By Cecil Willis
The last article in this series explaining just what “doctrinal” differences existed between Brother Lindy McDaniel, and myself and other members of the Cogdill Foundation Board, brought us chronologically to the time when the three sessions of discussion consisting of twelve or more hours occurred in the home of Brother Roy E. Cogdill of Conroe, Texas the week of February 3-10, 1974. In addition to myself, Brother Cogdill, and Brother Lindy McDaniel, Brethren Keith Sharp, Maurice Cornelius, and John Kilgore sat in on one or more of the three discussion periods. As best I remember, only the first of these three discussions was recorded. That recording was made by Brother McDaniel, or by someone who came with him. The first discussion was confined mainly to a discussion of the teaching of the Book of 1 John, with considerable time being spent upon 1 Joh1:6-2:2. Particularly discussed at length was what item-giant to “walk in the light, ” and whether repentance and confession were essential to the forgiveness of what Brother McDaniel chose to call “sins of ignorance” or “sins which result from the weakness of the flesh.”
My Letter of February 26, 1974
In a letter dated February 26, 1974, I asked Brother McDaniel, “if you recorded our discussion in Conroe the other day, how about providing me a copy of the tape. I don’t think our discussion was recorded the second day, was it? If you were not the one who recorded the session, have the fellow who did so to make me a tape, and to let me know the cost.” Further showing the consequences to which the doctrine which Lindy had espoused led, I related in my letter to him an incident that had occurred in Athens, Alabama the preceding week, and which has been mentioned previously in this magazine. That section of the letter was as follows:
“Ron Halbrook and Steve Wolfgang were in Athens last week. Ed Fudge’s father-in-law attends where Steve preaches in Franklin, Tennessee. Steve is coming here for a meeting March 24th. So he called me Saturday night. He said he listened in on a discussion between Ed and Ron in the bookstore in Athens. He said that Ed apparently lost control of himself, and charged that what Ron had written about him was nothing but a bunch of damn lies.’ Steve said Ed’s mother also heard the discussion o she walked in about the time that Ed made that remark. I am sorry to hear of that. But with his view on grace, I don’t guess he figures he has much to worry about. That was probably a sin resulting from the weakness of the flesh, and perhaps God will overlook it. I just can’t buy that doctrine, Lindy.” So far as is known to me, until this day Brother Fudge has neither denied making the statement, nor has he made any apology to anybody involved for language so unbecoming a Christian and a gospel preacher.
Lindy’s March 19, 1974 Letter
In a letter of reply dated March 19, 1974, Brother McDaniel wrote as follows:
“I want to emphasize again that you are absolutely dead wrong about some conclusions you have drawn about my positions. As to my practice and teaching, you need only to inquire with the brethren in Baytown, Texas where my family and I have worshiped for 9 years, in Fair Lawn, New Jersey where I have worshiped while playing for the Yankees the past 6 years, and with brethren all over this country wherever I have traveled. Also, I have talked freely to Keith Sharp, preacher in Baytown as to my positions on various issues, myself to many others. I have nothing to hide, and I have done nothing in a corner. Keith strongly opposes many things taught by Carl Ketcherside and so do I. Keith and I do not agree on everything; but he does not consider me to be radical or dangerous. When you said that what I wrote in my letter to you is virtually what Carl Ketcherside teaches, I was shocked. Be that as it may, I must teach the truth as I understand it.
“Your position that every sin separates from God’ must lead you to the conclusion that the child of God is constantly m’ and out.’ of grace, as you have admitted. , This is consistent with your position, but this is not consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:12; Rom. 8:1-4; Col. l:l-2; etc.). There can be no real joy and peace if we must constantly be gin’ and out’ of grace. Again, your position demands that you can be in grace only when you are sinlessly perfect in practice. Can we constantly `walk in the light’ without being sinlessly perfect in practice? You deny that `walking in the light’ demands sinless perfection, but your theory demands it.”
