Willis-Carrell Discussion Second Negative

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

31. Please take another look at the proposition. From Brother Carrell's first two articles you could never tell that he is trying to present script u r a I authority for 2000 churches to s p e n d $2,239,250.00 annually through one eldership. From his articles you would think the proposition reads, "Resolved, apostolic examples are not binding."

32. But if Brother Carrell ever should succeed in proving that apostolic examples are not binding, he will have hindered rather than helped his cause. There are three ways he now can prove it is scriptural for 2000 churches to pool their resources and to centralize the control of their work through one eldership. He can cite scriptural command, necessary inference, or apostolic example. If he eliminates examples as binding, he must then cite either command or necessary inference for his practice.

33. SOME THINGS BROTHER CARRELL HAS NOT DONE: He has not shown us where Brother Thomas erred when he applied his argument to church support of colleges. He has not proved that the sponsoring church is an expedient. He has not proved that we must take the Lord's Supper every Sunday without using the example of Acts 20:7. He has not cited the hermeneutical rules by which he learned that the example of Acts 20:7 is "unique." He has not shown us how he learned that the example of Acts 20: 7 is backed by an inferred command, but that the examples on cooperation are not backed by similar background commands. He has not shown the hermeneutical rules by which he learned that the command to follow apostolic examples in Phil. 4:9 is not binding. In his final article on this subject we insist that he give these vital points ample consideration.

34. HE SAYS WILLIS DOES WHAT HE ACCUSES OTHERS OF DOING. I merely said he assumes what he should prove. He has said again and again that the sponsoring church type of cooperation, by which 2000 churches function through one eldership, is expedient. I demand that he prove such a practice to be lawful and expedient. A thing may be lawful without being expedient (I Cor. 6:12; 10:23), but the Herald of Truth is neither lawful nor expedient. He said he was not assuming; he was just stating it well, you have stated it several times now, and still have not proved it. We are now calling for the PROOF of your statement. Two of your three articles have now been used, and you are still only stating what you signed your name to prove by scripture.

35. He also said that I did not show how to tell when an apostolic example is binding, but then takes several paragraphs to reply to the rules of interpretation that I had laid down in p. 25. So he admits thereby that I did cite the rules on examples. I now ask him to tell us how he learned the command in Phil. 4:9 to follow examples is not binding. In what paragraph are his rules stated? See if you can find them.

36. HE SAYS WILLIS MAINTAINS THAT IF A MAN IS WRONG ON ANYTHING, HE IS WRONG ON EVERYTHING. I did not say that. But I do sincerely believe Brother Thomas to be wrong when he uses the same argument that Brother Carrell uses to try to justify church support of colleges, recreation and Boy Scout troops. His is an invalid argument, and is also invalid when Brother Carrell uses it. Brother Carrell introduced J. D. Thomas into this discussion. I asked him to show us how Thomas' argument would fit the sponsoring church, but would not fit and justify church supported colleges. Brethren Thomas and Batsell Barrett Baxter think these items stand or fall together. Brother Carrell inconsistently wants to use the argument to justify one unscriptural practice, but will not use it on the college issue. Brother Thomas is consistently wrong in defending both sponsoring churches and church supported colleges. Brother Carrell is wrong on sponsoring churches and inconsistent on church supported colleges, IF he opposes them.

37. If he ever says Thomas is wrong on church supported colleges, an interesting situation will have developed. Brother Carrell will then be in the unenviable position of teaching Batsell Barrett Baxter is a false teacher on the church supported college question, but yet wants you brethren to help him to support and promote this false teacher. This is why he has not said plainly that Thomas is wrong and a false teacher on the college issue. One nearly always finds those who defend sponsoring churches also willing to try to make some feeble defense of church sponsored recreation and church donations to human institutions, such as Bible colleges and benevolent societies.

