August 18, 2017

The Willis-Carrell Discussion

By Cecil Willis

In this issue appear the first installments of an exchange of articles on the sponsoring church question between Brother William Carrell of Muncie, Indiana and me. It is intended that Brother Carrell and I each shall write three articles of eight type-written pages on this subject. Later we each shall write three similar articles on church supported benevolent organizations. A little background for this discussion might be of general interest. So in this article we supply just a bit of it.

In September, 1966 Brother Clifton Inman (Editor of BIBLE HERALD, published at Parkersburg, West Virginia) and I engaged in a four night oral discussion at Parkersburg. The same propositions were discussed there which Brother Carrell and I are discussing in this written exchange. Brother Carrell attended the Parkersburg debate. During the debate, he called the motel where I was staying and asked permission to come out to talk with me. Of course he was invited to do so.

Another preacher from Muncie came with Brother Carrell. Brother Carrell stated that he felt that Brother Inman was making the right arguments in the oral debate, but that he felt these arguments needed to be expanded further. He thus proposed that he and I engage in a written discussion to be carried in TRUTH MAGAZINE.

I felt it would be a much more equitable arrangement if Brother Carrell would arrange for the written debate also to be carried in a journal that agreed with his position. Brother Carrell declined to arrange for the discussion to be carried elsewhere. I doubt that any paper agreeing with Brother Carrell would now carry such a discussion. But if it will, we would even yet be glad to see it carried in another journal.

But in order that Brother Carrell might have the opportunity to present his position and his arguments therefore, as he apparently felt we were duty-bound to provide him, I therefore agreed to conduct this discussion with him. We are glad for the readers of TRUTH MAGAZINE to read Brother Carrell's best efforts to substantiate his position and practice. Any truth that he presents, we sincerely beseech you to accept.

We covet such an opportunity and hearing in the FIRM FOUNDATION, GOSPEL ADVOCATE, or some other journal that represents Brother Carrell's position. We would be glad to have the same fairness shown toward us and a presentation of the arguments which we believe sustain our position as Brother Carrell felt us duty-bound to provide for this discussion.

Brother Carrell and I have numbered the paragraphs in our articles in order to simplify references to the other's articles. Occasionally we may have referred to the other without the usual "Brother" before the name. But this was simply to conserve space and was not intended as any disrespectful reflection.

Brother Carrell's articles are well written. He has pressed his points hard, as is right for him to do, and as we expected him to do. Little could be gained from a discussion with a man of little conviction. So we are glad to see him manifest conviction and stringently to make his arguments and to press his points. I have tried to respond in like fashion. It makes for a lively discussion, and it sincerely is hoped for a profitable discussion.

Also in this issue is a brief biographical sketch of Brother Carrell. Within a few months we intend to publish a similar three article each exchange on the orphan home benevolent society question. Watch for it.

July 1967