Volume XVII, Number 1 (January, 2006)
Challenge For Debate
I recently received a challenge from the Elders at 84th Street church of Christ in Oklahoma City. They proposed that I meet their preacher (Harry Osborne) in debate on the subject of divorce and remarriage. At this time we are trying to reach an agreement on propositions. The time and place has not yet been discussed. My wife (Geneva Brown) is scheduled for bypass surgery on January 9th. So it will obviously have to be sometime in the spring or summer before I can think about such a discussion. We will keep you informed.
― Editor (J. T. Smith, jhb)
While brothers Smith and Osborne “are trying to reach an agreement on propositions,” the following are propositions that brother Smith has sent for brother Osborne’s consideration:
The Scriptures teach that in a Scriptural marriage there can be only one putting away regardless of what it is for.
Affirm: J. T. Smith / Deny: Harry Osborne
The Scriptures teach that in a Scriptural marriage if the husband puts away his wife, but not for fornication, if the wife later learns that the husband was/is committing adultery she can then put him away.
Affirm: Harry Osborne / Deny: J. T. Smith
Volume XVII, Number 6 (June, 2006)
Debate With Harry Osborne
A number of brethren have called or sent e-mails asking about the proposed debate with Harry Osborne.
I have had a great deal of correspondence with one of the elders by e-mail. The first was a letter sent to me about a lesson I preached in Duncan, OK. Some of the younger members of the 84th Street congregation in Oklahoma City where Harry preaches were at the Duncan meeting. After the meeting I received a letter dated November 9, 2005 from the elders of the 84th Street congregation which said, in part:
“Though we have not sought a debate on this issue and would prefer that none be needed, we would help arrange an honorable discussion where the participants maintain proper attitudes befitting brethren in Christ and focus on what God's word says about the subject. If either you or brother (Carlas -jts) Scroggins would commit your-self to such an honorable discussion we would help arrange such between either of you and brotf1er Osborne.”
After several exchanges, the elder I corresponded with finally wrote the following reply to my e-mails:
“We have talked about the debate issue and have pretty much decided that we will conduct a written debate with you but we have no desire to get into such a public forum at this time. As I said to you before the only one that has been challenging in this debate topic is you, inspite of the story you have told about us being the ones pushing the debate.”
I determined from a statement made by brother Osborne’s sermon notes on “What Is Biblical Putting Away” that his belief is different from brother Tim Hail’s. Below is Harry’s statement that I told the elder I would deny.
“The innocent party is the only one who can sunder the union or leave for the cause of fornication.”
Finally, I received the following about the debate.
“For the last time, we did not challenge you to anything...” “At this point we are of the opinion that we want nothing more to do with the whole situation.”
Debate? – Obviously Not!
― Editor (J. T. Smith, jhb)
Why does this not surprise us? The GOT advocates who, with one voice, urged public debate regarding the last MDR controversy have conspicuously offered one excuse after another to avoid such a debate regarding the present MDR issue for several years now! However, notice brother Osborne’s own duplicitous words below. -Jeff
“Mom and Dad walked in, and the whole family walked to the other side of that building. My aunt Maurice always had a loud voice and thought she could whisper, and she turned to the lady next to her and she said, ‘that’s the antis.’ They weren’t willing to study. They weren’t willing to sit down there, and talk about the word of God. They weren’t willing to have an open discussion publicly, or an open discussion privately. We were just to be seen as the antis, those dreaded people, and suddenly, study was un- was something that they saw as unnecessary.
Brethren, when you look at a controversy arise, and you see that the way people handle it is by boycotting the preaching of those things that have to do with truth, you’ve found, most likely, where the error is. Truth is never afraid to stand up. Truth is never afraid to stand there and have a discussion of truth, to have an open Bible and to study those issues. Truth is always ready to do that. Error is not. Error is going to be something that tries to work behind the back, it’s going to be something that tries to label through unnecessary means, it’s going to be something that takes quotations out of context, attributes things to people that are not so. That’s what error does.” (LISTEN)