Willis-Carrell Discussion, second Negative

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

30. Bro. Carrell attempts to use Rom. 12:20 Mt. 7:12, Lk. 10:25-37 and Eph. 4:28, all passages pertaining to individual duty, to try to prove that a church may work through a human institution. I very likely believe that the passages he cited demand more of individual Christians than he does. I very likely think the individual has greater benevolent responsibility than does Bro. Carrell. But our proposition deals with what "congregations" may do; not with what individual Christians may do.


31. Our brother is so confused that he does not know the difference between a "good Samaritan" and a church. He cited the passage about the "good Samaritan" in trying to authorize a church supported benevolent society. Even if I granted that the church has benevolent duty to all the needy in the world (which I do not grant), Bro. Carrell still would have no authority for a church acting through a human institution. His evidence is not equal to his assertions from it.

32. But since Bro. Carrell insists on discussing something that is not in the proposition (i.e., the question of for whom does the church have benevolent obligation), please note the following chart and read the scriptures that show ''WHO RELIEVED WHOM. ''

Contemporary Examples

33. Bro. Carrell, in p. 50, calls upon me to cite some instances of churches doing scriptural benevolent work in a scriptural way. If Bro. Carrell first will tell me what this citing of examples is supposed to prove about what the Bible says, I will be glad to accommodate him. He also should indicate how many examples I must cite before the examples make the practice scriptural. Wt7 are not talking about contemporary examples: we are talking about what the Bible teaches. He indicates in the way he posed his request for examples that he will not accept the example unless it is one of a church engaged in unscriptural work. Nearly all the churches with and among which I work could be cited as examples of churches doing scriptural benevolence in a scriptural way. Now and then one gets out of line, but then we take the Bible and try to get it back in harmony with the Bible pattern.

34. Perhaps the following chart will hell, Bro. Carrell to see the contrast between what is done in the Bible and what is being practiced by modern liberal churches. Any church following the New Testament pattern would be an example such as that which he requested.










1. The work was done by, through, and within the local church according to7 divine instructions Acts 6:1-6; Acts 11:27-30.

1. The work is done by, through, and within a human institution according to human wisdom.

2. Each church cared for its own needy, if able. Acts 6:1-6.

2. Local churches send their needy to a human institution not knowing if they are able to care for them or not.

3. When local church was unable to care for its needy, other congregations supplied that which was lacking. Acts 11:29:30; 2 Cor. 8:18-21.

3. Local churches send their own needy to a human institution and send $10 a month contribution to the institution.

4. In unavoidable emergencies, one church sent to another to help meet the emergency, but not on a permanent basis. Acts 11:27-30.

4. Local church or group of individuals creates an emergency, and calls upon the church in general to support them on a permanent basis.

5. When one church assisted another in meeting an emergency, such assistance was sent to the elders of the church. Acts 11:30.

5. Local churches send assistance to the board of directors of a human institution.

Carrell Changes the Subject

35. Bro. Carrell tries very hard to shift this debate from human institutions to the question of "for whom does the church have benevolent responsibility?" He apparently feels he is not doing so well on this proposition, and would prefer to discuss another one. So T will be glad to accommodate him.

36. In p. 42 he makes an unappreciated snide remark about how busy I said I was. We had an agreement to try to get our replies done in three weeks. I must confess that I have not always done this. To illustrate, I was four weeks in getting my preceding article to him. But he was from last spring to last fall getting his fourth article to me, and then I had to prompt him with several letters. I doubt I have replied more slowly than has Bro. Carrell.

37. But I acknowledge I have delayed the publication of the debate somewhat. As I told him, I have been rather busy at times. But since Bro. Carrell insists on discussing "unlimited" benevolence rather than the "corporate home" of his proposition, I herewith invite him to write three more articles in TRU'I'H MAGAZINE on his favorite subject. Perhaps we will see how busy Bro. Carrell is! And I also will arrange time to conduct an equitable oral discussion with him too. Let him name the conditions on which he will participate. We will just give him plenty to do. Now do not say you are too busy, Bro. Carrell.

The "Law of Inclusion"

38. In p. 41 Bro. Carrell discusses the law of inclusion," and again wants to know if I will accept such a law. I told him before I would, if he would cite one that included a human institution like those in his proposition. He insists that he already has given it. Well, if he did, I missed it. So tell me again, Bro. Carrell. Where is your stated "law of inclusion" that includes human institutions through which the church may work? Also tell us how many and what kinds of human institutions are "included" in your "law of inclusion."