Brother McDaniel’s position about one being able to “walk in the light,” even while he is sinning, inexorably leads him to the conclusion that sin is within the light. When one who “walks” (this refers to a general course of conduct “in the light” sins, the sin which he commits is not committed “in the light.” If that were so, then “light” includes sin, and leads one to sin. The Bible teaches that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 Jn. 1:5). If “light” has sin within it, then this would imply the blasphemous thought that both God and Christ could have sins in Them. “Light” and “darkness” in the Bible are exact opposites. In God,there “is no darkness at all.”
The difference between Brother McDaniel and me on this point boils down to this: I teach that whenever a Christian sins, he must repent of that sin and correct it before God will forgive him; Brother McDaniel teaches that if the general course of one’s life is to “walk in the light,” then whenever that person commits either a “sin of ignorance,” or a sin that “results from the weakness of the flesh,” God will forgive that person whether or not he repents of the sin, confesses. the sin, or asks forgiveness of that sin. This is where what we have called Lindy’s “automatic” or “unconditional” forgiveness comes into the picture. Here it should be inserted that Brother McDaniel considers sins such as the usage of mechanical instruments of music in worship, the practice of sponsoring-church-ism and congregational contributions to human organizations to be among the sins “of ignorance” or “of the weakness of the flesh” which God will forgive, though those guilty of such sins never confess them, repent of them, or ask forgiveness of them.
But the Bible teaches that even sins of ignorance are chargeable to one. Paul said he sinned “ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Tim. 1:13; Acts 26:9), and Paul told the Athenians that God now “commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent” (Acts 17:30,31). Or, are our brethren going to contend that “sins of ignorance” are chargeable to aliens, but not chargeable to Christians? If they so contend, let them cite their prooftext. It seems that “Men . . . all everywhere” would include Christians. If not, why not? Even the Gentiles “without the law” sinned and stood condemned in their sins (Rom. 2:12; 3:9, 23) until they obeyed the gospel (Rom. 1:16, 17; 6:17,18). David prayed for the forgiveness of his “secret” sins (Ps. 19:12), and so must we.
Do you not ask God to forgive you of the sins you have done through ignorance? If not, you should ask Him forgiveness of such sins. Simon, the Sorcerer, “thought” he could purchase the power of God with money. About this matter he was wrong; he was ignorant. But nonetheless, Peter told him to “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness” and charged that he was “in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” Peter also told him that unless he did repent and pray, his silver would “perish” with him. There is no hint God would overlook this man’s sin; yet it was done in ignorance. Had Brother McDaniel, rather than the Apostle Peter, been there, Simon would have been told that “if the general course of your life is to walk in the light, then matters like this point upon which you have been ignorant, God will forgive without repentance, confession, and prayer.”
Within a matter of a very few hours after our Conroe discussions with Lindy, Brother Cogdill and I went to Livingston, Texas to meet with James W. Adams, who for several years had preached for the Pruett and Lobit church in Baytown, Texas where Brother McDaniel had been a member, and where Keith Sharp was then preaching and where Keith yet lives and preaches. Brother Adams completely understood Lindy’s position, and his error, and fully concurred that we had no alternative but to sever the relationship between Pitching For the Master and the Cogdill Foundation.
It is true that Brother Keith Sharp shortly thereafter “sharply” rebuked me for what I said in regard to Brother McDaniel, and his position. But he later wrote me and profusely -apologized for his criticism though I had not yet replied to his letter, and said that he since had been engaged in lengthy discussions with Lindy, and that I had not misrepresented the fact concerning Lindy’s change of position on grace and fellowship. Keith on July 13, 1974 wrote me retracting some of his previous criticisms. Then he added:
“Concerning whether or not Lindy has `bit the dust,’ I must admit that I now have serious reservations about Lindy’s soundness, although I am not ready to ‘write him off.” From the tapes of the meeting at Conroe …. I have found that Lindy, after I left, stated that his attitude toward ‘brethren in error’ had changed, that he believed in some ‘imputed righteousness’ (which we all do-Romans 4:22-but, in the context, I am afraid he meant a Calvinistic brand), and he stated at Conroe and in other conversations he could no longer write the articles he had earlier (written-CW) exposing the errors of Ketcherside, Fudge, et al. If I understand what Lindy means by these statements. I strongly disagree with each of these positions.” In fact, Keith since has told me more than once how nearly he came to getting sucked into the quicksand of this insidious false teaching. He said his father (Harold Sharp, a faithful gospel preacher) had been of tremendous help to him, enabling him to see the Calvinism inherent in this new flurry of Calvinistic error.
