Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 17, 1960

Comments On The Wallace-Holt Debate - (II.)


As We Listened To Brother G. K. Wallace Present What He Apparently Considered His Strongest And Most Forceful Argument Giving The Churches The Scriptural Right To Build And Maintain "Benevolent Organizations" Through Which To Accomplish Their Work Of Benevolence We Were First Mildly Surprised, Then Incredulous, And Then Astonished. This Is The Argument On Which He Spent More Time, Returned To More Often, And Tried To Drive Home With Greater Force Than Any Other Argument Offered.

And What Was This Argument? Why, It Was An Attempt To Show An Inconsistency Between The "Teaching" (?) Of Charles Holt And The Practice Of The East Florence Church As Revealed By Their Budget. The Time Spent On This Was Really Unbelievable — And The Argument Was Fantastic (And That's Putting It Charitably). Brother Wallace Had Come Across A Statement In Brother Cogdill's Book, "Walking By Faith" In The Chapter Entitled, "The Work Of The Church - Benevolence", Which Taken From Context, And Isolated From Its Setting, Could Be Construed As Setting Forth The Position That A Congregation Could Never Take Any Money From Its Treasury For Any Purpose Other Than To Relieve "Poor Saints". Any Person Able To Read With Even A Minimum Comprehension, And Not Seeking Some Matter To Seize Upon For Controversial Reasons, Would Never Have Had Any Misunderstanding At All Of Cogdill's Statement. We Doubt That There Was A Single Person In The Building (Including Brother Wallace) Who Honestly And Sincerely Believed That Cogdill Had Written A Book Trying To Contend That It Was Unscriptural For A Church To Spend Money To Support The Preaching Of The Gospel, To Erect A Church Building, To Buy Literature, Janitor Supplies, Utilities, Or A Number Of Other Things.

Yet This Is The Grotesque And Preposterous Thing Brother Wallace Tried To Convince The People In Florence That Cogdill (And Holt) Believed And Taught! He Labored At Length To Show How Ridiculous And Even Ludicrous Such "Teaching" (?) Appeared Coming From Men Who Were Regularly Receiving Support From The Churches, Meeting In Houses Built By The Churches, Etc. Etc. Only The Wildest, Weirdest, And Most Whimsical Of Crackpots Could Have Maneuvered Themselves Into Such A Position As That Brother Wallace Tried To Describe Cogdill And Holt As Occupying. He Had Prepared A Large Chart Giving The Isolated Sentence From Cogdill's Book, And Then Showing The Budget Of The East Florence Congregation.

The Sentence Is One Appearing In A Discussion Of "Church Benevolence", And Is In A Section Showing That Among The Apostolic Churches The "Benevolence Was Limited To The "Poor Saints" And No General Welfare Program Was Undertaken By The Churches In An Effort To Care For All The Poor (Non-Saints) Of The Community. The Sentence Reads: "The Only Contribution Which Any Congregation Made Out Of Its Treasury In The New Testament Day Was To The 'Poor Saints'. (Romans 15:25, 26; I Corinthians 16:1-3; II. Corinthians 8:4; 9:1,12)"

Over And Over Again Brother Wallace Charged "Chollie" (As He Called Brother Holt) With Receiving Money From The Church Treasury, And Shouted, "He Ain't Poor; And I Doubt That He Is A Saint!" Holt Did His Best To Correct The Misrepresentation Of Cogdill's Statement, And Showed That The Entire Chapter Was Discussing Church Benevolence — And Only That! The Sentence In Context States A Simple Fact; The Scriptures Cited Support That Fact: The Only Money Taken From The Church Treasuries For Purposes Of Benevolence Was Used For The "Poor Saints". Wallace, However, Refused To Accept This As Being The Meaning, Or Teaching, Of Either Cogdill Or Holt, And To The Very End Of The Discussion Tried To Convince His Hearers That Both Cogdill (And Holt) Were Only Slightly Above (If That) Drooling Idiots Who Were Teaching One Thing And Openly Practicing Another.

Brother Holt Pleaded For Scriptural Argumentation By Brother Wallace, And Declared That If Every Thing Wallace Claimed Concerning Him And Cogdill Were True, It Still Would Not Establish The Scripturalness Of The Thing Under Study, Namely The Building And Support Of Benevolent Organizations By The Churches. We Felt Brother Holt's Most Effective Work Was Done In Exalting The "All-Sufficiency" Of God's Plan For Caring For The Needy. He Showed That For Nineteen Hundred Years There Had Been No "Church Organizations" Such As Have Lately Sprung Up; And That The Congregations, Acting In Their Congregational Capacity, Had Fulfilled The Obligation God Put Upon Them. However Great A Clown Brother Wallace Might Prove Himself To Be In Getting Laughs And Guffaws From His Sympathizers Would Not Prove One Thing As To The Scripturalness Of The Proposition.

We Believe The Discussion Of This "Benevolence Issue" Was Disappointing To Most Of Those Present. Those Who Were Sympathetic Toward Holt's Position Were Disappointed That Brother Wallace Had Shown Such Slight Interest In The Scriptures, And Had Relied So Heavily On The Tactic Of Establishing His Position By Ridiculing The Opposition And Holding Them Up To Scorn As A Passel Of Fools And Hypocrites. Those Who Were Sympathetic Toward Wallace's Position Were, We Felt, Distressed By His Ungentlemanly Attitude In General. Too, He Completely Ignored The "Restored Home" Argument Which The Brethren In Northern Alabama Had Been Told Was The Last Word In Establishing The Orphan Homes. Wallace Obviously Considered This Argument Even Weaker Than Anything He Presented — For Not Once Did He Even Refer To It! (We Will Have Something To Say About The Discussion Of The Herald Of Truth Cooperative In A Later Issue.) — F. Y. T.