Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 21, 1954
NUMBER 24, PAGE 1,12

Concerning Brother E. R. Harper's Article

Cecil B. Douthitt, Brownwood, Texas

In all the eighteen type written pages of Brother E. R. Harper's harangue under the caption, "Brother Douthitt A Man Of Honour", appearing in this issue, there is not one line that can be interpreted as an effort to prove that the present mode of operation of Herald of Truth radio program is reasonable, or right, or scriptural. The article contains no reference whatever to the New Testament. With nothing but Harper's article, no one would know what the issue is, or that there is such a volume as the New Testament.

I. "Our Digressive Pressure"

Under this topic heading Brother Harper says he is sending me information that will show I was wrong when I said that the Highland brochure, "That The Brethren May Know", does not contain one word of "testimony from the College Church elders on whom the alleged pressure was put, or from Glenn Wallace, the victim of the alleged pressure".

For the benefit of readers who may think that Brother Harper sent me a supplement containing the promised information, I wish to state that he sent no such thing; he sent nothing.

If the Highland elders could present a signed document by Glenn Wallace and the College Church elders, stating that no coercion or pressure was used to suppress Glenn Wallace in his criticism of Highland's pestering and begging other churches for their contributions, would that prove that the Highland elders have a scriptural centralized system of control as exemplified in Herald of Truth? Would that prove that Romanism is right and scriptural? I wish that somebody connected with the operation of Herald of Truth would at least approach the issue.

II. "The Limitations Of Elders"

Three of the eighteen type written pages of Brother Harper's piece are devoted to his effort to prove that the Highland elders had no right to call Glenn Wallace "before them and undertake to discipline him". Of course they had no such right. Why is the man tirading about that which everybody already believes?

The Highland elders not only had no right to call Glenn Wallace "before them and undertake to discipline him," they also had no scriptural right to resort to old Digressive pressure tactics as displayed in their effort to get the College Church elders to "discipline him" for raising a question as to the scripturalness of their Romish centralization schemes. And the elders of the College Church were more courteous and gentle toward the Highland elders than some would have been. I think I know some elders who would have told the Highland Church elders to show by the New Testament that their money begging method of operating Herald of Truth is right, or get back over to Highland and mind their own business. But in all that the Highland elders have written and compiled in their defense of the way they are managing Herald of Truth, no man would discover that the New Testament is in existence. They do not use that volume at all in their defense; they use old Digressive pressure tactics.

Now we all agree with Ernest on one point: The Highland elders had no scriptural right to call Glenn Wallace "before them and undertake to discipline him". Does Ernest think that proves the Herald of Truth system of centralized control and oversight is scriptural? I wish somebody in Abilene would discuss the issue.

III. "Changes Made"

The Highland elders say they have made mistakes and have changed (Highland Church Manual, "That The Brethren May Know", page 3). Ernest declares that he "must" say that the elders at Highland "have made many changes"; he also says, "Now Ernie Harper may have changed his mind a thousand times".

I am not denying and I have never denied that Ernest and the Highland elders have changed just as many times as Ernest says they have. I think they ought to make one more change; I think they ought to change back to the sound position that Brother Harper occupied in 1918 when he said that no church has a right to build anything which it is not able to support.

Now Ernest has succeeded in convincing everybody that he and the Highland elders have changed; but does that prove that it is scriptural for them to beg funds from the whole brotherhood to operate a thing which they have built, but are not able to support? This is the issue, and it would be refreshing to read a line or two from Brother Harper on the issue.

Ernest thinks the changes that he and the Highland elders have made are noble, honorable and not "doctrinal"; while the changes that others make are "doctrinal", dishonorable and disgraceful. Now if I should admit that nobody ever made an honorable change, except Brother Harper and the Highland elders, would that prove that Herald of Truth is being operated in a scriptural way?

IV. An Accusation

Brother Harper accuses me of trying to "force" him not to let this "articles be seen by any one other than the little Gospel Guardian subscription list".

