The Stark-Warlick discussion of 1903 in Henderson, Tennessee has been called the most important struggle over the instrument of music in Christian worship. W.W. Stone, a visitor from Texas who was at the debate, said, "It appears to me that instrumental music in the church received the most complete and exhaustive defeat in this debate that it has ever before met with." Noted church historian Earl I. West said regarding Stone's comment, "Judging from what happened, he may have been right."
After the debate the West Tennessee Christian College at Henderson, which was under the control of the Christian Church, closed its doors. Shortly afterwards, A.G. Freed and N.B. Hardeman reopened a college connected with members of the churches of Christ. This institution, now Freed-Hardeman University, has flourished and is influential.
The word of God authorizes the use of instruments of music for praise in the church of Jesus Christ.
Affirmative: J. Carroll Stark
Negative: Joe S Warlick