“Doctrinal” Differences and Lindy McDaniel (III)

By Cecil Willis

Yet another period of several months has passed, during which time I suppose that I have been trying to convince myself that nothing more need be said publicly about the doctrinal stance of Brother Lindy McDaniel. Though two or three men of prominence have more than once sought to dissuade me in regard to saying anything more about his acceptance again of the loose views on “grace” and “fellowship,” there have been scores of brethren who have insisted that I had no other alternative. Even some of his fellow-owners of the Gospel Guardian have insisted that this matter be put before the brethren publicly. I have done my best to make the right decision regarding this matter, and have allowed myself so many months to deliberate on it that I feel I have been derelict in my duty regarding the matter.

Lindy has continued to tell people that I have misrepresented his position, for these reports have come to me from many sources. Some have even said that he successfully has done a “hatchet job” on me in Kansas City, a city where I formerly lived and worked. As the letters about to be cited will show, Lindy himself insisted upon me publishing an article written by him, but which article I told him beforehand would necessitate that I lay this whole matter out before brethren in chronological order, and let them see for themselves whether he has or has not wavered on this “grace-fellowship” issue. After too many months of reflection upon my duty in this regard, I still am settled in my persuasion that what I am doing, I should do. Yet as a guard, lest I make a severe mistake in judgment, it is my intention to ask several friends to both Lindy and me to read these articles before they are published. Their reaction to the articles will determine whether they should be published or not. Their appearance in print will be proof that several other brethren who consider Lindy and me to be mutual friends think these articles must be printed in order that brethren generally will know whether I have or have not misrepresented Brother McDaniel. In fact, the eight or ten brethren to whom I sent it were unanimous. They said, “It must be printed.” Scores of brethren have chastised me for being so long in writing these articles, a task which for me has been very unpleasant and difficult.

These articles are being printed with full awareness that their publication will bring the heavens down upon my head, so far as many brethren are concerned. But be that as it may, I feel compelled to press on with that which I feel duty-bound and honor-bound to do. To leave the matter where it has until now been left would leave brethren basis upon which to think that I had misrepresented Brother McDaniel, and basis upon which to indict my personal integrity. So after many months of reflection upon these matters, I am determined to press on with this chore, unto the bitter end, and then leave it to the judgment of the brethren, and ultimately unto the Lord, as to whether I have or have not misrepresented my friend, Lindy McDaniel. The last article ended with my letter of December 10, 1973. So we shall now proceed from that point down to the most recent happenings.

December 17, 1973

Later on in this exchange, you will find that Lindy asserts that he and I never exchanged but one letter about his convictions regarding these matters, prior to our February, 1974 Conroe, Texas meeting. Keep that in mind as you reflect upon previously quoted letters and now read from his December 17, 1973 letter, and several others to follow. In order to show where his sympathies really were then laying, I make the following quotation from his December 17th letter. (I am going to change the spelling in some of Lindy’s letters, even as I would hope he would do in a letter of mine if he found that I made some inadvertent error. I just hope I do not make any spelling errors as I seek to correct some of his!) Lindy wrote as follows:

“I have received your letter concerning your decision to discontinue Pitching For the Master. I can well understand the difficult position my doubts about supporting you has posed relative to your support of the paper. My doubts are genuine, and were openly expressed to you, and you should understand that I am not trying to use you, nor am I trying to play both sides of the current issue.

“If I cannot now concur with your judgment that very dangerous men are running loose connected with the Gospel Guardian, and that some of these are teaching `heresy’ to the destruction of many souls, does that mean that we must sever all relationships? Yes, we disagree over this matter, and I have not found the documentation to be sufficient to establish the very serious charges that are being made, and at this point I regard it as an issue blown out of proportion; (My Emphasis-CW) but my judgment could be entirely wrong. But yet I have sufficient doubts along these lines to make it impossible for me to support you in all good conscience. Certainly, considering the nature of your work, you would want your support to come from those who stand behind you 100%.

“If I were trying to deceive you, I could have just kept my mouth shut about these matters. If I were actually on the other side of the fence even now, I could simply allow C. E. I. company to publish Pitching For the Master, for 1 have reason to believe that they would be willing and happy to publish the paper. However, I am not siding with the Gospel Guardian, and 1 am not about to make a switch! If the time ever comes that I feel that way, you will be the first to know it.”

