Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 28, 1961
NUMBER 21, PAGE 3,10b-11

"The Gus Nichols Story"

Thomas G. O'neal, Jasper, Alabama.

In the second installment of Nichols' story, he is asked the question, "What is the solution to the problem of church division?" The answer, "....We must preach the truth on these issues in order to save the church from a major division." But Nichols has already admitted as we noticed in our last article that he failed to preach and put down the error of premillennialism. By his past action, can we count on him to come forth and preach the truth in order to save the church from a division?

Another question is given to Nichols, i.e., "About how many debates have you held?" Nichols doesn't know, having not counted them. But he says, "I have held up toward a hundred, I guess." Nichols and his debating is a "has been affair." The Gus Nichols that the brotherhood knew in yesteryears no longer has the courage and convictions to engage in a public discussion on the issues before the church. The East Florence church, Florence, Alabama, is willing to support Charles A. Holt in a debate with Gus Nichols in or near Jasper, but Nichols is not going to meet Charles Holt in Jasper, near, Jasper, or anywhere else. Brother Pryde E. Hinton of Dora, Alabama, has tried to get Nichols to debate the current problems here in Walker County, Alabama, but Nichols has refused! I have the exchange of letters between brother Hinton and the East Florence church and between brother Hinton and Nichols.

Brother Hinton has written several letters to Nichols asking him to debate Charles, Yater Tant, Roy Cogdill, or others and Nichols has refused. I have at the present some twenty letters written to Nichols by brother Hinton. All of them are written in good spirit and all of them deserve an answer. All that Nichols could be persuaded to say was:

August 22, 1960

Mr. Pride E. Hinton (sic) Rt. 2, Box 340

Dona, Alabama

Dear Bro. Hinton:

We had a representative debate in this section, which is in print, between Cogdill and Woods with which I am satisfied. Have you read it? Are you satisfied with Cogdill's defense? I am satisfied with Woods' defense in that debate. I suggest that you read it.

No church in this territory, as far as I know has requested another debate. As far as I know, the Churches on our side of these issues are satisfied and believe they have the truth, just as they believe they have the truth on the Sunday School question, the located preacher question, the one-cup question or the truth against atheism, but I don't know that they are wanting to debate all those who are in error.

Debating is not the only method of proclaiming truth nor the only way to defend truth. Your side has very few adherents in this section just as is true of the anti-Sunday School folks and the anti-located preacher hobby. Should we stop to debate every opponent regardless of his following?

Yours truly,

s/ Gus Nichols

Brother Jack Holt, preacher for the 4th Street church in Cullman, Alabama, would welcome the opportunity to debate Nichols. The elders of the East Columbus congregation, Columbus, Miss., have issued an invitation to Guy Woods, G. K. Wallace, E. R. Harper, and Gus Nichols to debate the current problems in the church in Columbus. This invitation was sent to the 5th Street Church in Columbus, Miss., February 4, 1961. To date Nichols has not accepted this invitation. There are any number of preachers from Birmingham, Alabama, which is just forty miles from Jasper, who would jump at the opportunity to debate these matters with Nichols. Then, the McArthur Heights church where I preach has invited Nichols to discuss these issues with us in this county. We sent propositions to Nichols on November 14, 1960, and have not received an answer. I mailed propositions on July 18 to Nichols for a repeat of the Birmingham debate in Jasper. I predict that Nichols will not answer our letter to meet brother Roy Cogdill in or near Jasper. Yet Gus Nichols said in the presence of Pryde E. Hinton, Edward O. Bragwell, and myself, that if he had to debate these questions, he would rather meet Cogdill than any man we could put up. He now has his opportunity, but all know that he will not accept.

Gus Nichols has deceived himself and others into thinking that he is in a debate with me. I preach over the radio here in the county each day, Monday through Saturday. Nichols feels himself called upon to reply to, and review what I have had to say each day. Who called upon him to do this I ant unable to learn. Nichols says that no church in this area, even the one where he preaches, has asked him to debate the "anti" brethren. But who asked him to answer on the radio is a hard question for him to answer. Did the brethren where he preaches have him answer me on the air?

It is therefore evident to all that Gus Nichols has had plenty of invitations to debate these matters with those within one hundred miles of Jasper. The result has been, he has refused every invitation to debate.