38. Brother Carrell does not think it makes good sense for the Highland elders to be so wasteful of money, and yet to report this waste. I do not think it makes good sense either, but they do it anyway! A lot of things these brethren do does not make good sense. They report $85,000 yearly for research, $66,500 for postage, $12,000 for telephone, $77,000 for travel, $219,400 for salaries, $203,500 for printing and supplies, and $196,000 to beg money. Now Brother Carrell, if you are going to call this an "expedient," do not be so squeamish in defending these figures. I maintain that the "sponsoring church-Herald of Truth" type of congregational cooperation not only is unscriptural, but it entails a sinful waste of the Lord's money. just the money they spent on money begging alone in the last 14 years would have paid for 128 years of gospel preaching. And then they want us to believe this is an expedient way to spend the Lord's money! It is no wonder that Brother Carrell does not now want to defend the practices of his "expedient."

39. But he wants to know if they just used 5% or 17c to beg more money, would that make it scriptural? No! Only a scripture can make it scriptural for 2000 churches to work through one eldership, and so far you have not presented one. God limited the work of elders (including the Highland Ave. elders) to the "flock of God which is among you" (I Pet. 5:2), and your stating that 2000 flocks can work through one eldership is not quite good enough for me - until you cite the scripture for your statement, and this you have not done yet.

40. And he wants to know about the ENLIGHTENER. The ENLIGHTENER is the bulletin published by the Brown St. church in Akron, Ohio. It is mailed free of charge to persons who request it, and to persons for whom it is requested. Anyone who does not wish to receive, this bulletin can have his name removed immediately simply by requesting that such be done. Brown St. pays for this bulletin as a part of its teaching program, but Highland begs 2000 churches to help her that she might spend $203,500 yearly on printing supplies in flooding the country with her Herald of Truth propaganda. If Brown St. sends her bulletin to someone who is not a member at Brown St., they are charged with violating autonomy. But Highland sends about 50,000 copies of its expensively printed 24 page HERALD OF TRUTH MAGAZINE, which is paid for by 2000 other churches, and all is well according to Brother Carrell. If Brown St. were begging the brotherhood for money to mail materials to the brotherhood to beg more money, you then would have a parallel to Highland's practice.

41. He wants to know if it is a sinful waste to start a church in a community where there already is a church. I guess you mean like you brethren did in Lexington, Kentucky or half a hundred other places. The church in Lexington did not believe in supporting the Herald of Truth. So you brethren moved in, brought support for a preacher from outside, and started a "Herald of Truth Church of Christ." When you do things like this over an "expediency," it is wrong. You also thereby show that you do not really believe it is "optional" whether a church contributes to the Herald of Truth or not.

42. HE SAYS WILLIS BELITTLES ARGUMENTS. I admit I become a little impatient with a gospel preacher who sarcastically refers to the divine authority of examples as a "sacred tradition" (p. 42). Whether Brother Carrell likes this "sacred tradition" or not, the apostle Paul said, "The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do" (Phil. 4:9). Again Paul said to Timothy, "But thou didst follow my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience, persecutions, sufferings" (2 Tim. 3:10). In p. 52 Brother Carrell says, "It is the teaching we are to follow." But the teaching said to "do" what you "heard and SAW in me." Paul commands that his example be followed; Carrell'says you' only have to follow the teaching. You must decide whether you will follow Paul or Carrell, and I hope you do not have too much trouble making up your mind which it will be.

43. Brother Carrell says he is not trying to "destroy apostolic examples." But he says they were just never intended to have "limiting power." In p. 43 he likens following apostolic examples to paying homage to Mary, as the Catholics do. But Paul still said, "The things which you both learned and received and heard and SAW in me, these things do" (Phil. 4:9). Liken it to what you will, Brother Carrell. But Paul still said to "do" it. And when you quit following apostolic examples, I promise you will be in plenty of trouble on Acts 20: 7. Maybe you realize that, and that is the reason why you are leaving that passage alone now. And please do not refer again jestingly to doing what Paul commanded as "a game of follow-the-leader!" Such language reflects on you as a gospel preacher.

