Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 21, 1957
NUMBER 41, PAGE 6a-7b

Conduct Unbecoming In An Elder

Cecil B. Douthitt, Brownwood, Texas

Agreement has been reached relative to the material to be published in the book of the Douthitt-Warren Debate which was conducted last October in South Houston, by Brother Thomas B. Warren and me.

After holding up the printing of the book for several weeks, Brother Tom finally learned that he would not be able to pull the old J. Frank Norris - E. R. Harper trick of adding to his speeches material that was not used in the debate, unless I was given an equal number of pages in which to reply, and he agreed to let the manuscripts go to the printer according to our signed agreement, which permits nothing in the book that was not used in the debate.

Elders from the Southside church in Brownwood where I preach; and elders from the Eastridge church in Fort Worth where Brother Warren preaches were in that meeting of January 19, in which Brother Warren yielded to the terms of our signed agreement, and consented to letting the book be printed accordingly.

The elders from the Eastridge church in Fort Worth brought a recording machine with them to Brownwood, and asked my permission to record the proceedings of the meeting. I told them that I was glad they brought the machine and that I would most happily grant their request, if they would promise to send me a tape recording of everything that went on their record. They said they would do so, and at my request they recorded that promise before the discussion began. I am waiting now for that promised tape.

After agreement was reached as to the material that would be printed in the book, one of the Southside elders in Brownwood suggested to the Eastridge elders that Brother Warren and I debate the same propositions at Eastridge in Fort Worth and at Southside in Brownwood.

While this challenge was being issued and was being recorded, Brother Burlison, one of the Eastridge elders, became so angry that he lost control of himself and yelled, "Cut that off!" Brother Warren stood motionless with his hands on the recording machine, but he did not turn the machine off.

Brother Burlison then dashed across the room and snatched the switch off. While two of the Fort Worth brethren took Elder Burlison by the arm and were trying to reason with him, and after a part of the commotion had subsided, I asked Brother Warren to turn the machine back on that we might proceed to state the challenge. Brother Warren continued to stand motionless with his hands on the recording machine, apparently dazed and stunned at the conduct of Elder Burlison. I then reached over and turned the recording machine on again, and we proceeded to put our challenge on the record. We at Southside do not know how the Fort Worth brethren meant to use those recordings; but one thing we do know: we know they did not want that challenge to be recorded.

I was "brought up" in the church; my father and mother were members of the church a long time before I was born. I now have reached the milestone in my pilgrimage where some very young people call me "an old man." I am sixty years old and my hair is gray. I have been associated with elders of churches for many, many years and I believe, generally speaking, they are the best men on earth. But there are exceptions; the Bible so teaches (Acts 20:28-30).

I do not think that I have ever witnessed conduct more unbecoming in an elder than that which Elder Burlison staged in that meeting of Christian men on January 19. I had heard of such conduct on the part of a few elders, but never before had it fallen my lot to witness it.

I am afraid that Brother Warren in his work at East-ridge has been so occupied with his silly "total situations," "constituent elements," and "syllogisms" that he has neglected such subjects as "Christian Behavior," until now, even in the eldership where he preaches, there is at least one who does not know how to behave himself either in "the house of God" or in a meeting of Christian men.

The elders from Eastridge let the elders from Southside know in very plain terms that they would not let Brother Tom debate with me in Fort Worth. But he did not want to do so anyway. Tom is "drying up." After he has had about one more debate on his "component parts" and "total situation," I think he will join the ranks of E. R. Harper and Roy Lanier and retire from the polemic rostrum and remain behind the "iron curtain" where he will be able to carry on a one-sided debate, and where no opponent can reply to him.

The failure of the Eastridge elders to accept the challenge, and their refusal to let Tom debate with me in Fort Worth, it seems to me is enough to convince any man who is not blinded by prejudice that the Eastridge elders do not believe that Roy Deaver has told the truth in his series of articles on "Highlights Of The Douthitt-Warren Debate." If Warren did such a victorious job in his debate with me in South Houston as Deaver has claimed in his "Highlights," even "the wayfaring men, yea fools," would know that the Eastridge elders would not have fits every time another debate with Tom is mentioned. They would accept the challenge, and let Tom "ruin" me in Fort Worth and Brownwood.

I want to ask you who have ordered copies of The Douthitt-Warren Debate to please be patient. I think now that we shall be able soon to mail the books to you. The speeches will appear as we delivered them; nothing will be added. And what a conglomerated mess Tom has made in those speeches! I want you to see it.