The Dugger-Porter Debate


A Written Discussion on the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day

Second Edition

Reprinted in 1998 by:

The Bible Sabbath Association

3316 Alberta Drive

Gillette, Wyoming 82718


Based upon the original text, as published by:


3110 Guadalupe Street

Austin, Texas


Forward | Debate Propositions |

Part I: Seventh Day Sabbath is for Christians, Dugger’s First Affirmative | Porter’s First Negative | Dugger’s Second Affirmative | Porter’s Second Negative | Dugger’s Third Affirmative | Porter’s Third Negative | Dugger’s Fourth Affirmative | Porter’s Fourth Negative |

Part II: First Day is for Christians , Porter’s First Affirmative | Dugger’s First Negative | Porter’s Second Affirmative | Dugger’s Second Negative | Porter’s Third Affirmative | Dugger’s Third Negative | Porter’s Fourth Affirmative | Dugger’s Fourth Negative |

Comments by Richard C. Nickels

PDF Version of Porter-Dugger Debate

Foreword by Richard C. Nickels


The Dugger-Porter Debate is a classic in Sabbatarian literature.  We are pleased to be able to present this book, which has long been out of print.  The Sabbath-Sunday debate is a fundamental issue for Christ­ians, and this book gives both sides of the question.

Andrew N. Dugger (1886-1975) was no stranger to debate.  A farmer and school teacher, he was educated at the University of Chicago in theology and public speaking.  He became the most noteworthy leader of the Church of God (Seventh Day) in the Twentieth Century.  In 1921, Dugger held two public debates in Stidham and Canadian, Oklahoma.  His opponent at Canadian was Elder Searcy of Oklahoma City, one of the leading theological and political debaters of the South.  For two nights, there were two thirty-minute speeches by each debater.  The one on the rostrum could ask questions of his opponent that had to be answered by a yes or no.  Dugger deliberately played weak on certain scriptures, leading his opponent to grasp at them, resting the entire Sabbath question, and a $1,000 bet, on whether the word “rest” in Hebrews 4:9 was translated from the Greek work sabbatismos meaning “Sabbath,” instead of katapausis, meaning “rest.”

Having held so many public investigations with different clergymen, Dugger had previously written ahead to a local university professor of Greek, and already had a letter from him stating that the word was sabbatismos, meaning “a keeping of a Sabbath,” and thus won the debate.  The whole town of Canadian, Oklahoma, was said to have been convinced of the Sabbath, but Searcy refused to pay the $1,000, even though he was well able to do so.  Forthwith, a Sabbath meeting was set up at nearby Dale, Oklahoma, led by T.J. Marrs.

W. Curtis Porter, a Church of Christ minister, engaged Dugger in a spirited debate, as related in this book.

I am unable to date precisely the written Dugger-Porter debate, but believe it was in the period of 1933-1940.  Dugger was Editor of the Bible Advocate for eighteen years (1914-1932), and the description of him as “eighteen years editor of the Bible Advocate,” dates the debate as after 1932.  This written debate is in the rough and tumble style of the day.  At times it is tedious, and devolves into name-calling and sarcasm.  I’ll let you read it for yourself, then at the end, will give a brief commentary.

We thank Horst Obermeit, Carol Billigmeier, John Guffey, Jeffrey Vanek, and Susan Wheelock, for their typing and editorial work.

We encourage further discussion on the Sabbath question.  The Bible Sabbath Association publishes much material about the Sabbath.  Write us for an Order Form.

Richard C. Nickels

3316 Alberta Drive

Gillette, Wyoming 82718

Telephone: (307) 686-5191








For eighteen years Editor of the Bible Advocate

and Business Overseer of the Church of God

(Seventh Day)





Associate Editor of the Bible Banner and

Evangelist of the Church of Christ


Covering two questions:


The Seventh Day as a Christian Sabbath




The First Day as a Day of Worship




     1.      The Scriptures teach that the seventh day of the week as a Christian Sabbath is enjoined upon God's people in this age of the world.


Affirmative:  A. N. Dugger

Negative:  W. Curtis Porter


     2.      The Scriptures teach that the first day of the week as a day of worship is enjoined upon God’s people in this age of the world.


Affirmative:  W. Curtis Porter

Negative:  A. N. Dugger





     1.      This is to be a written discussion.

     2.      The purpose of it is that it may be printed in book form.

     3.      Each disputant will write four articles to each proposition as nearly like he would deliver them orally as possible.

     4.      Length of each article will be 4,000 words, not varying more than 100 words shorter than that nor more than 100 words longer.




W. Curtis Porter

A. N. Dugger