"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.VIII No.II Pg.6-21
October 1945

The New Heresy Debate

W. Curtis Porter

The debate on the "new heresy" was conducted at Boynton, four miles north of Leachville, Arkansas, for four nights--May 29 to June 1. The new heresy is the false doctrine, fathered and sponsored by Thomas L. Conner of Leachville, that there is no judgment after death. This doctrine has been introduced in recent years into churches of Christ by Brother Conner and his companions-in-heresy. Within the last year or so they have constantly agitated this new doctrine and caused trouble, disruption and division in the body of Christ. Brother Conner has had a number of debates with denominational preachers and seemed to have great confidence in his ability as a debater. He became very bold in his challenges for any man to meet him in debate. He seemed to have the idea that brethren everywhere were afraid of him and knew they could not meet the issue. He was making others believe his new heresy because no man had taken him to task. They seemed to be getting the idea that surely Conner had the truth or somebody would meet him. When, therefore, the challenge reached me I accepted immediately and propositions were arranged for the debate. Two propositions were signed. They were as follows:

1. The Scriptures teach that there is a judgment for man after death and at the second coming of Christ. Affirmative: W. Curtis Porter. Negative: Thomas L. Conner.

2. The Scriptures teach that the intermediate state of the dead was destroyed when Jesus arose and all judgment for man takes place during his lifetime in the Christian age. Affirmative: Thomas L. Conner. Negative: W. Curtis Porter.

Two nights were devoted to the discussion of each proposition in the order given above. R. C. Walker, minister of the church in Paragould, Arkansas, served as my moderator. Tracy L. Wheeler, another heretic, moderated for Bro. Conner. Large crowds were in attendance throughout, loud speakers being arranged for the multitude on the outside who could not get into the house. Approximately fifty preachers of the church of Christ attended the discussion. Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana and Oregon were represented among these preachers, and there may have been some other states represented, as I did not get an accurate register of all preachers present.

In giving a report of this debate it will be impossible, of course, to give in detail every argument that was introduced, but I do want to give a rather full report of those things discussed. As I led in the affirmative the first two nights I call your attention first to the course I pursued and the major arguments introduced. Then I shall call attention to the developments that occurred as these arguments were discussed from session to session. I stated that it was unnecessary for us to discuss things on which we were agreed. If we could eliminate things on which we agreed and draw the issue distinctly with respect to the things over which we differed, we would accomplish much at the very outset. So I presented five things upon which I believed we could agree. Here they are.

1. We agree that some judgment goes on now in man's lifetime.

2. We agree that one of us is a false teacher.

3. We agree that division has been caused over this question. (The fact of the debate proved this point.)

4. We agree that one of us should be marked and avoided according to Paul's instruction in Rom. 16:17.

5. We agree that the agitation of a false doctrine to the division of the church will send one of us to hell.

I asked for an expression from Brother Conner on these points and he agreed with me upon them and shook hands in the presence of the audience as a token of such agreement. Regarding the first point I showed that the issue had been definitely revealed, that both of us agreed that some judgment goes on now, but the question is, How much? Brother Conner says that it all takes place now, and I say that some of it takes place hereafter at the second coming of Christ. It will not be enough, I insisted, for Brother Conner to produce passages that indicate that in some sense man is judged during his lifetime. I have always preached that. But he must introduce a passage that says "all judgment" occurs in man's lifetime, or at least that contains words that convey that meaning. When he meets a denominational preacher on the question of salvation by faith only, he will not accept a passage that simply says a man is saved by faith. Brother Conner teaches that too. But he demands the passage that says "faith only" or words equivalent thereto. And now I make the same demand of him. He must not produce a text that says "judgment" but one that say; "all judgment." If he fails to do that, he has lost the discussion; but if I produce one passage that puts any judgment after death, my affirmation is sustained. His agreement with me on this point proved his undoing, for he could never find the passage that mentioned "all judgment" as now taking place. The agreement on the other points served the purpose well as the debate went on.

