"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VI No.XIII Pg.3
July/August 1944

The Recent Norris Challenge Accepted

F. E. W. Jr.

For the past ten years J. Frank Norris, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Detroit, Michigan, has exhibited a bitterness unparalleled in the realm of religious polemics. His venom has exuded in both oral and written propaganda as he has relentlessly berated churches of Christ in general and Foy E. Wallace Jr., in particular. Had the victory in the Fort Worth debate a decade ago been his, why all of the raving and ranting in a manner little short of the maniacal all these ten years? Like Saul of Tarsus in one respect, smarting under the lash of defeat he is "yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord." Very definitely not like Saul in another respect, Norris has not "lived in all good conscience before God," nor exercised himself "to have a conscience void of offence toward God and toward man." It is evident to all who are familiar with the course and conduct of J. Frank Norris in these things, and all matters to which they relate, that he has not acted in "good conscience," nor could he conceivably convince himself that he could possibly conclude that he "verily thought" that he "ought to do" the things that he has been doing.

Breaking out with a new fury a few weeks ago, Mr. Norris boasted that he had given the "Church Of Christ" such a "shellacking" in the Fort Worth debate that they did not want another. He averred that Wallace had been demoted, put on the shelf, so to speak, and withal he could not even get the "Church Of Christ" to look like they wanted another debate. For a time his boastings were apparently unheard and unheeded. Again, he takes to the air, and with an arrogance equaled only by two men of this age known to the whole world, both dictators - Herr Hitler and his "jackal" Benito Mussolini - this dictator of his very recent Fundamentalist Baptist defection rides high and mighty, defying and demanding that he be met again in the polemic arena by a man of "national reputation" among the churches of Christ. Upon what meat has Caesar been feeding that he has grown so great! For ten years he has fed upon the meat of remorse and revenge and he seeks his satiation by maledictions.

When the churches of Christ in Oklahoma City, Dallas and Fort Worth, in a cool and even manner, accepted Mr. Norris' latest challenges, it was the very thing that he least expected. He had been led to believe that the churches of Christ would not do it; he thought that they would not "agree on Wallace" and was foolish enough to believe that he could split the churches of Christ and drive a wedge in their ranks. He never had any idea of debating again; he has no idea of doing so now. Therefore, when his challenges were accepted in writing, with proper and manifold signatories, J. Frank Norris began to back-track, and is still craw-fishing out of his own blatant boastings.

So, in order to escape the encirclement resulting from his own poor strategy, he now hides behind demands which he figured could not be met. First, he demanded that the "pastors" of the numerous churches of Christ must endorse the debate and the debater. When it began to appear to him that practically all of the preachers and churches would do that very thing, and with but little exception have already done so, this bold (?) challenger then changed his demand and said that a majority vote of all the churches of Christ in the city would be required! What a tactical strategist, the gentleman (?) is! He would have the churches of Christ to adopt "Baptist usage" of majority voting or he will not debate! That is not even good back-tracking.

It would have been better for Mr. Norris to do as he did in reference to the Dallas debate ten years ago - just cancel it. We all know about that. Before the Fort Worth debate was held, Mr. Norris wrote me and wired me that he wanted the second debate all arranged for and set, at Dallas, before the Fort Worth debate was held. We accepted his proposal. The Dallas churches agreed to it, endorsed me for his opponent and engaged the coliseum. But on the last day of the Fort Worth debate, after the Dallas debate had been publicly announced before that vast Fort Worth audience, Mr. Norris arose and cancelled the Dallas debate. When he was pressed to state his reason, his ridiculous excuse was that I had made some uncomplimentary remarks about his premillennial friends of the church of Christ!

The public no doubt would like to see these acceptances of Mr. Norris' challenges. It is with pleasure that I submit them all, and with particular pride the endorsements from the churches where I live.