Third Negative

By Ronny Wade

The Affirmative Refuses To Let Us Know Where He Stands

In my last negative article I begged our brother to tell us in which Lord’s supper passage the word cup meant a literal container. He refused to answer. Brother Moore, the readers want to know why you are withholding this information. If I have falsely charged you by saying that you “believe the container is never under consideration when the cup is used in the Lord’s supper accounts” then why not tell us where the word is so used? Again, in the 1-2-86 issue of Guardian Of Truth our brother stated his belief that the church of the first century used a plurality of cups in the Lord’s supper. I have repeatedly asked how he knew this. What has been his answer? Silence! Nothing but silence. Now you know why I charge him with subterfuge (a stratagem used in order to conceal, escape, or evade). If he has the answers then why, oh why, has he kept them concealed for three affirmative articles? The very information he claims to have, which could have settled this whole disagreement, he chooses to keep hidden and concealed.

You Decide Where He Stands And What He Believes

“I do not mean that I can read verbatim about a plurality of drinking vessels being used in distributing the fruit of the vine. If I could do this it would not be a debatable proposition” (Moore, First Aff.). Yet when I accused him of admitting that a “plurality of cups is not taught by example, command, or necessary inference” he replied, “I have admitted no such thing” (Third Aff.). In other words he must believe that a plurality of cups is taught either by example, or command, or necessary inference. When do we believe him, the first article or the third?

Again, I said, “We know by his own admission, that a plurality of cups is not taught by example, command, or necessary inference.” He replied, “This is a glaring misrepresentation! I never admitted any such thing” (Third Aff.). Now, come on brother Moore, do you or do you not? Are cups taught by example, command, or necessary inference? If so, where? Why didn’t you tell us? If they are not taught by command, example, or necessary inference, then why be afraid to admit it? I tell you, I don’t know where the man stands.


The affirmative seems greatly agitated by the fact that I demanded an example of his cups. If he would use greater care in what he writes and pay more attention to what I write, his problems wouldn’t be nearly as great as they are at the present. First of all, he made it clear that a plurality of cups was not taught explicitly and that he could not read about them verbatim. In other words there was no example of their use in the New Testament. Then he proceeded to inform us that a plurality of cups was taught implicitly i.e. “capable of being understood from something else though unexpressed.” Now it doesn’t take a Solomon to see that if cups are taught (justified) by something unexpressed there is no example, command, or necessary inference that teaches (justifies) their use. If this is reckless, he has no one to blame but himself. If I have misrepresented him by stating “we know by his own ad mission, that a plurality of cups is not taught by example, command, or necessary inference,” why didn’t he cite the passage that “teaches” their use instead of crying misrepresentation? And he wonders why I charge him with circumlocution (talking around or in circles).

It Gets Worse

Notice the following: “He takes his ridiculous concept of how a matter is authorized, then charges me with a consequence of it” (Third Aff.). Later in the same paragraph he quotes me, “‘We know by his own admission, that a plurality of cups is not taught by example, 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.”‘ Yes brother I know you emphatically stated that, but you didn’t prove it. Stating a thing is a far cry from proving it. You see it is impossible for any passage that teaches the obligation to drink the fruit of the vine to authorize a plurality of drinking vessels when every such passage commands those present to “drink of the cup,” i.e. “out of” or “from” the cup. You just cannot drink “out of” the cup and drink from cups.

Who Will Meet The Issue Head-On?

