Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 4, 1951

Brother Douthitt Withdraws From Discussion

Ira A. Douthitt, Chattanooga, Tennessee

About three months ago I sent an article to the paper, proposing to debate the question of the support of our schools and orphan homes. I know the propositions state the issue. A group of brethren, writing much on the subject, take the position that it is right for individual Christians to support these institutions, but wrong for the elders of the congregation to do it. My proposition states that it is right for both to do it; the same right for the churches that the individuals have.

Now, I thought from the way different brethren had talked to me, and from the many articles that had been written, that those men wanted to debate the subject, and I thought that it was time for such a discussion. That's why I made the proposition.

Personally, I would much prefer someone else, who is better prepared and has had experience in debating, to do the debating; and I have a letter from brother G. C. Brewer, enclosing a signed copy of my proposition:

"The elders of a church of Christ, as God's stewards, have the same right to use the money of the church to support a Christian school (such as David Lipscomb College), and an orphan's home (such as Spring Hill Tennessee Home) as the individual Christian has to use his money to support these same institutions."

Affirmative (Signed)_G. C. Brewer_ Negative And also the following telegram:

"WILL AFFIRM YOUR PROPOSITION ANYWHERE, WITH ANY MAN AT ANY AGREEABLE TIME." (Signed) G. C. Brewer Now, if there is a giant among us, in this particular field, my judgment is that it is brother G. C. Brewer, and I'd be glad for any "Little David," who feels like he is able and willing to do the job, to accept the challenge of this Goliath in open debate.

I also have a letter from brother W. L. Totty, in which he enclosed a signed copy of my proposition. I quote the following from brother Totty's letter:

"I will be glad to meet brother Foy Wallace, brother Roy Cogdill, or any man whom they may select, in a public debate on the Bible school issue, without a proposition. I believe that I can make my position so clear that we will not need the proposition written. The house here will be gladly furnished, and the entire congregation will support me to do the debating. Or, we shall furnish the house and endorse brother G. C. Brewer to meet any of the Guardian preachers. The editor is included in the list of preachers whom we will meet in debate, if he is selected as their debater." Brother Totty not only signed the proposition that is signed by brother Brewer, but he also enclosed the following proposition signed:

Proposition For Debate

"A congregation's receiving funds from other congregations to support foreign work constitutes 'centralized control and oversight'?

Affirmative ____________

Negative (Signed) _W. L. Totty_

I have said from the beginning that if I did the debating, I would be perfectly willing to enter the debate without a written proposition, for I know that after the first five minutes of my first speech no one would misunderstand my position. Why quibble about a proposition? The audience will know whether or not the speaker is clearly and frankly representing the issue, and I know I would lose the respect of the entire audience if I didn't express the issue in clear and understandable terms. That I would surely do.

Now, I don't blame these brethren for not wanting to debate with me, for I've never had a debate, and have not studied any subject in view of debating it. And, surely they would prefer to meet a stronger man and one experienced in debating. And certainly there will be no ground on which they could consistently refuse to meet either brother Brewer or brother Totty. These men are sound gospel preachers, experienced debaters, with outstanding ability.

Now the place, with the house and debater to affirm the proposition that they have signed, are ready; or if the brethren do not want to sign this proposition, they can have the debate without a written proposition. And, I withdraw myself from the debate or proposal to debate and gladly turn it over to more able men, and to whatever reply is made to this article, I ask brother Brewer and brother Totty to reply.

Surely, with this fair proposal from these brethren, it is time to either agree to have the debate, or stop talking like they want one. If we do not have the debate, it will be because the other side does not want it. The responsibility is on them.