Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 27, 1957
NUMBER 9, PAGE 10-11b

Douthitt-Warren Debate --- No. II.

H. Osby Weaver, Brady, Texas

The first night of the debate, during his first speech, Brother Douthitt drew a rectangle on the blackboard and called upon Brother Warren to place within it the scriptures that teach that one church may send money to another church in the absence of these two conditions: (1) When the receiving church is unable to financially supply adequately for the physical wants of its own indigent members, and (2) when the purpose of the donation is "that there may be equality," or mutual freedom from want of physical necessities. That rectangle remained blank throughout the first night's discussion. Warren's excuse for not putting the scripture up there was that he was "in the negative." He made quite a display of the fact that he was not in the affirmative. That it was Douthitt's job to affirm, and he would not allow Douthitt to draw him into the affirmative. He promised that he would fill the rectangle with scripture on the third night when he would be in the affirmative. Despite the fact that people had come to the debate to learn, and many of them, no doubt, would be unable to return for subsequent sessions, Warren was satisfied to withhold the scripture from them and send them away empty and wondering on the basis of a technicality that he was not in the affirmative! That smacks more of political filibustering than it does for gospel preaching.

Do you think the real reason that he would not post the scripture was because he was in the negative? Is this the way he always conducts himself in debates? Not so. During the Warren-Ballard debate, Mr. L. S. Ballard was affirming the following proposition: "The Scriptures teach that faith in Christ procures salvation without further acts of obedience." Ballard called upon Brother Warren to produce an example of a believer who was not saved. Did Warren say, "Now, Mr. Ballard, you are in the affirmative. I am in the negative. You are in the proving business. It is not my business to prove anything. Just wait until the third night when I will be in the affirmative, then I will furnish you with the example which you seek?" On the contrary, Brother Warren furnished Mr. Ballard with several examples and simply covered him up with scripture, even though Warren was in the negative. He did not mind being drawn into the affirmative when debating with a Baptist. Now why didn't he act that way with Brother Douthitt? Why didn't he produce examples and other scriptures which Douthitt asked for? He said he could do it and would do it the third night after he got into the affirmative. I'll tell you why he didn't do it the first night. He had the best reason in the world for not doing it. He could not! This was made quite clear as the debate progressed. The second night, Douthitt continued to call for the scripture. Warren felt the pressure and saw his cause needed bolstering and desisted from his former pledge to give scripture the third night, and put a scripture reference in the rectangle. He did not read it or attempt to make an application of it as Douthitt had asked him to do. I suppose he thought the audience would assume that the passage taught what he inferred that it did. The passage (2 Cor. 11:8) did not help his cause. Douthitt was asking for a specific statement, example, or necessary inference for a contribution from a church to a church in the absence of the above conditions. Warren posted a passage that shows a church paying wages to a preacher. That was the very best that he could do. Douthitt asked Warren if he thought Paul, the preacher receiving the wages, was a church. Warren answered, "No, Brother Douthitt, I know Paul is not a church." "Then why did you put that passage up there," asked Douthitt. Since Warren admitted that he knew that Paul was not a church, yet Paul was the one receiving the money from the church, then Warren admitted that this was not the passage that teaches a contribution from a church to a church. It did not take Douthitt long to thoroughly expose Warren's perverting and wresting of the scriptures in an attempt to put a crutch under a drooping and languid cause.

Douthitt pointed out that Warren's position led to Rome one time and will do so again. If a church has a right to "assume the work" of evangelizing a certain area such as Germany and the right to solicit money from all the other churches with which to execute this "assumption," then why could not one church "assume" the evangelization of the whole world and call upon all the other churches to turn over their resources for this purpose? Douthitt pointed out that this was Romish to the core. If a church has the right to "assume a work" with reference to a small area and control the finances of other churches with which to do it, why could not that same church do the same thing with reference to the whole world, "where is the stopping place?" asked Douthitt. He called upon Warren to pin-point the stopping place short of Rome. Of course Warren could not do it, for there is no stopping place. Warren had been heard to say, that he did not like the consequences of his own position — it simply proved too much for him.

Warren attempted to side step the job of pin-pointing the stopping place by asking Douthitt if an individual could contribute to a church where he did not hold membership and is so, how much. Douthitt said he knew of no scripture which prohibits one doing so, even to his last dime, after his responsibilities have been discharged where he is a member. Warren acted as though he believed this was a fatal admission and said it looked to him like "Rome." Of course, this was but a quibble to try to make the skeleton in his own closet look reasonably healthy. The issue was not and is not about what the individual can do with his money but what the church can do with its resources. Warren, Deaver, and those of like opinion seemingly have difficulty in maintaining a difference between the church and the individual Christian. I expect, however, that such a crossing of lines is more a matter of convenience with them, than the result of a lack of understanding.

Warren also raised the question about the amount of support a church could give a preacher and asked for the stopping place. Douthitt answered, "That would depend entirely upon the judgment of the elders." Deaver, in his "highlights" says, "This was a significant statement, and the very thing the question was designed to show — that the stopping place in many things is the judgment and authority of the elders." "In many things." Why did you not say all things, Brother Deaver? Are there some things in regard to which the judgment of the elders do not determine the stopping place? Why didn't you tell us what those things were and what the stopping place is which the judgment and authority of elders do not decide? Can elders by their authority decide to build a public swimming pool out of church resources, and, according to their judgment, $50,000, is the stopping place ? Is it their prerogative to decide to spend just $50,000? No, they have no such right to decide how much they will spend for a swimming pool, because they first of all do not have to right to build one. Before elders can, according to their judgment, decide the stopping place relative to the amount to be spent for a certain thing, they must first have divine authority to spend for that thing. Elders have the right to decide how much they will pay a preacher as wages, because they have divine authority to pay wages to him. Warren and Deaver infer that because elders have the right to say how much they will pay a preacher, they have a right to say whether they can send money to another church even though the receiving church is financially able to supply adequately for its own indigent and the purpose of the gift is for some other cause than to produce equality. The conclusion is not warranted and the inference is untrue.

(More to follow)