In defining my proposition I showed that the word judgment had a variety of meanings. The following definitions were given:

1. A statute or law.

2. The administration of law or government--and in this sense the word is often used as a synonym of equity, righteousness, fairness and justice.

3. A trial to determine one's guilt.

4. The passing of sentence.

5. The execution of sentence. According to some of these meanings of the word, judgment goes on in the lifetime of a man, but some of them have reference to a judgment after death. I illustrated the matter in the following manner: 1.

1. The state passes a law against murder.

2. Death is fixed as the penalty unless mercy is recommended by the jury.

3. A man charged with murder is tried in court to determine his guilt.

4. The jury returns the verdict of guilty--with no recommendation for mercy.

5. The judge names a day on which he will pass sentence.

6. When the sentence is passed the day of execution is set. This illustration represents the various stages of judgment. All judgment is not over as soon as the law is entered on the statute books. When the man violates the law he stands condemned to death by that law, and yet that is not all of judgment. He must be brought to trial, but when he is, and all the evidence is given, and the jury returns the verdict of guilty, that is judgment; but it is not all of that judgment for the murderer. The judge steps in and sets the day to pass sentence, even after the man's destiny has been sealed by the verdict of the jury. This is part of judgment. And setting the day of execution and the actual execution of the murderer are all involved in judgment. Just so with man in his relationship to God. God has given a law, and man's guilt or innocence is being determined during his lifetime-by his obedience or disobedience to God's law. "The unbeliever is condemned already." John 3:18. And "the Lord knoweth them that are his." 2 Tim. 2:19. Thus man's destiny is sealed when he dies and the Lord will not have to have a judgment for man after death to enable him to know who is saved and who is lost. The Lord knows that already. But this does not eliminate the sentence and the execution as a part of judgment for man after he dies. Brother Conner could never be induced to notice this comparison.

For my affirmative arguments I selected five major points and these I mentioned in my very first speech. I presented them in this way as things I would undertake to prove by the Bible.

1. There is a future judgment.

2. That judgment is after death.

3. That judgment will take place at the coming of Christ.

4. It will be on the day of the resurrection.

5. And it will occur on the day on which the world is destroyed by fire. And now for some of the affirmative arguments I presented on these points.

1. A Future Judgment

In Acts 24 we are told of the address of Paul before Felix. Verse 25 tells us that "as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance and judgment to come, Felix trembled." I remarked that it would have been a fine thing for old Felix if Brother Conner had been there. He could have removed all the terror from Felix by informing him that Paul was wrong about this whole thing, that there is no judgment to come, but all of it takes place right now, and that Felix was already facing the only judgment that he would ever face. This would have been great comfort to Felix, but Paul told him there is a "judgment to come." I read from a number of translations, all of which agree with the idea of a future judgment, some of them saying "judgment to come," or "the coming judgment," or "the future judgment."

Then I introduced Paul's statement in Acts 17:31, "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." Attention was called to the fact that a number of things are mentioned here in the present perfect tense "hath appointed" a day; "hath ordained" a man; "hath given assurance" to all; "hath raised" Christ from the dead: but the judgment day is put in the future tense--he "will judge" the world in righteousness. And although this was emphasized from time to time, Brother Conner could never be induced to notice the tense of verbs as here used. He merely assumed that "day" in this passage is equivalent to "day of salvation" in 2 Cor. 6:2.

To prove a future judgment I also based an argument on 2 Cor. 5:10 and Rom. 14:10. Then upon the word "reserved" which means "kept for some future time" as recorded in 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6 and 2 Pet. 2:9. To this argument no reference was ever made by Brother Conner.

