Willis-Carrell Discussion, Third Negative

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

61. Brother Carrell and I are sorry for the unintended delays in completing this written discussion. Please observe that Bro. Carrell has written all three of his articles on this proposition and has yet to make any substantial affirmative presentation. Instead, he has spent his space trying to answer objections that he thought I would make to his human institution. In my opinion, he has made a miserable flop in discussing affirmatively the proposition he signed to affirm, though he writes on the other subjects he has chosen to discuss quite ably.

62. Brother Willis has never said it is "an evil spirit that moves godly men and women to provide for the needs of these unfortunate children" (p. 65). I do not know what kind of spirit it was that prompted Brother Carrell to say that I had said that. I think that the brethren who build and maintain human institutions through which churches are to work have more zeal than knowledge (Rom. 10:2); they probably have no deliberate sinister motives. Perhaps these human institutions which solicit church funds were formed and are defended by the "downright ignorance being manifested among those who should be our spiritual leaders" (p. 65), about which Bro. Carrell spoke. Suffice it to say, it was not the Spirit of God who prompted men to substitute human institutions to do the work God assigned to the church.

63. Bro. Carrell criticizes me for spending so much time in "opposing such homes" (p. 66). Has he spent less time in their advocacy! When brethren like Bro. Carrell quit promoting institutional adjuncts to the church, voluminous opposition will not be necessary. If Bro. Carrell would spend more time studying the nature of these "homes," the sinfulness of missionary societies, and the presumptuousness of substituting a human invention for a divine provision, he then could see why I spend so much time in opposing these human institutions. A little more time spent in studying these points might even bring Bro. Carrell to assist me in resisting the encroachment of these human innovations. Admittedly, the purity or the church is "dear to my heart" (p. 66).

64. In reference to Acts 19:9, Carrell says that Paul did not preach "negatively" (p. 67). Have you never read 2 Tim. 4:2, 3, "preach the word reprove, rebuke, exhort"? This entails negative preaching. Paul also said, "Them that sin reprove in the sight of all ..." (1 Tim. 5:20). Does Bro. Carrell mean that I should preach for singing and for immersion, but not against instrumental music and sprinkling? The Bible obligates me to preach what is "right with Christ" and His Way, and what is wrong with human inventions (Eph. 5:11).

65. In p. 68 Carrell complains of "continued mailing of literature." He did not mention who or what he had in mind, but the church where I preach continually gets lambasted with plenty of liberal propaganda literature. But the liberal brethren have the right to send whatever they want to send. And so do we! There is no lock on the mailbox.

66. He wants me to show the "spirit of Paul" (p. 69), which I am trying to do. Paul was set for a "defense of the gospel" (Phil. 1:17), and he reproved "sharply" (Tit. 1:13) those who would preach "another gospel" (Gal. 1:6-8). Paul did not leave error alone, and neither can I, if I have the "spirit of Paul."

67. Bro. Carrell made a nice speech telling me not to impose my convictions on others, but he insisted upon the opportunity to press his convictions in our paper, even without attempting to provide me a comparable opportunity in one of their papers. He even is insistent that we foot the bill financially while he presses his convictions. In so doing, did you "set yourself in His place as Judge" (p. 69), Bro. Carrell?

Inclusion and Exclusion

68. He asked me to show him the difference between a "human organization and a method' or 'means"' (p. 71, 72). Well, some progress has been made! Bro. Carrell now admits that he does not know the difference between a human institution and a "method." I knew that he did not know, or he would not have written as he did. If I were going to sign my name to defend the human organizations listed in Bro. Carrell's proposition, I will guarantee you that I would take the time to find out what a human organization is. And yet he criticizes me for spending too much time on these matters! Obviously he should spend a little more time on the subject before he begins his next debate. He can write 25 typewritten pages defending a human institution, but admits he cannot differentiate an institution from a "method."

69. Apparently he has not even read the Charters of the organizations listed in his proposition. A mere superficial reading of those Charters would have shown him the difference between an organization and a "means" or "method." The Charters state that the human institution provides the "means" and "methods."' The institution is not the "home"; it provides the "home." Even at this late date, I will be glad to loan Bro. Carrell a copy of the Schults-Lewis and Potter Charters, if he wants to learn the difference between a human institution and a "method."

