In June of this year I met with Keith Sharp, Preacher for the Lakeland Hills C of C, in Lakeland, FL, and Don Collins, Preacher for the Lakeview C of C in Rossville, GA where Keith was in a "Gospel Meeting", to discuss the possibility of at least two public discussions between Keith and me. It was at their initiative that the matter was brought up. We had two meetings mainly discussing propositions for at least a four-night discussion. One to be conducted in the Gordon/Macon, GA area; another in Lakeland or Tampa, FL. Keith seemed to be eager to have the discussions.
We are trying to work out acceptable propositions on "the local church" and "the elders". Since I don't believe that Scripture says anything whatever about "the local church", it is very difficult to write an affirmative proposition for me to affirm about that non-existent local corporate church institution! We have agreed upon propositions for Keith to affirm on "the local church" and "the elders." These two would be adequate for a four-night discussion. Besides it is what Keith and the C of C preachers teach that is at issue. I simply deny that there is divine authorization for what they teach and practice on these matters.
We will see if the debates takes place.
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Most of you will recall the article in the March 90 issue of this paper in which Art Thompson told about the possibility of a special issue of THE EXAMINER (in addition to the regular six issues) that would carry a written discussion about three major areas of differences: 1) "the local church," 2) The Eldership, and 3) the so-called "five acts of worship". Bill Hammontree, a member of the Board of Directors of Florida College, agreed to pay for the special issue, perhaps even a double-size issue. This all took place at the Florida College 1990 Lectureship and during the "Open Forum." There were only two things agreed upon at that time and place: 1) We would publish a special issue of the paper to carry a discussion of these subjects; and 2) that Bill Hammontree would pay for it! All other arrangements and details were to worked out later.
Bill Hammontree designated Clinton Hamilton to handle all the negotiations with me and told me that I would be hearing from Clinton. Well, as of August 13, I have not yet heard from Clinton. However, I did hear from Bill. He and I have had an exchange of three or four letters and we have resolved nothing more than was mentioned above. I wrote that last letter over two months ago and have heard nothing from Bill since. I do not know why. I do not know what the holdup is at that end of the line. We are ready to move on with the special issue if we can work out all the other details. Bill's generous offer to pay for the special issue is certainly appreciated. I just hope that he does not assume that his agreeing to pay for the special gives him the right to make all the decisions about what will or will not be done.
The special issue would be a great way to set forth the two opposing views so the readers could study what is presented for their own benefit. Several readers have written asking about the status of the special. As of this date the above gives the general status of this matter. I certainly hope that the Special Issue will become a reality.
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It's coming in October! A Special Issue of the Guardian of Truth is to be dedicated to the above subject. Twelve "Examiner Experts", they might be called, all of them Preachers, are to do the "examining" of THE EXAMINER. One of the writers is going to be "Examining the Truth And Freedom Foundation". That should be especially interesting since we do NOT have a "Foundation." I did not realize that we needed any other "foundation" than the one the apostle Paul spoke of in I Cor. 3:11, "which is Jesus Christ." And without doubt "truth" and "freedom" rests upon that one Foundation!
Perhaps the highest level of "expertise" ("nit-picker") of the twelve is the one who will write on "Examining The Examiner's WRITERS." Not what we write or teach, but assessing and passing judgment on the writers as persons, it appears. I suppose that he can save the Lord a lot of trouble and hand down his "judgement" of each one of us.
Well, this "Special Issue" tells us one thing for sure; that is, THE EXAMINER is having a tremendous effect in getting across the message of truth; and this truth is opening the eyes and hearts of hundreds of "church members" all over the USA! More and more of them are leaving the control of "the local church institution" and its Rulers, which includes the hired professional preacher, to accept their individual responsibility for their service to God, and to claim their personal freedom in Christ. Hence, the clergy is worried and feels the pressure, so they are coming out with the highest level of "fire power" they can pull together to "blow up" this little paper called THE EXAMINER. One way to attempt this is to attack the writers as persons and apparently they are desperate enough to do this. So be it.