"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.VIII No.IV Pg.9-11
May 1946

I Listened In

James W. Adams

No, I am not an eavesdropper, and I am not on Lum and Abner's party line, but what I heard was interesting and enlightening. I am under no obligation whatsoever to keep silent regarding that which I heard. It concerns a very live issue involving sons of the most prominent men and agencies among "us." What I heard may be as enlightening to the reader as it was to me since it clarified some matters that might otherwise have been obscure. I believe that a conversation to which I listened on April 3, 1947, should be made public, hence this article.

I have just listened to a conversation between Foy E. Wallace Jr., and Norman Davidson of Chicago. It all happened quite by accident. I was visiting Brother Wallace in his apartment here when Brother Davidson came by, unannounced, for a session with Brother Wallace. At the invitation of Brother Wallace, I stayed and listened. Brother Davidson explained that he was on his way to Austin to see Brother G. H. P. Showalter, editor of the Firm Foundation. Having heard that Brother Wallace was in Temple, he stopped by for the purpose of apologizing for certain bitter, personal attacks which he had made on Brother Wallace via United States mail. He apologized most profusely and abjectly for his misconduct (seems to be a disease that is going around just now.) However, honesty requires that I tell you that Brother Davidson admitted writing but one such letter until confronted with photostatic copies of two. To say that he was humiliated and embarrassed is to put it mildly. His apologies were accepted on the condition that he write letters to those to whom the first letters were written withdrawing his expressed sentiments concerning Brother Wallace. Will be do it? We shall see. From these matters it was but a step to a complete discussion of the whole ground covered by the issue between Davidson and Wallace. This is what was particularly interesting.

If you are not familiar with the identity of Norman Davidson and the issue between him and Brother Wallace and every other man who loves the truth, I suggest that you go to the Bible Banner of July 1946 and read it carefully. Stating the matter briefly, however, Norman Davidson is the man who is dedicating the remainder of his life and fifty thousand dollars of his money to vindicate R. H. Boll and his premillennial cohorts and to force the churches to receive them back into their fellowship premillennial views, teaching and all.

My Impression of Norman Davidson

You might be interested to know how Brother Davidson impressed his audience on this occasion. He was greatly agitated and visibly embarrassed. His approach to the reason for his surprise visit was circuitous--by way of many repeated questions and much clearing of the throat. Perhaps my presence "cramped his style." Witnesses have been known to have that kind of effect. He was utterly devoid of that poise so characteristic of the successful man of business. Finally reaching his point, he launched forth into a general discussion of his views and conduct respecting the issue involved. I "hitched up" my chair and listened. At first I listened with amazement coupled with amusement, next with incredulity, and finally with disgust. Brother Davidson seemed almost beside himself. He was at once embarrassed; confused; naive; humble; arrogant; vindictive; pious; inconsistent; determined; vacillating; uninformed. He was a study in contrasts. He seemed a man at war with himself. Surely, brethren, if the churches are in Babylon as he thinks, he definitely is not the man to lead them out. That you may appreciate my bewilderment concerning Brother Davidson, note:

The Basis of These Impressions

Brother Davidson and Premillennialism. The conversation naturally moved to the premillennial doctrine. At first, Brother Davidson firmly stated, "I have made a study of it." When asked what he had learned about it, he said, "I do not find anything in it contrary to the New Testament." When it was pointed out that if he found nothing in the doctrine contrary to the New Testament, it must be in harmony with the New Testament, he said, "Well, I do not believe the doctrine myself." Being asked why he did not believe it if it is harmonious with the New Testament, he heatedly replied, "Well, I don't know anything about it." When this self-contradictory statement was made, it provoked two hearty laughs. You would have laughed too. Retreating in confusion, Brother Davidson offered this alibi, "Foy, you've had too many debates for me to argue with you." Now just what does Norman Davidson believe about premillennialism or know about it for that matter? Ask someone who has not talked with him. One guess is as good as another. I will confess that I have a haunting suspicion concerning what he believes about it. What about you?

