…Now I will tell this incident in the life of Brother J. W. McGarvey. In January, 1902 or 1903, I was preaching for the Pearl and Bryan Streets Church in Dallas. brother McGarvey, an old man at the time, was invited to speak at the Central Christian Church in Dallas. We had three men in the Pearl and Bryan Streets Church who had graduated from the College of the Bible in Lexington, under Brother McGarvey, and they were great admirers of him. They suggested that we invite Brother McGarvey to preach at Pearl and Bryan that night. We did so. I was just a boy of 24 or 25 then. I was sitting by the side of the great old man on the front seat, waiting for the service to begin. As we sat there talking, Brother McGarvey said to me: “Brother Sewell, I want to say something to you, if you’ll accept it in the spirit in which I mean it.” I told him I’d appreciate anything he had to say to me.” He said about these words, “You are on the right road, and whatever you do, don’t ever let anybody pesuade you that you can successfully combat error by fellowshipping it and going along with it. I have tried. I beleived at the start that was the only way to do it. I’ve never held membership in a congregation that uses insrumental music. I have, however, accepted invitations to preach without distinction between churches that used it and churches that didn’t. I’ve gone along with their papers and magazines and things of that sort. During all these years I have taught the truth as the New Testament teaches it to every young preacher who has passed through the College of the Bible. Yet, I do not know of more than six of those men who are preaching the truth today.” He said, “It won’t work.”
That experience has been an inspiration to me all the days of my life since. It has helped me, when I was ever tempeted to turn aside and go along with error, to remember the warning of this great old man.
Jesse P. Sewell, “Biographical Sketches of Restoration Preachers” The Harding College Lectures 1950. Searcy: Harding College Press, 1951, page 75.
This quote has appeared a time or two recently in conservative periodical literature among Churches of Christ, most recently in Spiritual Sword. Sewell remembers an incident between Hall Laurie Calhoun and David Lipscomb in this same lecture; I think I will reproduce it by and by. I have a few more McGarvey items to post first.