"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.V Pg.4-5
December 1943

Late Visits From Uncle Sam's Boys

Cled E. Wallace

Uncle Sam's mail-toters hand us a good many things which are inspired by what appears in the Bible Banner. We feel at liberty to make use of any of it that might prove entertaining, or edifying, to the readers of the paper. Of course it would be impossible to use all of it and quite improper to use some of it. We omit names unless there is a good reason for using them and try to avoid affording anybody any ground for charges of unfairness.

Sometime ago a lawyer of Houston, Texas took a shot at, "shootin' preachers" in the Firm Foundation and pretty definitely yoked them up with the devil. In reply I had something to say about "Suein' Lawyers."

R. O. Kenley, of Houston, writes:

"My only criticism is your failure to let your readers know to whom you referred. As you well know, I always fight in the open. I am not ashamed of my views upon any Bible question, and any time I express my views, I welcome criticism."

Very well, Judge, that ought to be easily fixed, and you quite satisfied. The "well-known lawyer of Houston, Texas" was R. O. Kenley, a good fellow, who is quite right when he is right, and pretty wrong, when he is wrong. He is quite capable of proving that a lawyer can be as stubborn as a preacher. You are quite welcome to the criticism, Judge. Incidentally, the Judge did not tell his readers to whom he referred when he lifted the lid of hell and asked "shootin' preachers" to take a smell.

* * * *

I have this from a preacher "whose name need not be mentioned in this connection," as editor Drypasture would say:

"Cled you are really doing good in your paper. When you and Foy first started your paper I thought it out of place but I subscribed for it and sometimes when I received it I would wait until I would get on the train going to my meeting before I would read it. By the time I would reach my appointment I would be plenty mad but sometimes you can preach better when you are mad, at least I do. Now, I see and realize the need of just such a magazine. Your efforts will go down in the history of the church of Christ. You have saved the church from what I think would have been a disgrace to it when this war is over. I am with you with all I have in these 186 pounds. May the Lord bless you."

It is somewhat heartening to see "186 pounds" flop over on our side so explosively and so decisively. However, we sense the need of a warning against extremes. You know, "186 pounds" of enthusiasm can get hot enough in the way of praise, that it needs cooling off a bit in the interest of the facts in the case. It might not affect me too much, but if somebody should make the editor believe he had "saved the church from" something, it might go to his head and there's not much telling where he would wind up, trying to save it from something else. It just wouldn't do for an editor to get the idea that he is the savior of the church. I have to watch him close enough as it is. If I had an editorial savior on my hands, I don't know whether I could handle him or not.

Now, I'm not so sure about a fellow preaching better when he is "plenty mad." It depends largely on what he is mad about. It would have to be righteous indignation, which is a far cry from some sorts of madness. I have had the urge to both preach and write when I felt that I was angry after a godly sort of fashion. I always do better under such circumstances when I can lighten the pressure somewhat with a little humor. It is like dropping a little sugar in a cup of coffee. It does something to it. Some people have iron enough in their insides to gulp it down hot and black, but most people take it better with a little sugar in it. Then there are a few others, some of whom are preachers, who do not drink it at all, but prefer milk, slightly warmed with a little pepsin in it.

* * * *

We get many such letters as the one I am about to quote. This one was written by a father with sons in the armed forces of the country.

"Because of some teaching that I had when a boy, I thought a Christian could not do anything in the armed service, and be pleasing to God. I had the idea if one was in the armed service, and got killed, that he had no chance for heaven at last, and I was honest in it too.

So when this war came on, and my two boys were in line for duty I was worried, very, very much over it, because of my former teaching; but thank God, before they were called for service, the Bible Banner came to me, and my eyes saw a new light on the matter....

Why just think, if I had never been enlightened on the war question, and my two boys in the service of their country, how I would have been feeling all this time."

We are humbly and genuinely glad that we have been able to bring such comfort to such parents throughout a wide area, based on both reason and revelation. We know of many who feel as this father feels and some of them have "changed since Pearl Harbor." If a man can think at all a thing like Pearl Harbor ought to stimulate him to do a little of it.

* * * *

A sister over Georgia way is quite irritated. She points a point at us and snaps: "I have written you three letters on this point and got no answer." I did not see the "three letters," so I take it that they found the editor's desk. It possibly never occurred to the lady that the editor is a busy man, travels extensively and preaches two or three times each day and finds it a big task to do the necessary work of getting the paper out on time. He could not possibly give his personal attention to all this sort of personal correspondence, even if he were so inclined, and querists were thoughtful enough to include postage for reply. Since her letter is quite typical of the attitude and thinking of some very persistent people, it may be worth a look-see. She reminds us that we must "seek first the kingdom of God—and all these things shall be added unto you." Then she tosses this at us.

"How can a soldier on foreign soil or at home either, seek first the kingdom of God? Do you teach as others always have that it is sinful to forsake' the assembly on the Lord's day for any reason whatsoever except sickness of your own body? Do you know of Christians who have left corpses of loved ones at home and have sought the Lord's appointment at his table on Lord's day? I have. Does first' indeed mean second? How can Christians get off from Lord's day worship long enough to go to war? Now if you can't answer, this or don't want to because I'm a woman, then don't answer. But if you do not care to answer this, cancel my subscription to your paper."

