Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 6, 1957
NUMBER 6, PAGE 8,13c

A Look At Deaver's Highlights

H. Osby Weaver, Brady, Texas

According to a former announcement, we wish to pay our respects to some of the things said by Brother Roy Deaver in his "Highlights of the Douthitt-Warren Debate" which were published in the Gospel Advocate. We intended to delay our remarks until the publication of the debate in book form, but it now seems that the book will not be published at all. (See Gospel Guardian, April 11, page 11.)

In giving the setting for the debate, Brother Deaver related that the South Houston church arranged it, and it proved to be an "ideal arrangement, and the South Houston brethren are to be commended for making the discussion possible." I wonder if Brother Deaver still feels this way about such a discussion. If so, I wonder if he will encourage the church where he preaches to plan a debate under the same "ideal arrangement"? If it were commendable in South Houston would it not also be commendable in East Fort Worth? Surely his brethren there would like to practice that which is commendable, even though the brethren over at Eastridge in Fort Worth do not want to do so. They have been urged by the elders at Southside in Brownwood to repeat the Douthitt-Warren discussion both at Eastridge and at Southside. After some hesitation, they agreed to such a discussion to be held in Brownwood but would entertain no such idea at Fort Worth. This is not the first time the elders at Eastridge have said "no" to this "ideal" arrangement. Several months ago, Charles Holt proposed a debate between himself and Brother Warren to be held at Franklin, Tennessee and at Eastridge in Fort Worth. It was all right with the Eastridge elders for Brother Warren to go to Franklin for the discussion, but they were determined that Charles Holt should not be allowed in Fort Worth. On what grounds do they occupy such a position? Under the facetious sham that "we will be glad to discuss the issues where they are causing trouble, but we have no trouble over them here at Eastridge." Shall we conclude that nothing controversial is ever discussed at Eastridge unless it is causing someone trouble? Unless baptism for remission of sins is causing trouble, it should never be discussed. What a gospel! The Eastridge elders seem to feel the necessity of censoring what the members there hear. I know it must be the elders for Brother Warren said to me in a letter of June 19, 1956: "This is to let you know . . . without my having to repeat it time after time.... I am ready and will, the Lord willing, stay ready to meet in public discussions any of you brethren (who feel that my argument on cooperation is in error) anytime proper arrangements can be made." There you see Brother Warren's eagerness. Now before you brethren run to the post office with propositions for Brother Warren, remember there is a small hitch in his offer, that is "making proper arrangements." It seems that such just cannot be made where he preaches. Perhaps Brother Deaver should go over and explain to the East-ridge elders that there is an arrangement which is "ideal" and if they will follow it, it will be "commendable."

While Brother Deaver was handing out commendations, he commended Brother Douthitt for being the "first of the Guardian group to sign an affirmative proposition." This was not as much a "rose" to Douthitt as it was deception by Deaver in the hopes of winning a point. He wanted his readers to believe that we hold some strange doctrine that we are afraid to affirm as scriptural and Douthitt was the first that could be forced to venture out. If I should conclude that an experienced debater like Deaver does not know that we do not sustain an affirmative relation to the present issues, it would be a reflection upon his intelligence; if I should conclude that he does know, then his statement is a reflection upon his integrity, so I leave it up to the reader to decide for himself whether Brother Deaver is ignorant or dishonest. Douthitt did not sign an affirmative proposition in his debate with Warren. The word "only" in his proposition makes it a negative. He signed to affirm a negative. He could not write a true affirmative that Warren would deny. Warren has made the same mistake in charging us with refusing to affirm a proposition. In the above mentioned letter to me, he said: "Do you know of a church here in Fort Worth that waits brother Holt to come here for a debate? If so, in the light of your anxiety to hear these matters discussed, why not try to persuade them to invite him and me there for the debate? If you can persuade them, you have my acceptance of such a discussion here and now. As I stated, Charles has had propositions from me since East January (although I have not as yet been able to persuade him to write an AFFIRMATIVE proposition for him to sign — so far, he has confined himself to 'affirming' that so and so is UNscriptural, which is just another negative and no affirmative at all)." Brothers Warren and Deaver know that our practice is not under question. They will not deny what we teach and practice in regard to church cooperation. I will affirm that one or more churches may send funds to a gospel preacher as wages which enable him to preach. That is my belief and practice. Will they deny it ? I will affirm that one or more churches may send funds to another church to enable the receiving church to care for its own who are objects of charity when the receiving church is unable to provide for them. That is my belief and my practice. Will Warren or Deaver deny it? Of course they will not! It would be interesting to see what Warren or Deaver would come up with if a preacher of the Christian Church called upon them to write an affirmative in regard to the instrumental music question. Both of them would be willing to affirm that singing in worship is scriptural, but the Christian Church preacher would not deny that. Yet he insists that they write an affirmative which he will deny. They cannot do it, because they did not sustain an affirmative relationship to the instrumental music question. It is not their practice that is questioned in this instance. If they took the affirmative, they would be forced to affirm a negative. Yet they complain that we will not write an affirmative on church cooperation which they are willing to deny. If we affirm at all, we will have to do as Douthitt did and affirm a negative. Brother Warren confessed during the debate that his failure to write an affirmative that did not involve him in difficulties was the thing that caused him to change his position. If he ever gets into an argument with the instrumental music advocate, he will wind up in the Christian Church unless he changes his thinking, because he can not write an affirmative that will not involve him in the difficulty of having to affirm that something is "UNscriptural." I am afraid that Brother Warren will learn too late that when he left the truth for the liberal band-wagon because he could not write an affirmative proposition to one to which he sustained a negative relation, that the old wagon increases its speed with such rapidity that it will be going so fast by the time he wants to leave it, that he will be unable to survive the jump and may roll right into the Christian Church.

(More to follow)