Third Affirmative

By Elmer Moore

In his second negative brother Wade declares that my second affirmative was a “masterpiece in subterfuge and circumlocution,” and that I tried to “evade clear responsibility and duty.” He seems to think that all he has to do is just assert something and that makes it the truth. Both of his articles have been introduced in this fashion. You, the reader, must decide who has done what in this exchange. I believe you, are intelligent enough to do so. His tactics of assertion are evident. He takes the liberty of asserting what I and others have said. I suppose that he feels no obligation to be correct in the statements he makes. Who does he think he is that he can just assert matters without proof?You can decide if I used “subterfuge” (deception to conceal) or “circumlocution” (use an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea) and tried to evade (avoid facing up to) the matters that have been presented, in view of the fact that most of the affirmative arguments I made have gone virtually unnoticed.

“The Real Issue”

Under the above heading the negative charged me with admitting “that there is neither command nor necessary inference justifying (my emph. e.m.) their use.” Did you notice how he changed what I said in my second affirmative? I said that if there was a command or necessary inference demanding their use “it would not be a matter of liberty. ” He has changed his terminology! He first insisted that I find where my practice was demanded, and when I said there was no such demand, he charges me with saying that they were not justified! This is reckless! He then states, “We know by his own admission, that a plurality of cups is not taught (my emph. e.m.) by “ample, command, or necessary inference.” Notice what this man has written. He has equated the terms demanded, justified and teach. Tell us brother, does the Bible teach your practice of preaching the gospel by means of television? If it does, it is justified? But, if it is justified it is demanded – according to your reasoning!

He takes his ridiculous concept of how a matter is authorized, then charges me with a consequence of it. I pointed out that the Bible did not demand the use of a plurality of drinking vessels. He then charged that I admit that “there is neither command nor necessary inference justifying their use.” After building this false concept of how to establish authority he advanced to the next step and declared, “We know by his own admission, that a plurality of cups is not taught by “ample, command, or necessary inference.” I have admitted no such thing. I emphatically stated, “Every passage that teaches the obligation to drink the fruit of the vine, is a passage that authorizes a plurality of drinking vessels.” It is one thing to state that an argument logically demands a certain conclusion, but this man recklessly asserts that I “admit” such. This is uncalled for and only indicates the frustration of the negative, in building and fighting a strawman.

It was much easier for him to engage in an unnecessarily large number of words in false charges than it was for him to address himself to what I said about authority. He chose to brush it aside by saying that it was “ridiculous and totally without biblical authority.” Do you suppose that the negative doesn’t understand the nature of general authority? Yes, he understands general authority when he wants to defend many of his practices, but denies others the same right. He is guilty of special pleading. He will not level the same criticism at his practice that he does toward others. We insist that the negative tell us where is the command, example or necessary inference for the following: (1) a plate for the bread in the Lord’s supper; (2) a song leader; (3) a song book; (4) the use of radio or television for preaching the gospel; (5) a plate or basket for the contribution; or (6) a baptistry. Tell us brother, are these things authorized? If so, are they authorized by command, example or necessary inference? If they are authorized, are they demanded? And will you also tell us if a matter demanded may be ignored with impunity? Your brethren, along with me and my brethren, await your answer! Surely you must think the above are authorized. If not do you and your brethren practice those things that are unauthorized? But remember, according to you, if they are authorized they are demanded! What our brother has done is substitute the word demanded for the word mention. He used to talk about a matter not being mentioned as being unscriptural, he was shown to be so inconsistent that he has coined a new word. However, it has gotten him in trouble.

“Implicit Authority”

The negative is a master at misrepresentation. He will misrepresent me and then charge me with an inconsistency based on the misrepresentation. He stated, “We know by his own admission, that a plurality of cups is not taught by example, command, or necessary inference.” This is a glaring misrepresentation! I never admitted any such thing. He then states, “Well, says the affirmative, they are implied.” He now completes his effort to show my inconsistency. I must believe that a matter may be implied though not authorized by “command, example, or necessary inference.” I believe no such thing. The negative talks about “implicit authority” in such a way as to indicate that he doesn’t believe there is such. Tell us, do you believe there is such a thing as “Implicit Authority”? If so, is such established by command, example or necessary inference? Don’t evade!

“Straw Man”

In this section the negative further demonstrates his frustration by attributing a statement to me that he made and then charging me with a contradiction. He “quoted” me as saying that, “the container is never under consideration when the word cup is used in the Lord’s supper accounts.” Then he quotes my statement, d ta container is necessary to contain liquid.” I deny the first statement! It occurs in my second affirmative, third paragraph. In this place I was referring to what the negative had accused me of saying. I denied it then! I deny it now! Do you suppose that the negative is guilty of subterfuge? I have continually argued that, “Every passage that requires us to drink the fruit of the vine teaches us that a container is necessary.” I have never denied this. My point has been that the number is not essential. You, the reader, know this, whether the negative does or not.