I feel under no obligation to answer questions under threat, and since the sister displays more temper than a desire for information, I'm not certain that anything I might say would be satisfactory to her. However, some may be benefited by some general observations I am moved to make in the way of setting forth some general principles. Difficulties often arise in the course of human life which are not easy to dispose of with finality. There are times when I do not feel the urge to be dogmatic. Most any woman, for instance, can put posers to me in the way of questions that I cannot answer fully right off the bat. It is always deplorable when situations arise that make it impossible for Christians to be in "the assembly on the Lord's day." Such situations do arise. In such cases they have not "forsaken" the assembly. They simply are unable to attend. This is true in the case of "sickness of your own body," as the lady expresses it. It would be well for some to look up the meaning of the word "forsake." Yes, I have known people who have left corpses of loved ones and attended worship on the Lord's day. I have admired their courage and faith. Yet, should a grief stricken mother remain beside the body of her child, I would not be Pharisee enough to criticize her for it. Some critics can be quite hard-hearted in the name of loyalty. Even the strict legality of Moses allowed exceptions in the case of sabbath observance for certain emergencies and cases of mercy. A Christian, if need be, can "get off from the Lord's day worship long enough" to save a life, put out a fire that threatens life and property, or even pull an ox out of a ditch. The Lord's supper is not a sacrament. It should not be neglected, forsaken, nor is it something to be fanatical about. A Christian in the army should make every reasonable effort to break bread with other disciples on the Lord's day, just like Christians outside the army should. Many of them do so. When conditions are such that they cannot they are just like some Christians on the outside who cannot. Some Christian boys will undoubtedly have to be absent from some Lord's day meetings to keep the Japs and the Huns from taking charge of this country. If some feel capable of criticizing them for so doing, just leave me out of it. I'm not built that way. I think I know what a time we would have meeting at all if those pagan barbarians were in charge of this country. If some emergency arises where it is necessary for the Georgia lady to turn in a fire alarm, call a doctor or the police instead of "going to church," I do not think she will be charged with "forsaking" the assembly for any such reason.

* * * *

I see where my friend Dewey Plum of Parkersburg, W. Va. has gone into "a haze about days and other things" and expects to "get plenty of kicks" for it and solicits "a line of encouragement." He reports "many encouraging letters and cards" and "each mail is bringing more" who are applauding his valiant efforts to kill Santa Claus and take Grandpa's pipe away from him. He says "Christmas means no more to me than any other day." "Smoking is a waste of money." "I still think preachers ought to do like I did—quit smoking." This effort to kill Santa Claus springs up about Christmas time each year. A few preachers take a few pot shots at the good-natured old cheer spreader, but somehow he seems to get around on time and there isn't any present prospect of his early funeral. I think the preachers, in the interest of childhood ought to tackle an easier job first. They should try to get rid of Mother Goose and Jack And The Bean Stalk. When they save the children from these huge falsehoods, then they can pop at Santa Claus. Personally, I rather like the genial old fellow. And I usually have a pretty merry time around Christmas, especially when the children are at home. Brother Plum is a mighty nice fellow and he has a very, very tender conscience, but he shoots poor little rabbits. I've seen him come in with his feet muddy and his pants bloody. You know it costs money to buy shot-gun shells, especially when a fellow does as much missing as Brother Plum. I have hunted with him. Why, the price of one box of shells, not to mention the gasoline "wasted" would keep my pipe afire for a whole month. Brother Plum assures us that he was not "born in the objective case and in the kick-a-tive mood." I do not think he was either. But he sometimes teeters a little in that general direction, along around Christmas time. Too bad that he can't go along and have a good time with the rest of us. I take it he would be afraid to eat a slice of turkey or a piece of fruit cake the last week in December for fear somebody would think he is celebrating Christmas. It is a sort of Lenten season with him. I have spent many pleasant days in his home and he is a gracious host, but I do not think I would enjoy Christmas with him, unless we could go rabbit hunting. But then "Preachers would have more money to give to the Lord, and hence more treasure in heaven, if they did not send it up in smoke" shooting at and missing fleeing rabbits. However, I am inclined to believe that some preachers are too nosey about how other preachers and brethren spend their money. It is easy for a preacher to get that way and it nearly always does more harm than good.

Speaking of letters, I almost forgot that I have another one, the eleventh I believe, from our "venerable" Brother Dorris. I would not feel justified in imposing this on our readers but for the fact that Brother Greenpasture has served the public with an editorial announcement that these classics are to be put in tract form. A tract will not contain them. It will take a book. Brother Dorris starts off with

"My last pill was for your stomach. Since I have not heard from you, it may be your disease is making its way to your liver, and if so, swallow this pill and perhaps it will have a tendency to check its spreading further."

This is the sort of stuff the Editor of the Advocate is acting as press agent for. Brother Dorris is anxious to make some explanations of some of his former utterances which I allowed the readers of the Bible Banner to see as an example of the sort of literature the Gospel Advocate endorsed and advertised. Here are the samples. He referred to our position as "the war baby" and added:

"Since the baby's eating apparatus is located at the front end, Brightwell will be expected to feed the child. Foy, of course, will look after the other end."

"The reason the doctors failed to find anything wrong with you, is, they examined the wrong end. Your defects are all located in the upper end, not the lower end. We all know that the end the doctors examined is as sound as a dollar and in good working order."

And these gentlemen appear to be surprised that we do not relish a debate with them on a proposition of their own choosing! Brother Dorris explains at length in his last letter that the opposite end from the "upper end" is the feet! Brightwell is expected to feed the child, while Foy must keep its feet clean! I went to Scott and White to have my feet examined! Now, I'm glad to have this explanation, for it will relieve a good many people of the temptation of thinking Brother Dorris meant something else. When Brother Goodpasture puts the first letter in the Advocate he should by all means include this explanation from Brother Dorris. Anything the Gospel Advocate endorses and advertises should be highclass in every respect.