Church of Christ preacher wants to debate

By Dixon Cartwright

TEXARKANA, Texas--B.B. Harding has challenged Alfred Harrell to a debate about the Sabbath.

Mr. Harding, pastor of a Church of Christ congregation in Nashville, Ark., saw a flier distributed by the Christian Leadership Academy of Hot Springs, Ark., in which CLA founder Alfred Harrell was quoted as saying no Sunday observer would have a "leg to stand on" in a debate with a Sabbatarian. The flier prompted Mr. Harding to write Dr. Harrell a two-page letter.

"He gave the general arguments for not keeping the Sabbath, misapplying Scripture in the process," Dr. Harrell told The Journal after a CLA campaign June 19 in Texarkana.

"He said that we didn't have a leg to stand on and that we should keep quiet. He was very attacking and said we were lying and had fallen from grace. At the end he signed it 'Sincerely, in love.'"

Dr. Harrell says he plans to accommodate Mr. Harding and hopes to schedule the debate in July on the campus of Texarkana Community College.

Mr. Harding didn't find out about the CLA's Texarkana campaign until after it was over. At the meeting, 83 people, mostly Sabbatarians, attended in a rented hall in a hotel, although "at least eight were new to the truth about the Sabbath," reported Tim Hall, the CLA's campaign coordinator.

The Sabbatarians were people who attend two local Seventh-day Adventist congregations, the United Church of God Big Sandy, the Little Rock Church of God, the Church of God International, the Church of God (Seventh Day), the Seventh Day Baptist Church and the United Church of God, an International Association.

Dr. Harrell also announced that a new group called the Texarkana Sabbath Alliance is taking shape. The alliance, made up of Sabbath-keepers from various groups, plans to meet monthly, in Dr. Harrell's words, to "keep the fire burning."

The idea for the alliance resulted from a meeting Dr. Harrell had with an SDA elder, Laurie DeWitt.

"During the course of the conversation we got into a discussion of what they [Texarkana Seventh-day Adventists] could do after the campaign was over, and that led to forming the alliance of Sabbath-keepers," Dr. Harrell said.

Mr. DeWitt requested that Dr. Harrell help form the Texarkana group, and Dr. Harrell plans to encourage people in the other cities the CLA has targeted for campaigns to form alliances as well.

He said Gilbert Williams, an elder in another Seventh-day Adventist church in the area; Ron Elkins, pastor of the Church of God International congregation here; Herb Morrow, pastor of an independent Church of God congregation in Hope, Ark.; and Mynor Soper, the local Seventh Day Baptist pastor; all want to participate.

"I think this alliance has the potential of turning the people of God loose to do things on a continual basis," Dr. Harrell said. "We don't need to just have a campaign and leave them with nothing to do, because the fire can go out very quickly. This is the best thing we know to do right now."

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