“Out Of It”

The negative is a master at referring to something you say without looking at the main thrust of the argument and he did this on the term “out of. ” I fail to see how his reference to Thayer on the use of the genitive helps him. His contention is that everyone drinking of a container must touch his lips to that same vessel. You would think, by his argument, that Thayer lists 1 Corinthians 9:7 under the statement, “with the genitive denoting the drink of which as a supply one drinks.” But my friends he does not. This is just another instance of the negative’s assertions. He implies that the English translations are not sufficient and that what your Bible says may mislead you. You must have the negative to guide you. The expression does not demand that the lips must touch the same container to drink of it and our brother would not make this argument in any other situation when you have parallel language.


He did not deny my charge that he took the “language of Jesus which is obviously metaphorical, and compared it with his coffee illustration that is literal.” He simply endeavors to prove that there was a literal container involved in each. Who denies it? He wants to know if the cup was the coffee and in his illustration, metaphorically, yes.

“Spiritual Significance”

The mistake that the negative made, to which I referred, was that of using about, “one-fourth of his article . . . to give a lesson on the laws of language.” I said, “He ignores the fact that Jesus used highly metaphorical language.” My argument was on the fallacy of applying the general laws of language to figurative expressions (Bullinger’s Figures of Speech, pp. 738-741). 1 still say that a man with his background ought to know better. As to his “circumlocution” on grammar I said, “What does he prove: that there was literal bread, juice and a vessel? Who denies it?” Why should I devote time and space to something I do not deny?

In an effort to show that the statements of Matthew and Mark are teaching something different than that of Luke and Paul, our brother takes a portion of what Mark says. Note his chart that he gave in his first negative. He states, “The following parallel demonstrates the significance of the cup.” “This (bread) is my body” (Lk. 22:19). “This (fruit of the vine) is my blood” (Mk. 14:24). “This cup is the New Testament in my blood” (Lk. 22:20). The second and third statements are the ones in dispute, thus I address them. He presents a partial truth. The following is a chart illustrating the whole truth!

“This is my blood of the New Testament” (Mk. 14:24).

“This is the New Testament in my blood” (Lk. 22:20).

You will note that the negative deleted the phrase “of the New Testament” stated in Mark’s text. Yet he would have you to believe that he is looking at these passages fairly. The two statements are teaching the same thing. The negative knows that the order of record is not necessarily the order of occurrence. Notice also, that he makes the first two statements figurative explaining in parenthesis the figure; but makes the third statement literal. The Catholics will make the first and second literal and the third figurative language in the doctrine of transubstantiation. The two errors are the result of failing to understand the use of figurative language. The negative barely noticed my argument. I called attention to the fact that both Paul and Luke were using the figure of speech of metonomy, i.e., the container for the contents. The record indicates that they were to “divide” the cup and “drink” it. Thayer on page 533 states, “by metonomy of the container for the contained, the contents of the cup, what is offered to be drunk” (Lk. 22:20b; 1 Cor. 11:28sq). Both of these writers are talking about the contents. Obviously, then, in whatever sense the “cup” is the New Testament it is the contents and not the container. I wish he would have addressed this in his second negative so I could have replied. His only comment was, “I wonder, the contents of what?” It is the contents of the container named to suggest that which was significant – the fruit of the vine.

“What Does He Really Believe”

Those who read this exchange are capable of understanding what I believe, even though the negative indicated he doesn’t. I wrote in my first affirmative a simple explanation of what I believed. I said, “First allow me to give a brief explanation of this statement (referring to Matt. 26:26-29). Jesus declared that the bread was a fair representation of His body and the cup, which He identified as the fruit of the vine (v. 29), was a fair representation of His blood that served to ratify the New Testament. Our Lord used metaphorical language declaring that “one thing is another.” The negative may not believe the foregoing but he certainly must understand what I believe.

“His Problem”

Under the above heading the negative refers to C. E. Holt and G. C. Brewer about the introduction of multiple vessels. If he could prove that this was so it would have nothing whatever to with whether a plurality of drinking vessels were scriptural, unless the negative believes that tradition is a valid means of determining scriptural authority. He misrepresents Alford, Jamieson, Faucett & Brown on 1 Corinthians 10:16.

Summary of the Debate

Allow me to remind the reader of the arguments that I have advanced that the negative has not answered. I made an extensive argument on the purpose of the Lord’s Supper showing that Jesus said, “This do in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24). The negative took no issue with my statement that, “Whatever is essential to the keeping of this memorial must have some specific bearing on the design or purpose of that memorial,” (1st. Affirm., par. 4). I showed that the word remembrance meant, “not in memory of but in an affectionate calling of the person himself to mind.” I have advanced arguments showing that the “bread” and the “fruit of the vine” met the demands of the design (see 1st article) but the container does not. I also presented arguments based on Matthew 26:26-28 showing that there were two elements of significance. I introduced 1 Corinthians 10:16 noting that there were only two elements of significance (see 1st article). These arguments went virtually unnoticed by the negative.

Under the section entitled “Bible Authority for a Plurality of Drinking, Vessels” I presented a formulated argument showing that When the Lord authorizes an action, that whatever is necessary to carry out that action and what is expedient, is contained in the authorized action, unless it violates other principles of Bible teaching.” I illustrated this with the command to sing. I pointed out that the vessel was included in the command to drink but that the number was incidental.

Guardian of Truth XXXI: 5, pp. 149-150, 153
March 5, 1987