Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 23, 1957
NUMBER 4, PAGE 5,13b

Another Open Letter To Brother Tant

John F. Reese, Abilene, Texas

Dear Brother Tant:

Thanks for printing my letter without any deletions and for the response you have made. I feel that we are making some progress in our study of the question in which we are both so vitally interested. In order not to impose unduly upon your hospitality I shall come immediately to the point.

1. You did not give me the passage of scripture requested that established by DIRECT COMMAND, NECESSARY INFERENCE, OR APPROVED EXAMPLE, that Bible School should be carried on as it is today. Remember you are talking to a THIRD GRADER by your own evaluation of my intellectual rating. What I need is simply and only BOOK, CHAPTER, AND VERSE that will justify your position NOT MINE. Since no PRINCIPLE of teaching can be considered, I am left only with the three things YOU have mentioned and I don't know where to put the Bible School Classes "as such". The passage you cited, if you will pardon my being so bold, comes near suiting the preaching of the gospel over a WORLDWIDE radio and Television program than it does by holding Bible Classes. I believe I will simply stay with brother Curtis Porter on the Bible Class question. I feel that we can defend it better in his way. He does admit the use of principle. Somehow I get the feeling we should have more principle in everything we do. Do you agree?

2. Back to the Boxes in The Vestibule. If what you said about them is correct, then I should be demoted much further back than the THIRD GRADE. In fact for the first time I am beginning to become a little worried. I'm not getting psychosomatic if I misunderstood that "EXPRESSION" because I wouldn't have enough mental capacity to get that way. In fact now I'm worried about you and me both if I misunderstood it. You see, you wrote it. I only read it. In addition there are other elders (at least congregations) who thought you meant "BOXES". In your editorial of June 7, 1956 (ONE WEEK after the original BOXES SOLUTION came out) you wrote under the title "THEY ARE DOING IT ALREADY" other congregations have placed a "BOX IN THE VESTIBULE" (Caps mine JFR), clearly marked and labeled as "CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE ORPHAN HOME" and all who desire to do so may drop their contributions in this box. All the money in the box goes to the orphan home selected, and none of the money from the regular treasury goes..." And now it develops that when you said BOXES you didn't mean BOXES. You simply meant BOXES which any third grader should know is only an "expression" a "phrase" a "custom" brother Wallace, Brother Harper and I and many others (thanks for putting me in this good company) have been practicing for years. Just an "expression". Phrases be. Do you mean sort of like "be ye warmed and filled" notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; (James 2:16) or as the Baptists teach concerning John 3:5 on the matter of "Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." I'm trying to find your approved example for such phrases. We have always said that Baptists are just trying to get out of a tight by saying that "WATER doesn't MEAN water". Our reply always is, and I actually believe that brother Reuel Lemmons can say it with more finality than anyone I have ever heard, "But what word would he have used if he actually meant WATER." Brother Tant, what would you have said if you had actually meant BOXES? It seems that you, yourself, actually thought that you meant BOXES IN THE VESTIBULE because they were to be MARKED PLAINLY, MONEY WAS TO BE DROPPED IN THEM, AND YOU SAID, "THEY ARE DOING IT ALREADY. I have been told by one of your most ardent admirers who is a mutual friend of ours and a gospel preacher, that there is no doubt but that you are the best educated man in the brotherhood today. That the head of the university in Pennsylvania where you studied (if I'm not mistaken) rated you as the most brilliant student he had ever encountered. I ask you in all seriousness and honesty, do you actually believe you didn't mean boxes ? Can you conceive of people that have been taught enough to want to give to a cause and then not have judgment enough to know they can't drop money in an EXPRESSION or PHRASE? How would elders who have progressed above the third grade be able to MARK a PHRASE CLEARLY to receive money for the ORPHAN HOME?" ALL THE MONEY IN THE EXPRESSION GOES TO THE ORPHAN HOME SELECTED (Caps mine JFR) and none of the money from the regular treasury goes". Now I'm prepared for you to say that you didn't mean treasury. Treasury doesn't mean treasury any more than boxes mean boxes and water means water and so as an Italian fruit stand operator used to say in Baton Rouge, "I'm all misked op". Add to that, that mark only means mark in "mark them that cause division" and in the words of another writer, "I'm ready to go fishing". "And (in your own words) is this not better than division"? Well, the Baptists are waiting for you brother Tant; they have been willing for years to compromise by leaving water out of John 3:5. Yet when you debate you say that fellowship in apostasy is one thing worse than division.

3. As to the fact that the North Park congregation will not help us this year. That is for them to decide. They have done so. We exercised out autonomy by asking their further help. They exercised theirs by declining. Yes, I heard it from one of their elders just a day before I saw it in the Guardian. We shall always be grateful for their cooperation during the past five years. They have rendered untold service toward bringing the gospel to millions every week by means of the coast to coast radio and television program. Should they see fit to help again later, we will be most happy to have them do so. After all ONE DOLLAR will pay for the gospel being preached over these stations to TEN PERSONS for an ENTIRE YEAR. Since you knew so much sooner than we that they would no longer help us, are we to apply the rule of INFERENCE and decide that it was because of your influence? You didn't say. In fact you have failed to say a lot of things but have inferred and implied much for the last two or three years. For the most part just enough to cloud the real issues.

4. Before we go into consideration of what you had to say about the Otis Gatewood Fraud, I feel it my Christian obligation as a brother to remind you of what Jude had to say about Michael not daring to bring a railing accusation against Satan himself. Of course, it is only an expression or phrase, but in the same book we are taught to pray for those that despitefully use us and the danger that accrues to our calling a brother a liar. The facts remain however that you did receive the check regardless of the motive that prompted its sending. It is also a fact that you endorsed it and forwarded it on to brother Smith in Germany in the name of the Gospel Guardian Company. It is a fact that the check is NOT MUTILATED. (See photographing the Indianapolis Debate, page 195, published by the Gospel Guardian Company, Lufkin, Texas, 1955 and advertised on back cover of The Gospel Guardian, November 1 issue, 1956) We recommend that everyone who doesn't have this book buy it while the bargain price may be had. The picture of the check alone is well worth the cost. It is little short of amazing how easily the German Bankers could expedite the handling of a check written in English and as mutilated as it is reputed to be in some quarters. As to whether or not I was unconscious at my typewriter, I am willing to leave it to the readers to decide. I didn't forward a check to anyone after telling them for years to NOT do it. I didn't tell anybody it was mutilated when even a foreigner could read it. I didn't get up before an audience of several hundred preachers and elders (one of whom is a third grader) and say "I didn't know what to do with it". You say brother Gatewood did right in sending, you did right in forwarding. Pray tell how you could be ensnared in doing right. Gospel Guardian, January 3, 1957. Boy, someone is truly unconscious by now. Brother Gatewood told me that he was simply "trying the spirits".