By Charles E. Davis
Paul, the apostle for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, said “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me and there are many adversaries” (1 Cor. 16:9, KJV). After participating in the recent historical debate, which occurred in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 21-22, 1987, between brother Hugh Manus and brother Ron Daly, I now more fully comprehend the above statement made by the apostle “called out of due season.” The Great God, who dwells above the azure blue, through His infinite mercy and providential wisdom, has opened a great door in the most highly neglected field in America. For too long, my brother, Black churches of Christ have been virtually impregnable to sound doctrine. Due to neglect, and an attitude of apathy, the Black churches of Christ have been for so long entrenched in liberalism.
I realize to many the issue of fellowship halls and church sponsored recreation may seem somewhat redundant. But there are literally thousands of Black Christians who have never heard the whole council of God on these vital issues. One reason being, is that Black preachers who embrace liberalism would never agree to a public discussion. This is why 95 percent of the Black Christians in America are liberal minded. But the highest praise be given to Jehovah, for a great door is now opened. Brethren, this debate is the vehicle through which many souls which are engulfed in liberalism will have access to the truth.
I am sure that many still doubt the effectiveness of a debate on the “issues” as was clearly evidenced by the lack of support from area congregations in Memphis who know the circumstances. We averaged 200 each night and we also received support from visitors from as far as Kentucky and Texas. Except for an occasional “amen” from the large number of liberal preachers, the audience was well behaved.
Brother Hugh Manus, who affirmed both nights, was pitifully weak in his argumentation. He was pathetically unprepared and lacked depth. On several occasions, brother Daly appealed to the other preachers in the audience to assist brother Manus. However, it became very apparent they too were shallow and lacked fortitude. Brother Daly kept the real issues before brother Manus and before the audience with his detailed charts. Brother Daly did a masterful job in presenting the truth in a forthright manner. After Brother Daly’s second negative, the crowd noticeably were in agreement with him and the truth. I am a little reluctant to project the overall effectiveness of this debate, but at least 15 people showed strong interest in future study and some have already publically denounced the social gospel.
Per our agreement, I was the general moderator for the last night of the discussion. I took that opportunity to read a set of propositions, which I also sent to brother Nokomis Yeldell, who preaches for the Vance Avenue congregation in Memphis, which challenges him to prove scripturally that the preacher is over the elder. Brother Yeldell has written a book entitled 77se Big Issue, in which he asserts that the evangelist is not under the oversight of the elders but rather he is equal in the authority of the elders. If brother Yeldell will accept my challenge, there could be another debate in Memphis before 1988.
For more information concerning the Daly-Manus discussion, please feel free to contact Ron Daly, P.O. Box 401, Millington, Tennessee 38053-0401 (901-873-4254) or contact Charles E. Davis, P.O. Box 40031, St. Paul, Minnesota 55104 (612-222 0872 or 645-0092).
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 9, p. 267
May 7, 1987