Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 12, 1951
NUMBER 48, PAGE 1,5b

Heroes Of The Faith -- No. 2

Will M. Thompson, Atoka, Oklahoma

BYNUM BLACK: I first met brother Black in Arkansas in 1907. He was engaged in debate near Gravelly, Ark., with a Mormon. The latter day saint brand. He met Eld. Hanson from Council Bluff, Iowa. Brother Black at this time was in his prime as a debater. His victory was so complete for the truth that shortly after this debate all the Mormons in that section of the country moved away, and the community has never been bothered with them since. Brother Black was the author of three booklet's that ought to be reproduced and put into circulation today. They were "Sixty Four Loaded Bombshells In the Mormon Ranks," "Thirty Six Plain Contradictions, Between Methodism and the Bible," and "Fifty Reasons For Not Being A Baptist." All of these were great booklets and have done much good for the cause we love.

After I began to preach the gospel and defend the truth in debate it was my happy privilege to be associated with brother Black on numerous occasions in debates, meetings, and special meetings of the church commonly called preacher meetings. He was a deep thinker, an able preacher and debater. He moderated for me at Wesley, Ark., in June, 1931 when I met W. E. Sherrell (Baptist) in debate at that place. Brother Black followed this debate with a meeting that resulted in 29 additions. He spent the closing part of his life in Oklahoma City and passed to his final reward there. He was a great man indeed and the church lost a valiant soldier in his passing. Coming in contact with him helped me much as a gospel preacher.

JOE S. WARLICK: My first time to meet brother Warlick was in 1912 near Allen, Okla. After this I heard him preach and debate. He was a great entertainer in private conversation or with a number. In wit and humor he was unsurpassed. As a debater he had no equal in his day in my way of thinking. One lesson I learned from him that has been a great help to me in debate was, make a few affirmative arguments on a proposition and let them be arguments that are unanswerable and PRESS THEM. His personality was great, his logic was the best, and his confidence in having the truth made him master of every situation that might arise. He was the best equipped man to meet any and every opposition to the truth on the spur of the moment I've ever known. I heard him meet Stanley J. Clark the noted Infidel of Oklahoma. Clark was a rapid speaker and a silver tongued orator, but brother Warlick handled him with all ease and truth was victorious. Truth never suffered in brother Warlick's hands. I moderated for him in two debates, one at Calvin, Okla., the other at Atwood, Okla. He met I. W. Yandell at both places. Yandell was a Free Will Baptist debater. I've met him four times and do not hesitate to say he is the strongest debater that the Free Wills have ever produced. Brother Warlick met him with ease. One peculiarity of Joe S. Warlick was he never took notes in debate with a sectarian preacher, and he could begin at the front end or back end of his opponent's speech, quote him accurately and answer every argument made. And many that met brother Warlick knew when the debate was over that he had been PRESSED. He was a great preacher. Some of the best sermons I've ever heard were delivered by him. I never heard him use the expression "I've forgotten." He had the greatest memory of any man I've ever met. At the death of his brother Jim Warlick I was called to Oklahoma City to conduct the funeral. When I had finished my sermon brother Joe S. stood over the lifeless form of his brother in the flesh and paid tribute to him. He said whatever success he had attained in life he owed it to his brother. The audience was large and they were held in suspense and were as still as death while this man was paying a glowing tribute to his brother in the flesh and spirit. I'm glad I can say no greater debater has lived since the days of Alexander Campbell and believe I'm speaking the truth. He told me a short time before his death that he had conducted 399 public debates. Peace to his ashes and love to his memory. He was my friend and I know I loved him for the great work he did. God bless him.

J. D. TANT: The one and only J. D. Tant I first met in 1914 or 1915 at Cordell, Okla. The church there had been divided. The Harrels were the leaders in one group and J. N. Armstrong the leader in the other. The Harrel group sent for brother Tant to conduct them a meeting. Brother J. W. Crumley, Sr., was then the minister at Sentinel, Okla. I was minister at Rocky, Okla. We attended brother Tant's meeting. I shall never forget some things he said. One story he told was this: "Over in Arkansas they were having a testimonial meeting one time. One fellow arose to testify and said, thank the Lord brethren my cups full and running over. After he was seated up bobbed another and said, thank the Lord brethren I got a bucket 10 years ago, and it has never run over nor run down any. A third arose and said, well brethren I aint got much to say about my religion, but I'll bet $10 that brother has wiggle-tails in his." At this point brother Tant remarked: "That is what's the matter in Cordell, you all have wiggle-tails in your religion, and you do not have enough religion for them to wiggle in." It wasn't long after this meeting till J. W. Crumley, Sr. was called to Cordell for a meeting by the elders. Efforts were put forth to try and keep Crumley from coming but to no avail. It was during this meeting that the churches were reunited and afterwards brother Crumley became the local minister and labored there till the time of his death.

I next met J. D. Tant at Cave Springs, Ark., in June of 1932. I was then engaged in debate with W. E. Sherrill (Baptist). This was conducted under a large tent. John T. Hinds was moderator for me. Brother Tant had come under the tent without my knowing it. I hadn't seen him since at Cordell which was some 17 or 18 years before. When he began to talk I recognized his voice. He remained until the third day of the debate, and as he left tears were rolling down his cheeks and this is what he said to me. "Well Will I must say goodbye, but before leaving I want to say this. I've conducted over 100 debates myself, moderated in a great number. I've sat at the feet of Joe S. Warlick, C. R. Nichol, and J. W. Chism and you know I've heard the best, but I must say this surpasses any victory for the truth I've ever witnessed. We both shed tears as we parted. He had a tender heart. Later he visited me at Pampa, Texas, and preached where I labored. He sat in a chair as he delivered his last lesson that was mine to hear from him. One of the warnings he sounded to the church that lingers today in the hearts of many was "Brethren we are drifting." Many thought him cranky, but brother Tant was not. He saw the dangers and warned us of them. Many congregations and preachers were saved by his timely admonitions. If he were living today he could say "Brethren we have drifted." While he rests from his labors I'm glad he left us a son who edits the Gospel Guardian that has the blood of J. D. Tant in him. If he were living today he no doubt would be encouraging his son in the great fight he is making for truth and right. Yes, Yater, your father saw the softness developing in the Firm Foundation and Gospel Advocate before his death. Softness on the part of papers produces weakness in the brotherhood just like softness in the pulpit produces weakness in the pew. I thank God for the life of J. D. Tant. I'm indeed glad it touched mine. We need men of his caliber today to save the church from Apostasy and ruin. These men mentioned were indeed true soldiers.