Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 25, 1954
NUMBER 29, PAGE 8-11

Beware Psycho-Somatics -- Captions Not Yater's

E. R. Harper. Abilene. Texas

(Editor's Note: We offer apology to our readers for carrying this irrelevant, and at times incoherent, material from Brother Harper. It is a far, far cry from the man whom we all used to know and love who would produce Scripture in defense of his convictions. This article contains no Scripture and no argument in defense of Herald of Truth, but is almost exclusively an effort to discredit and belittle those who oppose the arrangement. In view of that, and since we have no desire at all to argue Herald of Truth on the basis of personalities, we make no reply. Brother Cecil B. Douthitt has read the article and concurs fully in this decision.

Certainly every Christian feels deep sympathy for Brother Harper in the sicknesses he has had through the years. Some weeks ago we made the statement that, contrary to the opinion of some brethren, we did NOT believe that illness, "either mental or physical," was responsible in any way for our brother's failure to offer a scriptural defense for Herald of Truth. For some reason which we have not yet been able to understand Brother Harper found the statement highly offensive. He has vowed that he will never again write a single line to any paper which we edit. We hereby withdraw the offensive statement, and offer our sincere apology. We intended no slur of any kind in the reference, but were simply speaking our honest appraisal of the matter; we are truly sorry Brother Harper took it as an insult.)

I am sorry Brother Tant does not approve of the "Captions" in many of the articles of his writers. He does not approve of my "caption," "Dishonorable Ernie." Well I thought he would enjoy it since it was his paper that accused me of being "unfair-unchristian, and without honor." I suspect he enjoyed the "caption" as much as I did his accusations. Of course when it appeared in headlines in his own paper it only emphasized the fact that in his writings he was not following his own plea back some months ago when he could not afford to get down with me in my manner of writing. You should not mind Yater. It was YOU and your paper that said it.

Brother Tant Denies

Brother Yater denies his conversation with me; now he says Brother Nichols is wrong; and he denies the accusations made by the elders here and Brethren Nichols and Willeford. Well that is one way to get out of things. But those brethren will have more to say about their part. I was not there. I only gave what they said. Rather strange that all of us cannot remember anything that took place and all eight or ten of us have been so frustrated that not one of us knows what was taking place at any time. Yater, in after years when this has all blown over and men who are not prejudiced toward either of us, pick up your paper to read the testimony of men who have been honorable men in the church, and then read your pitiful defense by just denying it all and saying we are "confused" or have gone "berserk" the reputation of such defense will be sickening. A number who take your paper have already asked us, What is wrong with Yater that he just can't remember any of these conversations? Brother Tant I am of the opinion that most of us stand about as high in the field of honor as you men though we have been branded by your paper as men without honor. Here is hoping you will publish their answer to your denials. Your own people are going to begin after while to wonder just what you are saying in these conferences you are having. After while they will get tired of it, when it is coming from, "all over," and they are going to begin to wonder who is confused?

Why Brother Tant!

I now know I hit the "bull's eye" on my G. K. Wallace article. Brother Tant, the article I was reviewing and the one you endorsed was NOT the article in the G.G. August 30, 1951. It was your endorsement of Brother Wallace's article on the Maud Carpenter Home, written or published in the G.G., May 24, 1951, some THREE MONTHS BEFORE the article you have in the G.G. this week, September 16, 1954. Did you say, "some one is confused"? Suppose you go back, get the article you endorsed, republish it, and then deny my article? Why, Brother Tant! I was not quoting from the one in August. It was the one in May.

Not In Editorial Of May

Brother Tant the "editorial" you have in your answer DID NOT APPEAR in the issue we reviewed. You wrote another article, three months AFTER this one. It was a DIFFERENT ISSUE AND A DIFFERENT EDITORIAL. In this second one however, you indorsed his article a second time as being "solidly based on scriptural foundations" and THAT article YOU indorsed DEFENDED THE HOME AT WICHITA and said "a congregation may COOPERATE with ANOTHER in ANY GOOD WORK. This is CLEARLY seen in the New Testament." Where in the New Testament, Brother Tant does it teach the kind of "cooperation" you said was "clearly taught" such as "many congregations" sending money to the church in Wichita, Kansas, to help them take care of children, taken in from other communities, which home is to be a "permanent" affair? Let us hear your scriptural defense of it, Brother Yater! Brother Holt and Brother Roy are ready to take you on in debate.

