Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 5, 1957
NUMBER 31, PAGE 1,11b

Porter-Deaver Debate

M. W. Chaffin, Dumas, Texas


"According to the Scriptures, churches of Christ, each acting in its congregational capacity, are adequate to accomplish all the work of benevolence that God has given the church to do, and they should do this work without delegating it, by the contribution of their funds, to benevolent organizations."

AFFIRMATIVE: W. Curtis Porter.

NEGATIVE: Roy Deaver.

"The Scriptures teach that a church may contribute to Boles Home, Quinlan, Texas."


NEGATIVE: W. Curtis Porter.

The debate was superlative from the standpoint of order. Some stated they had not witnessed more becoming conduct than was enjoyed by all. The debate was conducted at the 6th & Meredith church building, Dumas, Texas. Each proposition was discussed for two nights embracing dates October 22-25th.

The issue was expertly beclouded by brother Deaver who fought a "straw-man" the entire debate by incessantly insisting on incorporation as being one of brother Porter's objections to Boles Home, although brother Porter said time and again that he did not object to incorporation. This succeeded in confusing the audience beautifully.

Brother Deaver sought to establish his premise that a home must be incorporated if it provides for orphan children, just as a Methodist preacher seeks to prove salvation by faith only. He did not read ALL that the law said! Brother Porter showed that the law dictated that such a home must be incorporated "OR" show its design by "other published" material. Brother Deaver insisted that such a home must be incorporated "AND" have the other "published material." He interpreted the "or" to mean "and". Thus, "He that believeth OR is baptized shall be saved," per Deaver.

Brother Deaver said in his first negative speech, "God gave the church the job of providing Boles Home." He insisted that it IS a divine institution. However, he produced not one verse of scripture authorizing it!

In every instance, the delegation of funds is not necessarily a delegation of work. The contributions Paul collected for the poor saints consisted of the work of the contributing congregations. But, when it is the work of a church to provide a home for orphans and they provide it not, but contribute their funds to a human organization that it might provide the home, such is clearly a delegation of work.

Brother Deaver agreed with everything brother Porter's proposition affirmed. Declaring he did not disagree with what it "said", but with what brother Porter 'meant' by it! Then quickly said he did 'not know' what brother Porter meant by much of the proposition!

Brother Deaver said elders could not oversee an orphan home. Yet, he would not definitely say whether or not he endorsed the many homes that are overseen by elders.

Brother Deaver said evangelism could be "legalized" as well as benevolence, yet would never say whether he would endorse an evangelistic organization under the same legal provisions as Boles Home.

Brother Deaver said he "did not know" what "benevolent organizations" were in brother Porter's proposition, yet in signing the negative of same, he of necessity said the church could not do its benevolent work without them. He said the benevolent organizations in brother Porter's proposition did not exist. Therefore, the church could not do its benevolent work if it wanted to!

Brother Deaver said a church could not function as a home. That, if so, it would become a home. Brother Porter showed it was not an auto, but could furnish a preacher one; that it was not a gospel meeting, nor a Bible class, nor a preachers house, but could furnish such. Thus, it could furnish a home for orphans without becoming same.

If the elders are not to have the oversight of the provisions of such a home, and we all agree that such is a work of the church, is this a part of the work of the church over which elders do not have the oversight? May the elders discharge the matron who may be caring for the children because of negligence in cleanliness in the food, house, children, or herself? If so, is this oversight of such things? Brother Deaver says the elders do not have such oversight.

Brother Deaver argued that such things as feeding, bathing, discipline, etc., are all works belonging only to the home. And if the church oversees such, it becomes the home. Hence, if the church can oversee the home, then parents can oversee the church. Brother Deaver insisted the work of the church toward the home was contribution of funds and its work stopped there. Then, brother Porter pointed out, since it was the work of the church to give, and the work of the home to oversee the use of these funds, then the home could not give to a home (orphan) for it would be doing the work of the church. Brother Deaver saw his difficulty and declared their functions overlapped. When queried by brother Porter as to how far they overlapped, he never answered. Brother Deaver had previously said that the human organization brother Porter opposed existed only in his imagination. We concluded that the extent of the "overlapping" of the church and home functions existed "only" in brother Deaver's imagination.

Brother Deaver argued that Boles Home was just a "restored" home of the orphans. When probed as to whether all "restored" homes were divine he said they were not unless the gospel was being taught in them. According to this provision, orphans from non-Christian homes could never be a part of a divine home. Their original homes did not have the gospel and one could not accurately restore what was not in the original home! Thus, the original home could not have been divine if it takes the gospel to make the "restored" home divine. Brother Deaver does not believe this, but would it not be the inevitable conclusion?

Brother Deaver was forced to the position that "restored" homes were not divine without the gospel's being taught in them, for then he would have to admit that all homes for orphans operated by sectarians would be wards of the church and should be supported by same. His "restored" argument does not stand. Children born in homes established by first marriages are legitimate in the sight of God and man, with or without the gospel. Such parents have not sinned in having children. If the church is obligated to contribute to such processed homes called "restored" homes, it would also be obligated to homes operated by sectarians. The answer is, of course, that the church is not so obligated, but brother Deaver contends that it is IF HIS requirement be met, that the gospel be taught therein. Wonder where the scripture is on that?

Brother Porter pointed out, that if the truth must be taught in such "restored" homes, then brethren who stand with him on these issues could not establish one if they wanted to, since, according to Deaver, they do not teach the truth! That's ripe, is it not?

Brother Deaver said he "respected" the congregations who conscientiously did not contribute to Boles Home. Yet, in the Buna Vista debate in Borger, Texas, with Ernest Finley, he asserted the elders there should repent, confess, and resign because they had changed their position regarding contributing to Boles Home! Brother Porter asked brother Deaver if the same rule should apply to preachers when they change their positions. Brother Deaver has changed his position on these matters, you know!

Much was said about the "in-between" organization which brother Porter affirmed existed and provided the home for the children at Boles Home. Porter charged that such organization was human and was doing the work God gave the church to do. Brother Deaver said the organization existed only in brother Porter's imagination; that Boles Home was just like any other private incorporated home. Just a home, no more nor less. Brother Deaver declared that if such a human organization did exist, he would join the forces that oppose it. Previously, brother Deaver had made the argument that the church provided the home, therefore, the church and the home were two different things, which of course all believe. However, brother Porter showed that the Boles Home Corporation charter declared that it (the corporation) was to provide the home. Thus, according to brother Deaver's own argument, the provider and those provided for are two different things. This organization providing Boles Home, brother Porter declared was the "in-between" organization that he opposed. Brother Deaver persisted in denying that it existed.

Brother Deaver argued that the board of directors (that comprise Boles Home Corporation) stand in "loco parentis" to the children of the home. Yet, on October 30th, over KGNC-TV, Amarillo. Texas, sister Gayle Oler declared that she and brother Oler were "parents" to the children of the home! Wonder who is right?