Brother Moore has not addressed the issue. He has repeatedly refused us the advantage of information he claims to have. But now, he has the audacity to write d6we insist that the negative tell us where there 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?” First of all, it is the obligation of the negative to examine the proof or evidence advanced by the affirmative. I am affirming nothing in this discussion. I am denying. Secondly, we are not debating song books or plates, we are debating cups. I am not surprised, however, at our brother’s actions. Every digressive who ever debated has taken this road. The instrumental music man wants to know about tuning forks and song books. The institutional (Herald of Truth, Orphan Home) brethren want to know about individual cups and classes. (Remember the Cogdill- Woods Debate?) Why? Simply because neither can read or justify his practice by the Scriptures. Now, our brother takes the same road traveled by all innovators. He wants to know if these things he mentions are authorized. And if so, how? I am neither ashamed nor afraid to address his argument. Yes, I believe they are authorized. How? By generic authority. Why? Because they are subordinate elements included within the purview of the precept given by Divine inspiration. Do cups fall into this same category? I answer emphatically no. Why? Because the precept (Mt. 26:27; Mk. 14:23) specifies that “He took the cup” (not cups). He commanded them – to “all drink of it” (not them). They understood and “all drank of (out of) it” (Mk. 14:23). Subordinate elements under cup are such things as size of the cup, color or material out of which it is made, whether or not it has a handle, etc. Coordinate elements, i.e. elements from the same sphere (where we have no choice) are such things as individual cups, drinking from an eye dropper, or lapping it off the floor. This is why he has no parallel between cups and the things he mentions. I submit that our brother’s cause would have been better served had he dealt as forth-rightly with the readers of this exchange as I have instead of withholding valuable information he claims to have, but refuses to share.

His Problem

As we pointed out in our last article, the affirmative is laboring under a terrible burden, by defending a practice that was introduced into churches of Christ around 1913-15. By his own admission “Efforts to introduce multiple containers met with much opposition” (Guardian Of Truth, 1-2-86). That opposition continues today by brethren interested in maintaining purity of worship. The charge that the recent origin of multiple cups has nothing to do with their scripturalness “unless the negative believes that tradition is a valid means of determining scriptural authority” seems strange in view of the approach used by brother Moore and his brethren to the institutional question. In fact when they argue that issue, you would think they had taken a page right out of my debate notes. I have already shown that Cogdill demanded an example of Woods for his practice. That’s o.k., but I shouldn’t demand an example of cups. In the Gospel Guardian (10-28-85) Hoyt Houchen wrote, “We remind these brethren that the church was here a long time before these human institutions and it fared all right without them.” It’s o. k. for them to make the antiquity argument, but when I use it, it proves nothing. Oh consistency, thou art a jewel. Brother Moore then charges that I misrepresented, Alford, and Jamieson, Faucett and Brown on 1 Corinthians 10:16.” In what way? How did I misrepresent them? Does he expect us to accept his allegation without any proof? What is the matter with this man?

Out Of It

In his frenzy brother Moore is getting careless. First of all he fails to see how my reference to Thayer on the use of the genitive is of any help to my position. Well sir, it helps because the genitives in Matthew 26:27 and 1 Corinthians 9:7 are different. In the former it is “a gen. of the vessel out of which one drinks,” and in the latter it is “a gen. denoting the drink of which as a supply one drinks.” So you don’t have a parallel and your argument falls. Secondly, he says, “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.'” Well, my friend that’s exactly what Thayer does under ek on p. 191 under #9 supply, he lists 1 Corinthians 9:7. Our brother needs to be more careful. And then to cap it all off he implies that because I refer to Thayer I am saying that “the English translations are not sufficient and what you Bible says may mislead you.” Brother Moore is that why you referred to Dungan and Bullinger in your first affirmative? I thought better of you than this.

The Foolishness of His Position

I asked our brother “in the sentence He picked up the cup and drank it and sighed gustily saying, this is good coffee, is the cup the coffee?” His reply: “metaphorically yes.” There you have it friends. In order to sustain a dying cause this man has taken the illogical position that when a man picks up a cup and drinks it, and then says “this is good coffee” the cup he picked up is metaphorically the coffee. Who can believe it? How sad, how tragic. May God give us the courage to stand for truth regardless of the consequences.

Guardian of Truth XXXI: 5, pp. 151-152
March 5, 1987