Honor Among Brethren

Roy E. Cogdill
Henderson, Texas

It is amazing how little honor some brethren demonstrate in their dealing with those who disagree with them or who oppose what they want to do. Yet it should not astonish us too much when we look back at New Testament scriptures and see the same results and attitudes manifested when the truth was preached in New Testament days. It was demonstrated by the Jews in their treatment of Jesus. They either believed in Him or wanted to kill Him for opposing their traditions and plans. When Paul preached, some who were disposed to eternal life believed and others blasphemed and disputed what he taught and persecuted him. Some even wanted to kill him.

We need not be too much surprised when convictions and conscience impel us to differ with brethren and oppose them and they resent our opposition to the point of hatred, lying about and against us, and seeking any opportunity to disparage and destroy.

In the present day digression of thousands of brethren and churches over the question of institutionalism, such disposition has been demonstrated again and again. In fact, it has been so generally the attitude and practice of those who have made "idols" out of human benevolent and educational societies and intercongregational promotions that it seems sometimes to be almost unanimous. It has been said that there is no honor among thieves and we are nearly persuaded that the same is true of brethren when you stand up in opposition to what they have determined to do.

W. Curtis Porter was a gentle man in spirit and not given to violent or rash statements. You rarely provoked him to an extreme statement, but during the Porter-Woods debate at Paragould, Arkansas, where he met Woods for the second time, he said before one session, ... The biggest disappointment in this whole matter to me is the fact that I have yet to find one liberal preacher who will not lie when it will serve his purpose." I know what he meant and how he felt.

Guy N. Woods wrote a letter to a Filipino liberal preacher telling him of "The State of the Division." The letter was published in part in the liberal Filipino paper and James Miller, in the last debate with brother Woods rebuked him for the false statements it contained. According to Woods, there were no longer any "anti" preachers who would debate him on the Herald of Truth and the "Orphan Home" question. He had been so victorious in wielding the liberal hatchet that all of us had been vanquished and had taken out and were no longer willing to defend what we believe, preach, and practice. Moreover, he represented the "antis" as dying out and dwindling away. The hope was the mother of that falsehood. No one knows this to be a falsehood better than Guy Woods, and it is not an isolated case of telling them. They have become quite common. None of us has ever refused to meet him and in the last debate I had with him, I presented more than a dozen invitations from churches located in various cities for us to repeat the debate and he refused every one of them. We were invited by both his brethren and mine to discuss the same propositions in Bellflower, California, and he refused unless I would sign other propositions than the ones we had discussed before. I replied that if he would sign an acknowledgement that he had enough of the ones we had debated; I would talk to him about trying to agree on others. I have the correspondence to verify this.

Then the self-esteemed Ruel Lemmons wrote an editorial in the Firm Foundation, which is badly miss-named, in which he related how brother Cecil Willis and I had gone to the Philippine Islands and had gone among the liberal brethren and churches, splitting the churches and deceiving the brethren, doing much harm. He described it as "butchering" the cause of Christ. Brother Lemmons was butchering the truth. There was not a word of truth in it. Brother Willis and I did not visit a single liberal congregation - not one. We did not contact a single liberal preacher. The only liberal preachers we were privileged to see were a few that came to the Mlang meeting and tried to defend their position. This the "American Missionaries" refused to do. But the facts would not keep brother Lemmons from saying what he wanted to say. I do not know his source of information, but he was not over there and could not speak of his own knowledge, so be was repeating some hear say or he was hatching it all up by himself.

He put out the statement about three years ago that the Firm Foundation Pub. Co. owned the copyright to my book, The New Testament Church. He said they had printed the first edition of the book and that when the division came along I began to print and sell the book myself in disregard of their ownership of it. According to him, they had been magnanimous enough to give me no trouble for doing so. I called his hand face to face on this falsehood in the presence of the brother to whom it had been told. I pointed out to him that I published the book first in 1938, paid for it and the binding out of my own pocket and that the Firm Foundation had nothing to do with the first edition or any subsequent edition. They have never even submitted a bid on printing it and have never been asked to do so and have no claim on it whatsoever in any way. He meekly said that George Showalter had told him what he had repeated. Isnt it amazing?

In recent issues of the paper published by the liberal brethren in the Philippines they have been consistent with the spirit of liberalism by filling their publications with falsehoods. They not only falsely accuse those of us who have been over there, but slander every faithful preacher of their own race that does not agree with them on the institutional issues. They are not courageous enough to call names but used fictitious designations - n.n.; v.v.; etc. They have learned well from the American brethren, and the way they tell it every faithful preacher in the Philippine Islands is a scoundrel morally, preaching for the money, bought to preach, etc. This kind of lying is cowardly and vicious. A man is simple who thinks he can convince intelligent people that everyone who opposes their missionary society, benevolent society, and educational society, and other innovations is a scoundrel, while all who accept and defend them are saints.

Such character assassination needs to be indulged in only by those who have no scripture for what they do. Nothing is more apparent than that those who advocate and try to defend their human benevolent and missionary societies have no scripture to stand on.

If one could prove that all on either side of the division over human institutions are vile in character, how would it establish the scripturalness of anything? Why then engage in so much dishonorable misrepresentation? Very evidently they operate on the theory, "If you cannot disprove a mans testimony, discredit the witness." Honor in dealing with one another seems to be a forgotten principle.

February 1, 1973