All that I have ever said concerning his sending his articles to other papers appears on page 13 in the September number of the Gospel Guardian. Here it is in full:

"Brother Harper knows the pages of the Gospel Guardian are open to him, and he can reply therein to anything and everything I have written. I would not write anything about him in any paper in which I knew he would not be permitted to reply in his own way; and I do not think he will resort to the cowardly and dishonorable tactics of replying to me in a paper in which he knows I would not be allowed the privilege to write one word in answer to him. I think Ernest Harper will "take thought for things honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. (II Cor. 8:21)"

David Lipscomb once said, "But if the Gospel Advocate were to adopt this policy of criticizing others and refusing to let them reply, I would cease to read it". Of those papers that had adopted such a policy, he said, "We kindly tell them that in doing this they are violating the most sacred principles of fairness and right approved by both God and man, and must make themselves appear unfair and unjust to those so treated". (Gospel Advocate, Jan. 12, 1910).

Lipscomb was not "trying to bring pressure to bear to force" any man to restrict the circulation of his articles; he was only stating a principle of fairness that ought to characterize all men, not even excluding men who do not claim to be Christians.

I am willing to leave it to the readers as to whether or not Harper's accusation against me is correct and just. I do not mean to imply that he deliberately misrepresented me. He misunderstood. He is confused, and his perception is not acute in his confusion.

V. "My Health"

Under this topic caption Brother Harper accuses me of making fun of his health. He never was more wrong in all his life. He himself has said more about his health in his sermons and articles than all others combined, and the only things that could possibly be interpreted as fun-making are his own "ha, ha" ejaculations which are neither funny nor sensible. I mentioned his poor health only because I wanted our readers to know that the ugly things that he was writing about-some of the best friends he ever had were due to his illness, and not due to depravity of soul. Even then I would not have made any reference to his health, if he had not already written about it in the Highland brochure, the Gospel Guardian and the Gospel Advocate. My articles (one of which contained a reference to

his health) were sent to him before they were published in the Guardian. Several days after he had received them, and before any of them had appeared in the Guardian, he wrote to me in a letter, dated August 28, the following paragraph:

"Brother Douthitt I shall not further engage in a written discussion of a personal nature over this. If I had no one but you to answer I could but I am having to answer all of you and I shall confine my answers to the papers. I think you know what I mean. I have my work here and this 'fight' we are in and I was in the hospital this year and out for two entire months and I am not strong yet. I have no business in this fight due to such things but when duty calls I shall do my best. Come to see me any time. You shall always be welcome."

Please remember that Brother Harper wrote this to me several days after he had received the article containing my reference to his health. Then imagine, if you can, my surprise when I read the ugly and harsh things he says about me, because I had said that he was in no condition to write anything; while he himself says virtually the same thing.


I am sorry that Brother Harper feels toward me as does; I do not feel that way toward him. I truthfully can say: (1) I never tried harder in all my life to retain the friendship of a brother with whom I do not agree, than I have tried to retain his friendship; (2) I never tried harder in all my life to be fair, gentle and courteous, than in my review of the Highland pamphlet and Brother Harper's article.

Every atom of my soul and every fiber of my being rebel at the very thought of my calling him a "Chameleon"; a "hypocrite"; "dishonorable"; or ascribing to him any "act of degeneracy". My treatment of him has been the very opposite of what he charges. I stated categorically that I believed he would take thought for things honorable, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Now Brother Harper says that nothing I can do will ever cause him to engage me in further discussion, and that he is through with me forever. I cannot say that the loss of his friendship causes me no pain; for it does.

I had hoped we could have a brotherly discussion of the real issue raised by the method employed by the Highland elders to support Herald of Truth, believing that the truth would shine forth and that our readers would be benefited thereby. But that hope has not been realized.

As I look back through my review of the Highland tract, I can truthfully say that my convictions are such that I would write again exactly what I have written, if it were to do all over again. I cannot find anything in my articles to justify Brother Harper's attitude toward me now. I wish I knew how to regain his friendship, without violating my conscience and sacrificing my convictions.