The Willis-Jenkins Debate

By John Mc Cort

In September of 1974 Cecil Willis and Jesse Jenkins met in Houston, Texas for a four night debate on the college question. It was announced during the debate that the discussion would be published. My wife was given the job of transcribing the debate. She began the actual transcription process in November of 1974 because it took over a month to procure a complete, and clearly audible set of tapes of the discussion. This was finished in June of 1975.

Many have inquired as to why the debate has not yet been published. The reasons are many. 1. Shortly after we began transcribing the debate my wife was bedfast for a month due to illness. In March of 1975 we moved to Kansas City, Missouri which complicated matters. (I am sure that Brent Lewis and Billy Norris can sympathize with our problems.) Even so, the un-edited transcripts were sent to Brother Willis and Brother Jenkins in June of 1975. 2. Brother Willis held meetings from January till March of 1975. In April he and Connie Adams went to the Philippines for several weeks. Brother Willis then went to Australia for a preaching i rip where he suffered the first of two mild strokes. He returned to this country in June and suffered his second stroke shortly thereafter. Since that time the doctors have ordered him to do as little as possible. Although the strokes did not affect his mental faculties the doctors want him to rest as much as possible for the time being. He has had severe problems with chronic high blood pressure which have not yet been completely resolved. Thus he has not been able to do any work on the manuscripts for the debate.

Those who think there has been extreme delay in the publication of the debate should not be alarmed. Many debates have taken over two years to publish. For example, the Willis-Inman debate took place in 1966 but was not published until 1968. This delay has not been intentional.

In a recent issue of With All Boldness Darwin Chandler wondered out loud if Brother Willis was intentionally delaying publication of the debate. Brother Chandler “surmised” that Cecil had taken such a licking (which is untrue) at the Houston debate that he was afraid to have the debate published. (One brother even accused Cecil of not even having the debate transcribed after Cecil had personally told him that the debate was about half transcribed.) Never, at any time, did Cecil even intimate that we slow down on the transcribing of the debate. In fact, Brother Willis did a good deal of prodding to speed up the process.

The debate should be published by summer. If you would like to order a copy of the debate, Truth Magazine Bookstore is now taking orders. The book will have the charts used in the debate inserted into the text of the speeches every time they are used. The book should be a classic. All interested in this controversial question should order a copy.

Truth Magazine, XX:17, p. 8-9
April 11, 1976