Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 13, 1950
NUMBER 10, PAGE 1,11

They Have Found It In A Horse Lot

Cled E. Wallace

There are some things about the present controversy, which are more or less amusing and certainly significant. Some months ago, we questioned, in all good faith, the growing practice of "centralized control and oversight," under the guise of "sponsorship" and "cooperation." Only a very feeble effort has been made to meet our objections. We have called for a scriptural precept, or example, and up to this moment such authority is wholly lacking. Brother J. D. Bales of Harding College thought he found it in Acts 12:25. Because "Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministration," the brother concludes that they went nowhere else. This is pretty good for a Ph. D. who chides me for my lack of "logic." Brother McGarvey, who was considered a good logician does not agree with our dogmatic brother.

"The manner in which the elders of the churches in Judea are here mentioned, without a previous notice of their having been appointed, shows the elliptical character of Luke's narrative, and it results from the circumstance that he wrote after the churches had been fully organized, and all of the officials and their duties had become well known. The elders, being the rulers of the congregations, were the proper persons to receive the gifts, and to see to the proper distribution of them among the needy."

So brother McGarvey thinks that when the church in Antioch sent "relief unto the brethren that dwelt in Judea," they sent it to "the elders of the congregations." If brother Bales does not have a trick up his sleeve, possibly brother Brewer can remember that brother McGarvey told him once that he did not mean what he wrote, like he claims brother Boles did. It appears that he knew brother Boles better than brother Boles knew himself.

And while I'm on this angle of the case, brother Bales, who is as talkative as a premillennial brother in Waldron, Arkansas, who bombards everybody regularly through the mails, takes me to task for misrepresenting brother Boles as follows:

"No church has any right to send out its representative, delegate, or appointee and lay just claims upon other churches for support or help to carry out its own program."

Our prolific logician avers that "if agreement on this particular paragraph can furnish a basis for peace, or put peace in sight, there need never to have been any disturbance of peace in the first place." Then he goes to great length, the only kind of length he knows, (he does not even stop talking long enough to think) to try to show that brother Boles thought it all right for a church to "send out its representative, delegate, or appointee... for support or help to carry out its own program," but it cannot lay "just claims" to it. Anybody who has been through grammar school can read brother Boles' article and see that brother Bales missed his point entirely. The manner in which these brethren are grabbing at any straw that blows by, is rather pitiful. They must think their readers are either dumb, or very, very partisan. Brother Boles said this in the Gospel Advocate, November 3, 1932:

"A challenge is here issued to any one to find a New Testament example of two or more churches uniting their funds and supporting the preaching of the gospel."

Now, we shall see if brother Bales of Harding College can explain that one away. If he cannot, maybe brother Brewer will "cooperate" and think up something brother Boles told him, that means something else. By the way, since the Gospel Advocate loves to reprint brother Boles' articles, "a challenge is here issued" to that journal to publish that whole article from brother Boles, with or without an editorial tail to the kite. We shall see what we shall see. If it is too hot for the Advocate, "1950 style," it just suits "the G. G." and we may decide to give it to our readers. It makes a lot of good reading that is awful hard to explain away, especially for an editor who likes to have his cake and eat it too.

The editor of the Gospel Advocate appears to be more nettled than he usually is, when somebody takes issue with him. Things are in fairly bad shape when the Sphinx tries to smile and can only mutter "the canny editor" and "the ace writer of the brotherhood." He is probably conscious of the fact that he is neither. "That Rock Fight in Italy" seems to haunt him like Banquo's ghost. Since he cannot make an argument, he thinks he can keep some prejudice alive. Since he cannot think of much to write about on his own, I'm willing for him to get what comfort he can from quoting us. It is probably better than anything he could write himself, anyway. He calls that article of mine "an ill-timed and unfortunate article." Maybe so, and maybe not. It served to bring an issue out into the open, that I'm particularly interested in. The editor is not dealing with that issue. He should write an article occasionally. Even if it is "ill-timed and unfortunate," we will overlook that. It will be a welcome change from his custom of hanging a little, short tail to somebody else's kite. He apologizes that "a kite will not fly successfully without a tail." True enough, but an editor of a journal like the Gospel Advocate ought to be remembered for something besides "The Flying Tail." I would much prefer to be known as "a canny editor" or "an ace writer."

