The idea of "debate" often carries with it a bad connotation. The word "debate" in the King James is used both positively and negatively. The wise man wrote, "Debate thy cause with thy neighbor himself..." (Prov. 25: 9). In this verse, the teaching is when one has a serious difference with another, he is to confront ("debate") the matter with the neighbor and not simply talk to others behind his back. This is essentially Jesus' teaching (Matt. 18: 15 ff.). "Debate" (eris) is also used in the sense of strife and unjustified contention by Paul and is forbidden (2 Cor. 12: 20).
Polemic exchange (controlled debating) has always been a profitable means of establishing the truth and eliminating error (click on "Did Jesus Debate?". This is true whether it be science, philosophy, or religion. We are to be truth seekers and avoid error (John. 8: 31, 32, 7: 17, Eph. 5: 10, 11). The Christian is also commanded to "earnestly contend for the once delivered faith" (Jude 3). In fact, the New Testament is replete with examples of polemic exchange (Matt. 21: 23-27; 22: 23 ff.; Acts 15: 1 ff). The gospel of the First Century stressed the exclusivity of truth (2 John. 9-11). Thus, it must be today if we are to embrace the same gospel (Rom. 1: 16).
It is my desire that the following exchanges will assist you in establishing the truth. As you will see, I have an assortment of subjects and I shall include others as I find material of the desired quality. I have elected to provide you with this material via links (first section, presently, only one exchange). The second part consists of some of the two hundred Internet exchanges that I have had and they are internally linked. Should you discover any broken links, please email me with the information (Email Don Martin). Also, please let me know if these exchanges have benefited you in your study of a particular subject. I have for the most part, not supplied the actual names of my disputants. I have done this for two primary reasons: In order to focus on the subject and not the men and to not allow the influence some of these men have to be the source of persuasion (some of these men are well known in churches of Christ).
Spears/Harrell Exchange on Romans 14 This exchange between Dudley Ross Spears and David Edwin Harrell is of extreme importance and of historic value among churches of Christ. David Harrell (Ed Harrell) contends that matters of doctrine and morality may be placed into the teaching and climate of Romans 14. Hence, there can be acceptance and fellowship even involving "certain" matters that are unscriptural and immoral. Dudley Ross Spears advances the position that Romans 14 only addresses matters of doctrinal and moral indifference.
The below section contains of few of the various Internet exchanges that I have had. These discussions are more informal and tend to be a little disjointed at times. For the most part, I have substituted the real names of the participating preachers (some of whom are well known) so that you can simply concentrate on their teaching, as mentioned in the foregoing. In many cases, there have also been copyright issues that have necessitated the omission of the actual names of the participants. At the present time, the following are available for your study (be sure to use your browser "return" to come back to this page after you read the exchange):
An Exchange on Romans 14 (This material exposes some of the modern views relative to Romans 14 accepting and including matters of doctrinal and moral deviation. This exchange is especially revealing because it shows the extent to which some are going regarding the Romans 14 issue).
An Exchange on Romans 14 and Divorce and Remarriage. During the fall of 2004, Joe Price published some material to an Internet list which advocated placing the teaching of multiple causes for divorce and the innocent put away being able to later put away and marry another into the framework of Romans 14. Joe insisted that all who do not tolerate these aberrant teachings are to be viewed as factious and for proof, he offered Romans 14. An exchange followed between Joe and me.
An Exchange on Grace and obedience in Man's Salvation (There is a growing movement within churches of Christ that are evolutionary relative to the tenet of salvation by grace only. This material contains the mindset behind salvation by "absolute grace").
An Exchange on the Meaning of "Doctrine of Christ" in Second John 9-11 (more are embracing the view that "doctrine of Christ" in 2 John 9 is limited to Jesus' deity. This exchange exhibits and challenges this position).
An Exchange on Unity in Diversity (political unity called unity in diversity is replacing scriptural unity on an alarming scale. This exchange reveals the thinking process of the advocates of unity in diversity).
An Exchange on Church Weddings (some have a church wedding understanding of marriage. You will see this mentality in this exchange).
An Exchange on God's Commandments (there is a spirit of antinomianism working even among the people of God. This brief exchange with several preachers is indicative of the mindset of these preachers).
An Exchange on the Community Church Movement (the engaged disputant in this exchange is a Community Church preacher who defends the movement. He still maintains affinity with the churches of Christ).
An Exchange on Divorce and Remarriage (this exchange addresses different aspects of the divorce and remarriage issue).
An Exchange on Mark 10: 11 (I am listing this exchange on divorce and marriage to another separately for ease of reading. This exchange addresses the growing position in churches of Christ that a put away person may subsequently put away and marry another, even in cases of post divorce fornication).
An Exchange Regarding the New Hermeneutic (the many innovative doctrines being taught have necessitated a so called "new hermeneutic." This exchange briefly examines and challenges this proposed way of studying the scriptures).
An Exchange on the Direct Indwelling of the Spirit (there are many even in the church of Christ who contend for a miraculous direct indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the body or mind of the Christian. You will be able to examine some of the primary thinking of the pros and cons of this issue by studying this exchange).
An Exchange on Privately Supported Missionary Societies, etc. (This exchange focuses on organizations that are set up by Christians for the work of teaching the lost, edifying the saved, and/or relieving needy saints separate and apart from the local church that are overseen by a board of directors in which Christians pool their resources. Some believe that as long as these institutions do not solicit and receive moneys from local churches, they are scriptural).