Another Example

Your TWO EDITORIALS are another example of your "floundering." In the one of May 24, 1951, you unconditionally indorsed the home at Wichita though it was to be permanent. Now you must have gotten yourself in a jam because in your editorial of August 30, you are trying to back up and tell them you did not exactly mean it that way. Listen to your contradiction of editorials: In August 30, you say "For instance we very seriously question (not sure, are you Yater?) the right of ANY ELDERSHIP to DELIBERATELY plan, promote, and undertake ANY WORK on a PERMANENT BASIS which they KNOW IN ADVANCE will be far, far beyond the ability of their congregation ever to sustain or carry on." Now how does this jibe with your unconditional endorsement of the Maud Carpenter Home, which home was definitely planned by the elders there — (is this what you mean by deliberately?) and is having to be supported by other congregations and it is to be a PERMANENT AFFAIR as I understand. Yes, this SECOND EDITORIAL was written trying to defeat the home in Alabama but in doing that you got your affairs "crossed up." Tell us, Do you or do you- NOT indorse the plan by Brother Wallace? Tell us, are you willing to meet Brethren Holt and Cogdill in debate on your endorsement of the Wallace article? Brother Tant, one of these days these men are going to get tired of your constant contradictions in which you embarrass the owners of the G.G. They know when you get them in a tight. Even your friend "Berserk Harper" knows when you have "switched editorials" to confuse the people. Poor Yater! You just plain ENDORSED IT AS SCRIPTURAL. Did you make a mistake? If not, meet Brother Holt in that debate.

My Health

Brother Tant, you brethren may call me "dishonorable"; "chameleon"; "hypocrite"; "unfair" and every adjective in the dictionary that will describe a degenerate, for it is possible for a man to become all of these, and you men may think I am the sum total of all these phrases for you have accused me of them all, for a "chameleon" is a "hypocrite," and you and your group may feel I deserve to be so anathematized. That is your privilege and still I would fight on and feel that so long as I was given the opportunity to defend myself I could meet such.

Going Too Far

When you brethren resort to such tactics as making fun of my health that is going too far. Yes, I have been sick, and that severely. That is why I did not, one reason why, want to get into this fight the night you talked to me at the College congregation, but I knew if I told you I was sick and going to the hospital you brethren would say as others have said, when they were opposing me; that I was just trying to get out on my health. While I have been seriously ill, many times, I have never hidden behind that nor have I ever whined and begged for sympathy. I kept on my feet and have worked for the church of the Lord and never a complaint. No man has ever made fun of my health unless he was in a tight and this was his only way out. I haven't talked it for many reasons. People care not to listen; I care not to talk about it; for many times it hurts a man's work. I am sure of course YOU TWO MEN WOULD HAVE NO MOTIVES IN THIS DIRECTION BY YOUR FUN MAKING OF MY ILLNESS! Aren't you two men really ashamed of this? Well I hope that neither you nor Brother Cecil ever suffer as I have physically but if and when you do you will understand that they have not been just "imaginations."

Thankful To My Father

I am thankful to my Father in heaven that through all this I have kept my chin up; worked like a slave for the church of my Lord; been able to do my local work and hold some 10 to 15 meetings each year for most of this time and am working even this year as hard as most of you men who, physically and mentally, feel that you are GIANTS in the church. Now I have this to say to you Brother Tant and Brother Douthitt, when men reach this kind of journalism it is time to bid them goodbye. You may say what you please about me, I shall never write another line to any paper of which you, Brother Tant, are editor; for any man who will degenerate his paper to such fun making and ridiculing of a man who has been a bosom friend, as to belittle his health and try to establish in the minds of people that he is "mentally sick" and do it in the manner you, Brother Tant did! it is time to bid such characters "so long."

