Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 2, 1961
NUMBER 42, PAGE 3,10-11a

Reviewing A Gospel Advocate Review

Brooks C. Webb, Lewisburg, Tennessee

On November 7, 8, 10, 11, 1960, this writer engaged brother Jimmy Rogers of Jackson, Tenn. in debate in Indianapolis and Martinsville, Indiana. An Indianapolis preacher was moved to attempt a review of that debate in the Gospel Advocate of December 29, 1960. The review does not resemble the debate in any respect, and not one point is accurately reported. Our purpose is not now to review the debate, but to review some of the statements made in the Gospel Advocate, and then only because of the small degree of respectability which the review may enjoy because of having appeared in that journal. We shall give the Reviewer's statement as appearing in the Gospel Advocate, then a brief reply to each point.

The first proposition discussed was: "The Scriptures teach that the church is all-sufficient to care for its orphan children without the aid of any organization paralleled to Schults-Lewis, or Potter Orphan Home." Those who read the Advocate report will remember that the Reviewer failed to give the propositions, for to have given them would have nullified practically every point he attempted to make.

1. Gospel Advocate Statement:

"Webb said, in his definition of the proposition, that the church could not help orphan children in any respect who were not at least ten or twelve years old and had obeyed the gospel."

Answer: Webb said no such thing. If he did, then why did Rogers say in the speech following our definition,

"I don't know, I'd like to know, what your position is on this."(?) Our brother "Reviewer" does not believe that the church can care for those children who are members of the church. For notice: on page 822 of the Advocate, he states: "Brother Rogers said that we believe that the church is 'all-sufficient to do all that the Lord intended for the church to do, but the Lord never intended for the church to be a home." Now note the following:

1. The church is all-sufficient to do all that the Lord intended for the church to do.

2. But the church is not all-sufficient to care for "its orphan children." (negative of proposition)

3. Therefore: The Lord did not intend for the church "care for its orphan children."

But Concerning This Point, The Following Is What Webb Said In The Definition Of The Proposition:

"Whatever my worthy opponent this evening applies to the meaning 'to relieve in I Tim. 5:16, this I mean in my proposition by the word 'care.' (1 Tim. 5:16; Jas. 1:27) 'To care for its orphan children.' Notice please, it is in the possessive. Orphan children for whom the church is responsible. Now we are not discussing tonight those who are not the church's responsibility. We shall differ perhaps as for whom the church is responsible. But my definition of this proposition is in the possessive — 'its orphan children.' It is conceded by both my opponent and me that there are some for which the church is responsible, and those are they who have become obedient to the Gospel of Christ, those who have reached the age, whether it be nine, ten, eleven, or whatever it may be, who have reached the age of accountability; and thus have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine: Those are the church's responsibility. Now whoever they are, even if we let him define it, would be all right with me, perhaps, and hinge the discussion on that. But what we mean by 'its orphan children' are those for whom the church is responsible. Now the church is all-sufficient to care for its orphan children, those for whom it is responsible. Let me retrogress just a moment, and say that 'its orphan children' ought to read 'to care for its benevolent work,' whether it be the children, the middle-age person, widow or widower. Its benevolent work, and I am including in that not only children, but the widow indeed! (1 TIM. 5:16)"

On the second evening of the discussion we again briefly gave the definition and stated that it was thus defined to eliminate such quibbling as Rogers was trying to do.

2. Gospel Advocate Statement:

"However, he (Webb) had not spoken long until he contradicted that by saying that the church is 'all-sufficient' to care for orphan children without the aid of any other institution."

Answer: Webb said no such thing. That is the proposition Rogers tried to get Webb to affirm. But the proposition we debate read: "the church is all sufficient to care for its orphan children without the aid of any organization paralleled to Schults-Lewis, or Potter Orphan Home."

3. Gospel Advocate Statement Concerning Rogers' Trickery:

"Rogers placed a doll on the stand to represent a supposed baby whose father was dead and whose mother was not expected to live very long and who had placed her membership with the Lafayette Heights church and asked that they care for her child after she died. Brother Rogers asked Webb to tell the audience how the Lafayette Heights church would provide for the child. The doll, representing the baby, was placed on the lectern both nights and Webb was urged to make a statement concerning the care which the Lafayette Heights elders would give the baby; but the proposition closed without Webb's ever making any sort of a statement as to what, if anything, the elders of the Lafayette Heights church would do for the baby. He made no attempt to answer brother Rogers on that point."


1. First, the grandstand play was out of order, "irrelevant, incompetent, and immaterial" in as much as we defined the children in the proposition as those "who were members of the church." The infant would involve another proposition entirely. We answered the quibble anyway.

2. Second, what brother Reviewer did not report was that the "supposed baby" was a Negro baby. That mother could not have placed membership with the church where brother Reviewer preaches, we opine. Furthermore, we read from the charter of the Potter Home and SchultsLewis Home that even they would not take the child. Therefore, if Lafayette Heights, or Morgan St. church did provide for the child, they would do so without the 'aid of any organization such as Schults-Lewis, or Potter Orphan Home,' for these societies would not take the Negro child. Also, since there are no orphan homes "among us" which care for Negro children, it would be impossible for any Negro church to practice "pure and undefiled" religion, according to brother Reviewer, and Rogers.

3. In his last speech of the first evening Rogers said, "The elders of Morgan Street will care for this baby tonight." Then the next night Rogers said, "The elders of Morgan Street had an opportunity last night to practice some pure and undefiled religion," referring to their care of the Negro baby.