Brother Davidson and 0. D. Bixler. You will remember 0. D. Bixler for his connection with the attempt of the Cornell Avenue church in Chicago to compromise C. A. Norred while he served as its preacher. See back issues of Gospel Advocate and Bible Banner. Bixler has been groomed by Bixler and his friends, among whom is Norman Davidson, to have charge of the evangelization (?) of Japan. Brother Davidson said, "I am for Bixler; I will never change my mind." He further said, "Bixler believes the doctrine of premillennialism." In this connection, Davidson also affirmed, "I have never heard Boll or Bixler teach anything contrary to the New Testament." I wonder if Brother Davidson would know it if they did. It was at this point that Brother Davidson reached some sort of a climax. Rising, he struck a very dramatic pose and passionately declared, "0. D. Bixler is the most god-fearing man known to me. If premillennialism makes such men, let's have more premillennialism?" (Emphasis his). Brother Wallace calmly pointed out that the same might be said of a Methodist preacher and Methodism. In fact, a young man recently converted from the pernicious errors of Christian Science told me that a certain Christian Science practitioner was the most pious man of his acquaintance. Shall we with Brother Davidson say, "'If Christian Science makes such men, let's have more Christian Science." Brother Davidson virtually takes the position that if one opposes the sending of 0. D. Bixler and his crew to Japan to make premillennialists, he opposes the evangelization of Japan. It could be so if what I hear is true. I hear that Bixler has secured from the military government of Japan the authority to designate who may or may not enter Japan as a religious worker from the churches of Christ. Would Bixler agree to designate men of unquestioned loyalty who are not premillennialists as workers to Japan, leave them unhampered in their activities, and allow them to be supported scripturally by loyal churches? What do you think? Davidson says that Cornell Avenue Church in Chicago shares his views on Boll, Bixler, and premillennialism. It is no wonder that C. A. Norred could not "stomach" that work.

How did Bixler obtain such power from the military government of Japan? Your guess is as good as mine, but it smacks of misrepresentation. Who gave an avowed premillennialists the power of an ambassador with the military for plain churches of Christ? Brethren, enough is enough! Churches of Christ should inform General McArthur in no uncertain terms and with haste that Bixler is not representative and should repudiate his right to thus act in their behalf.

Brother Davidson and G. H. P. Showalter. In a letter to Brother McQuiddy of the Gospel Advocate published in the July 1946 issue of the Bible Banner, Davidson claims to have talked with Brother Showalter via long distance telephone and quotes Showalter as saying relative to the premillennial doctrine, "The thing never should have been an issue; it has always been a matter of personalities, and not of convictions; many preachers have made capital of it for their own gain." Brother Yater Tant wrote Brother Showalter concerning this quotation. Brother Tant's letter and Brother Showalter's answer may be read in the Firm Foundation, August 20, 1946. Brother Showalter denies making these statements. When asked about this matter in the conversation contemplated in this article, Davidson said, "Brother Wallace, I have never misquoted any man in my life." Davidson was on his way to Austin to see Brother Showalter. Perhaps they worked this matter out. Will Brother Showalter give us an account of their visit? Brother Showalter's constituency would no doubt be interested in a forthright statement from Brother Showalter concerning what he believes our attitude should be toward those who teach the premillennial heresy. He has been exceedingly pointed concerning the repudiation of the theory. Will he be just as pointed concerning this other matter? Such a statement from the editorial chair of the Firm Foundation would be far reaching in its effects.

Brother Davidson and Two Hundred Prominent Preachers.

Davidson said, "'Most of the preachers known to me have expressed themselves as being in complete agreement with me on this matter of fellowshipping Boll, Bixler, and premillennialism." When pressed to tell how many preachers were "known to him," he settled on two hundred, at the same time refusing to give us a list of their names. Of them he said, "These agree with me three to one." When asked why they did not so express themselves publicly, he said, "They are afraid." Being asked if he had much confidence in their sincerity by reason of their fear, he became visibly confused. Preachers take notice: Every preacher of Davidson's acquaintance has been by Davidson placed under a two-fold suspicion (1.) Of being guilty of insincerity through fear (2) Of believing that the premillennialist and premillennialism should be fellowshipped. It would be interesting to have written statements from all preachers who know Davidson setting forth their attitude in this matter. Personally, I do not believe that Brother Davidson knows 150 prominent preachers who agree with him.

Brother Davidson and His Love for Brother Wallace.

Ah yes! this was a love feast among other things. The meeting closed with prayer too. Believe it or not! Davidson said almost in tears, "Back in Los Angeles, Foy, I loved you more than any man on earth outside of my family." That was almost twenty years ago. During all this time there was no meeting or correspondence between them. Suddenly the silence of almost two decades is broken by this ardent lover with a tirade of personal abuse under cover of mail against him for whom his soul panted. Surely, the line between love and contempt is a fine one indeed. Davidson's attention was called to his inconsistency only to elicit puerile excuses and accusations.

Enough About Brother Davidson.

No doubt you see why he so variously impressed me. Surely I cannot be blamed for having little faith in Davidson or his schemes. His competency to lead the church in any matter is exceedingly questionable. A cause with even a degree of merit could surely find a better champion.

My Impression of Foy E. Wallace, Jr.,Gained from This Conversation

This treatise would not be complete without something on this point. Brother Wallace was calm, deliberate, sure of his ground, kind yet firm, plain and uncompromising in stating his position, and little agitated even under extreme provocation. He showed unmistakably an utter disregard for personal attacks and injury and a complete consecration to the peace, unity, and purity of the church of our Lord. No honest man could have heard this conversation and have failed to choose the right. I was not lacking in faith in the essential integrity of Brother Wallace nor in his competency as a leader in this fight, but my faith was renewed and strengthened. I count it a privilege to stand with him and the Bible Banner in this struggle.