Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 21, 1954

Why Not Defend It By Scripture?

Roy E. Cogdill

Brother E. R. Harper's fight for the Herald of Truth has been more than disappointing; it has been disgusting. He made only a very feeble attempt at any scriptural argument and even then was guilty of outright perversion.

The barrage of articles he has now written have "capped the climax" for ugly personal attacks, misrepresentation, and low level innuendo. They have been a veritable sluice of slime. There is of course an answer for all that sort of thing and E. R. Harper is as vulnerable to being discredited on a personal basis as perhaps any man. In spite of all his boasting and "blowing" about what he has done and how much he has meant to the cause, he has been about as weak and imperfect as any of the rest; these weaknesses could be pointed out if we were willing to get down in the gutter with him.

Personally I am glad our cause does not need that kind of defense. There is no better evidence of the weakness of "Herald of Truth" from a scriptural standpoint than the articles he has written. Are any so dull and without comprehension that they cannot see and know that if E. R. Harper had any scriptural defense for what he is doing, he would have offered it, and would not have resorted to the base and un-Christian tactics he has employed? He knows that himself.

We have made no effort to answer his slurs and insinuations and have no intention of doing so. But he has in the article printed in this issue injected a matter that we do intend to say something about. In an effort to discredit Brother Tant particularly he had this to say:

"At least, Brother Tant, I am not stuck off down at Lufkin with a little church of about 100 members which split off as a faction from the other church."

The implication of that statement is entirely untrue. It is simply false and puts Brother Harper down on the base plane of plain lying to try to save his cause.

In the first place, Yater Tant did not have to accept a job preaching for "a little church of about 100 members" (which incidentally is approximately twice that), faction or not. He did not preach for Timberland Drive Church in Lufkin because he could not go elsewhere. He interrupted a busy and full schedule of meetings to do a work that needed to be done; and he was successful in accomplishing it. During his work in Lufkin and very largely as a result of his efforts, peace was restored among brethren and great good is bound to come from it. There is complete harmony and good-will among the congregations in Lufkin now. This was Brother Tant's main objective in coming to Lufkin, and the job has been done.

In the second place the Timberland Drive congregation was never a faction. I am willing to deny that wherever anyone, including E. R. Harper, wants to affirm it. And if he is not willing to affirm it, then he is dishonest in making the charge. This is pure, plain, unadulterated slander.

In the third place the trouble at Lufkin has been settled and peace reigns; Brother Harper's charge would be entirely out of order now, even if there ever had been a time when it was true — which there hasn't. Does Brother Harper resent the fact that peace has come to these brethren? Is he so anxious to discredit those who oppose him that he had rather see trouble continue? What kind of Christianity is that?

In the fourth place, his slanderous charge is based entirely on hear-say. He knows not one thing of his own knowledge about the Lufkin trouble; he has talked to none of the elders in either congregation; he has never been in Lufkin to enquire about the matter; he is completely incompetent to testify about it. Whatever he may have heard about it is unreliable, and he has made no honest effort at all to find out the truth.

Brother Harper should retract and apologize for that statement; and if he does not, it will condemn him in that judgment of which he keeps warning us. If he is any sort of a gentleman, much less a Christian, he will apologize.

Furthermore, Brother Harper says,

"I submit my articles to them (the Highland elders) for their corrections that so far as we can humanly be certain my articles are true to fact."

Since everything Brother Harper has written or said is first cleared with the elders of Highland Avenue Church, that makes them a party to his slander (unless, of course, Brother Harper has lied about that too). If he has told the truth for once, then they are as guilty as he is and should make him retract it. They themselves should offer their apology to the brethren at Timberland Drive who are just as worthy of Christian fellowship and respect as the Highland elders ever have been. Will they deny Harper's assertion that they approved the statement he made, or will they accept the guilt along with him? If so, and they do not correct it, they are unworthy of being elders over just one congregation — much more are they unfit and unworthy to be "brotherhood elders."