An amusing thing has occurred to several of us. Brother Goodpasture was horrified at "the sarcasm" and "ridicule" in that "Rock Fight" article. He and brother Brewer do not believe in "sarcasm" and "ridicule!" They are not "Guardian angels." They have just about cornered the editorial market on sugar and spice and everything nice, except the editor is a bit short on spice. Take out a "c" and put in a "t", and he has more than he needs. As mean as some folks think I am, I feel ashamed of him sometimes. But then, I do not think he is proud of himself.

There is no danger of the editor running out of soap. When he cannot find scripture for something he contends for, and can think of nothing else, he can always fall back on:

"The fact remains that there was 'no rock fight in Italy'. Facts are stubborn and embarrassing things."

There was "no rock fight in Italy." Then what were the facts? If the Italians were not fighting the brethren with rocks, what were they doing? Would brother Goodpasture have us believe that the Italians were playing with the brethren? No fight, indeed! The brethren had been fighting with the sword of the Spirit. The Italians could not handle that weapon, so they fought back with what they could handle. No fight, the Italians were just engaging in a little play for fun! Then why all the complaint? This is just a teaser. We may get an editorial note on what "a rock fight" is, a tail without a kite so to speak.

Various and sundry, including brother Brewer and brother Bales, have been trying to find proof for "cooperation" meaning "centralized control and oversight." After fishing all night and catching nothing, brother Brewer found it where least expected; in a horse lot. He found two horses standing side by side in reverse, heads by tails. The tails were switching flies off the heads. "Eureka. I have found it. Here is cooperation." We ought to have as much sense as horses, therefore it is scriptural for one church to plan and oversee a work in any part of the world, and solicit and use the funds of other churches in carrying out its plans. Brother Bales will doubtless approve brother Brewer's "logic," although he frowns at mine, and brother Goodpasture endorses it and puts it in the Gospel Advocate. Personally, I think the premises are a bit too beastly, and the conclusions far-fetched. I have a secret, if a vain hope, that these brethren are not as dumb as they think their readers are. They cannot prove it by the scriptures, so they prove it by a bunch of flies and a couple of horses' tails in a horse lot. Don't laugh at them, if you can help it. Really, I think they are doing the best they can, under the circumstances. They are pretty badly excited over "a stuck whistle," a sweet term brother Brewer applied to the Gospel Guardian, and "a Charlie McCarthy" editor, a nice term, the editor of the Gospel Advocate applies to the editor of the Gospel Guardian.

Brother Brewer's parable of a couple of "cooperating" horses ought to justify me for the use of a parable, the principle characters of which were two quadrupeds, the kind that Balsam rode upon, only these could not talk, hitched to a wagon' full of barnyard manure. The farmer was driving them alongside a field of corn, when they suddenly "cooperated" in a sudden notion to run away. They ran wildly back and forth through the growing corn, creating quite a havoc. They turned the wagon over, after doing a very good job of scattering its contents, broke the tongue out of the wagon, somehow got free and stopped under a shade on the far side of the field. There they stood, side by side, in reverse, head by tail and tail by head, peacefully switching flies off of each other's heads, as though they had done a great and useful deed. They "cooperated" fully. We need not identify them further than to name one of them G. C. B. and the other B. C. G. Otherwise, they looked just alike from both sides and both ends. A pedigreed horse with flowing mane, and a slick coat galloped up and just pawed and neighed as though he would also like to "cooperate." We shall just call him J. D. B. His real name was "Logic," given him when he was so young it could not be foreseen what he would turn out to be.