In fact, you might like to go back and look at Keith’s very good article entitled “The Sins of a Christian” in the February 6, 1975 issue of Truth Magazine. In that article he first quoted from a Baptist book entitled Church Member’s Handbook, by Joe T. Odle. On page 18 Odle said, “Sins of Christians are not charged to them as far as their having to die for them is concerned.” Immediately thereafter, Brother Sharp quotes what “Several preachers and members .of the Lord’s body around the brotherhood” have been teaching. These brethren have been teaching, according to Brother Keith Sharp, that “Sins of ignorance and human weakness of Christians are not charged to them as far as their having to die for them is concerned.” (This is a verbatim quotation from a letter dated Jan. 23, 1975 from Lindy to Keith, a copy of which I hold in my hand at this very minute.-CW) Then in the article by Brother Sharp, there follows a splendid refutation of both of these statements of “Baptist” false doctrines.
Upon receiving Brother Sharp’s article, I called him and asked him if he minded telling me who some of “These brethren” are who are teaching this false doctrine. He readily named Brother Lindy McDaniel as being among those to whom he had referred. I then said, “Keith, then why don’t you say who you are talking about? You know who you are talking about, and I know who you are talking about, but every time I charge that this is the position held by Brother McDaniel, I am charged with misrepresenting him.” I went on to express to Keith that I somewhat resented brethren who also knew of this error permitting me to be made to appear as a liar, and permitting me to take the entire brunt of opposing such a one in his false teaching. Keith responded by saying, I think you are right, and I think I should name who I am talking about, and I will send you a letter tomorrow verifying that Brother McDaniel is among those whom I had in mind when I wrote that article.” Of course, these conversations are just from memory. I did not record our telephone discussion, but if I have in any way misrepresented the matter, I ask Brother Sharp to correct any mistake I made. (Keith has now read these articles and verified that this report is correct.) Keith’s letter to me is dated January 8, 1975 and reads as follows:
“Brother Lindy McDaniel is a close personal friend of mine. I consider him and his family to be some of the finest people I have ever been privileged to know. Until their move to Kansas City, the McDaniel’s were for nine years members of the Pruett and Lobit church of Christ where I preach. The quotation in the article, `The Sins of a Christian,’ concerning what ‘Several preachers and members of the Lord’s body’ now are teaching, is my personal recollection of what brother McDaniel believed and taught in private discussions in Baytown at the time of his meetings in Conroe, Texas with brethren Cecil Willis and Roy E. Cogdill. It is also my understanding, from Lindy himself, that brother McDaniel took this
position as the result of discussions with and listening to tapes of sermons by brother Hubert Moss of Arlington, Texas.” (Letter signed, In Christ, Keith Sharp.”)
“Sins of ignorance and human weakness of Christians are not charged to them as far as their having to die for them is concerned.” This was the position which Brother McDaniel held in February, 1974, and he repeated this statement identically in his letter dated January 23, 1975. I might just add in this connection that Brother McDaniel and Brother Hubert Moss are also both close personal friends of mine. In fact, Hubert and I attended Florida College together, and his good father yet serves as an elder in the faithful Thayer Street church in Akron, Ohio, a city in which I lived and worked for eight years.