44. Brother Carrell likened his using part of J. D. Thomas' argument and not using his conclusions to one who accepts "the Bible is our sole guide" principle, but does not accept the Lutheran doctrines of infant baptism and "faith only." Now are you saying that J. D. Thomas' position (and Baxter's) on church supported colleges and church supported recreation is like infant baptism and faith only? If not, would you please explain your analogy? I think the analogy is quite good. Infant baptism and faith only are precisely like church supported colleges and recreation (and sponsoring churches) in that all are without divine authority, and depend upon human statements for their authority rather than upon scriptural proof.

45. Brother Carrell declares, "I don't believe Brother Willis understands what the brethren have been teaching about commands, examples and inferences . . ." After being so sure that he does understand what he is equally sure that I do not understand, he then applies to me the statement in Job, "No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you" (job. 12:2). With Brother Carrell's wisdom, we now learn that Paul meant for us only to follow what he taught; we can disregard what he did. Somehow I am a little suspicious of your wisdom, Brother Carrell. Especially after observing that it regularly diametrically opposes that wisdom which is from above (Jas. 3:17).

46. 1 might just add, in passing, that the examples of Acts 2 and 4, under like circumstances, would demand of us the same things they demanded of them.

HE SAYS WILLIS MISREPRESENTS AN OPPONENT. He says that I misrepresented him when I said that he demanded that I present a passage "which expressly limits the church with regard to cooperating in such a work or in the handling of its funds" (p. 45). But I quoted this verbatim out of p. 12 of your first article. And then in p. 48 he states, "Thus the Lord has left us free in such matters:, and it is correct to say that UNLESS BROTHER WILLIS CAN PRODUCE A "THOU SHALT NOT" IN EXPRESS TERMS FROM THE SCRIPTURES, he has not established his case." If he has not now twice done exactly what I said he did, I confess I do not know how to understand what he says. His argument is identical to the Christian Church preacher's, "Where is the passage that says 'Thou shalt not have a piano in worship'?" Brother Carrell, I now would drive quite a long way to hear you and a Christian Church preacher in debate. He could use your arguments in this debate for his speeches.

47. Brother Carrell argues that specific authority does not exclude the sponsoring church type of cooperation because the sponsoring church is an "optional" matter (p. 47). There you go just stating again! What you need to do is to prove it is lawful and expedient for 2000 churches to work through one eldership. Brother Carrell: PLEASE PROVE WHAT YOU HAVE ST.4 TED REPEATEDLY FOR US. Prove that the sponsoring church arrangement is an "optional" matter. You cannot prove it by denying the binding power of examples. Cite either general or specific authority for the sponsoring church by giving for it a command, example, or necessary inference. Until you do this, please quit stating it is an "optional" matter. You have stated long enough; we are now ready for your proof!

48. In p. 47 Brother Carrell said, "the only restrictions are common sense ones." The Christian Church says that "common sense" is their authority for a missionary society, and they state it is only an "expedient" matter. Brother Carrell, show us how "common sense" authorizes the sponsoring church, but "common sense" does not authorize the missionary society. The missionary society and the sponsoring church are both wrong, and for the same reason. They both depend upon human wisdom (man's "common sense") for their authority, but the "way of man is not in himself" (Jer. 10: 23). Remember, your proposition does not obligate you to authorize the: sponsoring church by "common sense," but to authorize it by the scriptures. And your "common sense" is not quite equal to scripture with some of us. We might also add that "common sense" is not as common as it ought to be these days. It is not good "common sense" to substitute human wisdom for divine wisdom.

49. Brother Carrell seems to have difficulty differentiating between the congregation and the individual (p. 48). 1 Tim. 5:16 clearly distinguishes between the two. There the individual is commanded to do something the congregation, is forbidden to do. And I suspect that if we could get Brother Carrell to SV anything at all on the church supported college issue that be would show us that on some matters he too can distinguish clearly between individual action and congregational action.