Lest You Get Ideas

Now Yater you are the EDITOR of the paper. YOU have taken this fight out of "another paper" and made it the fight of the Guardian. You are the one who approached me at the College Church of Christ to discuss this question. I am through with your paper and I am now saying to you, GET YOU AN AUDITORIUM IN LUFKIN and if I am physically able, I shall be there in early spring to discuss for at least two nights, the issues we have been discussing in your paper. You are writing all over the country for appointments for you and your men to come into congregations and discuss these things and now you have, your invitation to me, accepted. You made the challenge to me, therefore you are to furnish the place. The church where you are should get behind you and in LUFKIN where your headquarters are, is THE PLACE. I shall be happy to speak for 45 minutes in a "lecture" on the things between the work at Highland and those things in which the G.G. is involved. You speak for 45 minutes answering; then twenty minutes each. The second night you speak 45 minutes and I shall follow with the same time; then we close with 20 minutes each. I shall meet no one but you since you are the spokesman for the paper and a gospel preacher and you are the one who has openly accused me of being "sick physically and mentally" for that is what "psycho-somatic" means.

Things Established Thus Far

  1. This program IS "under the elders of Highland"; Brother Tant my witness, G.G., August 16, 1954, page 6.
  2. It has NO SEPARATE GOVERNING BODY. Brother Tant, G.G., August 16. 1954, page 6.
  3. That congregations contributing or cooperating with other congregations to "help them do a work greater than they can do" is scriptural, Brother Wm. Wallace, G.G., September 2, 1954, and Brother Tant's endorsement of the Wallace Wichita article already referred to. Yes, I maintain that we are morally bound not to obligate ourselves beyond what we are able to do. It does not follow however, that no one can help us to become financially able to do that which by ourselves we cannot do. Brother Wallace, G.G., September 2.
  4. That it is scriptural for a church to use men to secure help for them in doing a greater work than they are able to perform. Brother Wallace in G.G., September 2, 1954.
  5. That one congregation or congregations giving to another congregation to help it accomplish her work is scriptural and does not infringe upon "local autonomy." Paul and the collection for the saints in Jerusalem.
  6. That the radio program of Highland does not PARALLEL the MISSIONARY SOCIETY as accused by you men and Brother Otey, as given by me in my article answering him.
  7. That it is the church doing the preaching and NOT the RADIO PROGRAM.
  8. That this work is a work of Highland, being done by Highland, with supervision of no congregations or preachers other than our own. That we are not trying to supervise the affairs nor do the work of other congregations, just because we receive help from sister congregations to help us in our radio work.
  9. That our radio program is NOT a "human society controlled by a separate board," Brother Tant our witness in G.G., September 16, 1954, page 5. That it is NOT a "federation," "confederation," "institution" but a simple radio program.
  10. That our radio program has no "power" to "perform a single duty or perform a single act of work" but is the THING BEING DONE by the Highland congregation.
  11. That the above things being true our radio program is not nor can it be any form of 'institutionalism" such as the "Gospel Guardian."
  12. LAST but not LEAST, I have successfully proved that what we are NOW DOING in PRINCIPLE is the exact duplicate of what the church has been doing for the last 35 or 40 years and that the G.G. men have, all these years back, been active and still are active in just such work. So "pointedly" did this strike home until our dear Brother Roy has now repudiated the greatest work ever done in Houston, mostly under his direction; the Houston Music Hall Meeting and has promised he would never engage in such any more. This to me is one of the saddest results of this controversy; that Roy, in order to get out of a tight, into which his past actions have placed him is now on record as never again entering such a wonderful work as that performed in Houston, Texas. Yet Brother Yater says my articles were that of a man "berserk" and "pointless and meaningless." When articles bring such pressure to bear on men as truly outstanding as Brother Cogdill, I must beg to differ with you Yater; they are NOT "pointless and meaningless." Try again!

That Missionary Society

I wrote Brother Roy some time ago when you brethren kept saying I had promised to write on that subject, if he would show me where I had ever made that promise to him or I will say you, that I would both WRITE ON IT and give him a NEW HAT WHEN HE CAME THIS WAY. You see you brethren have published that so much until the people actually thought I had made that promise.

I never did but my answer to Brother Otey will take care of that IF YOU EVER PUBLISH IT. Any one should know what is wrong with the Missionary Society. First it has no right to exist and with no right to exist, all it does is out of order. Now in our discussion of this point at Lufkin, I shall show you WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE SOCIETY and I shall give you a most STRIKING PARALLEL TO IT: THE ROY COGDILL PUBLISHING COMPANY WITH ITS SUBSIDIARIES: GOSPEL GUARDIAN AND ANCIENT LANDMARKS. Shall we have the discussion?

