"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.IX No.I Pg.1-3
July 1946

The Davidson By-Pass

Cled E. Wallace

It appears that the fight is on again in a big way; the fight to foist R. H. Boll with his divisive future-kingdom theories on the church; or at least to open the doors of the churches so he can walk in and operate unopposed. It is a strange coincidence that this new assault is led by another Davidson. The other time it was Clinton Davidson of New York. This time it is Norman Davidson from Chicago. These Davidsons are unrelated, according to the flesh, so far as I know, but they appear to be twins in their attitudes and aims concerning Brother Boll and those of us who oppose his speculative career. Brother Clinton left Louisville many years ago and is reputed to have made a lot of money in New York. About the same time Brother Norman left Nashville and is reported to have made a lot of money in Chicago. I am not even mildly inclined to criticize these brethren for their business success. Brother Clinton formed some plans and made some connections aimed at clearing up about the same thing Brother Norman calls "an un-Godly mess" and settling an "un-Godly issue." (Spelling his). Brother Clinton made a "survey" and was frankly amazed at the encouraging attitude of the brethren. He even invaded Texas with the help and connivance of some brethren who should have known better than to be taken in by such a scheme. Some of them beat a humiliating retreat and confessed that they were deceived. A few stuck to their guns and defended themselves and Brother Clinton in an unconvincing, if not apologetic way. The whole movement was a fiasco and resulted in further discrediting Brother Boll and his divisive movement. I am about convinced that when Brother Boll's friends try to help him they do him more harm than good.

I do not claim to be as transcendent as some of these wipers up of "un-Godly messes" appear to think they are; nor do I pretend to be wholly free from bias, for I feel a deep hostility toward the activities of these Davidson twins. As impartially as I am able to view the matter, it seems to me that at least a part of Brother Clinton's trouble was unsoundness in doctrine, due partly to ignorance of the principles involved; and a childish misunderstanding of the mental attitude of the brethren. He is reputed to be a great salesman in his field. He got out of it and made the wrong approach to a hostile prospect with a shoddy scheme of religious wares. He failed to make a sale. I do not blame him much for the disappointment and chagrin he obviously felt. But the worst tactical blunder I believe I have ever witnessed was to follow defeat with an anonymous attack on the character of the editor of the Bible Banner. Of course the brethren saw through that too. Being of a charitable disposition, I have never felt that Brother Clinton was a bad man at heart. He was obviously in an unfamiliar field, without the information he thought he had, and was poorly advised if he took any advice. I understand that he is now enjoying some success and prestige as a sort of a godfather to Harding College, a position which is better suited to his capacities.

Since the Davidson twins think all brethren ought to be free to express their honest opinions, I think I may venture to say that it is my honest conviction that the failure of Brother Clinton in posing as a deliverer of the church, to save it from the menace of" strong opposition to future-kingdom theories, was a mighty good thing for the cause of truth.

And now Brother Norman takes up the fight and proposes to make a valiant and life-long struggle, if necessary, to revive the lost cause. Being more than mildly interested in the matter. I have read his letters to Brother McQuiddy, (copies of which are in my hands) with some interest and more amazement. Are Brother Boll's defenders utterly incapable of learning anything from the mistakes of the past? Do they simply have to repeat all the blunders which contributed to their former failures? Brother Norman seems to think so. A venerable brother of unquestionable ability and integrity read the letters and remarked to me: "They sound half crazy." Just why is it that when some brother who is smart enough to make money decides to swing the church to the support of Brother Boll, he is so far off the beam that it makes our job ridiculously easy? This last contender who positively knows that the Lord is pleased with him and sorely displeased with us, cannot even spell premillennial, or at least he didn't in his letter. There is a fanatical glow in his lack of logic, that ought to easily accord him a place on the opposite side of "the lunatic-fringe" from where we are reported to be. He has a call from the Lord to attend to this particular job and has pledged the Lord that he will employ his energies, his time and a sizable amount of his money to remove the disabilities under which Brother Boll is laboring due to lack of fellowship on the part of some of the brethren.