Now look at this letter in view of what has since happened. Keep in mind that Lindy said he is “not about to make a switch!” That is almost ludicrous. He already had switched! A few months before, he had been teaching a class in the Baytown church to try to show some of the errors on the “grace-fellowship” question. Furthermore, he freely admitted that he had been “caught up in this grace’ business” and was then hastening to try to salvage some of his young friends from this false position which he said previously was “simply the forerunner of views advocated by Ketcherside. ” But as of December 17, 1973, he thought that the whole issue had been “blown out of proportion” and that he could not concur that there were “very dangerous men running loose connected with the Gospel Guardian, and that some of these are teaching ‘heresy’ to the destruction of many souls . . . .” But keep in mind, he is “not about to make a switch!” If he were going to “switch,” he would just let the C. E. I. (former owners of the Gospel Guardian) publish Pitching For the Master. But who now is joining forces with him to publish Pitching for the Master? Hubert Moss, William E. Wallace (former editor, under fire, of the Gospel Guardian), and Gordon Wilson (former Associate Editor of the Gospel Guardian, and he also had been under considerable fire). Yet Lindy loudly cries every time someone tells him that I have represented him as having changed his position on the “grace-fellowship” question. But there is much, much more to come, and the later the letters get, the more explicit the change becomes.

In this December 17, 1973 letter, Brother McDaniel, magnanimously proposes that Cogdill Foundation continue to publish Pitching For the Master, and that I be “paid for services rendered.” Lindy went on to say that he “would suggest that full compensation be made: I have every confidence in your honesty and integrity in these matters, and I would suggest that you be liberal in what you feel would be just compensation.” This was a,. magnanimous gesture on Lindy’s part, and I appreciated it. I wish he still today had the same “confidence” in my, “honesty and integrity,” but he does not have, as later. shall be shown.

However, in the letter which I had written immediately preceding Lindy’s December 17th letter, I had stated as clearly as I knew how that I was not seeking compensation for my work done on Pitching For the’ Master. In my December 10, 1973 letter, I had told him: “Feeling the way you do about the matter, under no, circumstance could I in good conscience now accept support from you.” Money has not been on any occasion a factor in the doctrinal disagreements between Brother McDaniel and me, except that he said he could not in good conscience have fellowship with me in any way in the work I was doing. At no time did I seek, nor would I have accepted, compensation for my work done on Pitching For the Master.

Early 1974 Letters

In my files are two letters from Brother McDaniel that do not have dates on them, for some reason. I simply made a notation that I received them on January 2, 1974. The letterhead of one of the letters has been cut off; just why it was cut off I do not remember. The cut-off portion may have contained a date. But I think I received both letters the same day, since both have my notation of “1 – 2 – ’74” on them. In these two letters are many enigmatic statements, and many, many questions are raised in these letters. For instance, in one of the letters Lindy said, “I am simply withholding judgment until the facts are clear to me, but I certainly do have some doubts about Edward Fudge, and some of the explanations of William Wallace.” About two weeks before, he had said that he was not convinced that anyone connected with the Gospel Guardian was teaching false doctrine. What these “doubts” were in regard to Edward Fudge and William Wallace, Lindy

did not go on to explain. He again sought to make some arrangement whereby Cogdill Foundation would continue to publish Pitching For the Master. But in the same paragraph he went on to say, “I do admit that I have wavered on some of these issues, but my wavering is not nearly as great as you seem to imply in your last letter.” (Emphasis mine-CW) This is precisely what I had been telling brethren who inquired of me, regarding Lindy’s modified stand.

Lindy went on to say, “Surely the situation between us is unpleasant, but in my opinion, the unpleasantness has been occasioned by my commitment to support you, and then my backing down on that commitment.” This statement perplexes me to no end. I hardly know what to make of it. I had stated as clearly as I knew how that “under no circumstance could I in good conscience now accept support from you.” (December 10, 1973 letter) Some began to charge that the whole problem between Lindy and me stemmed from his failure to support me. But as late as June 12, 1974, Lindy was saving: “There are no doubt the `doctrinal differences’ to which you referred when you changed my statement. (My Emphasis-CW) These matters are defined in those 4 pages that I wrote to you in December of last year. I will stand behind what I wrote then …. I also do not believe that you are taking it out on me because I refused to support you. I have never said that and I have never believed it.” (My Emphasis-CW)

You can see that Lindy admits ours were “doctrinal” differences, and this was what I wanted made clear in the last issue of Pitching For the Master published by the Cogdill Foundation. Yet just two weeks later, Lindy was demanding an apology from me for adding the word “doctrinal” to his article. I explained in an August 8, 1974 article why I had added the word “doctrinal” to his article. It was because ours were “doctrinal” differences. In a letter dated June 24, 1974, Lindy said:

