By Roger Jackson
Would someone please tell me what it takes to get these preachers to answer material? Brother Warnock completely ignored some crucial questions, then he made arguments I never made and answered them. Are you afraid to answer what I asked, brother Warnock or are you waiting for your last negative so I cannot respond? These brethren pull this trick all the time and then report how they beat the “liberals” in their overblown reports full of false information, like Wayne Greeson did. If my opponent had information I could not deal with or questions I could not answer I would either change my doctrine or let someone else do the debating. I suggest that brother Warnock do one or the other or that Mr. Editor select a man who will!
Why did brother Warnock not give us that passage that he said obligates the church to “some orphans”? Must I beg him? When he gives it he will concede the debate and he knows it. Do you expect us to surrender to you with a problem like this? Give us the passage that authorizes the church to obey the laws of the land and to sing. I couldn’t find that in your “negative.” Brother Warnock says the church may support a widow, but he did not tell us, (1) if a widow must have a home, (2) if her home would be an institution apart from the church, (3) when the church does this supporting would it be supporting an institution apart from the church doing the work of the church, (4) if this home is a human institution, (5) if it is a human institution what is the church doing giving to a human institution (giving for its upkeep) when you (Warnock) say such is a sin. Quit hiding brother and give us some answers.
Brother Warnock first argues that an individual obligation cannot be discharged collectively. Then explain Galatians 6:6 for us. Did your brethren pay you individually Sunday? Did they practice religion by proxy? You didn’t even get the point. When the apostles requested that Paul remember the poor he said that they said, “we should remember the poor” (emphasis mine, rj). Paul remembered them through churches. If the “we” in Galatians 2:10 can include “churches” why cannot the “we” of Galatians 6:10 include churches? I know why you won’t answer questions.
The only argument brother Warnock will have in this debate is that a passage that names a Christian duty and specifies the individual Christian excludes the church. If this is not your position please state it. I contend (1) the rule is false, and (2) no preacher of his persuasion will apply it consistently. A sample: Warnock reasons that since the passage says “himself” it cannot mean “church.” I never argued any differently and never tried to make “himself” a church. But the passage is just as specific with reference to the work (fatherless and orphans) as it is as to who is to do it (according to him). However, in Searching the Scriptures (Vol. XXVII, No. 4, p. 374), you said “fatherless and widows” meant “all in distress or trouble of any kind.” Now just suppose you tell us why you insist that you can’t get “church” into “himself” but you can get all the distressed people of the world into “fatherless and widows”? Reader, this is why we will not give into these false teachers and their hobby!
To answer your question on James 1:27, why would an individual Christian who is unrelated to a widow relieve one who is not a widow indeed, since a widow indeed is one who has no one who can or will care for her? What would he be doing caring for someone who has someone to care for her? All you have proven is that there is a distinction within a class. You have not addressed the point of the argument, viz., the equal relationship of the two works. How could you have answered this when you do not even understand it? Neither did Greeson and Thrasher understand it and then had the gall to report that I seemed confused. The confusion was at the other table!
Warnock says the Bible says nothing about giving to any home! Mr. Editor said he believed it and so did all of his staff writers, so he insisted on the words “institutional home” being in the proposition. What is going on here? Either you two are just as divided as we are, brother, or somebody is practicing deceit. If you do not believe a church can contribute to any home, why not discuss what you believe?
It is a lot easier to make your own arguments and answer them isn’t it? That is what you did instead of answering mine. I never made one argument on the definition of the term “to visit.” However, I cannot resist the opportunity to expose some of the most foolish and fanatic suggestions you will ever hear from a supposedly sane man. A man who demonstrates in the process how desperate he is to save his hobby. It is a desperate man who has to argue that a jail is an institution for visiting those in prison! Brother Warnock do you not know the difference between a jail (a penal institution) and a home (a benevolent institution)? Do you not know that neither churches nor individuals should support denominational hospitals because it would support error? Do you not know that the church cannot engage in secular business like a state hospital? You said so in the Guardian (Vol. XXXIV, No. 13, p. 7). I agree with you. Mr. Webster defines a hospital as a place where the sick or injured are cared for (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, p. 553). in case of a natural disaster, like a tornado, the church where you preach could not allow its building to be used to assist the injured who are non-saints because of your hobby and it could not be used to assist the brethren because it would be operating a “church of Christ hospital,” Deny it if you dare! I certainly agree with your syllogism provided we understand “hospital” to be an institution built and maintained by brethren, operated purely for benevolence in conjunction with Mr. Webster’s definition. Now answer my syllogism.
