"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.VI No.I Pg.1-2
August 1943

Closed For The Duration

Cled E. Wallace

Brother L. L. Brigance has written a "Reply to the Wallace Brothers" which appeared in the Gospel Advocate of August 5th, 1943. He "does not enjoy a fight," had no intention of getting into one when he nosed into this fray, and proposes to get out pronto. "I intend this to be my last word on the subject for the duration.' Of course, I expect at least a couple more broadsides to be fired at me, but I have no intention of returning the fire." He thus bids us adieu "for the duration."

It is my custom when firing, to use the caliber gun, and the amount of ammunition the size of the quarry calls for. In this case I hardly think "a couple more broadsides" will be necessary. Since our brother hastens to call it quits, I'm minded to let him, as kindly as I can. I am really quite fond of Brother Brigance and am quite sure that he does not belong in this controversy at all. Besides, for all we "know," he may be on our side of it. "The Wallace brothers assume that I am on the opposite side of the question from them. This is an assumption. They do not know what my position is." If there is any correction in that remark, we stand corrected. I'm fairly sure that Brother Goodpasture and a good many other brethren assumed the same thing we did. He has assured us that "the great majority of the church, leaders and all, have ever been against the position they are advocating" and that the New Testament is against the position we are advocating, and I quite naturally assumed that he was "on the opposite side of the question from" us too. I stand corrected, or do I? He has a "position," but as the matter now stands, we do not "know" whether he agrees with the facts of history and the New Testament, or whether he agrees with us. Should he attempt to fire back at us under the circumstances, I'm afraid his gun would snap. I could almost "assume" that it isn't even loaded.

Our brother assures us that he is more interested in his character than he is in his reputation as a historian.

"If my interest in my reputation ever influenced my words or deeds, I am wholly unconscious of it. I have never given it any attention. I just let it take care of itself the best it can. But I am intensely interested in my character."

I have never heard Brother Brigance's character called in question, and should anybody be so wicked as to do so, I would defend him at the dropping of a hat. It has been widely observed that the Gospel Advocate does not mind reflecting on ours. Were I grading Brother Brigance on character I would just mark him an even hundred and pass on. We have had more than "a couple more broadsides" fired at both our reputation and our character, and we feel that, under the circumstances, both have held up fairly well.

Brother Brigance was greatly surprised, and seems to be a little hurt, that his article should have called for a reply from us. "It never one time occurred to me that anybody would reply to itWhy these brothers and brethren felt called upon to answer my article, I do not know. I did not refer to them in any way, shape, form, or fashion'." It occurred to nearly everybody else that the article would be replied to, and a host of brethren would have been surprised if it hadn't been. A controversy was on at the time and it was generally assumed that Brother Brigance was doing a little scotching "on the opposite side of the question from" us, and you know our "reputation" along that line, or should. Brother Goodpasture was not only not liking our "position" but he wasn't liking us and he was not keeping it to himself. Brother Brigance's article, as I recall, appeared on the editorial page of the Gospel Advocate. He not only did some discussing, but he asked a question he was anxious for somebody to answer. Did it not occur to him that somebody about like me would answer it? He should have known us better than that. I am not and never have been the least bit out of humor with Brother Brigance. I honestly thought he was asking for something, and honestly did my best to see that he got it.

Brother Brigance is dead right when he says that "Christians are to be guided by the New Testament and not by uninspired historians." It is too easy to stir up a big

ruckus about historians. The New Testament is the inspired history of the church. We are not much impressed, when somebody says that "the history of the church is against them" when he is talking about something besides the New Testament. We think it is a mistake to pay too much attention to men "of considerable prominence" or to others who "are lesser lights," and too little to the New Testament. But since Brother Brigance was minded to dabble a bit in history, we assumed the task of showing that in this instance he was historically inaccurate, and we think we succeeded, We also think we have shown that the New Testament sustains "the side of the question" we occupy. Brother Brigance admits that he has not shown otherwise, and does not intend to try. He does seem to die a little hard on history.

