"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.VI No.IX Pg.6-7,9b
April 1944

An Unconditional Surrender

W. Curtis Porter

In recent months we have heard much about "unconditional surrender" in contrast with a "negotiated peace." Our country and our allies in this struggle for existence are demanding that our enemies surrender unconditionally. They are not offering a negotiated peace. If peace could be obtained by negotiation, perhaps our enemies would be ready to quit now. But to surrender unconditionally is quite a different matter. But there is another conflict -- a war between God and Satan, between the forces of righteousness and unrighteousness -- in which an unconditional surrender is also demanded. God does not offer to the enemies of righteousness a negotiated peace. He requires the unconditional surrender of aliens. Jesus said: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Mat. 6:24. Thus we are informed that the man who would serve God acceptably must serve him unconditionally.

Relative to the principle of unconditional surrender the following statement has been made in a Baptist paper:

"The man who thinks that his baptism, church membership, good works, good feeling, holding out faithful,' prayers, dreams, or anything else or all of these things combined even helps to save him is not saved and never will be until he gets such an idea out of his mind and unconditionally commits himself into the Lord's hands." --Ben M. Bogard in Orthodox Baptist Searchlight of Sept. 10, 1943.

If a man "unconditionally commits himself into the Lord's hands," that is an unconditional surrender, of course. But Bogard has some strange ideas about what is involved in such a surrender. He thinks that "unconditional surrender" means an "unconditional salvation," that the man must "depend entirely on Christ for salvation" and meet no requirements as conditions of that salvation. This, however, is far from the truth of the matter. When Germany and Japan surrender unconditionally to the United Nations that will not mean they will depend on the United Nations to grant them an unconditional peace. An unconditional surrender will not mean unconditional peace, but it will involve the idea of a peace upon certain conditions. The conquerors, not the conquered, will have the sole right to dictate the terms of peace. And the conquered nations will have to submit themselves unconditionally to the terms required. So an unconditional surrender to God will mean a conditional, not an unconditional, salvation. God dictates the terms of peace or salvation and the sinner must yield himself to divine requirements. And this is altogether different from Bogard's idea of it. He has an idea if a man meets any requirements as conditions of salvation, he has not submitted himself unconditionally into the Lord's hands. He certainly needs to restudy his position about this.

Some of the things he mentions in his list of unnecessary requirements have never been commanded as conditions of salvation, and I know of no one who believes them to be such. So we may eliminate "good feelings" and "dreams" from the list. I have never heard anybody preach "good feelings" as a condition of salvation, but many of Bogard's brethren have depended on their good feelings as evidence of their salvation. The Bible, however, never gives such as a condition or as evidence of salvation. And dreams? Well, I suppose some men have dreamed they were saved, but I have never known of dreams being proclaimed as a necessary condition of salvation. So we can just skip these two. But how about the rest of the things listed by Bogard? Let us take a look at these conditions and see if they help to save a man.

1. "His Baptism"

In the first place we will see what Peter thought about it. On the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem when sinners inquired what to do, Peter said: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38. In this passage Peter was not talking to saved men but to men who desired to be saved. And he told them to "be baptized for the remission of sins." So he must have thought that baptism had something to do with a man's salvation. If not, he never would have told men to be baptized "for the remission of sins." And when writing to scattered strangers he said: "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." 1 Pet. 3:21. This does not say that baptism is a "figure of salvation," as Baptist preachers would have it read. Nor does it say anything that remotely resembles that. Furthermore, it does not say that baptism does not save us. It distinctly says: "Baptism doth also now save us." But Baptist preachers say that baptism is only a figure and figures do not save us. Well, Peter says baptism does save us, and if it is only a figure, then a figure saves us -- or Peter falsified about it. Consequently, Peter thought baptism had something to do with salvation.

And then there is the language of Ananias to Saul of Tarsus. He said: "And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins." Acts 22:16. Thus he made baptism a condition upon which sins may be washed away. No one contends that this means that "water literally washes away sins," but it does mean that baptism is a condition of forgiveness. So Ananias must have thought baptism has something to do with a man's salvation, or he would never have commanded Saul as he did.

