Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 17, 1950
NUMBER 15, PAGE 8-9b

He Ought To Know Better

In a lengthy and repetitious article in the Firm Foundation of August 8, brother Cecil N. Wright of Denver, Colorado, reiterates and rehashes the arguments he made in a belligerent, denunciatory article he wrote against the Guardian earlier in the summer. His former article was replied to, and there would be no need to refer to his present attack against us did it not contain a few new misrepresentations and misleading statements.

But since he sends forth the article to the readers of the Firm Foundation (to whom we have no access), we think it needful to make a few corrections in self defense.

How The Controversy Started

This whole interchange between the Guardian and brother Wright began last spring when brother Cogdill wrote an article warning against "centralized control and oversight" in the matter of our foreign mission work. In the same issue (April 20) the editor set forth exactly what it was we were opposing. We stated it in a proposition which we were set to deny: "That it is scripturally right for one church to become the controlling and directing agency through which all other churches may operate in discharging their responsibility to preach the gospel in a foreign field."

Brother Wright took violent exception to both Cogdill's article and the editor's. He sent us an article bristling with invective and filled with misrepresentations. In a brotherly spirit we wrote him a personal letter (we have been friends for many years) pointing out to him the misrepresentations, and suggesting that we did not think it fair either to ourselves or to him for such an article to be published. We felt sure that once he realized how grossly he had misrepresented and falsified our contention, he would quickly correct the article and submit a revision of it, dealing with the issue and free from the bitter perversions and misrepresentations of the first.

But, to our amazement, brother Wright did not correct that article, but published it in the Gospel Advocate, and later in the Firm Foundation, exactly as he had sent it to us originally. Even under this blow we were unable to bring ourselves to believe that he had deliberately desired to write that which he knew to be false against us. We attributed his action to "poor logic rather than moral delinquency." Naturally, however, we felt it necessary to publish his original article in the Guardian and to make proper correction of it. This we did in a brotherly spirit, and with every assurance that we felt brother Wright had no malicious nor un-Christian intent in writing the article.

The Invitation To Discuss

Then, seeking to be absolutely fair, we offered brother Wright space in the Guardian for a full and free discussion of the issue. We were opposed to "centralized control and oversight"; we thought it wrong "for one church to become the controlling and directing agency through which all other churches" might operate in doing their mission work. Since that had been the thing we were writing against, and since that had been the burden of the articles that had called forth his bitter protest, we asked him to take the affirmative of the proposition, while we would continue to write, as we had in the past, on the negative.

Replying to our letter brother Wright refused to discuss this proposition, but countered with a proposition on a meeting held in Houston, Texas, some years ago which he thought afforded a parallel to what is being done by the churches today. It seemed to be his thought that he could prove the modern missionary practices to be JUST AS SCRIPTURAL as the Music Hall meeting; or, if not that, then he could certainly prove the Guardian's publisher had been inconsistent in participating so actively in the Music Hall meeting.

From the letter it seemed perfectly obvious to us that there was no possibility of our arranging a discussion of the issue, but that, on the contrary, opportunity was sought for a wrangling of a false issue on a plane for which we confess ourselves to be fitted neither by temperament nor by training. We made no reply to the letter. We have neither the time nor the talent for discussions on such a level. We are interested in What the Bible teaches, not in whether some man was or was not consistent in what he did; nor yet in whether something is, or is not, just as scriptural as something else.

As Of Now

Brother Wright says he is not "acquainted" with any mission work of the sort we are describing and opposing. Then, may we suggest that he ought to know better than to write so viciously against us for opposing it when we are acquainted with such work. By his own admission he is not competent to write on the subject. Modesty should dictate to him a more cautious course. If he is not acquainted with these dangers, and we are acquainted with them, then it ill becomes him to write with such heat and with such bristling invective against us. In all our writings on this subject we have sought to be dispassionate and to write only in the interest of truth. We have desired to condemn and vituperate no man; it is a cause of genuine regret to us that brother Cecil has found himself unable to exercise the same restraint. Still, however, in spite of his truculent and bellicose attitude, we regard him as the victim of distorted logic rather than as being willfully and deliberately malicious in his statements. It is to be hoped that time will somewhat temper his surly spirit. And we are ready at any time to discuss the issue either with him or with any other.