70. In attempting to reply to my chart on "General and Specific Authority," Bro. Carrell attempts to parallel a chalkboard and a human institution. He wants to call his human institution an "incidental" (p. 73). It is rather obvious that he does not know the difference between a human institution and a "method." If you really think a human organization and a chalkboard are parallel, tell me where I may secure a copy of the Charter of the chalkboard. What do the By-laws of the chalkboard say? Who is the Treasurer of the chalkboard? Name me the Board of Directors of the chalkboard. Indeed, it does seem that Bro. Carrell needs to spend a little more time on this subject!

71. He speaks of the "Christian Baptizing Association" and the "Singing Saint Society" as some of the "cute ones Brother Willis has in his chart." Are these human institutions any "cuter" (or more devoid of scriptural authority) than the "cute" human institutions mentioned in Bro. Carrell's proposition? Such "cute" talk, Bro. Carrell, is beneath the dignity that should characterize a serious discussion like this. But when a man has no scripture to authorize his human society, perhaps to get "cute" is about the best that he can do.







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

How? How How?

72. Bro. Carrell wants me to tell "How? How? How?" (p. 76). But the issue is not "How? How? How?" but "Who? Who? Who?" -- The blood-bought Body or a human society. Once we can agree on who is to do the work assigned to the church in benevolence (the church or a human society), I am sure there will be no debate between us about how it is to be done. But Mid-Western Children's Home is not a method; it is a human organization that employs "means" and "methods" for child care.

The Missionary Society

73. Bro. Carrell read from the Charter of the North Carolina Missionary Convention a provision that he said he regarded as "contrary to clear scriptural teaching." So to continue the parallel between missionary and benevolent organizations, I read some provisions from benevolent society Charters that I regarded as "contrary to clear scriptural teaching." But Bro. Carrell was unhappy with my answer. He seemed to think I must find the identical statement in the benevolent society Charter. But in order to prove their Charters identical (which I never alleged), I would also have to find a stipulation in the North Carolina Missionary Convention Charter that precludes Negroes from participation. And so far as I know, even they have not gone that far yet, but Schults-Lewis and Potter have!

74. I have a letter from the United Christian Missionary Society President in which he denies that the Missionary Society has coercive power over the churches, and in like manner, the Orphan Home Presidents deny that they have coercive power over the churches. These institutions are even parallel in that both attempt to exert powers that they overtly deny that they have.

75. The Superintendent of one of the institutions mentioned in Bro Carrell's proposition wrote me in 1955 and subtly implied that unless I ceased to oppose human institutions, I would lose my job as local preacher and would have my meetings cancelled. Don't try to tell me these benevolent societies do not attempt to exert powers over preachers and churches! I answered him then as I would now, "... fear of losing my job as a local preacher, or threat of the canceling of meetings, will not change my convictions. It is going to take some arguments from the scripture. If you brethren have the power to swing the quarantine hatchet, let it fall. Faithful preachers aren't scared by such warnings." Only a blind man would deny that human institutions have pressured and attempted to intimidate preachers and churches who opposed them. But these human institutions, like their missionary society counterparts, will deny using such pressure tactics.

76. The missionary society is wrong, not only because it is said to claim authority over the churches, but also because it is a human institution through which the Divine Body acts. The benevolent societies are wrong for the same reason. Missionary and benevolent societies have many points of parallel (I did not argue that they are entirely identical). However, they are parallel in that both are unauthorized human institutions through which churches function. Thus their sinfulness in this regard is parallel.

Negro Children in "White Institutions"

77. Bro. Carrell seeks to explain the "lily white" admission practice of Schults-Lewis and Potter. How does he do so! He says Carson Spivey (Supt. of Midwestern) would accept a Negro child, but that this child "would have to wait its turn." But his turn at Potter and Schults-Lewis is never coming UNTIL THEY CHANGE THEIR CHARTERS.

78. He says that I should not charge the institutional brethren with being "black hearted villains, coldly turning away Negro children" (p. 86). But this works two ways. Bro. Carrell. How about you quitting considering us as "black hearted villains" because we object to the Lord's church making a donation to a human society?

79. How would I deal with the problem! I would apply and obey Gal. 6:101 and as a Christian do what my opportunity and ability would permit. Is there something wrong with doing this? Or must T send a token contribution to your man-made society to stay in your good graces?

