Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 10, 1949
NUMBER 27, PAGE 2,7b

D. N. Jackson, Baptist Preacher, Is Very Unhappy

Roy E. Cogdill

In a recent article in "The American Baptist", full of false charges and ranting in general, D. N. Jackson, formerly of Laurel, Mississippi, expresses his extreme displeasure over the publication of the debate which I had with him in Lufkin, Texas, nearly three years ago. He is highly dissatisfied with it and I am not in the least surprised, for I knew he would be. In fact, when the debate was over, Brother J. Early Arceneaux, who moderated for me, told me that Mr. Jackson would never let the debate be put in print if he could help it. True to that prediction, Mr. Jackson did his best to help it, but just couldn't, for I had a written contract with him for its publication.

There isn't a charge of unfairness that Mr. Jackson made that isn't answered in the correspondence in the front pages of the book. I knew these misrepresentations and false charges would come when the book appeared, so I just put the correspondence in the front of the book and answered them in advance. I knew Mr. Jackson in advance, and being acquainted with his doctrine also, I knew that he believed that he could misrepresent anything and never have to answer for it. That is the advantage of being a Baptist.

Who Did The Challenging?

Ordinarily that question would be a childish argument, but in a debate with D. N. Jackson and other Baptist preachers it becomes vital Jackson will not debate one of our brethren without having both the first and the last speech on every question. He claims that he is entitled to such consideration because he is the one challenged. It is peculiar that is always the case when he debates. He has met a good many of our brethren and always he is the one challenged—that is, to hear him tell it. During the St. Louis debate with W. Curtis Porter, he gave that as the reason why in all five debates he had had with Porter he had refused to debate without the first and last speeches. I was present during that debate and knowing that he had refused to meet me unless he had the same advantage and knowing also that I had not challenged Mr. Jackson, I told Brother Porter about it and he used it publicly. He professed ignorance of the matter when Brother Porter brought it to his attention, and asked me about it privately. I called to his attention that he had written me and sent propositions to me first and that was what I knew about the matter in addition to the fact that I had never challenged Mr. Jackson in any way or fashion.

During the Lufkin debate, where that matter could have been settled, he let it pass by—was careful not to mention it—but did deny that he always insisted on both the first and last speech. I have yet to find an exception to that in his debates with our brethren. Mr. Jackson's first letter is printed in the book on page VI of the introductory matter under the heading of Opening Preliminary Negotiations. That letter speaks for itself. Mr. Jackson's charge that I misrepresented matters in St. Louis and his excuse for demanding the first and last speeches in our Lufkin debate, refusing to move from his practice in that regard even through several months correspondence, is just another of his falsehoods for which he thinks he will not have to answer in the judgment,

Who Delayed Publication?

Here again Mr. Jackson is careless with the truth and I suppose in good conscience if Mr. Jackson really believes his doctrine. The facts again are easily discerned from the correspondence. The debate was held from December 10 to 13. The holiday period came on and the work of transcribing was delayed during that period. On April 17, I wrote Mr. Jackson that the transcribing had been completed and that the manuscripts would be checked for errors in transcribing and sent to him without delay. That was done and the manuscript, complete, with both his speeches and mine, was mailed to him, registered mail, in May. Under date of June 21 he acknowledged receipt of the transcript of the debate and assured me that he would return his speeches edited within a reasonable length of time.

On November 5, I wrote Mr. Jackson that he had had the manuscripts in his possession for more than six months and not even one of his speeches had been returned so we could start setting type. Under date of January 10, I received the first speech of Mr. Jackson's and a letter which appears in the book making his excuses for the delay. While he was thus delaying, both Mr. Jackson and Mr. Bogard were falsely charging that the delay was mine and that I did not want the debate to appear in print. I don't know where Mr. Bogard got his misinformation, but Mr. Jackson knew better all the time.

Upon receipt of that first speech and noting the changes made therein, I wrote Mr. Jackson that he had taken liberties that were unfair and certainly not permissible under our contract. I was minded to allow the changes he had made in his first speech, but notified him that I would not allow such changes in the other speeches as that would necessitate a complete rewriting of the debate both as to his part and mine. By June 30, more than a year after he had received the transcript, he had rewritten four of his speeches and sent them to me.

I notified him, as of that date, that they were unacceptable because of too much change and that I intended to publish the debate as it came from the records made at the time it was delivered. At the rate he was proceeding, it would have taken him nearly three years to get all of his speeches rewritten, all the new matter inserted which he wanted to put into them, change the emphasis in his arguments, etc., and have them fixed to his satisfaction. Even then, however, he would have been dissatisfied still with the discussion. There are too many things about it that he can't fix. It requires the incomparable gall of a Baptist preacher to charge the delay to me with such facts evident.

Other Complaints

Among other false charges which he makes is that I revised my speeches and fixed them to suit my fancy while denying him that privilege. What he tried was the other way round. Is it possible that he overlooked the affidavit on page XX of the book? What better evidence does he want? Only listening to the actual records could be stronger than that and even that probably wouldn't convince Mr. Jackson that he made such a miserable defense of his doctrine as the facts indicate.

He charges that great skips were left in his speeches where the matter was not recorded. Most of the blank spaces in his speeches were omissions only of one word and it in Greek, and that not because the record did not get the word, but because the transcriber being unfamiliar with the Greek language could not understand and write the word. At the most only a sentence or two was missed and what is Mr. Jackson complaining about, he had more than a year to fill in those blank spaces. It isn't the blank spaces that worry Mr. Jackson in the book, it is the blankness of what he did say that is bothering him.

As to the length of the speeches and the fact that mine occupy more space in the book than does his, Mr. Jackson knows as everybody else knows, who has heard both of us, that I speak much more rapidly than he. What he either does not understand or chooses to ignore and hopes everyone else will is that in a spoken debate the rapidity with which a speaker talks determines the length of the speech when it is put on paper.

He charges me with inserting illustrations in my speeches. I went to the trouble to draw one of his illustrations out and put it in his speech exactly as I took it from the board where he had placed it because it was a high point in the debate. Of course he doesn't mention that in connection with the false charge of insertions in mine.

The Real Trouble

Mr. Jackson is hurt and hurting in many places and very intensely but the thing that is hurting Mr. Jackson is the fact that his efforts to uphold his false and unreasonable doctrines look so puny and pitiful in print. He thinks that if he had another chance, this time in writing and on the same propositions he could do much better and save his face and the embarrassment of his brethren over the miserable effort he made in the oral debate. But honestly Mr. Jackson knows that is not true either. I am suggesting, Mr. Jackson, that you give the book wide circulation if you want your brethren to be impressed with your ability to cover up the truth and uphold error, that is, if you aren't afraid that it will do your cause more harm than good.

I sent Mr. Jackson one hundred copies of the book when it came from the bindery just as I agreed to do, though actually I was under no obligation to do so since he had not cooperated in correcting the manuscript. He has the right to purchase for circulation among his brethren as many more as he wants at 40% discount. I can soon have another edition ready if we exhaust the first and from the way it is selling that seems imminent. So far he hasn't called for any more and it is my prediction that he will not. I don't blame him, for if I were in his place, I wouldn't want my brethren to see it either. If Mr. Jackson has any new arguments that bolster his weak position, let him give them space in his paper and we will see that they are taken care of in due time. Outside of that, I have no balm for his troubled mind or aching places.

—Roy E. Cogdill