By Kevin Campbell
“At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me; I pray God that it might not be laid to their charge” (2 Tim. 4:16).
No doubt the apostle Paul was not the last gospel preacher to be deserted in this stand for the truth. Thankfully, I did not have that kind of experience in the debate in which I engaged in August. In another portion of this issue, you may read Larry Ray Hafley’s review of that debate. My purpose in writing is to: (1) Thank those who stood with me and encouraged me, and (2) to correct some of the “exaggerations” that brother Hafley made concerning the debate.
There were many who came to my aid in this effort; without whose help things might not have gone quite as well. I didn’t even know some of these brethren before but called and wrote, believing they could and would help. Ronny Milliner and James Bice sent audio tapes of several debates that proved to be invaluable in my preparation. I was also able to make good use of the charts that brother Milliner has put together in booklet form. Melvin Curry, J.P. Halbrook, Mike Melton, and Charles Nicks provided me with debate books and other material that were a tremendous asset. Brethren, never doubt that good is done through debating. The old debates of W. Curtis Porter are still bearing fruit today when young men like me are able to sit at the feet of such men and benefit from their study. Mike Willis sent two notebooks of debate notes on baptism that were an immense help. To all those who did what they could, I offer my heart-felt gratitude.
A special word of thanks goes to two people in particular. First of all, Larry Ray Hafley was a true brother in Christ and a great encouragement. His constant support.coupled with his insight as a debater and student of the word contributed much to my preparation. His reference in his review to his being “useless” and “unnecessary” as a moderator are simply the signs of his modesty. Just his presence alone was a great comfort, not to mention his ability to help provide answers to my opponent’s arguments. He has been and I pray will continue to be a great soldier of the cross. Secondly, I owe my wife Tracy a special thank you. She endured many a long night alone as I was glued to a debate book or at the office until 11 and 12 o’clock at night preparing my notes. She did a major portion of the typing for me and was a constant source of strength. All of this while having to deal with two little boys has made my respect and admiration for her increase greatly over the last several months.
The brethren with whom I work stood with me as well. They were all excited and helpful in bringing this discussion about. You don’t know how much it means to a preacher to be appreciated and supported by the brethren in what he does. Thanks to all at the Morris Road church of Christ in Gulfport.
Finally, the glory for all of this goes to the Lord. I believe that good was done, not because I or anyone else had much to do with it, but because the Lord’s word is “quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. ” We have seen and continue to see results of the proclamation of the gospel. It is my prayer that many in this world will be won for the Lord, that he may be glorified in the day of his coming/
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 20, p. 619
October 18, 1990