Charges Answered

  1. Concerning the Freed-Hardeman affair I have answered that with letters from both Brethren Hardeman and Roland and in my article to Brother Douthitt. It shall stand or fall in your minds with this.
  2. With reference to Brother Cogdill's accusation that I caused trouble by trying to interfere with the work at Little Rock, I have this to say: I am willing to come before the elders there and correct anything they can prove I have ever done against ANYTHING they have undertaken. I will do it PUBLICLY. I have heard this before and I wrote the elders asking for this privilege. I have letters from all who were living at the time I was there, but one man, saying I never caused any trouble; hence I was never invited to come before them. As to the relations between Brother Lyles and myself, I am willing to come before the elders there and the elders here and let them say if I have wronged him and I will make any correction they advise. This I have offered long ago. I have recommended Brother Lyles for meetings in Arkansas and he wrote me expressing his thanks for it and one of the meetings at, Conway, he held. We have invited him for a meeting at Highland since my coming here. I wrote him a letter stating if I could and he needed me, I would be happy to help him get his new building program over, for they needed it. If the above sounds like causing trouble I am sorry. TRY AGAIN ROY. It is a little "bitter" to have a meeting called off, with a good church like that. Incidentally I did not know about that. They have been pretty good to you for you now to turn on Brother Lyles and that fine congregation. They can answer you if they see fit. Chances are they will go on with their fine work and let your accusations against them go by.
  3. As to the insinuation that might lead people to believe I was not on the level with my radio program while there, I might just say for the record that the elders asked me to look after it for they were busy and I did just that. All the time I was on daily, Brother Floyd Sharp was there to direct the singing. He was our song leader and a deacon. Much of the time I was out of town and he looked after the mail. I made a report every month to the elders as to our condition and just last month the treasurer then and now, the man who wrote you, your good checks for $400.00 or thereabouts, just laughed at your accusation. Twenty years have passed and all the time I was there, not one thing like that was ever mentioned. Roy this shows to what depths you men will go. But I thank my Lord, what I have done in the church has always been in the open. You may never correct such insinuations against me but you will at the judgment.
  4. The Harding Affair: In a former article I tried to be fair with both my conception of that affair and the effort Brother Benson put forth to get something done. Be it remembered that I did not go to them, wavering "back and forth" as you implied, but each time Brother Benson came to us seeking some way to stop the fight against the school from the outside, trying to get something inside the school where it would do the most good. Frankly I still feel that would have been best IF it could have worked. Every time he came up with something he thought would work and asked me to help, I did. I was not trying to "kill the school." We needed the school. All I wanted was the "premillennial group" stopped from our state and the preacher boys there taught against it. Looking back from here now with age and experience both mine, with the heat of such struggles passed, I still feel that Brother Benson would have put Brother West in the Bible department if Brethren Armstrong and Rhodes had not fought it so hard and had they not become so enraged over what we were trying to do. I am still of the opinion I was, after it had failed, that, since these men were so opposed to it, and would not let it take place, that it was a mistake to have undertaken it for it hurt me, my fight, at the time, against the efforts I was making, together with a great number in Arkansas. But as of today I can see that even that effort has had lasting results and I am glad to say that so far as "premillennialism"- is concerned it is better over there. Had all this only been the condition all those years back!" But such is life and friends turn against friends, and harm is done that only the judgment can know.

Boles-Hardeman And Wallace

One thing I wonder if you knew? Brother Boles, in the lectureship at Henderson, when I was called to explain what we were trying to do in the "West" affair to which you have referred, arose to rebuke me, saying that Harding was no better; they had the same administration; and that he had known for 13 years that Brother Armstrong was a premillennialist. At that point I arose asking him why it was he did not make that speech at Harding a few weeks before when he was there in a teacher's training program instead of making at Henderson; that they were saying to me, What right do you have to criticize us when Brother Boles did not and that his refusing to tell Harding they were wrong had hurt our fight. He sat down, and all who were there know the rest. Now I wondered how he would continue to feel about me. Brother Boles was a great man. He corrected that to me and in Arkansas in a lectureship at Paragould, after I had spoken in the afternoon on the subject of premillennial-ism, arose and said, in about these words, I would not feel that I had been loyal to the truth if I did not say a word about Brother Harper's sermon and his fight in Arkansas. Here he publicly indorsed what I had tried to do, telling them I had done everything I knew to do and begged the state to continue to stand behind me. A few years after this I met him in a hotel at Memphis and he was wanting me to work again with the board to correct some affairs there. I told him I would not hinder it but they would have to get it done this time before I entered. He died understanding what we had tried to do and was one of my best friends. You did not know all this of course Roy. Brother Hardeman still lives. He did not understand all we were trying to do. He thought I made a mistake because he did not trust some of those who have now passed on, to carry out the plans Brother Benson and those of us in Arkansas were trying to get over. At no time did he ever think I had betrayed the truth or the fight against error, but that my judgment was bad in trusting some men as I tried to do. Write him and ask him if this is not the truth.

