February 1, 1997 Issue

by Joe Hisle

On the nights of December 2, 3, 5, 6, a religious discussion was held in Camdenton, MO between Bro. Doug Hawkins who is currently working with the congregation at Brumley, MO and Bro. Michael Hughes of the congregation in Camdenton. The topic under discussion was the number of cups that can scripturally be used in the Lord's Supper.

On the first night Bro. Hawkins affirmed that "the New Testament teaches that a local congregation must use only one cup (drinking vessel) containing fruit of the vine in the Lord's supper." Bro. Doug went straight to the heart of ~the matter by showing that the scriptures teach the use of "one cup" by command, example, and necessary inference. His arguments were concise, straight forward and irrefutable (truth is always irrefutable). This was all accomplished in a kind and most considerate attitude on the part of Bro. Hawkins.

In Bro. Hughes' attempt to deny the arguments of Bro. Hawkins he did as these brethren always do. Instead of meeting the arguments he began to hunt for some way to discount the fact that Jesus took a literal container when He instituted the Supper. In fact Bro. Hughes seemed to be confused on what he really did believe about the usage of the word "cup." He seemed to use whatever position the situation called for! He realized that Jesus had to have a literal vessel to contain the fruit of the vine so he said the cup was literal. Then he decided the cup was "always figurative," it was used as a metonymy to refer to he fruit of the vine yet of course you had to have a literal cup? Then he decided the cup was the fruit of the vine, but he said "the cup was subordinate to the fruit of the vine???" You figure it out!

When it came time for Bro. Hughes to affirm that the "New Testament teaches that a local congregation is permitted to use multiple cups (drinking vessels) containing the fruit of the vine in the Lord's Supper" he had no real affirmative because he could not find where the N.T. taught his practice. I did note two things about Bro. Hughes' proposition. First, why is it that when you say "cups" to these brethren they always understand that you are referring to "drinking vessels" but when you say "cup" they understand it as the "fruit of the vine?" Secondly, why in this world will a brother affirm, "the N.T. teaches" and then fail to give one command, example or even a necessary inference where the scriptures teach their practice? I believe that Bro. Hughes was honest in doing the best that he could to prove his practice, the proof was just not in the N.T.

The discussion was well attended by our brethren as is always the case. By my count we had fourteen full time gospel preachers in attendance one or more times. Bro. Hughes had from twenty to thirty of his brethren there each night which I commend for their interest in the truth. I also appreciate Bro. Hughes' congregation for allowing us to use their facilities, they could not have been any mote gracious. Bro. Hawkins and Bro. Hughes conducted themselves as gentlemen throughout the debate. You could not have asked for better conduct from these two men.

My thanks to Bro. Doug Hawkins for his zeal, knowledge, and ability in presenting the truth of God's word. I am thankful for young brethren like him. Thanks to Bro. Bruce Roebuck who made the very difficult job of presenting the charts look easy and thanks to the brethren of the church at Lebanon for their support of this work. Most of all, thank God for the TRUTH!

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