For some time, I have known that Brother Hubert Moss was the source of many of the erroneous teachings advocated -by Brother Lindy McDaniel. It has been my judgment that Lindy has permitted himself to be used as the public mouth-piece for Brother Moss’ erroneous teachings. Hubert has not put much into print on these matters. But several brethren have told me that they “had heard enough” to know what he believed, after hearing him some two or three years ago as he spoke on the Florida College lecture program, which I missed due to illness. Perhaps now Hubert and his three or four preacher-cohorts in the Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas area openly will come to the defense of what they covertly has been teaching. Now, lets see who all that statement brings letters from! I could give you their names in advance, if you wanted me to do so . . . unless they continue to do as they have done thus far, .and that is to. sit quietly on the side-lines while they let Lindy be their mouth-piece and let him.bear the brunt of trying to defend what they both believe and teach. The mere fact that the Arlington, Texas church, where Brother Hubert Moss preaches, recently had Brother Ed Fudge there to speak for a week on his new “Unity in Diversity” doctrine should tell one a good deal about where both Hubert and at least some considerable part of the Arlington congregation stand, though I know that some there are strongly opposed to what Brother Fudge taught. I might just add here that Brother Fudge’s views on “Unity” have now divided the Arlington church.
Lindy’s April 20, 1974 Letter
Along with the copy for the May, 1974 issue of Pitching For the Master (which was the last issue published by the Cogdill Foundation), Lindy sent along a one-page letter. Following are some of his remarks found in that letter:
“Enclosed is the May issue of Pitching For the Master. As mutually agreed, this will be the final issue under the Cogdill Foundation. I hold no bitterness in my heart, and I am truly sorry that the situation developed along these lines. For, conscience sake, and for freedom to express the truth as we understand it, I know of no other alternative. It is certainly true that I cannot agree with some of your means and methods of pressing the ‘grace’ and ‘fellowship’ issues, and to some degree we are not agree as to some basic principles involved; and thus, this has resulted in the necessity for our going separate ways.” (My Emphasis-CW)
Lindy then continued: “In my opinion, you have some rather simple concepts of what constitutes a ‘Ketchersideite’ or a ‘Calvinist.’ ” Having read nearly every line that Carl Ketcherside has written since 1950, I felt I had a reasonably good idea of what Ketcherside believed. In fact I felt quite confident I had at least as good knowledge of what Ketcherside taught as a baseball player who will not even take the time during the baseball season to read any of the religious journals, and who had only been reading Ketcherside’s materials for a couple of years or so. It also just happens to be my opinion that one of the principal reasons for the discord and difficulties we are having is because a host of our younger preachers (and some not so young) very evidently do not recognize Calvinism when they confront it face-to-face, particularly when it is fed to them by the spoonful by Neo-Orthodox theologians who have made slight modifications in the definitions of some Calvinistic terminology.
But Lindy’s April 20, 1974 letter continued, and following was the boldest expression of his willingness to accept the consequence of his looser view on “grace.” that he had ever expressed to me.
“I can honestly say, in spite of the serious wavering you accuse me of over the past year or so, 1 have not believed for many years that every sin separates one from God’ or that everyone identified with the instrumental or institutional brethren are going to hell.’ I was shocked to realize that these ideas are fundamental to’ your whole approach to the issues of grace’ and fellowship.’ I would be surprised if very many brethren agree with you on these matters. I personally know of several preachers, whom you now consider to be ‘sound’ in the faith, who would take strong issue with you on these points. In view of these basic differences (My Emphasis-CW), which have just recently been brought to light, it appears inevitable that problems between us would develop.”
This statement merely shows how naive Lindy has been all along as to what the basic issues have been in this discussion on “grace” and “fellowship.” I must have stated it twenty times already, but once more perhaps will do no harm: This entire discussion over “grace” and “fellowship” is but a futile effort on the part of some among us to solidify some rationale which will permit them to fellowship the liberal brethren in the Institutional Churches of Christ, and some in the conservative Christian Church! The mere fact that this precisely is the point to which it has brought Brother Lindy McDaniel is but another proof that this affirmation is the truth.
After receiving Lindy’s April 20th letter, I talked with him at length about these matters on the telephone. I tried to make him see the utter absurdity of him driving so far out of his way in order to worship at Fair Lawn, New Jersey or at some other faithful congregation, if these were not matters over which brethren would be lost. I pressed him to explain to me how he could justify the effort he (and several other brethren, including his parents) had made several years before to start a faithful congregation in Altus, Oklahoma, which is near Lindy’s hometown. I told him that if he had been a party to
“dividing a church” (as the liberal brethren would ex press it) over issues concerning which one would not be lost, no doubt he had sinned in so doing. How could he now justify his part in that Altus action? Quite a few seconds of utter silence then passed! Finally, Lindy said, “I can only say that I have done many things in the past that I would not do again.” We were only discussing one point at that instant. How could he justify starting another church in Altus over any issue concerning which he said one would not be lost? His answer permits but one inference: He would not now be a party to starting a sound church in a city like Altus, Oklahoma over the issues that separate us from liberal brethren.