39. The truth is Bro. Carrell does not know the difference between a human organization and a "method" or "means." He has not learned the difference between an "aid" and an "addition." The human organizations in his proposition have to use "means" and "methods." Perhaps the following chart will help him to differentiate between a "method" and an "institution."







Build an Ark Gen. 6

Gopher Wood 3 Stories

Oak, Cedar, Pine, Ten Stories

Tools, Size of Trees, Transportation

Another Building

Teach Mt. 28: 19

Whole Counsel

Human Traditions

Blackboard, TV, Charts, Radio

Christian Missionary Society

Baptize Mt. 28:19

Water, Believer, Burial

Wine, Infants, Sprinkling

Ocean, River, Pool, Baptistery

Christian Baptizing Association


Eph. 5: 19

Spiritual Songs, Melody in Hearts

Worldly Songs, Melody on Harps

Book, Fork, Voice Parts

Singing Saint Society

Lord's Supper

Mt. 26

1st Day, Bread, Fruit of the Vine

Midweek, Beef, and Milk

Plates, Cups, Place

Christian Communion Federation


Phil. 4:6

To God in Faith

To Mary in Pretense

Length of Prayer, Posture

Christian Praying League


I Cor. 16

As Prospered, Cheerfully

Sparingly Grudgingly

Collection Plates Lay on Table

Christian Fellowship Federation


I Tim. 5:16

Food, Clothing Shelter

Oppress, Vex Neglect

House, Tent, City or Country

Christian Benevolent Cooperation


40. God has specified the organization (the congregation -- I Tim. 5:16) that is to do all the relieving that He has assigned the church. Since God specified the institution, all other institutions are excluded. The law that applies to other institutions, Bro. Carrell, is not a "law of inclusion." It is a "law of exclusion." Means and methods are included, but other institutions are excluded. And an institution is not a mere means or method.

Missionary and Benevolent Societies

41. In p. 45 Bro. Carrell nearly cries because I liken his benevolent society to a missionary society. He thinks it is terribly unfair for me to argue that the benevolent society is like the missionary society. But he has spent most of his time trying to show that the benevolent society is like flower funds, song books, and "pegs and nails," and he even spent some time trying to show that it is unlike the college. It is alright for him to try to authorize the human institution by him trying to show it is like some things I approve, but it is patently unfair, according to him, for me to show that it is like some things he disapproves.

42. I have never said that a missionary society and a benevolent society are like in every particular. But they are alike in the particulars that make both sinful as church supported institutions. The Jews could eat neither a camel nor a hare (Lev. 11:1-4). Would anyone argue that a camel and a hare are identical? But they were alike in that both were forbidden, and were alike in those things which made them forbidden. And benevolent and missionary societies are both human institutions which complete with the church, and indict the sufficiency of the church.

43. Earlier I stated that anything inherent to the missionary society that he could show to be wrong with it, I could show also to be wrong with a benevolent society. That statement must have hurt, for he really tried hard to disprove it. In p. 47 Bro. Carrell quotes some things out of the "By-laws" of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Society. He says, "I consider the above quoted by-laws contrary to clear scriptural teaching." But I can find plenty of things in the charters of benevolent societies that also are "contrary to clear scriptural teaching."

44. Two of the organizations in his proposition (Potter and Schults-Lewis) sinfully discriminate against hungry, orphaned or destitute black children (See James 2:1-10; Gal. 7:28). It is strange that little black children do not become destitute, isn't it? The chapter of the Greater Chattanooga Children's Home says that the institution was founded "for the purpose of the support of any benevolent or charitable undertaking, as a lodge of Masons, Odd Fellows, hospitals for the sick, houses of refuge or correction, orphan asylums, and all other objects of like nature ...", and all of this is for "white children" only. Furthermore, one must believe in the church support of hospitals, benevolent organizations operated by Masons and Odd Fellows, and in Sponsoring churches to be a board member of the Greater Chattanooga Home. "I consider the above quoted By-laws contrary to clear scriptural teaching."

45. I now have shown that the benevolent societies, as well as the missionary society, have an unscriptural creed in their charters. Bro. Carrell, do you want to try naming something else wrong with the missionary society to see if I can also find the same thing to be wrong with the benevolent society! I previously named sixteen points of similarity between the missionary society and a benevolent society (which you have ignored). Now this point makes seventeen points of similarity. Both missionary and benevolent societies have unscriptural creeds in their charters. With Bro. Carrell's help, we might get twenty parallels between the two institutions before this debate is over. So try again, Bro. Carrell. You are a big help to me. I had not even thought of this Seventeenth parallel before you mentioned it.

