Holt-Kirkland Debate --- (I)
Brother Jack Holt engaged A. J. Kirkland (President of Texas Baptist Institute and Seminary, Henderson, Texas) in a religious discussion July 23, 24, 26, 27, at the Judson Road church of Christ, Longview, Texas. The propositions discussed were (1) Water Baptism and (2) the Security of the Believer.
Each night the discussion was held in the Church of Christ building and Brother Holt was in the affirmative on both subjects. There were over three hundred present for the discussion each evening and the Baptist Church was well represented. This truly was an opportunity to preach to some who were not of the Lord's Kingdom.
The discussion as a whole was on a high plain. There was only one point of order called. The audience maintained proper respect for the speakers even though Kirkland acted like a school boy in his first play before an audience, appealing to laughter, and sympathy. Brother Elmer Moore moderated for Holt; L. Chester Guinn moderated for Kirkland. The Debate followed this pattern:
Brother Holt defined the proposition and emphasized the fact that the Salvation under discussion was from Past Sins, to which Kirkland paid no attention. The affirmative arguments consisted: (1) That the Gospel was the Plan of God unto Salvation. (Rom. 1:16) Baptism is part of that Plan. (2) The question was asked, "Whence cometh Baptism?" Brother Holt showed that it was by the authority of Christ (Matt. 28:18, Acts 3:22-23, John 17;5), hence, from heaven and not from men. (Matt. 21:25) Emphasis was put upon the fact if it is from men there is no need to practice it, but if it is from heaven, we must practice it. "One who ridicules Baptism insults the Lord who gave it." (Holt)
(3) For one to reject the design of Baptism would be to reject the Designer. Thus it was shown that one's faith must not only be in Christ but also in what He has taught. It was pointed out that Baptism was: (a) For Salvation, Mk. 16:16: (b) For the Remission of Sins. Acts 2:38: (c) and to put one into Christ, Gal 3:27. Brother Holt very forcefully pointed out that "only when one accepts the design does he accept the designer."
(4) "Water Baptism is essential to Salvation because one must believe in Christ to be saved." Acts 10:43; Rom. 5:1; John 3:16 were used to show that one must believe in Christ. The conversion of the Eunuch (Acts 6) was noted and that he believed in Christ but was baptized also. Hence, Baptism was included in Belief. Brother Holt showed that if one was to receive Christ, he must receive his word. (John 12:48) Baptism was taught in the word; hence, it would be impossible to receive Christ without receiving what the Bible said about Baptism.
(5) Mark 16:16. "He Shall be saved" is the principle sentence in this passage. But the He' that shall be saved was not just any He', but the He that Believeth and is Baptized. "Can one be saved by faith without faith?" (Holt) He must believe not only that faith is essential but Baptism also Brother Holt pointed out that the Bible said, Belief + Baptism equals Salvation, but Kirkland said Belief — Baptism equals Salvation. Hence, an unbeliever. Rom. 5:1 states that we are justified by faith when we believe. To reject Baptism is not to believe.
(6) 1 Peter 3:21. Brother Holt pointed out that the Bible says: "Baptism does Save." But Kirkland believes: "Baptism does not save." Which is the Truth? "Do you believe the Bible or men?"
(7) John 3:5, was introduced in the first affirmative of the second night. Brother Holt showed that the passage did not say "will not" but "Cannot." Hence, there would be none saved apart from the New Birth. The New Birth consisted of two elements (a) Water, (b) Spirit. The water is Water Baptism and the Spirit is the leading or instructing according to Rom. 8:14. By way of example. Brother Holt showed that the New Birth was accomplished in Baptism: Born of Water and Spirit and you enter the Kingdom, John 3:5; Do the will of God and you enter the Kingdom, Matt. 7:21; Believe and be Baptized and you shall be saved, Mark 16:16; Repent and be Baptized for the Remission of Sins, Acts 2:38; Be Baptized and walk in Newness of Life, Rom. 6:4; Be Baptized into Christ, Gal. 3:27. Thus to be in the Kingdom, have Salvation, Remission of Sins, Walk in Newness of Life, and to be in Christ was the result of being born anew. But Baptism is to obtain these, so Baptism must be the New Birth. (2 Cor. 5:17)
(8) Brother Holt used the word unto in the Scriptures and made an argument on this wise: The Bible teaches that one Believes unto righteousness, (Rom. 10:10); Repentance unto Life, (Acts 11:18); Confess unto Salvation, (Rom. 10:10); Baptism unto Remission of Sins, (Acts 2:38). Then Brother Holt asked the question, "Which can be eliminated?" Each one of these are unto Salvation. If you eliminate Baptism why could others not eliminate Faith. The truth is that each stands equally related to salvation, all must be performed to have the remission of Past Sins.
As we shall notice in the negative of Mr. Kirkland he did not deal with the arguments of Brother Holt. He accused Brother Holt "Floundered all over the Bible" but I am sure that it was obvious to everyone present that he was the one who Floundered Out.
— Box 793, Crockett, Texas