Do you not see, brethren, where these looser views on “grace” and “fellowship” inevitably lead? Is there anyone who now can believe that Brother Lindy McDaniel has not changed his position on these issues???? If you can see his change, then all that I have charged in regard to his change of positions has been sustained. Lindy McDaniel himself is my prime witness to his change! But if he should yet be inclined to deny the change, shortly I will quote his admission of it to you from his own letter. Yet he demanded that I apologize publicly for charging that he had loosened his views on “grace” and “fellowship.” You can see now, I am sure, why I did not make that apology. I knew that I had not misrepresented his position, and scores of other brethren also knew that I had not misrepresented his position.
Now suppose I had retracted my charges and apologized. Now that Lindy himself freely admits his change, he justly now could demand that I publicly apologize for my apology, for he now freely admits that his views on “grace” and “fellowship” have wrought a drastic change in his attitude toward the institutional brethren, and even toward some people who use instrumental music in their worship (such as the “Conservative” Christian Church). Incidentally, I have never seen a “Conservative” Christian Church. I know that “Conservative” is commonly accepted terminology, and I have used it myself, but I really never have seen or been in the services of a truly “Conservative” Christian Church. “Conservative” and “Christian Church” are contradictory terms. Why, oh why, cannot brethren see where these false teachers are leading them? Some deny where they are being led until they get there, and then by the time they arrive “there, ” they then deny that they are “there.”
However, to be completely accurate, I should state, that Lindy still believes that if one continues to use mechanical instrumental music in worship, or continues to engage in institutional practices after that he learns such is sinful, then that person is deliberately, highhandedly, defiantly; and rebelliously disobeying God, and such a person will be lost eternally. Wonder who he could find that admits he knows that instrumental music or institutionalism is wrong, but that he, in open defiance to the will of God, is going to continue the practice anyway? Reckon Guy N. Woods, B. C. Goodpasture, Donald Hunt or Burton Barber would make such an admission? If not, then according to Brother McDaniel, God will remit their sins in regard to such practices, regardless of whether they ever repent of these sins, confess these sins, or ask God’s forgiveness of these sins. And to be consistent, Brother McDaniel should fellowship all of these. Perhaps he now will!
Lindy’s Later Letters
I think my letter of February 26, 1974 was the next to the last one which I have written to Brother McDaniel. The content of my last letter soon will be recited. This is not to say that I refuse to correspond with him any further, but the twelve or more hour conversation with him at Conroe, plus the statements he has made in succeeding letters, left no doubt in my mind as to what he believed and as to where he stood. Furthermore, this conversation and his following letters, confirmed the fact, beyond doubt, that I could not work closely with him any longer. We were diametrically opposed on some important issues, and his efforts could only lead to “union in compromise,” and of that, I wanted no part. However, Lindy has continued to write me a few letters, and they only further verify the charge that he has relapsed into the Edward Fudge type of loose concepts on “grace,” and “fellowship,” and this only could result in a softening of his stance against digressives. Of course, brethren Ketcherside, Garrett, Fudge, and McDaniel all deny any major change in their basic convictions. They merely affirm that their own attitudes toward those who hold opposing views on instrumental music and institutionalism have changed. They seem not to fear the grave consequences they once saw in such digressions and innovations.
In a letter dated June 12, 1974, Lindy stated there are “specific questions on which we differ, such as Does every sin separate from God?’ and `To what extent can we fellowship institutional brethren?’ ” But of these differences Lindy said, “I do not consider them matters that should necessarily cause a break in our association.” But I have as little use for a sympathizer with a teacher of error as I have for the man who actually teaches it. As a man nearly 40 years old, of course Lindy can go on playing “footsie” with the liberals if he wishes to do so, but I have no time to squander in gestures of compromise with digressionists.
