Red Bluff Church and Florida College

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

For at least five years there has been a considerable element in the Red Bluff Road church in Pasadena, Texas which has opposed the existence of private educational enterprises such as Florida College at Temple Terrace, Florida. Brother Alva White, one of the elders there and whom I have known well for over ten years, was reared in what many would call an old-time Ketcherside congregation in Missouri. He has held an anti-Florida College position as long as I have known him.

But through his influence, he has convinced the other two elders (Curtis Torno, M.D., and William R. Coffey) also to accept his Anti-Florida College position. Through their influence, several others in the Houston area also have taken this position. Without particularly intending the remark opprobriously, let me state that they have accepted the position toward the college commonly referred to as "Sommerism," or "Ketchersidism" (before his acceptance of the modernistic position on fellowship).

The Red Bluff Road church understandably in recent years has used several of the preaching brethren who also have accepted their particular brand of extremism. Their present preacher, affable Brother Ralph Williams, has been convinced, and has therefore authored a ten page booklet opposing the existence of an educational body such as Florida College.

For several years, brethren who kept informed have known that the Red Bluff Road church was becoming the seat of this form of extremism among us at least in the Houston area. They were using various means at their disposal to agitate the issue. Most of us had hoped that these brethren would consider the matter more deeply, and would see the error of their contention, end drop their propagation of it. But not so. Instead, they now have publicly committed the congregation to the position. The elders state that they have read and endorsed Brother Williams' booklet. The congregation therefore now officially stands for the anti-Florida College position. So far, they have not yet accepted the other Ketchersidian fallacies of the anti-located preacher position and evangelistic oversight, and we hope they can see the error of these positions before advocating them or publishing booklets in their advocacy.

The booklet which they published was mailed to scores of preachers across the nation, requesting that if it could be answered that someone do so. I immediately wrote the brethren at Red Bluff Road stating that I thought it could be successfully answered, and volunteered to do so. I thought the brethren there might be interested in an oral discussion in the Houston area of the issues involved.

I was not presumptuous to think that men like James W. Adams or Roy E. Cogdill who lived perhaps not more than 20 miles from Pasadena were unable to reply to the Williams booklet. In fact, I suggested that Brother Adams prepare a written reply, which he agreed to do. Meanwhile, however, the President of Florida College felt the propriety of personally replying to the booklet. Since the booklet, at least by implication, indicts as unscriptural the Cogdill Foundation which is the publisher of Truth Magazine and organized like Florida College, I also felt the necessity of coming to our own defense. Forthrightness our so demanded of us.

Consequently, in a double issue which will be published on August 5th, we will run a lengthy reply to Brother Williams' article in Truth Magazine. Since this is an old issue revived which already has troubled the Lord's people in several areas, we are going to make available a number of extra Copies of Brother Cope's reply by a press over-run. Prices are $10 for 25 copies; $15 for 50 copies- $25 for 100 copies. Add two cents per copy for postage. In order that we might know how many issues to run, please place your orders by July 15th.

I have been fearful for five or 8 years now that this issue was going to have to be re-discussed among us. If Red Bluff Road church hears of C. R. Turner, Roy Loney, Wilford Landes, Winford Lee, Bill Hensley, and two or three others of the old-time Ketcherside type men, we are apt to have a new amalgamation - The Red Bluff Road church now officially takes the position lf the Ketcherside element. If they push it to the point of the break of fellowship as have the Ketcherside element, there is nothing to prevent a merger between them and the above named brethren unless Red Bluff Road church cannot swallow the anti-located preacher and evangelistic oversight positions.

If you are interested in a thorough and current discussion of this issue, or if you are being plagued by the problem in your vicinity, place your order now for Brother Cope's excellent reply. It will necessitate at least a 32-page booklet, but it will be run as a double-issue of Truth Magazine. If you are not yet plagued by this resurrected issue, remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." And it appears now that Red Bluff Road has no alternative but to attempt to promote their now publicly announced and advocated position. I regret to see innocent brethren both within Red Bluff Road church, and outside of it swept along with this erroneous tide. I hope most brethren will look more deeply into the issue involved than have brethren White, Torno, and Coffey, and my friend Ralph Williams, and reject their errors.

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 33, pp. 3-4
June 24, 1971