During the spring of 1962, brother F. O. White and family, of Louisville, Ky., moved to Miami, Fla., to establish a sound congregation among the Negroes of this area. The 7th Ave. congregation in Miami obligated itself to financially support brother White in the gospel, as well as pay the rent for a meeting place. At the time of bro. White's move to this city, there were already established here four or five Negro congregations, but all of them are on the path of digression. They are liberal churches, inasmuch as they are taking the liberty to engage in unscriptural practices, not having received that liberty from Christ.
When brother White and family began to meet in the Lord's name and let others know of their intentions in the gospel, some conservative brethren of these other congregations began to meet with them. In an effort to "run brother White out of town," and "put him out of business," one Negro preacher challenged for a public debate. The largest Negro church in town offered their new building for the debate, but a few days before the scheduled time, the elders notified brother White that they had decided that the debate would not be best, and thus cancelled their offer. The Spanish-speaking congregation offered their building, it being convenient geographically, and the debate was conducted May 28--June 1.
The following propositions debated will show to what extent the Negro congregations in this town (and elsewhere) are "liberal." (They are so liberal that even the liberal white congregations in town were embarrassed by the first proposition).
"The Scriptures in 1 Cor. 16:1.2 authorize the church to raise a contribution on the first day of the week for all of its work." Brother White affirmed, but brother Martin denied, defending the Negro congregations' practice of taking up any number of contributions throughout the week for the work of the church.
"The Scriptures do not teach congregations can pool their money into one treasury to do any work of the church." Brother White affirmed this negative proposition.
"The Scriptures teach that the church may engage in, and sponsor group singing, such as the one to be held in Miami in the month of August." Brother Martin affirmed this proposition, which had to do with the entertainment of youth on the part of different congregations through the sponsoring church.
"It is Scripturally right for churches to contribute money from the church treasuries to support what is commonly called a Bible College in its work, such as Nashville Christian Institute and Southwestern Christian College." Brother Martin affirmed.
Brother White wishes to express, through this article, his deep feelings in the matter of more and more white congregations recognizing their opportunities to help Negro brethren come to a knowledge of the present day issues. The example of the white brethren of the 7th Ave. congregation is worthy of imitation. As a result of their direct efforts to help the Negro brethren, there exists now, less than a year after beginning, a fine Negro congregation of some 50 members, contending for the N. T. pattern in all things. Negro brethren from liberal congregations continue to leave the liberal ones, disgusted with the digression at work in them, and rejoicing in the opportunity to be able to meet with a sound congregation.
Such would doubtlessly be the case in many other areas if more white congregations would give attention to the need. The Negro brotherhood must, like any other, be informed on these present-day issues. Brother White calls upon the rest of the brotherhood to help his people come to a knowledge of the truth upon these matters, following the example of the 7th Ave. congregation in Miami and others.
7714 N. W. 5th Ave., Miami, Fla.
THE SNELL-STUMBO DEBATE — A. C. Grider On the nights of Jan. 14-15 and 17-18, I moderated for brother J. R. Snell in his debate with brother E. L. Stumbo. The debate was held in the Grade School auditorium in Butler, Missouri. Propositions discussed dealt with benevolent organizations and sponsoring churches. It was a good debate conducted on a high plane. I am sure much good will be the result. In fact I talked with people before the debate was over who had learned the truth on the subjects.
Brother Snell had prepared his material in such a way that he did one of the best jobs of defending the truth I have ever witnessed. He met every argument brother Stumbo offered and showed how Stumbo was completely without scriptural support for his position. Brother Stumbo did as well as anybody could do under the circumstances.
On the first proposition on benevolent organizations, brother Stumbo declared that the whole thing was just a matter of opinion. But then he would try to prove that is was scriptural for churches of Christ to build and maintain benevolent organizations. Bro. Snell tried to get brother Stumbo to tell us the last two nights if his teaching on the Herald of Truth was a matter of faith or opinion. Stumbo never did tell us but judging from the scriptures he presented, I suspect that he was defending his opinion the last two nights too. It is a shame that those fellows will divide and destroy churches all over the country and at the same time admit that it is just their opinion.
Brother Snell presented scriptures showing that church benevolence concerned only needy saints. He repeatedly called upon brother Stumbo to cite a verse that bound the church to help anybody other than saints. Stumbo never attempted to cite such a verse. Snell very effectively showed that none of Stumbo's scriptures authorized churches of Christ to build and maintain benevolent organizations. Since that was the proposition, the truth was upheld, and as I said, great good was done.
On the Herald of Truth proposition brother Snell presented scriptures showing that churches could sent a preacher and sent to a preacher, but that they had no scripture for pooling their resources under a group of men to preach the gospel. Stumbo presented several scriptures on preaching and some on benevolence to justify the Herald of Truth. But Snell effectively showed that not a scripture presented would permit churches even two of them, to pool resources to preach. It was a fine debate and, if the liberals will enter into a few more up in that section, many souls may be saved that will otherwise be lost.