2. Judgment After Death

That this future judgment takes place after death I proved by several passages, the first of which is the statement of Paul in Heb. 9:27: "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Then the judgment pictured in Rev. 20:11-15 was shown to be a judgment of the dead, not merely a judgment of the living who had never died. John said: "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." After this I showed that Jesus is to be the judge of the living and the dead, according to statements in Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:1; 1 Pet. 4:5, and insisted there could be no judgment of the dead unless it takes place after death. Otherwise it would simply be a judgment of the living. Rev. 11:18 was also introduced in which the statement is made that "the time of the dead" is come "that they should be judged." The preceding verses show that this refers to the time when "the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ," and the remainder of this verse shows it to be when both the righteous and the wicked are rewarded. Hence, it refers to a future judgment of the dead, for "they (the dead) should be judged."

3. At Second Coming Of Christ

Because Brother Conner has a theory built on Mat. 25:31-46, I introduced that as my first argument to prove a judgment at Christ's second coming. Here is a judgment of all the nations who are separated before the judge as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. This takes place at the Lord's second coming, for it reads: "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory." The things said about this passage will be given later in this report. I used also the prophecy of Enoch as reported by Jude that "the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints to execute judgment upon all." Jude 14-15. This, too, puts the judgment at the Lord's second coming. And in 1 Cor. 4:5 Paul said: "Judge nothing before the time until the Lord come." The time for judging is thus shown to be when the Lord comes. All these passages definitely prove a judgment at the second coming of Christ.

4. On The Resurrection Day

That the future judgment will occur on the day of the resurrection I proved by statements made in John 11:24; 6:40; and 12:48. According to the first reference Martha expected her brother Lazarus to "rise again in the resurrection at the last day." And in the second reference Jesus declared concerning those who accept him: "I will raise him up at the last day." Thus the resurrection of the righteous is shown to be an event that will occur at the last day. The Christian age of the world is sometimes called "the last days" (plural number) but never "the last day." In John 12:48 Jesus shows that the man who rejects him will be judged "in the last day." That is the same day on which the righteous will be raised. The resurrection of the righteous is yet future; so is the judgment of the wicked: and resurrection day and judgment day is all the same day.

Jesus declared that certain ones would be present on the judgment day who had died in years gone by. This proves their resurrection necessary to this judgment. He said it would "be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment" than for certain cities then existing on the earth. Mat. 10:15; 11:24. But according to Gen. 19 these cities with "all the inhabitants" were destroyed about 1898 years before Jesus was born. Therefore, more than 1900 years after they were dead Jesus said they would be present in the day of judgment with men who lived in his time. He also said in Mat. 12:42 that "the queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation." The queen of the south lived in Solomon's day, about 992 years before Jesus was born. Hence, about a thousand years after she died Jesus said she would meet in the day of judgment the generation who lived in his day. Also that she would "rise up" for this judgment, showing it to be the resurrection day. And in Mat. 12:41 he said the same thing concerning the men of Nineveh. They lived in the day of Jonah and heard him preach about 862 years before Jesus was born. Nearly 900 years after they were dead Jesus said they would "rise up in the judgment" and meet there the generation to whom he preached during his personal ministry. All of this clearly puts the judgment day at the resurrection day. These points were emphasized in such way as to make them stand out before the audience.

5. When World Is Destroyed By Fire

In 2 Pet. 3:7; 10,12, Peter definitely shows the judgment day to be the day in which the world is destroyed by fire. In verse 7 he refers to it as "the day of judgment" unto which the world is reserved unto fire. In verse 10 he calls it "the day of the Lord" and declares "the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." And in verse 12 he mentions it as "the day of God" in which "the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat." Since the heavens have not passed away with a great noise, nor have the elements melted with fervent heat, and since the earth and the works therein have not been burned up, the day of God, the day of the Lord, the day of judgment here referred to has not come. But it will come, I insisted, when this destruction occurs.

These are the major arguments, given in brief form, that I used in my affirmatives. Under the fire of discussion they were developed for the benefit of the audiences. But I want to make a report of some of the developments and tell of some of the highlights of the discussion.