Brother Warnock conceded my point that a home is just as much implied in James 1:27 as a place is in Hebrews 10:25. The rest he said is smoke. If he thinks a construction company is a benevolent institution like a home he needs more help than I can give him. This is the logic (?) that keeps his hobby alive.
Brother Warnock says a church can provide a house, food, clothing and whatever else orphans need. Can they make the house a little bigger and take in 2? How about 22? If the state required incorporation, could it comply with the law? Thank you, brother Warnock, you have just conceded everything in my proposition!
I did not define the church to include a meeting house. I said that is what our language does. He cannot answer what I say without changing it.
Brother Warnock stated that my syllogism is invalid. I challenge him to prove it or admit he does not know what he is talking about. Validity relates to form and means the conclusion is demanded whether true or false. There are six rules of validity. Produce the one it violates. If the syllogism is invalid so is his for he employed the same form! I do not think he knows the first thing about validity.
Brother Warnock is operating on the rule that when a passage commands an action and names the individual, it does not authorize the church to do anything. This rule can be shown to be inconsistent because he believes the church may obey all of these individually commanded passages (Gal. 6:6; 2 Jn. 9-11; Col. 3:17; Jude 3). But on the other hand, I insist there is a principle of Bible interpretation that is sound and consistent:
Major Premise: All passages which relate to peculiarly religious matters are passages which apply with equal force both to the church and to the individual Christian.
Minor Premise: James 1:27 is a passage which relates to peculiarly religious matters.
Conclusion: Therefore, James 1:27 is a passage which applies with equal force both to the church and to the individual Christian.
By “peculiarly religious matters” I mean those actions commanded of a Christian on the sole grounds that he is a Christian, not because he is a father (Eph. 6:4), or a provider (1 Tim. 5:8), or a laborer (Eph. 4:8), or a servant (Eph. 6:5), or a relative (1 Tim. 5:16). Find an action this principle violates or concede it. I gave five passages that your rule violates.
My argument on James 1:27 is the only part of the syllogism he challenged and is the only one I have to defend. I answered all of his objections and offer the above syllogism as further proof. Since James 1:27 relates equally to the church it proves the church has an obligation in child care. The church may provide a home for orphans since that is a basic need. The church cannot function as a home, hence must use the services of a home. The church may discharge this obligation by funds sent. This is all that is involved in my proposition. The syllogism is unquestionably valid, the premises are true, thus we have a sound argument and there is no answer to it.
In this debate already we have heard a man argue that a jail is a benevolent institution for visiting prisoners like a hospital is for visiting the sick. He has demonstrated that he does not know the difference between business enterprises like a construction company and a home for orphans. He does not seem to know what simple validity is, but thinks proving a premise wrong makes a syllogism invalid. He says the church has a responsibility to orphans, but will not give us the passage that assigns that responsibility. He practices deception saying the church may help orphans, when in reality he does not believe it can help any orphan on the basis of his being an orphan, but because he is a destitute saint. He is so desperate to cover the fact that he cannot answer my argument on the function of episkeptomai in the sentence that is James 1:27 that he changed it to the definition of the word and then tore that straw man to pieces. He says you just cannot get the church into a passage that addresses the individual, but cannot explain the fact that he never practices Galatians 6:6 if that is true. He argues that the “we” of Galatians 2:10 does not exclude the church, but will say the “we” of Galatians 6: 10 excludes it. He is sure that you cannot get “churches” into the “himself” of James 1:27, but has no problem getting every distressed or troubled person in the word into “the fatherless and widows” in the same passage. He knows how to give to a church, but does not know how to give to a home. He is in a debate opposing church contributions to a home, but indicates often that he does not know what a home is, or when a contribution is made to it.
Kind reader, you tell me how in five short pages (length of my copy) a man can have this many inconsistencies and blunders and still expect people to believe he has the truth? They can make it look good until they give the other side a chance to reply. That is exactly what happened when Wayne Greeson wrote a “review” of my debate with Thomas Thrasher and filled it with total inaccuracies and misrepresentations and the editor would not allow me a defense. The truth is Thrasher did no better than brother Warnock has done and this is the best any of then can do. I plead with you to renounce this disgraceful false doctrine and stand for the truth (Jn. 5:39; Acts 17:11).
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 11, pp. 335-336
June 4, 1992