Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 15, 1960
NUMBER 19, PAGE 11c-12a

The Yopp - Morgan Debate

Eugene Britnell, Tuckerman, Ark.

On the nights of August 1, 2, 4, 5, a public discussion was held under a large tent in Kennett, Mo., between brethren James L. Yopp and Boyd E. Morgan. Both men live and preach in Kennett. The first two nights concerned the Homes such as Southern Christian and Paragould Children's Home, and the last two were devoted to the Herald of Truth. Brother Morgan tried to defend the Homes and Herald of Truth, and brother Yopp denied the scripturalness of them.

Time and space does not permit even a brief review of all that was done and said, but we do want to note the only arguments made by brother Morgan in defense of his position.

It is interesting to note that Morgan's approach was entirely different from that of any other defender of such works. No two of them try it alike, which is typical of men who embrace a false position. It is true when we debate the sectarians. But men who have truth always use the same approach in defense of truth for truth never changes and will always stand.

In his defense of the Homes mentioned in the proposition, brother Morgan's only affirmative argument was based upon 2 Corinthians 8. He argued that the "messengers" of the churches were parallel to the Boards over the Homes. He had the messengers listed on a large chart with Paul listed as "chairman of the board." Isn't it pathetic how men will pervert God's truth in an effort to defend a false position?

Brother Yopp very effectively showed that the messengers were simply selected by the churches to carry relief to Jerusalem, and did not constitute a board with authority to administer the affairs for churches. He showed the parallel between the work of those messengers and the service rendered by the Post Office Department today when they are entrusted with the responsibility of delivering relief to preachers or needy saints, with no authority to act except deliver the relief as directed by the sender.

Brother Yopp introduced Acts 6 as an example of a local church doing its own work, but brother Morgan declared that the "seven men" constituted a board or organization separate and apart from the Jerusalem church. Yopp showed that J. B. Briney also found a Missionary Society in Acts 6, and was as near the truth as Morgan. After Yopp read from the Otey-Briney Debate, Morgan admitted that he had borrowed a copy but that he hadn't read it; that he only glanced through it to make sure he didn't "make the same arguments as did Briney." We wonder why? Brother Yopp pointed out that he missed one — Acts 6. Yopp proved that one could use Morgan's reasoning and prove by such passages as Acts 13 that the church worked through a Missionary Society since the church sent men out on a mission in evangelism.

On the Herald of Truth, brother Morgan's only affirmative arguments were based upon Col. 4:16 and the great commission. He said he was willing to rest his case on Col. 4:16. Brother Yopp showed that that had to do with divine revelation as in Acts 15:20-29, and was in no sense, parallel to the Herald of Truth Missionary Society. In order to resemble the Herald of Truth, Colossae would have had to set up as a sponsoring church, solicited and received contributions from the churches, and took over the work of reading or distributing the scriptures to all the churches. Yopp pointed out that Briney also found a Missionary Society in the great commission and prevented the truth no worse than did Morgan. Brother Morgan found authority (?) for the Herald of Truth by referring to the past practices of some brethren and churches, but he did not find it in the word of God!

Morgan stated in one speech that he would meet the writer in debate, but when we presented the signed propositions the last night he refused to sign them. We offered him a choice of four places in which to have the debate. We then challenged Emmett Smith (who assisted Morgan each night) and he refused. Then, believe it or not, we challenged Sterl Watson and he refused. Not a one of them would agree to debate under a fair arrangement. Brethren, debate them while you can for they are about to give it up.

Large crowds were present each night, and good order prevailed throughout the discussion. Both men conducted themselves in a fine manner. The writer served as moderator for brother Yopp, and brother Sterl A. Watson moderated for brother Morgan. Good debates do good!