50. ARE EXAMPLES BINDING? I did not state that I had supplied everything Brother Carrell needed to be taught about the binding power of examples in the preceding article. That would require a much longer article. Our proposition does not pertain explicitly to the binding power of examples, but to whether scriptural authority can be presented for 2000 churches to work through one eldership.

51. Much has been written throughout the years on how to determine when an apostolic example is binding. I have never maintained that all apostolic examples are binding, This is why I cited several rules by which one can ascertain when an apostolic example is binding, and when it is not. Similar hermeneutical principles will show which apostolic commands are binding on us and which are not. I asked Brother Carrell to cite his hermeneutical rules by which he learned the command to follow Paul's example is not binding, but so far he has ignored that request.

52. In p. 55 Brother Carrell asked specifically about D. R. Dungan's book on HERMENEUTICS. I remind him that Dungan has not written the only book on hermeneutics. But you will find a discussion of these rules in Dungan's book on pp. 95-97. There are several other books that deal with apostolic examples that are not complete]\- devoted to hermeneutics, and man\- periodical articles have been written on this subject. It would do Brother Carrell good to read several of these. However, I suspect that one could find rather extensive treatment of this point in Brother Carrell's old sermons in which he sought to show sectarians that Acts 20:7 is binding, if his sermons had been printed. And if he has not dealt with apostolic examples in more than a decade of preaching, he has neglected a subject upon which he should have been teaching.

53. Brother Carrell tries to make something of the fact that the rules I cited were stated by one that agrees with me. So what? Does this make him wrong on these rules? Are you about to become one who says that if a person is wrong on one point, he is wrong on all? J. D. Thomas even taught that some examples are binding. He said that if the apostolic examples were binding on New Testament people, they are binding on us -though I have never understood why it took him half a book to state this profundity.

54. Brother Carrell indicates that he has some understanding of the rules to be applied in determining when an apostolic example is binding when he predicted I would apply the "law of universal application" and the "law of materiality" to observing the Lord's Supper in an upper room. Sectarians who were trying to justify instrumental music in worship have for years thrown this "upper room" dodge at us. John 4:20-24 shows that the physical location is immaterial to acceptable worship. Jesus settled this matter when he said, "Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall ye worship the Father." He asked this woman to "believe me" when he taught that the physical location was immaterial, and when he stated that what really mattered was whether one worshipped "in spirit and in truth." Do you believe him, Brother Carrell? I do, and thus I do not believe that whether one worships in an upper room, or in Mt. Gerizim is material. The "law of materiality" therefore shows that whether the Lord's Supper be observed in an upper room or not is irrelevant.

55. This pretty well covers what you said in your two articles. I am wondering when you are going to get around to proving what you signed your name to prove. If you think you have proven that 2000 churches can work through one eldership, you would do me a signal favor if, in your closing article on this proposition, you would tell me again which passages you think prove your proposition. Your entire effort thus far has been to discredit and destroy examples as binding authority. This is to admit that the New Testament examples on cooperation are contrary to your practice, and that you therefore feel the urgency to get them out of the way. In the New Testament churches never sent to a church unless the receiving church was destitute. Highland church, with 1700 members and a $427,000 annual local contribution, does not fit the pattern. So you attempt to dispose of the examples as binding rather than to conform to apostolic example.

56. Though Brother Carrell complained about how I treated him in the first paragraph of his article, he did not want to close without labeling me as a hobbyist (p. 65). But I think one can see who is the hobbyist by the fact that those brethren say that the sponsoring church is an "optional" matter, but they will not call on you for prayer and will start a new church in your community unless you parrot their party-line, "The Herald of Truth is an expedient." They admit they will split the church over what they also admit is only an "optional" matter, and are thus self-condemned.

57. But call me what you will, Brother Carrell. I yet sincerely believe that the sponsoring church arrangement is both inexpedient and unscriptural. The trouble it already has caused in the church should be sufficient evidence of its inexpediency, even if Brother Carrell were to quit merely stating and in his final article were to present scriptural proof for it. We hope he will at least try to do so, and thus shall await eagerly his next article.

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XI: 11, pp. 5-9
August 1967