Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 6, 1951

Wallace To Debate Ketcherside

Franklin T. Puckett, Calico Rock, Arkansas

Within recent years W. Carl Ketcherside has gained a foothold at Beech Grove, Arkansas, from which point he has launched an attack upon the churches in that area, but directed primarily against the churches in Paragould. They tried to warn the Beech Grove brethren of Carl's radical positions and divisive influence thereby bringing upon them the condemnation and accusations of the champion from St. Louis.

When Ketcherside came to Beech Grove for a meeting, the Paragould brethren called Sterl A. Watson to represent them in the controversy which had developed. Brother Watson, in company with several other brethren, went to Beech Grove and publicly challenged Ketcherside to debate the issues involved. This challenge was refused. Ketcherside met Sterl several years ago and like an elephant he never forgot. His excuses—Watson was too mean.

The brethren then suggested that they would get W. L. Totty to represent them. Again Ketcherside refused —Totty was too mean. He had met W .L. in time past and his memory was still good. He claimed that "his elders" would not allow him to meet either Watson or Totty. It is a bit difficult to believe that Carl would let any set of elders keep him from doing anything he wanted to do. And from the reports generally received it is not Sterl's and Will's meanness that he fears; they have the goods on him and know how to apply the pressure. Anyway he was not yearning for a repetition of his experience with either of them.

The brethren next suggested G. K. Wallace as their representative. Since he could not, in the presence of his brethren, continually refuse to defend his teaching, Ketcherside agreed to meet him. Accordingly he submitted propositions which brother Wallace refused. Counter propositions were not accepted by Ketcherside. When Carl came back to Beech Grove for another meeting, he reportedly told the brethren there that he was ready to debate, but that Wallace's changes in the propositions were unfair and an insult to his intelligence. They began boasting that Wallace and the church in Paragould had backed down and would not meet him on fair propositions.

As soon as this report was received, the brethren notified brother Wallace and he came immediately. He and I, together with several other brethren, went to Beech Grove and met with Ketcherside and the leaders of the church there. After exposing the falsity of the report being circulated, brother Wallace pressed Carl to debate the issues openly and fairly and offered to meet him either with or without propositions. Ketcherside said he would have to have definite propositions, but haggled over every suggestion made until finally brother Wallace called those present to witness that W. Carl Ketcherside would be solely responsible for any failure to have a debate, for he was willing and doing his best to arrange it.

Then and not until then was any progress made. When Ketcherside realized he must either put up or shut up, the following propositions were agreed upon and signed:

PROPOSITION No. I—The employment of a preacher to preach for the congregation as now practiced by the church of Christ, at Second and Walnut Streets, in Paragould, Arkansas, is scriptural.


NEGATIVE: W. Carl Ketcherside_

PROPOSITION No. II. The organization, by Christians of schools such as Freed-Hardeman College is contrary to the New Testament Scriptures.

AFFIRMATIVE: _W. Carl Ketcherside

NEGATIVE: G. K. Wallace

PROPOSITION No. III. The organization, by Christians, of schools such as Freed-Hardeman College is in harmony with the New Testament Scriptures.


NEGATIVE: W. Carl Ketcherside.

PROPOSITION No. IV. The New Testament authorizes an evangelist to exercise authority in a congregation which he has planted until men are qualified and appointed as bishops.

AFFIRMATIVE: W. Carl Ketcherside_

NEGATIVE: G. K. Wallace

They were unable to agree on a proposition regarding orphan homes. Ketcherside wanted Wallace to affirm the scripturalness of a home like the one at Morrilton, Ark. This he refused to do because of the organization, but offered to affirm that a home like the one at Wichita, Kan., is scriptural. Ketcherside would not deny it. When pressed he even said he wished the church had more homes for orphan children. That is quite a concession for him to make, since heretofore he has insisted that they must be received into private homes. Remember, brethren, W. Carl Ketcherside will not deny the scriptural right of a church to operate an orphan home (like the Maude Carpenter Home in Wichita) under the oversight of its elders. He even wishes we had more of them. I take it that from henceforth he will not be arguing that the only scriptural way of caring for orphan children is to receive them into private homes.

Arrangements for the time and place of the debate will be worked out by the brethren at Paragould and Beech Grove. It will probably be held sometime next year. Announcements will be made when the details have been worked out.