In his letter dated June 24, 1974, Lindy was protesting my editorial ” ‘In’ and `Out’ of Grace” which appeared in Truth Magazine May 23, 1974. In this letter he said, “You will find enclosed my answer to your editorial in Truth Magazine. Your editorial is one of the most blatant examples of irresponsible writing I have ever seen from the pen of a brother in Christ. If you are my ‘friend,’ then I need no enemies. As someone recently said in an article, these fellows who are going soft on the “grace” and “fellowship” issues can be mighty sweet, until you step on their rattlers.
He then charged, “The meeting in Conroe, Texas was arranged by you, and it was obviously not for the purpose of objectively discussing our differences. Your mind was already made up . . . .” Lindy would have you to believe that he was the only really open-minded person in those discussions; at least he does not here attribute to me the honesty and integrity with which he shortly before had credited me. I must confess that Lindy’s six page single-spaced letter which I received on January 2, 1974 convinced me rather completely that he and I were headed down different roads. But his memory does not seem to be very good, for on January 23, 1974 he had written: “I am not very optimistic about resolving the differences between us . . . .” Well, neither was I.
Then follows this astounding statement: “Contrary to what you said in your editorial, we had no exchange oil correspondence on these particular issues prior to the meetings in Conroe.” Can the man not read the lengthy exchange of letters that have passed between us for more than two years, and from which I have quoted profusely in this series? So he charges, “Thus, it is not true that I had written to you several times trying to explicate my views.” In answer to this unbelieveable charge, I only ask that you please look back through these four articles and see if he and I had exchanged views in our letters in regard to these matters, and see if he has or has not tried again and again “to explicate” his views.
He then charges that I “misrepresented” his views “several times” in my article. Thus I have gone to great length to set before you his views, as expressed in paragraph after paragraph in his own verbiage, in order to permit you to decide as to whether I misrepresented him or not. He closes this letter with this adamant demand: “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.” But in his April 20, 1974 letter, he himself had said: “In view of these basic differences,. . . it appears inevitable that problems between us would develop.” We did, and still do, have basic doctrinal differences, and these “doctrinal” differences are precisely why the Cogdill Foundation no longer was willing to publish Pitching For the Master. How can I apologize for saying what he now admits to be the truth? We do have “basic differences;” and they are “doctrinal” in nature. I am sorry they exist, but I am not going to lie about the matter, and try to make out like they do not exist by some kind of mock apology.
My Last Letter-July 15, 1974
“Your letter of June 24th, along with your article . “Answering Cecil’s Charges,” has been received. Enclosed is an article explaining why, I injected, the word doctrinal into your article. This article will appear in the Aug. 8th issue of Truth Magazine. Meanwhile, I am having your article set in type, and will use it, if you still want me to do so. However, I do not intend to, permit your charge that I misrepresented your position, and that we have never discussed these. mattersfefore, to go unanswered: Apparently it will be necessary for me to go back over the past two years of your ‘wanderings’ from side to side to verify what I said. I regret the necessity of doing this, but the continual cries that I hear of your charging that I am misrepresenting you make it necessary that I expose the whole situation, and I will do so in chronological order.
“I feel just like James Adams wrote to me July 9th: ‘I’m sorry about this Lindy McDaniel affair. The point he seems unwilling to see is that he made the thing a matter of fellowship’ in his first letter to you …. You probably should have put a note to Lindy’s article, instead of inserting doctrinal’ in the body of the article. I would explain your reason thoroughly, and apologize on the ground that he was offended by it, but explain that the difference is doctrinal. Make Lindy face the fact that so-called `automatic’ forgiveness to one en grace’ as they put it is the same as unconditional forgiveness’ and no different from Calvinistic theology on this point. They will not face the consequences-Cornelius did.’ (Brother Adams refers to Maurice Cornelius’ admission that an impenitent drunk or fornicator would be saved.-CW)
“It appears now that there is no alternative but to document the wavering back and forth that you have done. I hate to do this, but I do not intend for brethren all over the country to be led to believe that I hec about you. You will be at perfect liberty to defend what you have said and written, or to reply to what I say in regard to the matter. But I do not propose to permit an article like you wrote to go unanswered.