Then, in our second speech, second night, we said, "Whatever the elders of Morgan Street church did last night, the Lafayette Heights church could do. And if the church — the elders — and Rogers said the church did it — could care for it one night, it could two, ten, or ten years."

But after the above false report, brother Reviewer contradicts himself in a following paragraph by saying, "Webb said the church can place them into a private family, rent a house for them and hire the necessary personnel, buy a house and hire the necessary help, or hire a couple to care for them." Which statement does the Advocate want us to accept? The one that Webb offered four ways and methods by which the children, including the Negro child, if the church is responsible for it, could be "visited?" Or that Webb "made no attempt to answer" Rogers on that point?

4. Gospel Advocate Statement:

"Brother Rogers showed that such an arrangement (concerning the four above ways — BCW) would contradict brother Webb's definition of the church, because if the church used either of the methods Webb suggested it would be using another organization; therefore, the church would not be 'all-sufficient' to care for the children without the aid of another institution!"

Answer: Webb did not say that "the church is all-sufficient to care for children without the aid of another institution." That is what they wish Webb had said, but they were disappointed. Remember, our proposition said ...without the aid of any organization paralleled to Schults-Lewis or Potter Orphan Home." This is an important, and deadly phrase, for parallel means "like in essential parts," as we pointed out, and the above mentioned four ways are not "like in essential parts" to the benevolent societies involved. The following "essential parts" were listed for the audience. Let the reader compare them with the ways brother Reviewer admits that Webb suggested.

"Has a principle office. The nature of business to function as a school, and established as a charitable institution. The government is a board of directors scattered over the state and country. The Corporation could have no capital stock, and is a non-profit organization. Will care for only white children, which are above three and below twelve years of age, and in good health. Receives a major portion of the income from contributions from churches of Christ, while the corporation maintains complete and absolute control over the expenditures of all funds and work performed. The Society sets a time limit on how long the "home" will exist. (50 years in the case of Potter. Compare this with the private home.)

The candid reader will have no difficulty in recognizing that either of the four methods, or "how's" we suggested would not be to utilize an organization or society parallel to Schults-Lewis, or Potter Home.

5. Gospel Advocate Statement:

"Webb made many other irrelevant assertions, such as, that there are plenty of applications for children to care for all of them without the collective homes, which added nothing to the discussion."

Answer: We will let brother W. B. Richter, Superintendant of Tennessee Orphan Home testify in answer to this statement. The following is a letter to Eugene Britnell, Tuckerman, Arkansas, March, 1960.

Dear Brother Britnell:

We have your letter and wish we were able to help the Christian couple you are writing about, but at the present time we do not have a child that can be adopted.

Then too, we have a long waiting list so I would not want to encourage the couple when I don't see any hopes of helping them.

We appreciate your interest, would be glad to have you and other to visit us at anytime.


W. B. Richter, Superintendant How about that, brother Reviewer?


The proposition which Rogers was supposed to have affirmed was,. "The Bible teaches that several churches of Christ may assist a congregation in preaching the gospel as is done in the Herald of Truth program."

The only scripture Rogers gave in support of this was Acts 15, the Jerusalem conference, and the problem of circumcision in the Antioch church. But we asked Rogers if there should be a problem of Masonry, or worldliness within the church would he be willing to send a committee to 5th and Highland in Abilene, and permit them to settle the question, and abide by their decision? Rogers said he would, "if it became necessary."

1. Gospel Advocate Statement:

"Brother Webb tried to answer that by saying that the thing that was wrong with cooperation is 'cold hard cash'."

Answer: Another completely false report! What Webb said was, the Herald of Truth arrangement is not an arrangement in which one church sends to another a Bible or tracts, or necessary equipment for the receiving church to be able to meet and worship, and satisfy a local need, as the promoters attempt to make it appear. But the thing Rogers was obligated to defend and show from the Bible was "as is done in the Herald of Truth Program." And the thing which is done is the sending of 'cold, hard cash' to 5th and Highland for the church to return to the sending city, or elsewhere, and preach the gospel. Eliminate the sending of money and one does not have the Herald of Truth arrangement. We gave an example where Highland wrote to the Brown St. church in Akron, Ohio, and requested that Brown Street send Highland money with which Highland might return to Akron, Ohio and purchase time on the T. V. station. This is what Rogers was obligated to show the Bible authorizes. He completely failed.

2. Gospel Advocate Statement:

"The loyal brethren in this area were completely satisfied with the good work which brother Rogers did in the discussion."

Answer: It is good to see this statement. Brother Rogers stated that church support of colleges "is not an issue here." But brother Reviewer said in his bulletin, Aug. 15 1954, "The opposition to orphan homes and Bible colleges is definitely the main issue with the churches of Indianapolis." He has often branded those of us who oppose the church contributions to colleges as "Sommerites." But now, from the review, we observe that he thinks that those who do oppose church contributions to colleges are "loyal." We may be making progress. Since he has backed up half-way, he may see enough light to back up still further and recognize those of us who oppose churches contributing to benevolent societies as also loyal. Brother Reviewer stands completely alone in his contention for church support of colleges. Not another church in the city of Indianapolis believes that it is scriptural for a church to contribute to Bible Colleges.

Many other things could be pointed out, but these are sufficient to show the utter unreality of the Gospel Advocate Reviews.