The Miller-Wallace Debate
Isaac A. Newman
Elder, Tampa, Florida
Seminole like other churches, I am afraid take much for granted. Of a certainty, we are each expendable. It is up to us as individuals to do the very best possible to properly fill our small space as "just a Christian." One may get the idea that they just can't get along out there without me, but nothing is farther from the truth. Instead, I should realize that I am one of many, all depending on each other for aid and strength as taught in Eph. 2:21. We are told that these stones are fitly framed together and groweth into a Holy Temple in the Lord for a habitation of God in the Holy Spirit, and again in I Pet. 2:5 that we are to be as living stones built into a Spiritual House, to be a Holy Priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices (our own bodies, daily) acceptable unto God through Jesus Christ.
To the extent that each Living Stone fulfills his duty and obligation to the Lord and His Bride, His Church, Eph. 5:15, he assists or hinders the growth of this Spiritual House. The way of the Lord is so plain that we need help to misunderstand what the Lord expects of His children. Each Christian must learn to study and think for himself. Until we learn to do that, there will be discord and discontent among brethren.
Some brethren are more concerned with what someone else thinks or says and does, than about what Jesus Christ says and the examples left us by the Apostles. We hear much these days about Good Works. ' We do this or that today because some man says it is a "Good Work." However, the 'Good Works" which we are to do as Christians were not left to man to decide. Neither is a Christian allowed to decide which he will or will not do. Consider the statement made by the Apostle Paul in Eph. 2:10, "we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for (GOOD WORKS which God afore prepared that we should walk in them."
We have brethren in the Lord's (church today who would have us believe that we are allowed the choice of what are or are not "Good Works." We must go outside the Word of God to find substantiating evidence for arguments to back this kind of doctrine. I am reminded of the statement made by Paul to Titus in Titus 1:15-16, "Both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess that they know God but by their very works they deny him."
The prospects for the work at Seminole have never been brighter. We are as nearly free from internal friction or strife as it is possible to be. The greatest ailment with the church and us in general is a lack of zeal for the spreading of God's Word. We are not at work as we should be in trying to cause people to obey the Gospel. We need to catch on fire for the Lord with enough enthusiasm to cause us to go out and work, as did the early disciples in the New Testament times.
As Paul and Barnabas reported to the brethren, "what God had done with them," in Acts 14:26, 27, we are glad to report, that we have two preachers, three elders, nine deacons, and almost 300 members. Last year we sent preachers to help with six different series of gospel meetings where the groups were not financially able to have these meetings. We support or help support five different preachers regularly. In the last seven years, we have retired approximately $75,000 of indebtedness on our property, and have never asked for outside help. We borrowed a major part of our building fund from the First Federal Savings and Loan. When the necessity arose, our own brethren came to our aid and helped us. As long as the elders of this church do the will of God and have the support and backing of a group such as Seminole, there should never be an end to what can be accomplished.
The debate has now become history between brother James P. Miller and brother G. K. Wallace on whether or not it is scriptural to support human institutions with money from the treasury of the Church. For a Bible scholar, and also one who at one time taught the scriptures just as we are able to read and understand them, Brother Wallace certainly made many blunders and failed so very sadly in presenting facts which he can back up by the Bible. To many of this area, this was a first experience of attending a discussion such as this one. The Word of God will reign supreme. This has always been so, it is true now, and will be true throughout eternity. Brother Wallace and others who have affiliated themselves with unscriptural church-support of human institutions such as orphan homes, Herald of Truth, schools, etc., can never hope to obtain the crown of Righteousness given to the faithful in the last day (II Tim. 4:8). In denying the Supreme Authority of our Lord and Savior in the examples left by his Apostles, they go beyond what is written (I Cor. 4:6, II John 9). When one digression is let in, there is no place to stop. We thank our God regularly for such men as brethren James P. Miller, Roy Cogdill, Robert Jackson, Ward Hogland, and many more, who are capable and do ably present God's Word in its purity over a large portion of the country.
In the debate, brother Miller Scripturally and ably answered every point presented by the opposition to the satisfaction of everyone except possibly those liberal brethren who did not want to see and understand. Even they could not help but know the way of the Lord more perfectly. I am certain this is one of the best such efforts ever conducted
in this area. We are thankful for God's power through which his Word will not return unto Him void, but that it would accomplish that whereunto He sent it, and that we have the privilege of being called Sons of God. There are no scriptures to substantiate any of these modern-day digressions or departures. If we cannot find Scripture as foundation for our teaching, then for the love of God and the salvation of our souls we must leave it alone. Say as the preachers of bygone years said, "Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where it does not speak."
The Lord alone knows just how much good may be accomplished in an effort of this kind, and the results will continue to be seen for months to come. I am sure that many of the truths brought out by brother Miller will live in the hearts of the people and that the lack of scriptural backing for brother Wallaces statements will also live on and on. Brother Wallace repeatedly made the statement that we at Seminole had done a lot of changing, but that he had not. It is indeed strange that about 15 years ago brother Wallace stood for the very things that Seminole now stands for, yet he has never changed. Yes, we at Seminole have made some changes. When we find we are standing for a thing that is wrong, we try to make it right. The Apostle Paul was an honest man. At one time he was honestly mistaken. We all know that he changed, and brethren, can we do any less?
TRUTH MAGAZINE X: 3, pp. 21-22 December 1965