“Thursday I leave for Memphis, where I will spend three days. Next Wednesday morning I must leave for a one month preaching trip. Hence, it is probable that 1 must have all the August issues printed or pasted-up for printing before I leave. Your article will be set in type, and will be used as soon as possible, after I hear from you, and after you have indicated once more that you want. it printed. I think before having the article printed that I would look back over what you have written in your letters about this matter, and what I have written to you. When I get done with the documentation that I propose to provide, I will have shown that you have been on both sides of this issue twice! In that regard, you have even outdone Reuel Lemmons, and that takes some doing!
“I suppose that what has been said by now leaves you no alternative but to say go ahead and print the article, and I am sure that your doing so leaves me no alternative but to produce the documentation as to why I said what I did. Furthermore, whether you have.the article printed or not, if you intend to go over the country charging that I misrepresented you, I intend still to publish the documentation showing your vacillation. So have it however you will, Lindy.
“You stated that with friends like me, you needed no enemies. I might add that with friends to the truth like you, it needs. no enemies. 1 thought,you had gotten yourself straightened out on these issues, but if you did, evidently, you did not stay straight very long. You might just as well jump `whole-hog’ into the Fudge bag,; and see where his premises lead you. Evidently you cannot now see the logical consequences of the positions that you have taken: You now are for feiting,every price you paid to stand for the truth on the institutional issues, and now are going to take ‘back-water,’ evidently to the point of saying that you would.not have anything to do with starting the new congregation in Altus, if you had it to do over again. Some of the brethren who have implicit confidence in you now are going to have their eyes opened to your compromise if what I must write has to be written.
“I do not take you to be a person to be intimidated, and I do not intend to attempt to do such in this letter. But neither am I, Lindy. I mean just what I say. 1 have as little use for this grace fellowship’ error taught by you, as 1 have for it when it is taught by Carl Ketcherside or Edward Fudge. I do not mean by ‘.that statement that you take the identical position of either, but they all three come out at the same place, and I think I amply can show that.
“The article that I intend to write has not yet been written, but 1 will have yours set in type, and will write the one I intend to accompany yours as soon as I hear from you. Since I do not think you are going to hush about the matter, it is probable that my documentary article will be necessary, whether you instruct me to publish your article previously sent or not. But I do not intend to be made out a liar all over the country, when I am sitting on mountains of proof to verify what I said.
“Your plates and cabinets have been sent to William Wallace, as you instructed. I harbor no ill feelings toward you personally. You are still my friend, so far as I am concerned. But I cannot overlook or countenance error in a friend, whether that friend be William Wallace, or Edward Fudge, or Lindy McDaniel. You now have espoused basically the position we have been opposing, and now evidently it is going to be necessary that we publicly oppose your teaching, and you evidently now will be called upon publicly to defend it. That may work out for good, in the long run. I hope to God that it will.”
(Signed) “Brotherly, Cecil Willis”
Lindy’s July 22, 1974 Letter
Finally, in a letter dated July 22, 1974, Brother McDaniel admitted that he had once again changed his position on “grace” and “fellowship.” Here is what he said: “I do not deny that I have altered my position on the `grace’ and `fellowship’ issue. Make of that whatever yon will.” That sounds like he is throwing down the gauntlet, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t I be in a silly position now, if I had apologized for saying that he had changed his position on “grace” and “fellowship”? Lindy now is right back where he was in 1972 . . . sleeping in the same bed with Ed Fudge, and if Fudge moves over just a little bit, Carl Ketcherside and Leroy Garrett both are going to slip under the same blanket with them.
Lindy then adds that “I am not out to make a liar out of you.” But he would have, if I had acquiesced and apologized for saying he had changed his position on “grace” and “fellowship.” It is no credit of his that he did not make a liar out of me. He tried his very best to get me to retract a charge, which he now admits, and boldly asserts thereafter, “Make of that whatever you will.”