Brother Benson came to us and suggested that we put a man IN THE SCHOOL and FIGHT FROM WITHIN and not from WITHOUT. Yes I told the truth, which has been made so much of, when I stated, I had not intended to cease the fight but we were getting "inside" where we could fight. That was Brother Benson's own idea and the "group in Arkansas" who was "fighting with me" felt it would "be better" than the way we were doing it.

As to Brother Wallace and what he thought, I have this to say: I wrote him a letter telling him what we were trying to do and told him if it did not go through I would be right back fighting as I had always done. My letter never saw the paper. I suggest, since you have brought it up, you publish my letter to him and then secure a copy of the letter Brother West wrote Harding concerning his stand on premillennialism and THEN be honest and fair and write your article about my "chameleon" ways with Harding. Incidentally: you need the Wallaces now, don't you Yater? Be more careful next time. It could be "you next."


Now Brother Tant, this is rather lengthy but it is my last ever to submit to "a paper of which you are the editor. I am sorry all this has had to come but I did everything I knew to do before we began this program to see that no such would happen. But now we are in it and two years have passed before you men attacked our work. We do not intend to stop it just because you are demand-ing that we do it. If it stops it will not upset us in the least. We have done a great work and many souls will be saved in the other world because we have reached them with the gospel and as you suggested it has been done "under the elders" and without a separate organization. I am sure the way in which we are trying to carry it on, is the only principle by which such a program can be accomplished unless some congregation is large enough to carry it on without help, just as other congregations are having to have help until they get on their feet. I close with this little poem, changed some, as written by Brother Burnett, some years ago:

"Come all you potent Guardians, With all your power and might,

Bring Yater help right quickly, For he is in a tight.

A little "psycho-somatic" preacher, Who thinks their work is right,

Has almost run "Yater ragged, He has the will to fight."

Some Opinion

Now Yater you must not think that a man is "crazy" just because he has the courage to call the hand of the Guardian men. I know that many have thought a man out of his mind if he dared do that, but what I do, I think it to be right. If we discuss this in Lufkin I promise you I shall conduct my part of it as a Christian for I want unity among us all. The church needs us all.

Most kindly yours, E. R. Harper

P.S. — I have just now received a letter from Missouri with this statement in it: "I want to give you a tip. In 1953 Brother Tant held a meeting at Blytheville, and preached every day over the Blytheville Station, and in August of this year, Cogdill, held a meeting there and preached every day over the radio. I noticed that every time, the announcer would say, that the broadcast was SPONSORED by CHURCHES OF CHRIST, in Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri. What is the DIFFERENCE? The Blytheville program, is SPONSORED by the CHURCHES OF CHRIST in THREE STATES" etc. He says "the only difference is the coverage, the PRINCIPLE is the same!"


Yater, you and Roy; was the "Church Universal" in these three states, preaching the gospel through you two men? Sponsoring Yater and Roy! as they are known in Arkansas! and Missouri! If three states can do it with you two men, Why could not "48" states do it with James Walter Nichols and James Willeford?

Well Brother Roy, you will have to ""give this up also" for your poor brethren can't SEE THE DIFFERENCE and you are leading them into sin." Now never again will you hear Brother Roy's voice over that station nor Brother Yater's for they can't explain the difference. Of course "They can see the difference" but the rest of us poor mortals can't.

Brethren, HONESTLY, aside from everything that has been said or done about this affair on either side, What is wrong? Here you men ate doing on this station, sponsored by churches in three states, exactly what we are doing? We must STOP IT ALL AND START OVER or you men have surrendered your position right here.