Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 21, 1955
NUMBER 49, PAGE 1,10b-11

"Hound Dog Sophistry"

Roy E. Cogdill

Brother Lemmons thinks I am like his "yellow hound dog" in at least a point or two and he may be right for I expect there are some traits I possess that are "hound doggish" in their similarity. But they may not be the traits he has in mind in his comparison at all. I have been in the woods a great deal first and last and never got lost in my life nor even confused. In fact I have been endowed with a rather acute sense of direction all of my life geographically and never have any trouble finding my way around as anybody will tell him who knows me. Neither am I "yellow" or at least I do not think I am and have never been accused of being that. Sometimes I think I hit a "scent" and it turns out to be a cold trail all right. And I have been known to be confused in the kind of scent I was tracking and that sometimes gets me into trouble and sometimes a troublesome scent that is hard to get rid of completely for some time. I wouldn't even deny that sometimes I bark up the wrong tree for all the good it does but on the other hand there is often something up that tree that doesn't appear at first glance and it takes a lot of patience and careful examination to reveal it. It may just be that he hasn't searched carefully and long enough to know what is "treed" where the hound is barking.

I am not naturally an antagonist by nature. In fact I am almost "hound doggish" when it comes to friendliness and that is one of my major weaknesses. When strange noises come around and strange shapes begin to take form, I can't keep from being uneasy though, in spite of all the friendly coaxing that is done. More than that, when I sense actual danger I am "hound doggish" enough that I just will try to warn the household that harm is about to be done. After all a hound should be good for something besides hunting squirrels and if it isn't perfectly normal for a good squirrel dog to be a good watch dog too, it isn't impossible at least to train him to be so. If I had to choose between the two, I had rather be the good watch dog that loyalty demands.

But it may be just possible that I can diagnose the "yellow hound" dog's trouble that Brother Lemmons used to have. It isn't always the dog's fault when he gets confused whether he is hunting squirrels or some other kind of game. He must understand what his master wants him to do and must be properly trained. I would think that perhaps Brother Lemmons' dog was poorly trained, for which you can't blame the dog always, or else Brother Lemmon's attitude confused him. When a dog really does tree a squirrel, if you don't go to him, he becomes discouraged and turns away. Too much of that and he isn't sure what you are hunting for or doesn't know whether you want to hunt at all or not. Brother Lemmons' dog probably thought he wasn't interested in squirrels and that it didn't matter whether the tree had a squirrel in it or not. If he didn't pay any more attention to the dog when he really treed a squirrel than he did to my article in answer to his editorial, I can't blame the dog for thinking that he wasn't interested in hunting squirrels.

I have noticed that it is always a lot easier to engage in sophistry and try to laugh off something than it is to meet the issue. In my article I charged Bro. Lemmons with actually putting Instrumental Music in the realm of expediency in his editorial and asked him to say so if he didn't mean to do it. He hasn't denied it but wants to be clever and cute and dismiss the matter as of no consequence. I am not willing to go along with him on that. He is in too responsible a position for that, and the issue is of much too serious consequence. Does he or does he not believe that instrumental music is a matter of expediency? Personally I don't know for I have never heard him preach nor have I ever discussed the matter with him or with anybody else that had anything more than rumors concerning his attitude on the point. I can only judge by what he said in his editorial and I was not alone in my conclusion. In fact, the editorial was clipped from the Firm Foundation and sent to me with a request for review. Others have spoken and written to me about his attitude. He is in a responsible position and can do an immense amount of harm by leaving even the wrong impression. If he didn't mean to say that instrumental music belongs in the realm of expediency, he should say so for he definitely left that impression. In fact, the impression is unavoidable, judging only by what the editorial said. I would be glad to correct such an impression if I left it upon anyone for fear of misleading some soul. More than that, if he doesn't believe that instrumental music is a matter of expediency he should be careful not to leave such an impression by what he writes.

If, on the other hand, he actually does take the position that instrumental music is in the realm of expediency like the digressives have argued all along, then the brethren have the right to know that such is his position and that they can expect such teaching in the pages of the Firm Foundation as long as he is editor of it. The paper has been published too long, had too much influence through the years, and still wields too much for such a matter to be taken lightly. Instead of evading the issue with his "hound dog" sophistry he should squarely face it and let us see what we have up the tree, then we will know what to do about it. But to go off and stretch out under the shade of another tree as if he had no interest in the matter and it was of no importance would confuse almost any well trained squirrel dog who thought he was really interested in hunting.

