Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 8, 1955
NUMBER 41, PAGE 5,10b

That Blytheville Broadcast

Roy E. Cogdill

Mr. John P. Reese Church of Christ

Fifth and Highland Abilene, Texas

I have a copy of a letter written by you to Mr. David Dart, Durango, Colorado, in which you state,

"We doubt if Bro. Roy Cogdill will speak anymore against this program after having spoken over the Blytheville, Arkansas station on the gospel broadcast, quote, 'Sponsored by churches of Christ in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri.' He only had to announce twenty gospel meetings in Arkansas and Missouri or so the tape says on which we have a copy of the broadcast in his own voice."

Brother Reese you have been grossly misinformed and have reached some conclusions which are entirely unwarranted. You are guilty of grave misrepresentations of the facts in this case.

If you have relied upon E. R. Harper for your information, you should know by this time from all the confusion shown in his recent writings that you cannot safely rely upon him.

If you have, on the other hand, drawn your conclusions from the tape recording which you say you have, then you should have made a more complete investigation yourself before making such misrepresentations. You could have obtained the correct information, if you had wanted it, as to how this radio program is supported and controlled by writing the owner of the station, Brother Harold Sudbury, who is a faithful member of the church at Blytheville. In any event, I am putting you on notice now that what you say is not so and if you do not correct it, you will answer to God for it. If you are guilty of stating it again, you will be guilty of willful misrepresentation.

The facts are this:

  1. This program has been in progress daily for a number of years.
  2. It was originally started by E. W. Stovall and I understand that originally he did solicit funds to pay for the time from that entire section.
  3. I did not write the station announcement nor did I pay any particular attention to it if I heard it. It may be that an old form of announcement left over from the original arrangement was used but if so, it does not correctly represent the present way of conducting the program.
  4. There is no "centralized eldership" in control of the program. Each church supporting it pays for its own time, uses its own time, free from any control by the other. Is this the way the Herald of Truth is run?
  5. For some time the radio program has been paid for by only two churches, Steele, Missouri, and Blytheville, Arkansas. Each church uses half of the time and pays half of the bill without any contribution by any other church.
  6. The radio program is not "supported by churches in three states" as you allege in your letter.
  7. The meeting announcements to which you refer did not have to be made but were made as a matter of courtesy to other congregations and to encourage the preaching of the gospel.
  8. This is the information given to me by brethren in Blytheville, including Brother Harold Sudbury, owner of the station and faithful member of the church in Blytheville.

I have continued to condemn the Herald of Truth as an unscriptural arrangement and have no intention of quitting until I am convinced by the Word of God that I am wrong. If you doubt this, I ask that you grant me the opportunity of coming to Fifth and Highland and speaking on the matter. You say in your letter that the "Highland elders would sincerely appreciate your sending them the scriptural proof of any unscriptural practices in which they are engaged." Now Brother Reese, if that is so, wouldn't you be willing to hear them from anyone and wouldn't you rather that we come to you and bring them than send them? If not, why not? Then too, not all the members at Highland are in accord with what you are doing. Some of them do not believe it to be scriptural. Why not let them be heard in an honest investigation of the scripturalness of your position.

Another thing, Brother Reese, you demonstrate just how unsoundly you are thinking about this matter by the demand that you be shown "scriptural proof of any unscriptural practices" in which you are engaged. This is the sectarian approach and exactly the attitude taken by "digressive" brethren through the years. You line yourself up with them completely. It is your practice that is in question and which has caused the dissension among the churches. You are under obligation to produce scriptural authority for what you are doing. If you cannot show scriptural authority for what you are doing, then that is prima facie evidence that your practice is unscriptural. Or do you respect the silence of the scriptures any more? Are you still professing to speak where the scriptures speak and be silent where they are silent?

I haven't seen any effort to establish the scripturalness of your practice by scriptural arguments either from the elders at Highland or your preacher. You have sought to do it as you did in this letter — by getting something on someone else who opposes you, and in your efforts along that line have been as unfair, unchristian, and dishonorable as I have ever seen, brethren act. It is but a demonstration of what lengths men will go to justify themselves in what they want to do.

If someone proposed the introduction of instrumental music into the worship of the congregation where you serve as an elder, what would your objections be, or do you have any? Would you challenge for their scriptural authority for the practice as brethren have always done? If they undertook to prove it to be scriptural as you have undertaken to prove the Herald of Truth, you would no doubt think them terribly inconsistent, unreasonable and unfair. You would recognize that the burden of proof would be upon them and would charge them with dividing the church over a matter or practice that is non-essential and unscriptural. Brother Reese, YOU ARE THE MEN GUILTY OF THIS.

The eldership of Highland is operating in a capacity that God never ordained any eldership to act. You cannot stand on scriptural ground. You have perverted the work of elders and men like you are leading the church for which Christ died directly into digression again headlong. May God help you to see it and turn back from such a course while yet you can.

Why don't the elders at Highland set forth your scriptural reasons for doing what you are doing like you are doing it and let us examine them? We will gladly publish them in the Guardian and such an effort would be refreshing after all the ridiculous tripe you have published in "That the Brethren May Know" and which your preacher has written.

Are you willing to have the subject debated at Highland? Are you going to run from the obligation to prove your position or are you going to let your preacher meet Brother Tant on the question? We are witnessing something new in the church in this generation, brethren who will outright run from a discussion of differences or undertake to hide their unwillingness by refusing to discuss reasonable and intelligent propositions.

Before I finish this I would like to ask you this question also, "Do the elders at Highland endorse and have you approved all that Harper has written concerning this matter?" I have been thinking of writing and asking you this and I would like to have a forthright answer or statement signed by all the elders.

Sincerely yours, Roy E. Cogdill