We accept his confession that he did not know and had not read B. W. Johnson's position. "Believe it or not, I did not know it. It was just downright ignorance. I had never read the article from which Brother Wallace quoted." Well, dont be too down-hearted about it, I'm not going to rub it in. There some things I have never read, and I sometimes talk too much too, without sufficient information, but it usually gets me in trouble. I know just how you feel.

I must say, however, that I cannot accept Brother Brigance's effort to fix what "Johnson wrote." Just as I was warming up to the idea that maybe he was not "on the opposite side of the question from" us, after all, he cools me off with his dissertation on Johnson and makes me think maybe he is.

"At the time Johnson wrote the article referred to, he thought it was right for Christians to take up arms at the call of the government. This article was written in 1861, when Johnson was about twenty-eight years old. Twenty-eight years later, he published his "People's New Testament." Commenting on Matt. 5:9, which says, Blessed are the peacemakers," he says: Not the soldiers of a warrior king, such as the Jews expected, but men who, in the name of the Prince of Peace, go forth to proclaim peace and good will among men. Christ is the great Peacemaker." On Rom. 13:2 he says: This implies a loyal submission to the form of government over us. It does not imply that we shall obey wicked magistrates when they command us to disobey God." (See Acts 4:19; 5:29.) These comments seem to represent a change of views after twenty-eight more years of investigation and reflection. Brother Foy may change his views on this subject when he has older grown."

I'm sure that Brother Brigance did the best he could with Brother Johnson, without arguing the case, but it is pretty weak. There is no contradiction at all in what Johnson wrote when he was "about twenty-eight" and when he was twenty-eight years older. Both are correct and I believe and accept both now. It is just another case where the main issue in this government question is ignored or overlooked. Our brother was a little late getting to Johnson and I fear he has read him too hastily and without sufficient reflection. He is not so sure of himself as it is. "These comments seem to represent a change of views." He would make an unequivocal statement yield to a doubtful statement that only "seems" to Brother Brigance to teach something different. Now, my brother, that is inching pretty close to "sophistry." The quoted statements do not represent a change on Johnson's part, and even Brother Brigance is not sure it does. But he was only twenty-eight when he wrote the article on war! Well, Moses E. Lard was about the same age when he wrote his "Review of Campbellism" and it is pretty good reading, and I doubt if he could have beat it anytime "later."

Brother McGarvey is one of Brother Brigance's star witnesses and greater historical lights. He signed the "Manifesto on War." His comments on "resistance" in "Four-fold Gospel" came later. Did he change? Johnson's comments on Romans 13 are not against us, but McGarvey's comments on "resistance" are against the position of out and out non-resisters.

I agree with Brother Kurfees that it was "wise and prudent" for the Gospel Advocate "to suspend for the time being all agitation and discussion of the war question in its columns" during World War I. Brother Kurfees was trying to keep the Gospel Advocate out of trouble. He knew that certain men in trying to defend the conscientious objector's position would be certain to arouse the hostility of the government. Under the circumstances it was best to keep "all agitation" out of the Advocate. Brother Kurfees' position had nothing in it to offend or hamper the government nor does ours. I think now, under the circumstances, the Advocate would have appeared in a better light, had it left off some of the "agitation" that has appeared on its editorial page even this year. "Wise and prudent" does not describe it. And remember, we did not start this scrap. We admit that we returned some fire, and still have a little extra dry powder in case it is needed.

My brother, do not get too "disheartened, discouraged, and disgusted at the efforts of disputers and wranglers to cover up their errors, ignorance, and defeat" and who "descend to personalities, sophistry, and argumentum ad hominem," for some such we shall doubtless have with us always. The Lord will render to them according to their works. We have had to put up with a good deal of that sort of thing ourselves from men of whom we expected better things. "Fret not thyself because of evil doers." "Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed."

Farewell, my brother, "for the duration." We hope to see you again after the war is over.