“Your adding the word ‘doctrinal’ to my statement in Pitching For the Master is without excuse. This certainly does not reflect my feelings on the matter. I did not agree that Pitching For the Master should be dropped from the Cogdill Foundation until your attitude on the matter was fully manifested to me. Also, I had no idea, even after we had agreed to disassociate ourselves, that you would take it upon yourself to attack me as you did. I fully expect an apology, public in nature, for your adding the word ‘doctrinal’ to my statement, and I expect a retraction of your misrepresentations of my position.” Now if I apologized to Brother McDaniel, I would be apologizing for stating what he now admits was the truth. We do have “doctrinal” disagreements! But did you see what, according to him, the real problem was? It was my bad attitude. It is very strange to me that every person who begins to depart from the faith ceases to be able to write so that people can understand him, and that everyone who opposes his false teachings inevitably has a bad attitude.

Perhaps I should add here that the disassociation of Pitching For the Master from Cogdill Foundation had the unanimous agreement of the Board of Cogdill Foundation. Men like Roy Cogdill, James W. Adams and Earl Robertson have been among Lindy’s closest friends. Why would they all turn against him at one time? Do you suppose they all also had bad attitudes, and that Brother McDaniel was the only one who had the right attitude? No, Brother Lindy, ours were indeed “doctrinal” differences on the subjects of “grace” and “fellowship,” and these “doctrinal” differences alone were the reason why those of us associated with Cogdill Foundation no longer wanted Pitching For the Master associated with it.

So many questions were raised in Brother McDaniel’s letters which I have marked as received by me on January 2, 1974 that 1 suggested that we try to get together to discuss the matters during a meeting I was to hold in Conroe, Texas February 3-10, 1974, at the congregation where Brother Roy E. Cogdill preaches. This is why our previously reviewed discussions (three of them) that totaled some 12 or 14 hours occurred in the home of Roy Cogdill in Conroe, Texas. It would have taken 50 pages to have answered all the questions that Lindy brought up in his six pages (two letters). I therefore proposed to discuss the matters orally, since one can cover as much in an afternoon as he can cover in 50 typewritten pages. Thus, we had our Conroe meetings.

Among other things dealt with in his six single-spaced pages was an answer to his own articles written the previous Spring. His own statement regarding his corrective articles, after he got straightened out in his thinking in late 1972, was as follows: “However, after a year of calm and studied reflection on these matters, I am not at all sure these articles touched the real issue that is bothering a number of people. It may very well be that my first reaction and assessment was correct, and that I am giving too much ground due to friendship, personal attachment, etc.; but at the same time, I do have a real problem in harmonizing the scripture as I try to hold on to my former views.” Notice that he already is talking about his ” ormer views,” yet he yells to high heaven when I in er mp iy’7’hat he has changed his views again, or at least he so protested until recently. Now he freely admits his change, as I shall show later. Once again he has fallen off into that deep rut that is so wide and slippery, made so by the previous slipping and sliding of men like Carl Ketcherside, Leroy Garrett, and Edward Fudge.

In these two letters of six pages, he raised the question of whether a Christian, when he sins and before he has repented and confessed his sin, is “in” or “out” of the grace of God. His statement was this: “If, as some teach, each act of sin separates from God (and John says that if we say we have no sin we lie), then every Christian faces the frightful daily situation of being in’ and out’ of Christ, or Fn’ and out’ of grace.” Later he asked me, “Which side of the coin do you take?” It was at this point that I wrote my ” In’ and `Out’ of Grace” article, which appeared in the May 23, 1974 issue of Truth Magazine. Brother McDaniel also added, “Any concept we hold must be harmonized with the picture in the New Testament that the child of God can constantly stand in a state of grace (Rom. 5:1; 8:1).” In my reply, I said, “If a Christian cannot be ‘in’ and later `out’ of grace, then only two alternatives are possible: (1) Either the Christian is always out’ of God’s grace, or (2) Else the Christian is always Fn’ God’s grace. Brother, as you said to me in your letter, `Which side of the coin do you take?’ “

It was during one of the Conroe, Texas discussion sessions that a preacher (Maurice Cornelius) who had come with Brother McDaniel for these discussions admitted that a Christian could die drunk, or .die in the very act of fornication, and still be saved “if his heart is right!” I never could quite comprehend the explanation of how a Christian whose heart is right can, at the same time, commit fornication and get drunk. Such logical consequences of the erroneous position which Brother McDaniel has espoused is what has caused me and others to label it as `pernicious error.” (See 2 Pet. 2:2-KJV). However, fairness demands that I state that Brother McDaniel immediately repudiated the consequences of his doctrine. The result was that the brother with him was wrong but consistent, and that Brother McDaniel was in the unenviable position of being both wrong, and inconsistent.