Nichols calls himself debating over the air, on radio. I have offered to meet him in debate in public, before his Friday night training class, in private, over the radio with both of us at the same table and speaking over the same microphone with equal time and he has refused all of these. When I call him on the telephone sometimes he will talk for a while and sometimes he will not. Over a half dozen times when I have called him and told him that this is Tom O'Neal he has hung up in my face. There are three programs on the radio each day that Nichols can appear on if he wants to do so. There is one at 8:00 AM., at 12:30 P.M., and 1:00 P.M. He does the speaking on the 8:00 A.M. and 12:30 P.M. programs. And someone else talks on the 1:00 P.M. program. The 8:00 A.M. program is paid for by the church for which Nichols preaches with her funds and funds contributed to her by churches in the county. The 12:30 P.M. program is paid for by Gus Nichols himself with money contributed to him from churches in the county. It is this 12:30 P.M. program that is used in review of what I have to say. He does not want to trade his radio audience, which he says numbers into the thousands, for a little audience in a building somewhere of 200 people.

The reason he doesn't want to trade his radio audience for one in a building, with signed propositions, moderators, etc., is evident. He sits behind the microphone in his office and says whatever he gets ready to tell regardless of whether there is any truth to it or not. If he does, which is not uncommon for him, misrepresent the facts and one tries to call him, his telephone receiver is removed and a busy signal is the result. So he can sit in his office and tell what he wants to about the "anti's" and no one can call him and correct him for his falsifications. A case in point is in order here.

Back in the month of March I was showing on the radio that some brethren were using everything but the gospel to appeal to people in order to get them to attend the services of the church. I quote from the March 4, 1961, Nashville (Tenn.) Banner where one of the churches in Nashville was announcing some topics under the heading, "Putting Children Into Orbit," "Christian Character and Crystal Balls of Materialism," "Putting Young Married Couples Into Orbit," "Putting Teen-Agers Into Orbit." pointed out on the radio that the appeal was not on the basis that the gospel was going to be preached, but rather on the basis that something or someone was going to be put into orbit. I suggested again that we, at one time, just told what we were going to preach about and left it at that. We used to advertise subject like "What Must I Do To Be Saved?", "The Establishment of the Church," "The Conversion of Saul," or "The Eunuch." In reply to what I had preached, Nichols said:

"He even made a law here in a speech today, that in a lecture program, dictating the kind of subjects that would have to be used, that you would have to use such subjects as, "What Must I Do To Be Saved?", yet, maybe there's nobody present but members of the church, just a lecture program intended for the benefit of the church and the building up of the church, yet you would have to use such subjects as "What Must I Do To Be Saved?" That may account for the fact that Brother "0," (Brother "0" is what Nichols calls me on the radio when he reviews my sermons. TGO) doesn't take time out to preach against drunkenness, and since he has been on his program, he has not presented a single sermon against drunkenness, or against adultery, or against the great crimes of the age. He doesn't believe in that. The facts are that he doesn't believe in a preacher of the gospel supported by a church preaching against the immorality of our modern time. He doesn't believe in that and yet the apostles did that. They preached against idolatry, they preached against the sins of the day, and listed them, called them works of the flesh, said that those that do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God and they taught the church that. Of course, I suppose Brother "0" thinks they ought to have been preaching on "What Must I Do To Be Saved?" at that time in Gal. 5:19-21. And hence, they will dictate as to the very subjects that they got to use and the like." (Emphasis mine, TGO)

The above statement was made by Nichols on March 16, 1961, over radio station WARF in Jasper, Alabama, at 12:30 P.M. I have a tape recording not only of this speech, but also of his and mine on March 14, and 15, 16, and 17. I will be glad to make any one a copy of his sermons and mine these four days if they will send me a tape. For over two weeks I called upon Nichols on the radio to produce the proof of the above charges or apologize. And to this day he has not produced the proof that I believe such nor has he apologized. Now, this is the reason he will not debate these matters in public with propositions and moderators. He knows he would have to prove these charges in a public debate. He also knows that it would be the place of the moderator to call a point of order and demand that he prove his charges. But when he is sitting in his office with his telephone disconnected he knows he can say what he wants to, truth or falsehood, and no one can make him prove his charges.

Nichols' attitude can best be described by a paragraph from a letter written to him by Bob Crawley on March 28, 1961. Crawley said:

"You have continually talked about "anti's", and you have just as continually manifested the most "anti" disposition and position imaginable. From lessons on the authority of the Scriptures to lessons on the completeness of God's arrangements, you have not ceased to be against virtually every lesson, every point, every position that Tom O'Neal has preached. On the other hand, you have risen to the defense of virtually everything which his preaching opposed. The most adequate summary that I could presently give of your preaching would be to say that you are "anti-O'Neal." Perhaps you are like W. L. Totty, who has so aptly been described as "anti-anti."