Hershel Davis Joins the Liberals

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

In the September 19, 1968 GOSPEL ADVOCATE Brother Hershel Davis published a "Statement of Change." If a man sincerely changed his convictions, no criticism of his statement of change would be warranted. However, Brother Davis left some wrong impressions, and thus a few words are in order.

Actually Brother Davis did not write the "Statement of Change," as anyone who knows Hershel Davis would immediately know upon reading the "Statement." Brother Tom O'Neal has talked with Brother Davis, and writes: "He admitted that Brother Nichols did a good bit of the wording and writing of it." I not only knew Brother Davis did not write it, but I knew by its content who did write it. Brother O'Neal suggests that the "Statement" should have been entitled, "Statement of Change by Hershel Davis as written by Gus Nichols."

The last few months Brother Davis has been working with the Hilliard, Ohio church. The Hilliard brethren, whom I know quite well, did not do enough investigating before hiring him. After he had been hired, they found out that nearly everywhere he had worked, there had been trouble. Brother O'Neal reported the matter correctly when he said, "Brother Davis has been the kind of a preacher that draws problems wherever he goes. I do not know of a single work with which I have knowledge that he has not had his problems."

The Hilliard brethren had decided that it would be best that they just "tolerate" him for a year, and then not continue to employ him. In Brother Davis' "Statement" he says, "I am now without local work, having given up my work with the negative brethren . . . It was not easy to leave them . . . but I found myself out of harmony with their teaching', as well as their general attitude."

Brother Davis drove about 200 miles to visit in my home and to show me the letter the Hilliard church had given him in which they told him they wished to secure another preacher. Brother Rolland Fritz from Fort Wayne, Indiana was here at the same time. Brother Davis had caused so much trouble in so many different places that I just could not conscientiously recommend him to any church. He had come to see me for the express purpose of getting me to try to help him to find another place to work. He said not a single word in that session to indicate that he was "out of harmony" with us "negative brethren." Furthermore, he did not "give up" his work with the Hilliard church; they fired him.

Brother Davis is a man to be pitied, so far as I am concerned. He had marginal ability as a preacher, according to the reports that I received. He and his wife could not get along anywhere very long. If you should want to verify this statement, I suggest that you write the churches where he has worked. His creation of difficulties in the churches where he worked caused him to run out of a place to preach. I feel confident that if I would have referred him to a "negative" church that would have hired him, his GOSPEL ADVOCATE statement never would have appeared. Actually I felt greatly embarrassed not to assist an aged brother in finding a place to preach, but I could not do so, knowing his history. It would have been unfair to the unwary brethren.

Brother Davis had Brother Nichols to write up his "Statement of Change" only a few days after he left my house. At the price of his convictions he has purchased himself a mess of pottage. His "Statement" gives me complete confidence that I should not have recommended Hershel Davis. Perhaps there is a place for men like him in liberal churches, but not in those that would be faithful to Christ. For Brother Davis' sake, I regret his "Statement." But his "Statement" made under the circumstances herein related reveals~ completely his character. Such a man could be of no benefit to any faithful church, unless, many changes were wrought in his life.

July 1969