Though Brother McDaniel expressed his personal disapproval of both instrumental music in worship and institutionalism (as also do Ketcherside, Garrett, and Fudge), he also raised the question of how his position on “grace” and being “in” and “out” of grace affected the question of fellowship. He asked, “do you feel that all the brethren who preach for institutional congregations are false teachers; and is it your understanding that they are to be treated as ‘heretics’?” If one answered “Yes,” Brother McDaniel then wanted to know how some could “play dominoes” with institutional preachers, as he said some had done several years before at “The Arlington Meeting.” One easily can see how Lindy’s changing position on the subject of “grace” was affecting his position on fellowship, as it inevitably must.

Thus, Brother McDaniel continued, `If someone were to ask me if I thought that the institutional question involves substantial issues involving the will of God, I would answer, yes.’ If someone asked me if I thought that all people identified with the institutional churches were going to hell, I would answer, `No.’ ” Evidently he here is making some kind of minute differentiation between what he chooses to be called “substantial issues involving the will of God” and what the Bible calls “pernicious” error. (2 Pet. 2:2-KJV) It would be most interesting for him to delineate what differentiation he had in mind. Later on we are going to learn that he thinks that using instruments of music in worship also is one of those issues which involve “substantial issues” regarding “the will of God,” but over which at least some people are not going to be lost.

Upon receiving these six pages from Lindy, I wrote at the bottom of the last page that Carl Ketcherside or Edward Fudge could not have done a better job setting forth their position, if they had chosen to use the question-and-answer method of teaching, as Lindy had done. Evidently Brother McDaniel does not think it is `pernicious” error to pervert the organization and the worship of the church, if done through ignorance, or as a result of what he calls “the weakness of the flesh.”

In a letter dated January 18, 1974, plans were made for a face-to-face meeting and discussion of our “doctrinal” differences during my forthcoming gospel meeting in Conroe. For completeness of this chronology, I therefore quote three paragraphs from that letter.

“A few days ago I received your two letters. It had been my intention to write a reply to them, but knew that such a reply would entail many pages and perhaps several exchanges. Now it appears that we will have opportunity to get together and to discuss these matters face to face, and that would save us both a lot of time, and perhaps do more good too.

“It is my plan to attend the lectures in Florida week after next, and a California meeting trip recently has been rescheduled, so that I have some time free Feb. 310. That’s the week I was supposed to be in California. However, I also was to work in a Spring meeting at Conroe, so I now plan to be in Conroe the week of Feb. 3-10. If you are going to be home then, perhaps we can get together at that time. Or perhaps we can get together a while at the Florida lectures, in the event you will not be available Feb. 3-10.

“I certainly concur 100 percent that it would not now be wise for you to assist in providing any of the support the Cogdill Foundation now is paying me. As long as your convictions are as your letters indicate, I think it would be very inexpedient for you to contribute toward my support. But that still does not solve the problem in the opposite direction: that is the problem of us being partners with you in your work. Maybe I am dense, but I cannot see how, if you cannot have fellowship with us in the work we do through Truth Magazine, we are expected to be able to participate with you in publishing Pitching For the Master. This item we will need to discuss when we get together.”

Lindy’s January 23, 1974 Letter

When Lindy sent me the manuscript for the February, 1974 issue of Pitching For the Master, he enclosed a short letter. Most of that letter pertained to his move to Kansas City, but one paragraph relates to the matter under discussion. Lindy said:

`I am not very optimistic about resolving the differences between us, although they involve primarily matters of judgment in so far as I am concerned. I have thought much about the situation, and in the light of your statements about discontinuing Pitching and my present frame of mind on some of these questions about ‘grace,’ I see no solution except to abide by your wishes.”

My Letter of January 26, 1974

One other letter passed between us before we met in Conroe for the three discussion periods. That letter was one which I wrote, and which seas dated January 26, 1974. The following paragraphs indicated that the outcome of the Conroe meeting would be a severance of Pitching For the Master from the Cogdill Foundation, if the other board members felt as I did about the matter (and they did), and if I had correctly understood Lindy’s position, and the intervening time has verified that I did then understand his position correctly.

