Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 6, 1955

The Debate Again

Wilbur Hunt, Palmetto, Florida

On the first page of the October 31, 1954 issue of the bulletin of the Glenwood Hills congregation in Decatur, Georgia, Brother Connie Adams, the minister, wrote an article about the debate in Indianapolis on the subject of "Institutionalism." Because I think that the article is good and well-written and that I highly think of Brother Adams and his efforts for the cause of Christ, I am giving the article in full.

"Several have asked my impression of the Indianapolis debate on 'Institutionalism.' In some respects I believe good was accomplished. Brother Charles A. Holt conducted himself as a Christian gentleman and tried to stay with the propositions. Brother W. L. Totty conducted himself neither as a Christian nor a gentleman. He constantly engaged in character assassination, personal digs and innuendoes which were far beneath the dignity of a gospel preacher. Little effort was made on his part to establish the scripturalness of the propositions involved. Due to sickness Brother Totty was not able to carry on the last two nights and Brother Sterl Watson, his moderator, carried on in the affirmative and generally followed the pattern set by Brother Totty the first three nights. It is regrettable that brethren will hold such weak positions that they cannot support them by scripture and will resort to personal abuse as though that will justify a practice that is called in question.

"This preacher is more convinced than ever that it is wrong for the churches to support from their treasuries human institutions. Colleges have a right to exist as an adjunct to the home but it is not the place of the church to maintain them. As far as these 'brotherhood projects' are concerned, brethren had better think twice before starting such things. It was surprising to me to see in the debate that every argument Brother Watson made to defend the Herald of Truth and such projects, J. W. Briney made in 1908 to defend the missionary society in his debate with Brother Otey. Surely if scriptural justification could be found, brethren should set it forth. May God have mercy on us when we reach the point that we are not interested in what the will of the Lord is.

"This particular debate has undoubtedly furnished the fuse for other debates on the same subject. It is my hope that they will be conducted on a high plane and that truth, not victory, will be the object of such."