But by August 5, 1974, he is trying to “make a liar” out of me. In that letter, he charged: I am not very optimistic about straightening out the differences between us because I feel that you have greatly misrepresented my views and have not told the truth about a number of incidental matters.” If Lindy can tell me the difference between his charge that I `misrepresented” his views and “have not told the truth about a number of incidental matters,” and his having “no intention of making a liar out of you, ” then perhaps I will be prepared to understand how a Christian can get drunk, and commit fornication, while his “heart is right with God,” as Brother Maurice Cornelius tried in Conroe to help me to understand. If there is some difference between “misrepresenting” one’s views and “not telling the truth about a number of incidental matters” and lying, then I must confess that I do need some help, and perhaps some of these Neo-Orthodox theologians (with their Theology of Irrationalism) may be just what i need. But I had always thought that misrepresentation and not telling the truth were lying! But I am learning.
In his same August 5th letter, Lindy once more admits, “Let me again state that I have wavered on these issues of grace’ – but I do not believe that the wavering is either of the nature or the degree that you imply.” Lindy thus far has had at least four positions on the “grace” question: (1) He was right; (2) Then he accepted that view which he later called a ‘perversion” of the Biblical doctrine of grace; (3) He stood for the truth for a while in late 1972 and early 1973; (4) And now he is right back where he was in late 1972-holding that doctrine which he himself labelled a `perversion” of the Biblical doctrine of grace. Lindy has been on both sides of the issue twice!! He is back on the wrong side again, but having made at least three changes in his position, perhaps there is yet hope he can be “switched” back to the truth. Then he can get busy once again and try again to unteach the same young men he was trying to unteach in late 1972 and early 1973.
His Last Letter to Me
The last word I received from Brother McDaniel was in a letter dated September 23, 1974. In it he said, `My opinion is that you would have made a great issue out of this regardless of what kind of statement I made. Thus, it would not have made any difference. But I am amazed at your childishness and piekyness in the matter. Why is it so difficult to make a simple apology in the matter? The whole thing is a dead issue compared to your May 23rd article. The word `doctrinal’ didn’t disturb me as much as the implications behind it. Your adding the word `doctrinal” sounded the warning that you were going to turn this into a major issue which you have done. Sincerely, Lindy (Signed).”
There is where the matter stands at this moment, brethren. If Lindy believes what you believe about God’s “grace” and about “fellowship,” and if his attitude toward instrumentalists and institutionalists is your position and attitude, then I am afraid I am going, to become a rather lonely man. For his position and mine certainly are not the same. Nor do I believe his statements are representative of what most of you who read Truth Magazine believe on these matters.
I have done my best to give you a fair insight into what I have said in my correspondence with Brother McDaniel, and into his with me. If I have misrepresented his views in any way, it has been inadvertent (and that he would call a sin of ignorance), so according to his present position (not his ‘former views’), I have nothing to worry about anyway. Brother McDaniel ought to serve as a good illustration of what modification of one’s views on “grace” and “fellowship” lead to. He cannot consistently be a party to starting any more sound churches, nor should he hesitate to call on a liberal preacher, or a preacher from the Christian Church (assuming these preachers to be either “ignorant” or “weak in the flesh”) to lead in a prayer in a service where he may be a member or preach.
A church in Anderson, Indiana has taught these views for some time now, and a few months ago about 50 of their members began to put into practice what they had been taught. When a Christian Church preacher attended a gospel meeting they were having, he was called on to lead in prayer. Some of the members raised quite a fuss about it. Just why they objected, I could not understand in view of what they had been taught. They simply were practicing what they had been taught. The end result was that about 50 members “transferred” their membership to the Christian Church, and the remainder continue to drift ever further into digression. Please, brethren, let us call a “Halt” to this digressive teaching, before we reach the stage when no “Halt” can be called. I fear that Brother Lindy McDaniel will come to rue the day that he lent his influence to these compromising views on “grace” and “fellowship.”
The judgment of who misrepresented whom in this matter is now in your hands. Whatever be your decision in regard to the matter, I have no fear about being judged in this matter by Him who shall judge the living and the dead.
Truth Magazine XIX: 25, pp. 387-394
May 1, 1975