And Saul himself -- later called Paul -- had the same idea of it. He said in Gal. 3:27: "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Similar statements from his pen elsewhere reveal the same idea.

Is it true that Peter, Ananias and Paul were all unsaved when they made these statements? Such is true, according to Bogard, for he says: "The man who thinks that his baptism * * * even helps to save him is not saved." And he went beyond this and said such "never will be" saved "until he gets such an idea out of his mind." As far as I know, Peter, Ananias and Paul never did get "such an idea" out of their minds as long as they lived. At least, there is no record that they ever retracted their statements about baptism. When they died they left their statements on record just as I have given them. And without a change of ideas, they never could be saved, according to Bogard. So Baptist doctrine consigns poor old Peter, Ananias and Paul to hell for thinking baptism had anything to do with a man's salvation. And how about unconditionally submitting themselves into the hands of the Lord? It strikes me that the man who would claim to be saved by faith alone and who would refuse to be baptized for the remission of his sins (knowing the Lord had commanded him to do so) is the one who fails to make an unconditional surrender. A man who surrenders unconditionally is the man who submissively obeys the commandments God has given. It is not the man who refuses to obey.

2. Church Membership

Bogard further claims, according to the quotation already given, that if a man thinks his "church membership" will "help to save him," he is not saved and "never will be" until he changes his idea about it. Many inspired statements might be given showing the attitude of divine writers about this, but one statement from the pen of the apostle Paul will suffice. He said: "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body." Eph. 5:23. I think even Bogard will admit that the body of which Christ is here said to be the Savior is the church. If so, then Christ is the Savior of the church. Furthermore, he is the Savior of the church whether Bogard admits it or not. So Paul evidently thought "church membership" had something to do with a man's salvation. If this is not so, then Jesus is not "the saviour of the body." He could not be "the saviour of the body" if everybody is saved before he enters the body. This statement ought to settle the "church membership" question. It does for men who are willing to take the word of God for it. But for men like Bogard it is not sufficient. He would have to think that Paul was not saved when he made that statement, and that he never could be saved till he changed his mind about it. Since Paul never did change his mind, as is proven by the fact that he never changed the record, Bogard's position again consigns the apostle Paul to hell.

3. "Good Works"

Bogard is not altogether opposed to good works, but he preaches that a man is saved without such -- that he is saved "by faith without works" of any kind. Not only does he claim that a man may reach the forgiveness of his sins without doing anything, but he claims he can reach heaven at last without it. James said: "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." Jas. 2:24. But, of course, Bogard and his brethren do not believe this, for they say that "justification is by faith only." I would rather take the statement of James, however, for I think he knew more about it. And he says a man "is justified by works." I do not think that even Bogard would say the works James mentioned are "evil works." So they must be "good works," and if so, then James thought "good works" might have something to do with a man's salvation. That, according to Bogard, properly qualified James for hell, for he thinks a man who holds "such an idea" is not saved and never will be till he gets rid of it. If James ever got that idea "out of his mind," we are never told about it. So I guess James died and went to hell -- or at least will go to hell at the day of judgment.

4. "Holding Out Faithful"

Bogard's theology knows nothing but a "present salvation." He will claim, even in debate, as he did with me, that the only salvation the Bible knows anything about is "present salvation." And since, as he thinks, there is no "future salvation," then there is no need of a man "holding out faithful" that he may be saved. We he gets salvation from past sins, he gets it all, according to Bogard, and that salvation is eternal, and he never can lose it. Hence, he cannot fall from grace and does not need to "hold out faithful." You may show him there is a future salvation, proven by the statement of Paul in Rom. 13:11: "For now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." You may ask him how "our salvation" could be "nearer than when we believed" if we got all the salvation we will ever get the moment we believed. He will tell you that this has nothing to do with the salvation of the spirit, but simply refers to the salvation or redemption of the body from the grave. And he may go on, or at least he did with me, and say that there is no "future salvation" for the spirit, that the Bible never says anything about the spirit being saved at some future time, but it gets all the salvation it will ever get the moment one trusts in Jesus. You may then remind him of the statement of Paul in 1 Cor. 5:5, made regarding a man who had committed a grievous sin, in which he said: "To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." You may call his attention to the fact that here is a salvation of the spirit -- "that the spirit may be saved" -- that is future, for it is to be "in the day of the Lord Jesus." Then Bogard will begin to talk about something else, for he is in a hole and can't get out.