I propose to present a bird's-eye of the situation as revealed in these Davidson letters. The editor will doubtless pay his respects to a variety of the details. I haven't caught him yet staying out of a scrap as perfectly made to his order as this one appears to be. To begin with Brother Davidson begs the entire question by assuming that the issue between us and Brother Boll is a minor one, that it is just a squabble over "unfulfilled prophecy" and unimportant opinions and proposes to naively clean up the "un-Godly mess" by hush-hushing the whole controversy. It isn't that simple. In the first place, I do not believe that he could state the real issue if his life depended on it. He does not know what it is. As recently as a few months ago he wrote a letter of inquiry to the editor of the Bible Banner revealing an amazing lack of information regarding it. All he is sure of is that he thinks Brother Boll should be allowed to hold and to teach his theories whenever and wherever he wishes. He would expect him to, under the proposed peace plan, and would lose respect for him if he didn't. And he thinks the brethren will swallow that! We are not too worried over the fellowship feature. If the truth is taught on the kingdom question, the brethren will attend to the fellowship part of it. Brother Boll's position denies that the scheme of redemption the prophets foretold is the plan of salvation revealed in the New Testament. If he wants a discussion of that issue through mediums that will reach all sides, I trow he can get it.

There are inherent weaknesses in both Brother Davidson's attitude and plan of procedure which will defeat him. He appeals to "fair-minded" brethren. Is he fair-minded? He admits that we are right. He has "never accepted any of the pre-millenial teachings" (spelling his); therefore Brother Boll is wrong in his teaching but the great sinners are those who criticize Brother Boll and he gets off without even a mild rebuke. He proposes to keep on teaching the false doctrine and has $40,000 of the Janes' will to back him up in it, but the Gospel Advocate is responsible for the "un-Godly mess" for starting it and carrying it on through the years, and did it for selfish and political reasons. The present editor, Brother Goodpasture, doesn't want a settlement because he has "made capital" out of the "mess" and wants to stay on the popular side. A host of the preachers he claims are on his side are a set of craven cowards he thinks he can make brave men out of. Brother Hardeman with his great prestige could have settled things a long time ago had he wanted to, but he didn't want to. Clay Pullias is "extreme and rabid." Some of the rest of us are moved by a desire for preeminence, personal hatred and hypocrisy, and he quotes the editor of the Firm Foundation to prove it. In other words he and his co-conspirators have a monopoly on righteousness, and the rest of us are just about totally depraved. This attitude will defeat him. A leader given to such a degree of exaggeration might magnify unduly the amount of support he thinks he has. Brethren generally are not that gullible.

It is quite interesting that he claims the support of Brother H. Leo Boles and the editor of the Firm Foundation. Brother Boles is dead and cannot speak for himself but he is on record that Romans 16:17 should be applied to Brother Boll and that ought to off-set Brother Davidson's unsupported claim. As for Brother Showalter, he can speak for himself. If he doesn't we might do him like he threatened to do the editor of the Bible Banner when he was editor of the Gospel Advocate-- "smoke him out." I'm sure there are many of the brethren who would really like to know if Brother Showalter told Brother Davidson what Brother Davidson says he did. I wouldn't for a minute classify Brother Showalter with Brother Davidson's "bunch of cravens." When he tells what he said, whatever it was, it is likely to have an interesting bearing on this new fight which Brother Davidson has started. It looks a little like he has made some sort of a "mess" already and it doesn't look altogether godly from where I sit viewing the landscape o'er.

