Disagree Agreeably

Larry Ray Hafley
Plano, Illinois

Controversy has always enveloped truth. It surrounded our Savior, and abounded around the apostles. People are prone, however, to equate religious discussions with bar room brawls. Unfortunately, disputants have not always conducted themselves "as it becometh the gospel of Christ" (Phil. 1: 27), thus the reason for the feelings of many. But the victory of the Devil over the passions of men does not negate the worth of honorable argument.

After a debate with Mr. Lewis, a Pentecostal preacher, he offered to buy me a steak dinner. I did not accept, but the offer was appreciated. His wife gave my wife a beautiful planter-vase on the last night of the discussion which we proudly display in our living room as a trophy to agreeable disagreement. Further, the Pentecostals left off the mechanical instruments on the last night of the debate so we could sing together. It was a gesture gendered by good will. No one who heard the debate thought it was a back-slapping "you go your way, and I will go mine affair," but a proper spirit prevailed.

Just lately, Mr. Wayne Camp, President of the Illinois Missionary Baptist Institute and Seminary, whom we debated last August and with whom, if the Lord wills, we will have two four night discussions in 1971, asked me to drive down with him to Ocala, Florida, to attend a debate! Wayne and I have gone at it "with much contention" in a weekly newspaper article sponsored by the Paris Avenue church in Peoria, yet we remain personal friends. So, it is possible to disagree agreeably.

December 24, 1970