Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 24, 1955

Adventist Consistency

Charles Morton, Gage, Oklahoma

Shattuck, Oklahoma is a community of near 2,000 population, located seven miles west of Gage, where this writer lives and labors. Seventh-day Adventism is a predominate religion of the town and surrounding area. In the fall of 1954, the Adventists began waging a relentless campaign of evangelism which as yet has shown no indication of diminishing in fervor. Inasmuch as there is no congregation of the Lord's church meeting in Shattuck, this writer took it upon himself to contact the Adventist preacher, desiring to learn if he would be willing to publicly defend some of the major tenets of Adventism which he has been most active in promulgating. Propositions for a four night debate were submitted, including the supremacy of the New Testament as final authority in religion, Sabbath-day observance, and the nature of the punishment of the wicked dead after judgment. As a result of the contact, the writer has received a letter from the Adventist preacher, a portion of which reads as follows:

"Now relative to the matter of public debate. As Seventh-day Adventists, we upon the counsel of the word of God do not make a practice of debating. In Romans 1:29 the matter of debate finds itself in very bad company. Then too I realize that a debate usually generates more heat than it does light. The spirit of a debate is belittling to the Glorious Truth of Christ. We have always believed that we must be always ready to give an answer for the Faith Once Delivered Unto the Saints, and make our doctrines public, in evangelistic meetings, where they can be heard and presented so that all can hear. In St. John 7:17 we are told "If any man will do his will he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." The honest searcher for Truth will know the difference between truth and error when he hears it.

"I would be most happy to carry on a correspondence with you on these great subjects: take for an example, I have often wondered why you folks keep Sunday. I wish you would send me scriptural reasons for the same, as I have been very much interested in that for many years, but as yet have found nothing, which can be supported by a Thus Saith the Lord. In fact, some night if you were preaching on that subject I would be very happy to come and hear the presentation. I would even be willing to bring along some folks to hear the subject. Then if I felt it was necessary and advisable I could preach on the subject of the Sabbath and why we observe it, even though I am speaking on that very subject this week.

"But if you can possibly find the time would be very grateful if you would write out the reasons, as to why you feel that Sunday is the Lord's day and why it should be observed."

"The spirit of a debate" is invariably "belittling" to Adventist doctrine, but the "Glorious Truth of Christ" will always continue to emerge triumphant over error when it is ably presented and defended in public controversy. This writer is somewhat perplexed by what he considers a glaring inconsistency: If public debate is wrong, why isn't private debate also wrong? Why is it wrong to debate publicly but right to debate via correspondence? The misapplication of Romans 1:29 is rather appalling. Perhaps it is realized that Adventist doctrine cannot profit by public discussion, therefore when discussion becomes necessary, caution is exercised to keep it as private as possible.

We are complying with the request to "give an answer" for our conviction that Sunday is the Lord's day and will submit it to our friend shortly.