Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 5, 1956

Holt - Rudd Debate

Herschel E. Patton, Russellville, Alabama

It was my privilege to hear the last two nights of the Holt-Rudd debate in Nashville, Term. (Feb. 23-24). There was a good crowd present the two nights I was there and behaved nicely.

Brother Holt's arguments were forceful and to the point. The spirit he manifested was what you would expect from a humble, Christian defender of truth. This spirit is especially commendable on Bro. Holt's part in view of Brother Rudd's continued efforts to introduce personalities and pursue an "attack the man" course.

Brother Rudd admitted that Tennessee Orphan Home was a human institution and his proposition demanded he affirm that such human institutions are scripturally authorized. Brother Holt emphasized the shocking situation of a gospel preacher affirming that the 'Scriptures authorize the building and maintaining of HUMAN institutions by churches as appendages necessary to doing their work — how that this questioned the wisdom and ability of God to build a church capable of doing what He wanted it to do — that man must add an appendage before the church can do her work.

Brother Rudd not only declared that churches may build, maintain and work through such benevolent institutions as the Tennessee Orphan Home, but could do the same with Hospitals, Radio Stations — even to the purchasing of the Santa Fe Railroad. It was interesting to notice, however, when Bro. Rudd was talking about purchasing the Santa Fe Railroad, he said if a church had enough preachers and could use the whole facilities it would be all right to buy the Railroad just like churches have purchased buses. Of course, Bro. Holt was not denying that a church could provide that which was necessary for her own preachers or members. Brother Rudd's position demanded that he affirm that all churches — the church universal — could pool their resources and purchase and maintain the Railroad to haul all their preachers. But, instead of so affirming, he said "if a church had enough preachers . . If a church needs a whole Bus line..." Thus he skipped back and forth from "churches" to a church" which, to me, was indicative of the futility of trying to defend church universal action through man-made arrangements.

'Brother Rudd "bogged down" again, quite visibly, in trying to show who owned the Spring Hill Orphan Home when he declared it belonged to "the public at large." Before making this statement he had emphatically said "no" to its belonging to a local church, the church universal, the board of directors, the superintendent. etc. When Brother Holt pointed out that this would mean infidels, Methodist, and Baptists were part owners of it, Brother Rudd came back and said he meant those who were interested in it — members of the church. This explanation was, of course, in conflict with his previous statement that it did not belong to the church universal.

I believe Brother Holt's forceful arguments, coupled with the fine spirit he manifested, and the uncouth spirit (so disgusting to many) manifested by Bro. Rudd went far in impressing the audience with the truth for which Brother Holt was contending.