As for what I used to do in Frederick, Oklahoma, that goes back thirty years and I am sure that Brother Lemmons' memory of that isn't any better than mine. You would think from his boasting and attitude of superiority that he is a man much older than I and much more experienced. It may be that his hat is getting too little for him and he can't remember things too well. I didn't even know him while I was at Frederick. I may not have done as much squirrel hunting as he has, but it isn't because I haven't had as many years as he has. I preached my first sermon in 1922 and will finish my thirty-third year of preaching if I live until this coming November. I am not exactly a novice even though Brother Lemmons doesn't think I belong in his class. I was preaching on the "all-sufficiency of the Church" before I ever heard of Reuel Lemmons and that is for sure. So the haughty, superior attitude won't discredit the truth either. In fact in such matters I am not interested for they have nothing to do with the truth of God's word. When Brother Lemmons says though that it was twenty years after my work in Frederick before I even became aware that there was such an issue as an "institutional orphan home," he doesn't even approximate the truth of the matter. If he was that careless about what his "yellow dog" had up the tree, no wonder his dog got discouraged and disgusted with him and began to amuse himself. Back in those days I never wore suspenders and my head was so long that a sailor straw wouldn't "sit" square across my head, Brother Lemmons is confused and has another "yellow hound" in mind evidently. I have always stood squarely against the congregation doing its work through another organization and opposed it to the best of my ability. My record speaks for itself on that. Brother Lemmons will have to be pardoned for misrepresenting it for he doesn't know. As to his opposing orphan homes operated under boards, I am glad that he does. I didn't know it before and I couldn't find out from his editorial in the paper. He took the position in that editorial that taking care of orphans is the responsibility of the church and since God hasn't told us how to do it, we can do it any way that we think best. He further said if anyone tries to condemn any method selected, he is "driving the wedge that splits the log" and quoted Paul from Rom. 16 to show that such a person should be marked and rejected. He didn't say any method except a home operated by a board scattered all over the country. He made no exceptions in his article and if I hadn't written what I did, I wouldn't know now and neither would a number of other brethren, that he opposed such an orphan's home. I am perfectly willing to take his word for it, "If by an 'institutional Orphans Home' you mean one with a board scattered all over the country . . . you will remember as a high school kid I was cutting my teeth on this issue . . . I taught then that such a set-up could not be defended, and I haven't changed my mind about it since." Then in these words in a letter he states the matter even more positively, "The fact is I have fought the idea of a home under a board ever since I have been preaching". This is fine. I have at least one squirrel up that tree for sure.

Brother Lemmons can't go along with the Gospel Advocate and the institutional crowd of brethren who are trying to quarantine the rest of us; for to oppose such an "institutional orphan home" as Potter's, Child-haven, Tenn. Orphans Home, and Boles Home is an unforgivable sin to them. He must wear at least a part of the yellow tag of quarantine with us. His may be a pale yellow or it may be torn in two but it is there none the less. More than that he is guilty of what he condemned in his editorial because he said in that editorial that when you condemn a method of a church caring for orphan children you belong with the "Anti-Sunday School" crowd and are guilty of "driving the wedge and splitting the log". Well he condemns, and says he always has, a method by which a majority of the churches today are taking care of orphan children. Now where does he belong? Isn't it evident that he has already qualified his position in his editorial? If we can get him to qualify it still further and let the brethren know where he stands and where the Firm Foundation will stand on some other issues, we may find several squirrels up the same tree and all of our "barking" not be so crazy after all. We have already made some progress and I hope we can make some more. Let us do it by a question or two:

1. Brother Lemmons, do you believe and teach that the eldership of one congregation can direct a program of work for many churches? Whether it be radio work, orphan care, evangelism, or what?

2. Do you believe, Brother Lemmons, that it is scripturally right for elders of the Lord's church to contribute out of the treasury of the Lord's church to the building, support and maintenance of a school in which the Bible is taught and which is directed by a board of directors?

These are issues before the brethren today all over the land and they are important issues about which thousands of good sincere brethren just as pious and godly as Brother Lemmons are vitally interested. They have the right to know where he stands and where the Firm Foundation stands on these issues. I sincerely hope he will give us a straightforward answer. It would be good if he would have the courage to address himself to these issues in the pages of the Firm Foundation and let us know why he stands where he stands. I for one would like to know and I am sure that many more would. When he answers we will know what we have treed if he isn't afraid to "get out on a limb" where we can see. When he addresses himself to these issues we would also like to know if he believes and teaches that it is a matter of expediency as to whether or not instrumental music is used in the worship of God. We believe he is under obligation to answer these questions that the brethren may know where he stands and why. I may be entirely wrong but as far as I have known of him and his work he hasn't distinguished himself opposing anything. In fact, I have had the impression that he was so busy "cutting his teeth" and "outgrowing his tight legged britches and spitting off the curb while he gassed about other matters" that he hasn't had time to do too much opposing. If I do him injustice in that matter, it is just because of a wrong impression I have had.

Now, Brother Lemmons, don't think I am being mean and just "wanting to bite and devour" something because I don't have that kind of a disposition. I simply want to know what else is in the "tree" and frankly your editorial has made a bad. impression upon me about the "animal" and I am not alone. We hope you will be kind enough to tell us. I don't care, to put it in your own words, "one whoop" about your answering any article of mine. But I am interested in knowing where you and the Firm Foundation are going to stand? I hope you will stand for the truth and neither be ashamed nor afraid to let everybody know that you do. It won't make you any more popular but it will add your influence and the influence of the Firm Foundation to the force of truth on the issues that disturb the church today.

Don't you worry yourself about the space I have used because space in the Guardian doesn't cost you a thing. I you want to print my articles in the Foundation like we are printing yours in the Guardian and they are too long and expensive for you, I will try to cut them down to size if you will let me know.