Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 4, 1954

A Published Debate "Pinches" A Baptist Preacher — Warren - Ballard

Thomas B. Warren, Fort Worth, Texas

In July, 1952, I engaged Mr. ("Dr.") L. S. Ballard, Baptist debater of quite some renown among his own people, in a four-night discussion on the plan of salvation. The debate was, as a whole, a very pleasant one, being almost entirely free of anything that could be called "mudslinging." It was agreed before the debate began that it was to be published. Following the debate, Mr. Ballard and I had a very pleasant correspondence regarding the various matters that arise in the publication of such a book. The Telegram Book Company, the publishers of the debate, and I tried to do everything that we possibly could to meet the demands of Mr. Ballard. The manuscript and proofs were in his hands for corrections. He had access to the proofs of both my speeches and his own before the book went to press. He was told to make known any wish he might have concerning the publication of the debate and it would be given proper consideration. Thus it was felt that there was nothing about which he could complain.

I was greatly surprised, therefore, when, in the December issue of The Independent Baptist Voice, Mr. Ballard had an article in which he bitterly complains about the debate and also misrepresents some things which occurred. Were it not for this misrepresentation, I would pay no attention to his tirade but would simply pass it off as a typical Baptist effort to "patch-up" a miserable effort at defending a false doctrine.

It will possibly take two or three articles to review his misrepresentations. In paragraph one of his articles, Mr. Ballard says:

"First of all I endeavored to stay with the proposition 'The Scriptures teach' but Mr. Warren left the field of Biblical research and spent most of his time reading from men to prove his proposition."

I had heard Mr. Ballard in oral debate, had in my possession some published debates in which he had engaged, and also had a good bit of other material which he had written. I had carefully analyzed his attempts to prove the Baptist doctrine which he seems to love so dearly. I soon saw that his efforts could be boiled down to these points: (1) the presentation of an array of passages which condition salvation on "faith"; (2) an effort to impeach translation of the Greek preposition "eis" to be "unto," as it is in the American Standard Version, and make it mean "because of" in Acts 2:38; (3) an attempt to prove that, in Acts 2:38, the expression "eis aphesin ton hamartion humon" COULD NOT modify both "repent" and "be baptized"; (4) an attempt to impeach the standard translations by saying that "eis" when used in connection with various forms of "pisteuo" (believe) should be translated "into" to make the whole expression, in such passages as John 3:16, read "believe into him." In an effort to sustain this view, Mr. Ballard used two "off-brand," unscholarly versions, The Emphatic Diaglott and The Concordant Version; (5) realizing that Mark 16:16 is a death-blow to his theory of being saved at the point of faith, he tried to impeach the inspiration of the passage.

The first type of argument is easily met by showing that men are saved "by faith" but not by a "dead faith," as Baptists teach, but, rather, men are saved by faith when their faith leads them to be baptized INTO Christ, where salvation is. It will be noted that all of the other main arguments presented by Mr. Ballard are ones which deal with either: (1) a point of Greek Grammar, or (2) a point of Greek lexicography, or (3) a point of textual criticism, or (4) an impeachment of the standard translations such as the King James, American Standard, and English Revised Versions.

After making an effort which depended upon that sort of thing, Mr. Ballard has the audacity to say that he stayed with the scriptures while "Mr. Warren . . . . read from men to prove his proposition." The truth of the matter is, Mr. Ballard was utterly surprised at the array of evidence which proved his main arguments to be false. He could not cope with the lexical evidence which proved that "eis" in Acts 2:38 meant "to obtain the forgiveness of sins." He could not cope with the grammatical evidence which was presented to prove that it was possible for the expression "for the remission of your sins" to modify both "repent" and "be baptized." He could not cope with the evidence which was presented to show that "pisteuo" used with "eis" means believe "in" or "on," just as the standard translations have it. He could not cope with the evidence which was presented to show that Mark 16:9-20 belongs in the Bible. In fact, his effort at this point was rather pathetic. When Mr. Ballard was met on his own ground, he was at a loss as to what to do, so he began to complain, like a little child, that "Mr. Warren is leaving the scriptures."

In paragraph two, Mr. Ballard had this to say:

"I showed that love, confession and doing righteousness were fruits of salvation and not conditions. In one place in the book, Mr. Warren made me contradict myself by saying that love preceded faith in Christ. Of course I said no such thing."

This charge is easily answered. I still have in my possession the paper upon which, in answer to the question, "Please list the following in the order of occurrence ...." Mr. Ballard, in his own handwriting, listed "love" as "2" and "faith" as "3." It is in the book just as it occurred. If Mr. Ballard's memory is as bad as it seems to be, and if he would like for me to, I will send him a photostatic copy of it. I have tried in the past, and will continue to accommodate him in every reasonable thing. Of course, as I said in the debate, if he wanted to change his position on that, it was fine with me. He was in a bad spot either way he went. After a Baptist makes an argument on 1 John 4:7 in an effort to say that verse teaches that one is born again at the point of or before love for the Lord, then he can never place "love" and "faith" in the order of occurrence without getting himself into a mess. If "love" is a fruit of salvation, as Mr. Ballard insisted in the latter portion of the debate, then one does NOT LOVE GOD WHEN HE IS SAVED!!! And this makes HATERS OF GOD the subjects of salvation. One Baptist preacher whom I met in debate said this, "Saved hating God? Yes." To see how absurd this is, one has only to note the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:22: "If any man loveth not the Lord, let him be anathema." So Baptists have men saved who yet have the curses of God resting upon them. Such is Baptist "consistency."

(More to follow)