Brother Davidson wants a Christian settlement that is fair to everybody, that compromises nobody's convictions, and interferes with nobody's freedom of thought and expression. That is, most everybody. It doesn't include some of us, especially Clay Pullias, N. B. Hardeman, B. C. Goodpasture and whoever else belongs to "a tribunal of a few powerful preachers" who constitute "a religious hierarchy," whatever that is, wholly given over to dictation. Well, we are rather vocal, have mediums of expression and a reputation for saying what we think. What does Brother Davidson propose to do with us? He is going to "by-pass" us! He just thinks he is! Wherever he tries to "pass" we will be right "by." No, brother, that just won't work.

But speaking of "dictation" and popery, reminds me of that fishing trip Brother Davidson took with Brother Burton. Brother Burton is also reputed to have lots of money and some of the ambition that too often goes with it. I imagine the fish got their bait while they were talking about Clay Pullias. One fellow I heard of didn't like to go fishing because there was always some fool along who wanted to fish. These two promoters of peace and advocates of brotherly love did not waste all their time fishing. They enlivened their dull moments by liquidating Clay Pullias. It seems that Clay thought Brother Davidson misunderstood the call he got from the Lord and wasn't willing to go along. Naturally, Brother Davidson, being a mild and peace loving man, concluded that Clay was "extreme and rabid" and something ought to be done about it. He feared he "might have some opposition there." It appears to be a grave offense to oppose either Brother Boll or Brother Davidson. It would not be quite consistent to disfellowship Brother Pullias and he was not easily by-passed, so Brother Burton hit on the brilliant idea of smothering him under a board. Brother Burton evidently thinks he has some influence with the board and Clay is working under it "and will have to do what he is told." I wonder what Clay thinks of that! It is a challenge I don't think Clay Pullias can afford to "by-pass." Clay Pullias is right and R. H. Boll is wrong, but Boll must be allowed to express himself and Pullias must be smothered under a board. Burton assured Davidson "in no uncertain terms" that he was "certainly not going to have any trouble of any kind, or opposition from that source," meaning Pullias. I'm fairly easy to get along with, but I would smart under an insult like that, crawl out from under the board and be a free man in Christ even if I had to go on relief, so help me God. The spirit of this movement seems to be "You'll do what you are told or else." The movement is wrong in its aims and wrong in its methods. It mouths the sweet words of peace and fellowship while it insults some of the noblest advocates of truth both living and dead, "both the fountain send forth from the same opening sweet water and bitter"? This Chicago fountain tries hard to be sweet but he can't for being bitter. The brother assures us, or tries to, that he has no axe to grind. I wonder what made him think of that in the connection in which he used it. I have a little knowledge of both text-book and practical psychology. I am just wondering what kind of a weapon that was he was trying to grind on Leon McQuiddy and G. H. P. Showalter, and of all men-J. F. Kurfees. Brother Kurfees evidently dulled the edge on something. Brother Norman will need a pretty sharp axe or whatever lethal weapon he proposes to use, to chop off all the heads he yearns to see bleeding on his platter. There are not enough boards to smother all of them under.

These letters to Brother McQuiddy present a peculiar combination of wheedling and threats. "Please don't turn me down!" But if you do "I tell you he had best be prepared for a real fight—and in this, he will not be fighting preachers who are afraid of him, and whom he can ruin, if he wishes to do so." This is a gratuitous insult offered to Brother Goodpasture. I know what he thinks of this. He doesn't like to be insulted. The brother started out with a plea for peace and winds up with a challenge for a "real fight." I have an idea that is exactly what he is going to get. He asked for it. "I am not afraid of anyone," he defiantly shouts. I don't think the threat will scare Brother Goodpasture, but if Brother Davidson jumps on him, and he needs any help, we are willing to scotch for him and forget some of the minor unpleasantness of the past. That latest improved model of peacemaker has made a threat of all—out war with no quarters asked or given. This is the kind of bronco we like to ride, especially when he has the Boll brand on him. If Brother Goodpasture can't ride him, we think we can, unless he can pitch as well as he can snort. I reckon we'll just have to wait and find out whether we are going to have "a real fight" or get by-passed.