“. . . Unless your thinking is considerably different than that which your last two letters evidenced, I think you are right in stating that there is little chance in ‘resolving the differences between us.’ However, you need to keep in mind that these differences have only arisen since the close of the baseball season, or else you have been sitting on them for some time. You are back right now where you said you were nearly two years ago, or else I have forgotten entirely what you said back then. I have not sought out our correspondence back then. You are bound to be easily influenced by certain brethren, for you can make radical changes so easily. If you think Rom. 5:10 teaches the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us, you need to restudy the passage. I expected this would be the proof-text use to try to substantiate the ‘imputation’ doctrine. If Christ’s life is the means of our salvation, we had that before we had his death on the cross. Would his perfect life suffice, without the shedding of his blood?

” . . . As I told you earlier, it is not my intention to work any hardship on you in regard to your paper, and while you keep it a first principle paper and do not permit yourself to become associated with this loose position on grace and fellowship, we will give you plenty of time to make other arrangements. But if you start feeding-in little bits of this new doctrine on grace and fellowship, it will be necessary for me personally (and I feel sure the other Cogdill Foundation board members would concur) to disassociate myself from the paper. The article you sent this time was only a hair away from the positions you took in your previous letter in regard to all Christians being sinners, and I suspect your usage of Rom. 5:10 was intended to be a proof-text of justification on the grounds of the imputation of Christ’s righteous life to us.

You did not explicitly state this, and thus I do not charge it. I said along time ago that I do not intend to be hitched up with two papers, teaching opposite doctrines.

“You mentioned earlier that the Gospel Guardian may take over the publication of Pitching for you. They probably. would do so, and that would be the easiest route for you to take, in regard to getting cleared with IRS. But to associate yourself now with the Gospel Guardian. (unless you believe what they do) would be a damaging mistake, in my opinion.

“I surely hate to see you turn back into the gracefellowship error: You were nearly stuck in that two years ago, and then have acted like you were straightened out on it, and now you appear to be getting in pretty deeply again. I keep hoping your off.-season study soon will catch up and you will see the serious error with which you are toying. If you believe it, then you can only accept it. But I certainly do not believe it. You should remember that I am only one member of the Cogdill Foundation board, and this matter will need to be discussed with others on the board before the Foundation makes any decision whether to continue or to discontinue publication of your. paper:”

Conroe, Texas Meeting

These letters bring us up to the tithe of the Conroe meeting. Not much correspondence has: passed between us since then, but that which was exchanged was very revealing and informative. I regret having to take so much space to detail these matters, .but as I promised Lindy previously, if I published his article which charged me with misrepresentation of his position and demanded both an apology and a public retraction of what I had said regarding his position, then full disclosure of this whole matter would have to become a matter of public record.

In a letter dated July 22, 1974, Lindy instructed me: “Certainly I want you to go ahead and publish my answer to your charges. Anyone would surely want to defend himself against charges that are untrue and unjust.” Thus the die was cast; Lindy’s article was published; and now in one more article, I think I can complete the documentation of what has transpired. Then I will feel completely willing to let any interested brethren who care to examine the evidence decide whether Brother Lindy McDaniel has changed his position again on “grace” and “fellowship.” The evidence will make obvious the fact that once again Brother McDaniel has reverted to his 1972 defection from the truth on “grace” and “fellowship.” Of that 1972 position, Brother McDaniel himself said: “As I understand it now, the concept of `grace’ that is being advocated by various individuals is simply the forerunner of views advocated by Ketcherside. I have never embraced Ketcherside’s view of `fellowship,’ but I have been caught up in these views on `grace.'” (November, 1972 Letter). This precisely is the charge that I have made in regard to Brother McDaniel’s position, and now he is going to be my witness! But perhaps once again he can be rescued by someone. Perhaps once again he can be brought to say: “I have never personally held the views of Ketcherside on `fellowship,’ but I have been caught up by this `grace’ business. However, I now reject those views as being a perversion of the Biblical view. I am now in the process of writing to my friends who hold these views hoping to change their thinking.” (Letter to me, November 24, 1972).

The view which Brother McDaniel called “a perversion of the Biblical view” is precisely his present position. That “perversion of the Biblical view” I opposed in 1972, and I was forced to oppose it again in 1974 when Brother McDaniel again, espoused it, and since there is no evidence known to me that he has changed his mind, I must therefore in 1975 continue to oppose his “perversion of the Biblical view.” With the assistance of other brethren who love Brother McDaniel, perhaps we once again can influence him to join us in opposing . this “perversion of the Biblical view.” At least, such shall be the prayer of my heart to God for him.

(To Be Concluded Next Week)

Truth Magazine XIX: 24, pp. 371-376
April 24, 1975