Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 8, 1951

Ernest Beam Has Disfellowshipped Me

James R. Cope

Ernest Beam, editor of Christian Forum, is revealing his true colors every time he writes. He reminds one of a Baptist preacher in debate. He poses a group of questions and then when his opponent answers differently than he expects, the Baptist preacher cries, "He didn't answer." This is the way Editor Beam cries in the January issue of his paper about me. He titled his article "President Cope Fails to Answer" and then proceeded to ignore the entire contents of my reply to him with the exception of one brief quotation.

Ernest Beam writes at length about my not guaranteeing him equal space in papers carrying my articles yet he knows I have no control over these papers. He fusses because he is not heard yet refuses to publish my reply in his own paper. He contends that I have access to ears he cannot reach and condemns me for speaking through papers where he is not heard yet says anything he pleases about me and what I write and at the same time does not publish the reply which was in his hands when he wrote his "President Cope Fails to Answer."

As interested readers know from the first article I wrote in reply to Beam, I said he and the position he espouses are both as sectarian as the alleged condition in the brotherhood he seeks to correct. Now I have proved it. He said that he would cut my writings out of the Forum if I did not conform to his self-established concepts of fairness. Now he has made his threat good. The great "apostle of fellowship" has disfellowshipped the first fellow who took issue with him on his unscriptural and self-imposed fellowship standards.

Editor Beam speaks loud and writes long on being fair and discussing the fellowship issue. But Beam wants to be judge, jury, and prosecuting attorney for the entire brotherhood against the brotherhood all at the same time. Hear him: "The president is trying to defend himself in the practice of reviewing my position, and presenting to me questions, and publishing them in places where he alone can be heard, and I not heard. To join in an equal study, publishing same in any paper or all papers, or before all college groups, wherever both can be heard and neither of us alone—this the president will not enter. Nor my questions has he answered."

But remember, kind reader, Ernest Beam did not tell WHY I answered as I did. With a full explanation of why I replied as I did before him at the very moment he wrote his "President Cope Fails to Answer" he has the gall not to publish it for his readers to see, criticizes my reply without quoting it, and then has the temerity to say "To stand upon equal ground I must have a procedure as permissible and satisfactory to me as is his to him." This is but another sample of the attitude and action of the man who talks about fellowship and practices disfellowship. He disclaims any desire to be unfair and condemns me for writing where he is not heard yet turns squarely around and reveals in his own article exactly the same alleged unfairness in himself he so vigorously denounces in me.

The only consistent course Ernest Beam can follow if he is true to his self-established standard of fairness is to make no reference whatever to any person with whom he disagrees unless that person has exactly the same space, in Beam's paper or another, before the same audience with equal rights and time, and equal rebuttal opportunities in either or both events. Regardless of how hard he tries or how loud he cries, he cannot respect his own standard and utter a critical word about anybody. Ernest Beam should be able to see this. It is that readers may see his true disposition toward those who differ with him over his pet hobby that I have said the foregoing about his obvious inconsistency with reference to the "open forum" policy he has avowed for his paper. He calls it "Christian Forum." He claims it is an "open forum." Then to the first person who takes advantage of what he thought at first was an "open forum policy" the "forum" turns out to be "closed." "Open" did not mean "open" at all. It is "open" to those who are already converted to the editor's concepts and "closed" to those who disagree with his pet whims. Whether I confine my writing to Ernest Beam's paper exclusively or not, has nothing whatever to do with his own avowed "open forum" policy, and his refusal to carry my reply to his writing is proof positive that he just imagined he wanted "fellowship" with those who disagree with him. He is running true to digressive and premillennial "fellowship" form. The digressives are going to have their mechanical instruments and missionary societies and any who disagree must get out. The premillennialists are determined to have their speculative theories and any who disagree must get out. Ernest Beam is equally determined to have the "fellowship" of these groups regardless of their highhanded methods and unscriptural teachings and practices' which force the breaking of scriptural, fellowship and any who oppose the editor's self-established standards must get out of his paper.

No wonder Editor Beam can find so much comfort in fellowship with both digressives and premillennialists. All three grow on the same tree—none has proper regard for either plain passages in or the silence of the word of God!