Since, then, there is a "future salvation" for the spirit, it might be necessary for a man to "hold out faithful." That very thing, in fact, is required, for Jesus said: "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." Mat. 24:12, 13. I have heard Baptist preachers say that salvation is to be enjoyed, not endured. I do not believe a man must "endure salvation," but I believe he must endure trials, temptations, persecutions and the like that he might reach the future salvation of his soul. It is impossible for a man's love to wax cold if he has never had any love. And the man whose love waxes cold is not the man who will be saved -- it is the man that "shall endure unto the end." This is true if Jesus told the truth. But Bogard denies it all and says if a man even thinks his "holding out faithful" will help to save him, he is eternally doomed unless he changes his mind.

5. "Prayers"

Regardless of what the Bible teaches about this, even Bogard's brethren do not agree with him. He now claims that prayer has nothing to do with a man's salvation, and even if a man thinks that prayer helps to save him, he is not saved and never will be till he changes his mind about it. But it is a well known fact that Baptists have long followed the practice of having sinners "pray through" to salvation at the "mourner's bench." And it has been their belief that a man cannot be saved unless he prays for it. My readers know this as well as I do. And Bogard himself knows it. So let me say to all Baptists who may read this article: If you think salvation depends in any way upon prayer, Bogard says you are unsaved. Furthermore, you never will be saved till you get straightened out on this matter. You may have had an "experience of grace" that satisfied your brethren that you were saved, and they may have passed on you and voted that you were saved and eligible for membership in the Baptist church by being baptized, but the whole bunch was mistaken about it if you think prayer had anything to do with it.

And Bogard himself is not immune to this consequence. A good many years ago he had a written debate with Joe S. Warlick. That debate was published in book form. During that discussion Bogard affirmed that: "a sinner is saved in answer to prayer before baptism." As I am at this writing more than two thousand miles away from home and do not have access to my library, I am unable to check the exact wording of that proposition. But if this is not the exact wording, it is nearly so, and presents the principle which they discussed. As I recall, Bogard offered the woman of Samaria as an example of one praying for salvation. Jesus said to the woman: "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." John 4:10. And the woman said: "Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not." John 4:15. So Bogard claimed she prayed for salvation, and the Lord gave it to her in answer to her prayer. Her prayer, according to Bogard then, had something to do with her salvation. But now he says that the man who thinks his prayers "even help to save him" is not saved and "never will be" till he gets "such an idea out of his mind." We must conclude, therefore, that at the time of Bogard's debate he was not saved and never would be till he renounced the position he affirmed in that discussion. But he had been preaching and debating for many years before that discussion, and the date at which he claimed salvation was far in the past. He was either mistaken when he thought he was saved and for many years thereafter or he is mistaken now. And, in reality, he was mistaken both then and now with regard to much that he has said. Since, according to his present position, he was unsaved at the time he affirmed that: "sinners are saved in answer to prayer before baptism," I am curious to know just when he became saved. He had to "get such an idea out of his mind," and somewhere down the line he did so, for he preaches otherwise now, and I am just wondering when he made the change. If he was saved at the time he formerly thought he was, prior to his debate with Warlick, then he fell from grace, for he held at the time of that debate ideas that insure one's condemnation. He believed then that man's prayer had something to do with his salvation, but now he says a man can never be saved as long as he holds "such an idea." So if he was saved prior to that debate, he fell from grace and lost his salvation. But if he was not saved till he got that idea out of his mind, then his former "experience of grace" was deceptive and such experiences cannot be depended on. Hence, I would like to know just when Bogard "unconditionally submitted himself into the hands of the Lord." It would be very interesting for him to tell us in the Orthodox Baptist Searchlight. I shall eagerly search its pages for the information.