Privately Funded Institutions Exchange (Guardian of Truth Foundation). This material affords the reader the opportunity to see a more focused exchange as it centers around the Guardian of Truth Foundation. In this exchange, Mike Thomas defended the right of Christians to form such institutions and collectively work through them to do the work that God has assigned to his entity, the local church.
An Exchange on Kitchens in the Church Building. (This exchange exhibits and contrasts the social and spiritual view some have of the work of the local church. It also contains material that attempts to simply but completely illustrate the different kinds of action (individual, corporate, distributive) and a study of I Corinthians 11: 17-34).
An Exchange Regarding the Singular/Plural Requirements of Children in the Case of Elders and the Meaning of "Faithful" in Titus 1: 6. This is an Internet exchange that I had involving a number of preachers. As a result of this discussion, some concluded that a prospective elder had to have more than one child and that "faithful children" pertains directly to a man's ability to rule his own children, those in his household.
An Exchange on the no Bible Class Doctrine . The no Bible class Movement continues to appeal to certain people. This exchange explores Bible authority, especially the matter of aids and expedients. As a rule, involved in the no class teaching are such matters as one cup for the Lord's Supper, no located preacher, and a plethora of other issues.
An Exchange on the "Wine" of John 2. Many believe that Jesus turned water into actual fermented and intoxicated wine in John 2. With this understanding of Jesus' first miracle, they have no problem with practicing and advocating the social and recreational use of strong drink.
An Exchange on Prayer Addressed to Jesus. Many believe there is no pattern in prayer or role of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are concerned in the matter of prayer. Some even advocate prayer to Mary or to a Saint. This exchange seeks to establish if there is a patter, such as: prayer to the Father, through the Son, with the Holy Spirit interceding.
An Exchange on Matthew 16: 19 and 18: 18. This exchange explores the verb tense of "bound" and "loose" in the case of what takes place in heaven. In addition to providing a complete study of these verses, the Catholic view of authority being invested in Peter and the apostles is examined.
An Exchange on the Role of Women. This exchange endeavors to contrast the attitudes of some women in the church with what the scriptures teach. The exchange also contains a careful exegesis of I Timothy 2: 8-15, a critical text in establishing the role of woman.
An Exchange on the No Located Preacher and Mutual Edification Doctrine. A movement that has adversely affected some churches of Christ is the no located preacher and mutual edification doctrine. This exchange attempts to present some of the cardinal doctrines and attitudes of this movement.
An Exchange on Traditional and Contemporary Worship Services. A movement that some sociologists say is seriously changing the nature of many denominations is the Contemporary Worship Movement. This movement is also importantly affecting churches of Christ, I might add. This exchange focuses on "dress," as this is one of the first changes proponents of this movement seek to effect.
An Exchange on the Covering of I Corinthians 11: 3-16. This material examines and attempts to provide arguments pro and con regarding if the head covering of I Corinthians 11: 3-16 is binding on all women today or if the teaching had special application to a group of women in the first century church.
An Exchange on I Corinthians 14: 34, 35. This material could be a little confusing to the tyro, but it does present and test some basic views regarding Paul's statement, "Let your women keep silence in the churches." The exchange involves two well known men (and me) who hold the covering is applicable on women today position and who, therefore, seek to reduce the uniqueness of the role of the prophetesses in Bible times.
An Exchange on I Timothy 2: 9 and Situation Ethics. This discussion between several preachers in churches of Christ and me reveals the lack of knowledge and the direction of soft views regarding dress and the justification of sin using the culture argument. It also provides a good study of I Timothy 2: 9 and the text in which it occurs.
An Exchange on Freemasonry. This exchange on Freemasonry involved one of the highest ranking Masons I have debated. "Eric" is a 32 Degree Mason, a Knight Templar, past master, grand officer, and a member of the Masonic Philalethes Society, a special research order of Masons. "Eric" is a member of the "Church of Christ."
An Exchange on the Consistency of Fellowship Issue. A consistent application of the teaching of the New Testament pertaining to fellowship is examined in this exchange. The exchange revolves around Connie Adams and Donnie Rader and their current common practices.
An Exchange on the Apocrypha. In this exchange, I discuss the apocryphal books with a very able restoration scholar who was very capable of defending the inclusion of the Apocrypha in our Bibles. This exchange also reveals how some in the "Church of Christ" are becoming more accepting as to what they view is of great value in religious instruction.
An Exchange on One Church Assisting Another Church. This exchange does not focus on such matters as the sponsoring church arrangement, but looks at some practices among those who oppose the full blown sponsoring church practice but endorse and practice other acts that I view to be in conflict with the scriptures. In this exchange, I offer the premise that one church may assist another church only in the matter of benevolence. I, therefore, oppose a church assisting another church in providing or helping building a meeting place, etc.
An Exchange on Polygamy. In our present society, every facet of the teaching of the Bible pertaining to marriage is now under attack, including the growing position that multiple "marriages" today in a civil society that allows them are not necessarily against the teaching of the Bible. In addition to providing an examination of all of the arguments used to defend polygamy, this exchange also provides insight into the workings of the new hermeneutic now being accepting by many, even in some Churches of Christ. My disputants in this exchange were all members of the "Church of Christ."
An Exchange on I Timothy 5: 16. Paul's teaching in I Timothy 5 pertaining primarily to widows is very important to a good understanding of children/grandchildren responsibility to their parents/grandparents and also a distinction between church and individual action. I believe you will find the article leading into the exchange and the exchange itself very complete in providing a study of I Timothy 5.
An Exchange on Saving Faith. Having a biblical concept of saving faith is vital to salvation. However, there are many, divergent views relative to what constitutes saving faith. This succinct exchange explores some of the paramount views.