General and Specific Authority AGAIN

80. I repeatedly have said that I would accept either general or specific Biblical authority for a human institution through which the church may act, whenever either kind of authority is presented for such action. Bro. Carrell wants me to "clarify" what I mean by general authority. I think this is precisely his trouble. He does not know an institution from a "method," and he does not understand the nature of general and specific authority.

81. God has specified the organization (the congregation), and Gods specification excludes every other organization to do the work of the church. If Bro. Carrell could cite general authority that includes a human organization for benevolence, the same kind of general authority would include a human organization to preach the gospel. But Bro. Carrell can cite neither general nor specific authority for any human institution to do any work of the church.

82. Bro. Carrell says that Gal. 6:10 does not "fit in with Brother Willis' theories" (p. 89). I believe Gal. 6:10 obligate Christians to help both saints and sinners, so long as opportunity and ability permit. Bro. Carrell believes Gal. 6:10 authorize a church to subsidize a human institution. May I suggest that you read the passage again and look for a church and a human institution. You will find neither in the passage.

83. If the "whole world" is the "field" in benevolence (P7 89), why did not some of the New Testament churches practice benevolence in the "whole world" field? Why did New Testament churches restrict their benevolent activity to certain "believers" (Acts 2:44, 45; 4:32), "disciples" (Acts 6:1-6), "brethren" (Acts 11:21-30), and "saints" (1 Cor. 16:1, 2; 2 Cor. 9:1; Rom. 15:26)? Where can one read about some of this congregational "whole world" benevolence? It is not in the New Testament. It must in "THE CARRELL INTERPOLATION."

84. To apply Jas. 1:27 to an individual "is a most convenient dodge," Bro. Carrell says. Now you look for the church as I quote the passage again. "If any MAN thinketh HIMSELF to be religious, while HE bridleth not HIS tongue but deceiveth HIS heart, this MAN'S religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep ONESELF unspotted from the world" (Jas. 1:26, 27). Does this reading sound as if James is speaking of congregational or personal duty?

85. Carrell says that I "force a distinction where there is none" when I differentiate between congregational and individual duty. He said "Bible writers" made no "hard and fast distinction" (p. 92). He said that "individual action becomes congregational everyone is doing the same thing!" The only thing wrong with this assertion, Bro. Carrell, is that it JUST IS NOT TRUE. If every member donated to the college, has the congregation donated to the college? You say it is sinful for a church to donate to a college.

86. Bro. Carrell, do you "force a distinction when there is none" when you maintain an individual may support a college, but that a congregation must not contribute to a school! Your co-laborer and Herald of Truth Speaker, Batsell Barrett Baxter, says you do. Baxter said, "Some who are agreed that the church can contribute to an orphan's home are not convinced that the church can contribute to a Christian school. It is difficult to see a significant difference so far as principle is concerned. The Orphans' home and the Christian school must stand or fall together" (QUESTIONS AND ISSUES OF THE DAY, p. 29). It sounds like he was drawing your picture, doesn't it Bro. Carrell?

87. The only time Bro. Carrell's head seems to clear up on the difference between individual and congregational action is when I say the magical word "college." Even then, his head does not stay clear very long. Then I have to say the magical word "college" again, and things clear up for him for another brief period. The rest of the time, he is as confused on the point as the proverbial goose in a hailstorm.


88. In bringing this discussion to a close, let me request that you once more read the chart that shows the contrast between what the Bible teaches about benevolence, and what Bro. Carrell has been attempting to defend in this debate. And remember, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" (I Pet. 4:11), and if any man build, let him "make all things according to the pattern..." (Heb. 8:5).


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.


89. This twelve article exchange (six by Carrell and six by me) has now come to a close. We have typed about 100 pages of material. The old-timers used to conduct a debate until one party had enough of it. When a debater yelled "calf-rope" (You may not understand what that expression means), the debate ended.

90. Bro. Carrell now says that he has had enough. He requested the debate and he now requests that it end. We grant his request in both instances. So this debate now closes. We appreciate your willingness to participate in this much discussion, Bro. Carrell. Very few liberal preachers today will even attempt what you have attempted. But a man is fighting an impossible up-hill battle when he attempts to use the Bible to justify church-sponsored and church-supported human institutions. Bro. Carrell thinks it might be best now that he not try that any further. And thus the debate is ended.

February 1969