Reuel Lemmons

46. Bro. Carrell seemed elated that he could quote Reuel Lemmons on another side of the institutional issue. But Lemmons has been on every side of it! I knew that beforehand, Bro. Carrell. Even a tyro could prove Lemmons inconsistent. However, Lemmons believes that institutions like Mid-Western, Potter, and Schults-Lewis are unscriptural because they are under a separate board of directors. He believes Tipton is scriptural because it is under the elders of the Tipton, Okla. church. You brethren really have a difficult time trying to agree on a scriptural way to run unscriptural institutions! Brother Lemmons has not always been consistent with his professed belief. He has been "strong on both sides." However, he says that institutions like those just mentioned from your proposition are parallel with a missionary society, and on this point. Lemmons is exactly correct.

The Individual and the Church

47. In p. 51 Bro. Carrell speaks of "a supposed distinction between congregational responsibility and individual responsibility." He affects to see no difference between the two. But there is no supposition about it. The Bible, in 1 Tim. 5:16, commands an individual to do what a church is in the same passage forbidden to do.

48. It is interesting to observe that Bro. Carrell's head clears up on this point considerably when we come to speak of the college. He believes that an individual may support a college, but that a congregation may not support a college. In fact, he believes that men like Batsell Barrett Baxter (the Herald of Truth Speaker) and B. C. Goodpasture (GOSPEL ADVOCATE Editor) teach that which is sinful when they teach a congregation may support a college. Of course, he does not speak much of the error of these specific men.

49. But after charging that I make a supposed distinction between individual and congregational duty, Bro. Carrell says in p. 53 that "the instruction is to the individual believer" in 1 Tim. 5:16. I thought this differentiation was only a supposed distinction. Now he himself makes this supposed distinction. It seems Bro. Carrell, rather early in his life, already has acquired Bro. Reuel Lemmons' affliction -- the ability to be inconsistent with himself on nearly every subject. Charge Bro. Carrell with what you will, but do not charge him with consistency! That is one charge you could never prove on him.

50. He says that 1 Tim: 5:16 only teaches a difference between individual and congregational duties when pertaining to certain classes like "children," "husbands," "wives" etc. But in 1 Tim. 5:16 a certain class (the believer) is charged with a responsibility with which the congregation is not to be charged.

51. Carrell says that when a responsibility is commonly shared, it may be discharged through the church treasury (p. 54). He has assumed that. He has not and he cannot prove it by the Bible. But how common must this obligation be before it can be discharged through the church treasury? If seven children commonly have the responsibility to care for their parents, can the congregation discharge this obligation for them? It seems to me that the duty to pay taxes is rather commonly shared. May the congregation assume and discharge this responsibility for us? The duty to educate one's children is a common duty to parents. Bro. Carrell said "every Christian is to some extent concerned with Christian education" (p. 51). But Bro Carrell says we may not discharge this commonly shared interest through the church treasury. Tell us why this educational duty may not be done through the church if these other common duties may be done through the congregation.

52. The Bible teaches that personal duty should be personally done, and should not be pushed off on the congregation. This is precisely what 1 Tim. 5:16 teach. But Bro. Carrell sets himself against this passage and affirms that personal duty commonly shared can be discharged through the church. All of those passages cited by Bro. Carrell about individual benevolent responsibility, I believe; and I believe we must discharge those duties individually. I told you before that I probably believed those passages demand more of us than he does. I think you now can see that fact evidenced. Bro. Carrell would turn all these commonly shared duties over to the church, except the one that demands education of children. It is a sin, according to him, for the church to discharge that duty common to individuals.

53. NOTE: We have now gone through p. 54 of Bro. Carrell's second affirmative article. What affirmative proof has he thus far offered for a church functioning through a human institution? We have talked about nearly everything else, except what Bro. Carrell signed his name to discuss. Perhaps he thinks his personal obligation to discuss the signed proposition is another obligation which can be assumed and discharged by the church. It is now rather obvious that he is not going to do it, and if it is done at all, it appears that someone is going to have to do it for him.

