Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 26, 1950
NUMBER 25, PAGE 1,12

Brewer's "Sop To Cerebus"

R. L. Whiteside, Denton, Texas

In the Firm Foundation of July 25 brother Brewer had an article with this heading, "A Sop to Cerebus," and for a heading to the first paragraph, he had this: Et Tu Brute." His article was so mixed up that I could not tell whether he was handing a sop to brother Paisley or whether he meant that Paisley was giving a sop to somebody else. But he was unfortunate in both his main heading and his paragraph heading.

Now I am no authority on Greek and Roman mythology; so I thought I would see what he meant by "Cerebus." I looked in Webster's Dictionary, but found no Cerebus. I looked in the Britannica—not there. I looked in the Standard Encyclopedia—not there. I looked in Funk and Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia—not there, I looked in Webster's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Mythology—not there. But in all these I found "Cerberus." I supposed that was what brother Brewer thought he was referring to. But that makes an ugly heading for an article in any publication; for in mythology Cerberus was a three headed dog, that guarded the gates of Hades, not to keep people out, but to keep anyone from getting out. Brother Brewer had the wrong word, and showed poor taste in making such a heading. To speak of any brother as a monstrous three headed dog, the keeper of the gates of Hades, is inexcusable crassness. Whoever he had in mind must have scared him terribly to create such a picture in his mind. Calm down brother Brewer. Surely those who oppose you on the church-college question are not so frightful as to warrant such a mental picture. You've just been riding that hobby on the merry-go-round till things do not look right to you. But that reference to the three headed monster does reveal a disturbed state of mind. Yes, brother Brewer is seeing things.

Now, I never did study Latin very much, and have not looked in a Latin book in a long, long time; but it seems to me that his "Et to Brute" should be "et to Brute." If the reader does not know any Latin, he can get it correct by asking a Latin scholar. It is what Caesar is reported to have said to Brutus. If the brother read much about Cerberus, he found that Hercules brought him out of Hades into the upper world, that is the world in which we live. Now, in mythology, a person or animal could be changed into something else according to the fancy of any other character. Now, putting Brewer's article with the statement in the article that Paisley had handed a sop to the Guardian, we see that Brewer has that three headed monster of Hades turned into the Guardian. I knew that Brewer had failed to meet our arguments, but I had no idea that we had so frightened him that we looked to him like that three-headed monster from Hades. Yes, Brewer is seeing things. Calm down, brother; we do not mean to hurt you, even if you do represent us as the three-headed dog from Hades. I am not complaining about that; it is just amusing to me that we look so frightful to GCB.

Brewer's main effort is to create prejudice, and that is plain evidence that he feels "defeated and frustrated." Notice this: "It is a known fact that the Guardian editors and publisher have been fraternizing with the Sommerites for the past several years." He makes no exception. His sweeping charge includes me. The fact is, I met and completely routed more of that crowd than, I suppose, Brewer ever knew. More of this later. Now why should he make such a sweeping statement? It seems that he has reached the point of desperation where he is willing to make any sort of charge, regardless of facts. He seems to be beside himself—been riding that hobby horse on a merry-go-round till he is too dizzy to see things as they are. What he calls a known fact is not a fact at all. It seems that he did not get along well enough to suit himself in debating with Ketcherside, and it left a bitter taste in his mouth. He says the Guardian folk helped Ketcherside. He must think these Guardian fellows are powerful. I do not know anything about his debate with Ketcherside, but have a very decided opinion that no man who holds Brewer's position on church donations to the colleges can successfully meet a "Sommerite" in debate, and Brewer should know that by now. But it seems that he prefers to blame the Guardian force for his hard time in his debates, rather than to acknowledge that his own notions gave him trouble. Put the whole matter of building and supporting these schools and colleges on an individual basis, and you can defeat Ketcherside and any helpers he can gather around him.

