Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 5, 1957
NUMBER 31, PAGE 8-9b

Woods And Cox In Same Boat With Bogard

James C. Curtis, Huntsville, Ala.

Brother N. B. Hardeman had a debate back in 1938 with Mr. Ben M. Bogard, during which time Brother Hardeman constantly reminded Mr. Bogard that he (Mr. Bogard) ought to stop writing or debating, one of the two. This statement was made due to the fact that Mr. Bogard had written several books, one of which was titled "The Baptist Waybook," and from which Brother Hardeman quoted during the debate. Brother Hardeman would read a passage from the "Waybook" in which Mr. Bogard had written something that did not coincide with his present contention and he would say: "Mr. Bogard, you ought to stop writing or debating, one of the two." Mr. Bogard must have felt the weight of this reasoning because I am sure he realized that "Truth is always in harmony with truth," wherever it may be found. Also, if you are trying to defend error — something may have been said, somewhere, sometime that will embarrass you later on.

I know at least two "Brethren" that are in the same boat with Ben M. Bogard in that matter. Who are they? Why, Brother John D. Cox and Guy Woods, of course. Brother Cox has been, until the present time, regarded as sound and solid against "institutionalism." However, things look much different with Brother Cox now. It seems that he is going against everything he stood for, both in writing and preaching, to endorse the speedy apostasy of the "Gospel Advocate." In the editorial of the "old reliable" (?) of August 14, 1957, page 498, Brother B. C. Goodpasture commends Brother Cox on his stand. Under the caption "Organization and Work of the Church," Brother Goodpasture says; "The foregoing is the subject of an outstanding sermon delivered by John D. Cox at Sherrod Avenue Church of Christ, Florence Alabama. July 7, 1957. The sermon has been the subject of much favorable comment. Brother Cox is to be congratulated on making this clear and forthright statement of his convictions on a vital subject. It is heartening to hear reports from every section of the country concerning able preachers who make similar announcements. It would be fine if more of these brethren, like our able and highly esteemed Brother Cox, would send us articles or statements. An outline of Brother Cox's sermon follows."

Notice now, Dear Reader! Brother Cox accepts this commendation by Brother Goodpasture and thus countenances everything said about him. If not, let Brother Cox refute what was said in the article under consideration.

Here is a part of the sermon that Brother Goodpasture was making such a fuss over. Among other things, Brother Cox says; "The Church, as God set it up, is a teaching institution, but it is not a caretaking institution." Now Brother John D. Cox should stop writing or preaching, one of the two. Do you ask why? Because in 1951 Brother Cox wrote a book called "Church History" that contradicts what he said in his sermon (as quoted in the "Gospel Advocate") and that puts him in the same boat with Mr. Bogard. Brother Cox, you are meeting yourself coming back! You say in this "old reliable" outline that the Church is not equipped to take care of the needy; however, on page 90 of your "Church History" you made the statement: "The cry that the Church is not doing its duty along some lines is no justification for man-made schemes for doing the work of the Church." More from Brother Cox's "Church History," same page (90); "It (the Church) operated in "ALL" phases of its mission on a full scale. This can be done today." What's the matter John D.? Have you changed your mind about the Church being complete and able to operate in "ALL" phases of its mission?

Let me repeat that so that it may be clear to all. You say in 1951 that the Church operated in "ALL" phases of its work in the first century and can do so today. Now you tell us in the Gospel (?) Advocate, 1957, that she can't do it. NO! NO! I have learned that the Church just can't take care of its needy without a manmade institution because it is not a caretaking institution. You should have thought of that when you wrote your "Church History," then I wouldn't be able to say to you, as did Brother Hardeman to Mr. Bogard, "You ought to stop writing or preaching one." Remember, you can't wiggle out of this one, Brother John D., or as the Pennsylvania coal miner would say, "You best" stop writing Church History right away, or putting sermon outlines in the "Old Reliable."

I almost forgot, Brother Cox, there's another thing you can do to fix up the things you said in your book. You could dodge and quibble as Guy Woods has done, saying "Oh, I was talking about the missionary society." I must warn you though, Brother Cox, if you do decide to take that road to get out of the pickle you're in, just look over on page 91 of your book and you will find that you also said, "Let nothing be tied to it (the Church), nor suffer it to be tied to 'Man-made organizations' of ANY kind, for ANY purpose. In short let us keep our eyes on the New Testament pattern." Notice now John, you said man-made organizations of any kind, for any purpose was out with you at that time. A question now, Brother Cox; Is Childhaven with its board of directors, a man-made organization? If it is, (this you can't deny) you said in your book, "Suffer it not to be tied to the Church for any purpose" — and the Church "can operate in all phases of its work today, just as it did in the first century." Once again I must remind you, Brother Cox, either stop writing books or stop preaching because you are contradicting yourself by doing both.

I'd like you to look over on Page 91 (Church History by John D. Cox) and let Brother Cox tell us some more about the man-made institutions. Go ahead. Brother Cox, give us your beliefs on this subject. "In all of our thoughts of united and congregational cooperation," says Brother Cox, "let us keep the Church of the Lord free from 'Institutionalism'." When I first read this it seemed for a moment that I was reading from the Gospel Guardian, from the pen of perhaps Curtis Porter. You held the same position then, Brother Cox, that the Guardian holds now, i.e., that the Church is complete and can do any work the Lord gave her to do. Look, Brother Goodpasture! Look at Brother Cox's "Church History." Brother Cox uses such terrible terms as "institutionalism" and "man-made" organizations. You'd best get with Guy at once and see if he can help you out on Cox's previous writings when he met Brother Porter in debate. I beg you, Brother Cox, do one of these three things; either stop writing, stop putting outlines in the "Old Reliable," or go back to your previous convictions that "The Church can operate in all phases of its duty." May God help you to do the latter.

Now let's let Brother Guy Woods step up and have his say. In the 1946 annual lesson commentary of the Gospel Advocate Co., Guy gives us a bit of information that's very helpful. "When brethren form organizations independently of the Church, to do the work of the Church, however worthy their aims and right their designs, they are engaged in that which is sinful" (Page 338) Woods said much more on this same subject on the same page that is a complete refutation of what he now contends for. No comment is needed on his above statement — it speaks for itself. I couldn't make it any plainer than Guy has. "Guy" in the words of our Brother Hardeman to Ben M. Bogard, "You ought to stop writing or debating, one of the two."