Debate 'in Big "D"
J. R. SNELL
The Kaufman Highway church building in Dallas, Texas was the scene of a debate February 6, 7, 9, 10. The disputants were A. C. Grider, preacher for the Greggton congregation in Longview and H. C. McCaghren who preaches for the Kaufman Highway congregation. This was the second debate between these brethren in recent months, the first being held in Longview.
The propositions for this discussion respected the object of congregational benevolence. The wording was, "It is in harmony with the scriptures for the church to take money from its treasury to buy food for hungry destitute children." Brother McCaghren was in the affirmative the first two nights. Brother Grider affirmed the last two as the proposition changed in wording to express, "It is contrary to the scriptures . . ."
The first two-night McCaghren presented thirty odd passages of scripture in affirming his proposition that the church could support children. These respected, in the main, what he referred to as the principle he was defending. They were: Matt. 5:16, 44-47, 48; 10:42; 25:35; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 8: 1-4; 20:7; Rom. 1: 7; 7:4; 12:4-5, 20; 15. 18; Gal. 6:6, 10; Eph. 2:15, 16, 19; 4:1516; 5:19; Col. 3:17; 2 Tim. 2:2; Heb. 3:6; Jas. 1:18, 19-22, 25, 27; 1 Pet. 2:21.
He affirmed that we must example Jesus, thus love "our enemies." When questioned, he noted there were some enemies the church could not help. Those so classified were denominational orphan homes because they teach error, lazy saints and false teachers. Thus, by McCaghren's own admission all who teach error are excluded from church benevolence. Only saints are free of error, thus saints are the only object of church benevolence. This Grider repeatedly and adequately showed.
Brother Grider in his negative speeches showed that of the thirty odd verses used by the affirmative only two dealt with the subject of church benevolence. Acts 11:29 and I Cor. 16:2. The object of one being BRETHREN and the other SAINTS.
Grider paralleled McCaghren's proof for the church support of children with the Methodist preacher's proof for sprinkling babies. He said, McCaghren reads thirty verses that fail to mention church benevolence and two which note the object of church benevolence as saints and brethren. He concluded the church can help children. The Methodist reads thirty verses which fail to mention baptism and two which note that men and women were baptized. He concludes infants must be baptized.
The last two night brother Grider in the affirmative cited every passage in the New Testament dealing with church benevolence. They were: Acts 2:44-45; 4:34-35; 6:1-6; 27-30; Rom. 15:25-31; 1 Cor. 16:1-3; 2 Cor. 8:4; 9:1-15; 1 Tim. 5:16. He noted that in these passages the collection was: (1) Raised for saints (2) Sent to saints; (3) Accepted by saints; (4) Supplied the want of saints. The conclusion was that the church must help everyone 'it is commanded to assist and leave off those for whom there is no authority.
Brother McCaghren, during the discussion, admitted there is no authority for elders overseeing a home. By this he is placed in opposition to a great part of his own brethren west of the Mississippi River. He thus sanctions those homes under a board of directors, like Boles, and condemns as being without authority those, like Sunny Glen, which are under elders. Those brethren who advocate benevolent institutions need to get together. A debate between them would help to find what they do believe. Grider showed that since McCaghren said the church could not support error and since homes under elders were wrong, then according to him the church could not support a home under elders.
Attendance for the debate was estimated from 300 to 500 each night with the first night the largest. There were more than 50 conservative preachers in attendance one or more nights with perhaps as many as 30 every night. The liberal brethren were noticeably in absence with perhaps no more than a dozen attending in all.
The courtesy of the Kaufman Highway brethren was all that could be desired. The discussion was orderly and enlightening bringing all we, trust to fuller understanding. Brother H. C. McCaghren, one of few men willing to defend his position in these matters, is to be commended for this. He is an able debater and did as well as any I have heard in defense of his position.
Brethren who are agreed in their opposition to church support of benevolent societies have in the main feared the "saints only" proposition. Such should not be the case. This is what the Bible teaches so we ought to stand on it. I humbly suggest that when an opportunity, to teach is afforded we ought to grasp it and not be too concerned about prejudicial and ambiguous wording of the proposition. Truth has nothing to fear. Let us contend for it. If we must discuss "saints only," the object of church benevolence, to teach our brethren, let us be at it. Such is in reality a "back door approach" to the support of benevolent institutions and both areas of discussion revolve about scriptural authority.
The opportunity to serve as moderator in this debate for brother Grider was an honor. He upheld the truth in a splendid way and good was done. Nothing else can result when the Word is preached.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XI: 8, pp. 14-15