Years ago, David Lipscomb, F. B. Srgyley, and others wrote articles in reply to things Daniel Sommer was saying in his paper. So far as I remember the Gospel Advocate in those days contended that individuals had the same right to establish and maintain schools and colleges that they had to own and operate a business. Can he find in these articles any support for church donations? Has Brewer any evidence that J. A. Harding or David Lipscomb, called on churches for donations to the Nashville Bible School, or ever favored such donations? He makes a list of preachers who have been founders or presidents of schools, but why? If he did not mean to leave the impression that all these men favored church donations to these schools and colleges, there was no point in listing them; but they were not all in favor of church donations, and I think Brewer knew it.

I think Paisley's plan is impractical and confusing, but I think Brewer did an ugly thing in calling his a "milksop," for Paisley is no milksop. What is a milksop? According to Webster's Dictionary: "An unmanly, man; a mollycoddle." Such use of words reveal a lot about a man that uses nothing about the man he directs them at.

For a time years ago it seemed that the main hobby of Daniel Sommer and his helpers was the doctrine of evangelistic supremacy. I think I can state the doctrine just as I heard brother Sommer state it: "Evangelists are the only divinely qualified authorities for the disciplining of elders." They alone had authority to set a church in order. If one person in a church found fault with the elders, the church was out of order, and that one brother could call in one or more evangelists to set the church in order; and when the evangelist or evangelists came, he or they became the supreme authority in that church. If the elders were found to be in the right they were exonerated and the complaining brother was rebuked. If the elders were found to be in the wrong, they were to be set aside and others appointed. Of course the elders were always found to be in the wrong if they favored a Christian College or Bible School. Or if a member of the church objected to what the elders did or failed to do about anything else, he could declare the church out of order, and call in an evangelist to set the church in order.

Up in north central Missouri, a church had a young preacher preaching for them. While he was out in some summer meetings, a damaging rumor was circulated in the town and its environs. It was impossible from the nature of the case to determine the truth or falsity of the rumor. The elders knew his usefulness in the town and environs was at an end. The elders thought it would not be fair to him to wait for him to return from his meetings to tell him the church could not use him any longer; so they notified him by letter. But he would not submit to the elders, for he belonged to the group that contended that evangelists were superior to elders, and were the only divinely qualified authorities to discipline elders. So he hurried home, and had W. G. Roberts and another preacher, a brother Settle as I recall, to come and set the church in order. When these brethren got off the train they went to one elder, a druggist, a quiet, conservative Christian gentleman, and told him to be at the meeting house at eight P. M., and to notify the other elders to be there, to hear the charges against them. The elder said, "You brethren have no business here. So get on the train and go home. I will not be at your meeting, and I'll not notify the other elders to be there." But the young preacher rounded up his special friends, had a man who had once been care-taker for the church property, but who had quit attending the worship, but still had a key, to come and unlock the meeting house; and they proceeded to have their meeting. But one of the elders, a banker, saw lights in the house, and had found out their purpose, walked in and told them to get out, and they did. They held their meeting at a private residence, went through the farce of deposing the elders and appointing others. They then brought suit for the possession of the church property, for the locks had been changed and they could not get in to take possession.

In suits of this kind each side is supposed to have what are called expert witnesses, who are supposed to testify as to the general practice of the churches. The elders called C. R. Nichol and me to attend the trial as "expert" witnesses, but when time for the trial drew near, brother Nichol found that he could not go. I prepared as best I could and went. When the case was called I found that the young preacher and his group had ten or a dozen so-called expert witnesses, including Daniel Sommer, W. G. Roberts, A. M. Morris, and several others who were not so well known. I was the only preacher against that whole crowd. Much of that trial was a lively debate between me and that cloud of witnesses, which turned out to be a rather thin cloud. But I routed them completely—at least that solid looking judge so decided.

One of the elders said to me, "This suit is costing us more than the property is worth; but there are about a half dozen churches with elements in them that are waiting to see how this trial comes out before making a move to take over. Those churches are not able to support suits, and we are, and so we decided to make the fight to save them." And they did. I think the evangelist supremacy doctrine died at that trial. At least, I have heard no more of it.