Song Books

54. In p. 55 he says his benevolent society is authorized like song books. He likens a human institution to a song book. As I said before, he does not know the difference between an aid and an addition. Singing is to be done in the assembly (Heb. 2:12; Cor. 14:26), and is to edify the church. The work of edification is a work of the congregation (Eph. 4:16). Song books are expedients, like blackboards and charts. But I would object (and for the same reasons) to churches makings donations to a human institution, like those in Carrell's proposition, in order for that organization to provide song books for all the churches. I would object to a "Singing Saint Society" for the same reasons that I object to missionary and benevolent societies.

55. However, when a church purchases song books from a business enterprise, it does not do what a church does when it donates to a human institution to which has been committed the work, resources, and oversight of the church.

James 1:27

56. Bro. Carrell assumes that Jas. 1:27 is talking about congregational duty (which it is not), and then he assumes that this assumed congregational duty can be discharged through a human institution. His assumptive gland is over-working again. But if a human institution is permitted in the discharge of one duty, another human institution would be permissible in the discharge of other duties, as the following chart shows.


Jas. 1:27 -- visit orphans ------------------------------------------------ Church Orphanages

Jas. 1:27 -- visit widows ------------------------------------------------- Church Widowages

Heb. 13:2 -- show hospitality -------------------------------------------- Church Motels

Mt. 25:35 -- feed hungry ------------------------------------------------ Church Groceries

Mt. 25:36 -- visit sick ---------------------------------------------------- Church Hospitals

Mt. 25:36 -- visit imprisoned -------------------------------------------- Church Jails

Mt. 25:36 -- clothe naked ------------------------------------------------ Church Stores



57. Bro. Carrell, like many other liberals, in p. 61 assumes that the only "pure and undefiled religion" is helping an orphan or sending a few dollars to a human institution. Is britlling one's tongue "pure and undefiled religion" (Jas. 1:26)? Is taking the Lord's Supper "pure and undefiled religion," or is it "impure and defiled religion?" Does the church that donates to pay for a tractor tire or a Duroc sow on the $2,000,000.00 Boles Home 2300 acre farm practice "pure and undefiled religion," or is it merely subsidizing a big business enterprise?

Flower Funds and "Unlimited" Benevolence

58. And then he likens his human institution to a flower fund. The flower fund (whatever one might exist) involves the action of individual Christians, just as individual Christians may contribute to a college. His head gets very fuzzy and hazy on the individual and the congregation until the college issue arises. Then things suddenly and inexplicably clear up for him. He then can tell the difference between personal action and congregational action.

59. Carrell says that he believes in "unlimited" congregational benevolent responsibility (p. 62). That is too bad. I hate to hear him say that. He seemingly insists on staying in conflict with the Bible. Paul said, "If any will not work, neither let him eat" (II Thess. 3:10), and "younger widows refuse" (1 Tim. 3:11). Paul even limited which saints the church was to help. Brother Carrell's "unlimited" benevolence would include everyone, even the very ones whom Paul said to exclude.

His Questions

60. In closing he asked some questions. Here are my remarks about them.

1. His reference to a "congregation of the church of Christ" is sectarian language and is as nonsensical as if one were to say "a church of a church of Christ." But I did not know it was the work of the congregation to care for orphans as such. I know of many congregations doing scriptural benevolent work in a scriptural way, and I work with one such church.

2. Certainly I recognize a "law of inclusion" (and this makes three times I have told you so), but have not seen any "law" cited by you or by anyone else that includes a human institution through which the church may act. Have you given such a law? If so, Where? Please re-state this "law of inclusion," if you have given one.

3. By "General Authority," I mean authority that includes the necessary "means" and "methods," but a human institution is neither a "means" nor a "method."

4. I have known of Orphan Home personnel who have dabbled in the affairs of churches, even so far as trying to get a preacher fired who opposed their institution. One such Superintendent told me he would get me fired and get all my meetings cancelled. He seemed to think he had some authority with which to affect these things.

5. No. It is untrue, if by "church" you mean the congregation, and the universal church has no earthly organizational structure. These are private duties which every Christian has (such as the duty to keep oneself unspotted from the world -- Jas. 1:27) which no congregation can discharge for him.

6. Yes, a congregation may purchase song books with which to edify itself (Eph. 4:12, 16).

7. I very definitely believe the benevolent work of the congregation is limited to certain needy saints (See Acts 2:44, 45; 4:32-35; 6:1-6; 11:27-30; Rom. 15:25-31; 1 Cor. 16:1-3; 2 Cor. 9:1: 1 Tim. 5:16; 2 Thess. 3:10).

January 1969