Another Smith-Holt Debate

Charles A. Holt, Editor

The Lord willing, Brother J.T. Smith and I will meet again in a second public discussion of the same propositions discussed at Lake Jackson, Texas, September 30-October 4, 1985. The discussion will be here in the Chattanooga area, hosted by the North Hixson Church of Christ, Hixson, Tennessee (a suburb of Chattanooga, north of the river), where Bill Walton is the preacher. It will be held in their building. The date is March 3-4, 6-7, 1986 .

Mark the date on your calendar and plan to be with us for this vital and interesting study of God's word.

The following propositions will be discussed:

I. The Scriptures teach that the local ecclesia of Christ has reference to nothing more than disciples or saints in a given area or context, who may act individually and/or together with others in carrying out the Lord's will; and there is no requirement (pattern) from God that they form or constitute themselves into an organic institutional body corporate (functional unit) for doing any work ordained by God.

Affirms: Charles A. Holt
Denies: J.T. Smith

II. The Scriptures teach (1) that every local church of Christ is an organized, functional, institutional entity (body corporate); (2) that as such it has been given certain specific, clear-cut, authorized works to perform that only this unit can perform with God's approval; and (3) that every disciple of Christ is required to join (become a part of) such a formal organization and therein serve under the control of the organization in certain works that the disciples cannot do otherwise and please God.

Affirms: J.T. Smith
Denies: Charles A. Holt

III. The Scriptures teach that as a result of meeting Bible qualifications, men may be appointed as elders by a local church; and that as duly constituted officials (bishops, pastors) they have the divine authority to oversee that local church in all its functions, with the right to make the final decisions.

Affirms: J.T. Smith
Denies: Charles A. Holt

IV. The Scriptures teach that (1) elders are the older, relatively more mature; (2) that age, knowledge, experience and maturity in the Lord's service constitute them as such (compared to the younger); (3) that these elders, because of who and what they are, are thus authorized (appointed) by the Holy Spirit to teach, tend, shepherd (pastor), oversee, guide and lead (bishop) the disciples among them; and in the discharge of such responsibility or function there is no inherent authority.

Affirms: Charles A. Holt
Denies: J.T. Smith