a debate, the Standard could very reasonably and ethically say, "You brethren debate it--keep the debate in the family!" If Boles should be a premillennialist and Nichol against it; or Goodpasture a premillennialist and Brightwell against it--and the Advocate should challenge Word and Work for a debate on the issue--Boll and Jorgenson could --very logically and ethically reply, debate it among yourselves ! So Brother Boles should go ahead and answer Brother Nichol's letter. The attempted parallel is not even a good "dodge," and "the most charitable thing" that we can say is that his attempted parallel is a lame effort that exists among themselves on the issues involved.

"A Good Brother from Texas"

Concerning "the brother" from Texas, who the editor thinks "has something" but "whose name need not be mentioned in this connection," it is not necessary for him to "mention" his name, I can give you his name, initials and post office address. Furthermore, if it will accommodate his curiosity, I will put letters from Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia and Texas, against any "brother" whose name or names he wishes to reveal, for, intelligence, ability or love for the cause of Christ. For instance, one "good brother" from Alabama observes "a vast difference in the style and mood employed by Brother Goodpasture" in his article on support for the conscientious objectors and the few instances he has felt the urge or necessity of writing on the premillennial question." Another perfectly good brother from Kentucky (who has no connection with the Bible Banner but who has been disappointed in weaknesses of the Gospel Advocate) remarks that the "editorial page in the Gospel Advocate looks like a nice piece of propaganda designed to reflect on the defense of the church against the perniciousness of premillennialism." He has somewhat to say of the "innuendo" and "strategy" employed by the editor and suggests that someone on the Advocate staff should affirm that "human governments are guilty of murder in executing wrath against the evildoer' in defending the rights of free peoples against the unwarranted aggression of the Axis." He adds the remark that they have "no attempt to meet arguments, and the reason is obvious to reflecting minds." Just to be liberal, we will give the editor two for one in any number of comments he may wish to publish from "a good brother" anywhere from California to Carolina, Maine to Miami, or from Tennessee to Texas.

Among enclosures received is a clipping from the Nashville Banner referring to David Lipscomb College as being "not quite up to the Bison standard of other years, due to the loss of players to the armed forces." That sounds like Brother Boles needs to hold a debate out at David Lipscomb College to keep them from giving their students to the armed forces-they ought to send them to the concentration camp. It is quite possible that they received the impression that "armed forces" are all right from Brother Boles, "their erstwhile preceptor," when the college employed an officer to protect them "back in 1920-30" while Brother Boles was president. That brings up the editor's question: "Who taught them?" "Yea, verily!"

In the same letter from this "good brother" it is noted that the "Central Church (in which Brother Goodpasture has continued interest) has special services for service men, and if they are murderers why not quit fellowshipping them"--and withdraw from them? That is another place for Brother Boles to have a debate-the Central Church in Nashville. Then comes the Gospel Advocate's own report of the establishment of the church for soldiers, where soldiers will makeup most of the membership, and perform the functions and services of the, congregation. How does that harmonize with the position of the editor? It can be construed only as a reflection on his convictions or his courage and it will cause the people generally to lose confidence in anything he may say or do. It is not a debate that they most need.

"Another Inconsistency on the War Question"

Comes also the report that Abilene Christian College will carry on a government schedule for enlisted men. We have the impression that the influence of this college has been for the conscientious objectors. If so, what will they teach these soldiers? Will they teach them to be conscientious objectors?. That their enlistment in the armed forces is wrong? If they do not, they will not be true to their convictions on "the war question." If they do, what will be the result? Does the government knew their teaching on these questions? Consistency, did somebody say?

Last, and also least in importance, are the speeches of Doctor George S. Benson, president of Harding College, Searcy, Arkansas--the great government economist! The great Doctor Benson is touring the country trying to reform the functions of civil government. You should read the report of his speeches in Dallas, Texas. He tells the business men of Dallas that "the right place" for "mundane authority" should be "in the people" and not in the "bureaucrats"--and he tells them to a "t" how to get it done. In speaking of this government he uses the term "ourselves"-revealing that he really does think we belong to it or that it belongs to us. Now, in the words of the editor of the Advocate, "the question is": When this great government specialist, Doctor Benson, gets the government to functioning according to his ideas, will it still be a vassal of the devil?

Everybody knows that Harding College is a conscientious objectors college, according to the teaching of J. N. Armstrong, who has brought them up to believe that civil government belongs to the devil. But the president of the college is trying to convince the devil how to run his government, and he actually uses the words "ourselves" in doing so. That puts him in league with the devil! Now, what does Brother Armstrong think of the president of his school?

"The Better Part of Valor"

The thing so evident in the minds of the brethren far and wide and which has provoked so much comment everywhere is the fact that when premillennialism and digression formed an alliance in the Davidson Movement, a movement that threatened the whole church, the editor of the Advocate was as meek as a mouse until the invasion was stopped. Was that the discretion that saved the valorous Advocate's life?

The colleges likewise bowed to this movement. Lipscomb, Harding and Abilene colleges all royally entertained the man Davidson, and aided his movement. Clinton Copyright Davidson was made a member of the board of Harding College. In Texas, Jesse P. Sewell was his harbinger and Abilene College was his host. They are responsible for the harm that resulted to the cause of Christ in these parts from this movement. Though the character of the movement has been revealed and acknowledged, we have not seen any retractions or apologies in print from these leaders among us who promoted it. It will be remembered in the years to come that during all of these times, which were times of crisis and days of stress for the church, the Gospel Advocate silently allowed others to fight that battle. It is also a matter of record that everything the editor of the Advocate has said since that time has carried insinuations against those who fought that battle. Even now the sole effort appears to be to attempt to discredit those who still fight these battles, and to weaken the defense that has been made for the truth and for the church.

After all, it may not be the government issue as much as some other things that smolder in the mind of the editor of the Advocate, which occasionally burst into flame and bestir him to sally forth with his jabs. So long as that is his method, it is quite all right with us. We are disposed to give our readers the benefit of anything he cares to say in his garbled references to what we say, with our respects appended thereto. See if he passes.