Workers Of Division

You recall that among the things upon which we agreed at the beginning of the discussion, as I have already mentioned, is that division has been produced by the agitation of this question, that one of us is a false teacher, and that one of us should be marked and avoided. If I am a false teacher, and division has resulted from the preaching of that for which I stand, then the churches of Christ should mark and avoid me; if Brother Conner is a false teacher, and division has occurred as a result of his agitation of his theory, then the churches should mark and avoid him. But if they mark and avoid me because of the stand which I take upon this question, they will have to mark and avoid more than 99% of all preachers in the church of Christ today, for I stand where preachers of the church of Christ have always stood. I challenged Brother Conner to name one outstanding preacher of the church today that agrees with his position. This challenge was made in the first speech of the debate. Brother Conner responded by saying as many preachers stood with him as with me. In my next speech I proposed that a test be made. Many preachers were in attendance, and I suggested that we see how many stood with him and how many with me. Conner backed down on this and said: "Not now, but when the debate is over." So the next minute after the debate closed I proposed that we carry out Brother Conner's suggestion and see how the present preachers stood on the question. But he again backed down. The audience was able to understand why.

Repeatedly throughout the discussion I charged Brother Conner and his fellow-heretics with causing division over this question. I affirmed that they were guilty of causing disruption and discord in the body of Christ. This charge was never denied by Brother Conner. It was too manifest. Everybody knew they had caused division by agitating the theory...

He made belief in his theory essential to one's salvation, declaring we could not go to heaven but would go to hell if we failed to believe what he preached about it. I pressed him then to tell us what he was going to do with us. If we are wrong, we should be marked and avoided, and he said we were all going to hell. So I wanted to know if he was going to continue to fellowship the whole group of us who are on the way to hell. It took much pressing of the question to get him even to mention it. He saw he was on the spot. But finally, under pressure, he said he would give us space in which to repent. And when I begged to know just how long a space that would be, he would never give any answer. I stated without hesitation my belief as to what should be done with Brother Conner and his fellow-teachers and supporters. They are false teachers, I insisted, and have caused trouble and division in the body of Christ contrary to the teaching of the apostles. Therefore, churches all over the country should mark, avoid and disfellowship them, give them no support whatever and put thumbs down on them forever till they repent of their heretical preaching and get back to the truth of God's word. And certainly churches everywhere should begin right now to do that very thing. Within this section of the Bible Banner there will appear a list of the names of these heretics so that you will know who they are and that you may not make a mistake of calling them for work in your community and find yourselves faced with trouble and division.

Proven By The Prophets

When I had made my first affirmative and Brother Conner began his first reply he said that I had not gone to a single prophet of the Old Testament to prove my proposition but had confined myself wholly to the New Testament. And he took the position that nothing could be proven in the New Testament except as it could be traced through the prophets of the Old Testament. In reply I asked him if he had ever tried to prove that baptism is for the remission of sins, and whether or not he believes it is; and if so, from what prophet of the Old Testament could he prove it. He felt the force of this reply and looked down. I pressed the question upon him with force that the audience might see his predicament. When he came to reply to it in his following speech he said that he had not contended that everything in the New Testament had to be traced through the prophets of the Old Testament, but every important thing. I spoke from my seat and asked: "Is baptism important? " This stunned him and he stood for a moment without being able to make reply; the audience laughed at him, and then he retorted: "Oh yes, try to say something to make your little bunch laugh."

His Smile Erased

Brother Conner has had many debates with denominational preachers and has made a reputation of being able always to smile under the pressure of his opponents. His grin was somewhat regarded as a permanent fixture and I have heard it said that no one could erase the smile from his face. He was always able, when his opponent was pressing him, to look up and meet, the pressure with a grin. And I have never heard any one say that he was ever known to break down under such pressure. But he broke in this debate. During my first affirmative he looked up at me with his characteristic grin. But before my second speech was finished the grin had been erased, and an expression of agony took its place as he sat staring down his nose. Furthermore, the characteristic grin never returned throughout the discussion. One brother has told me since the debate that he had heard Conner in five debates before this one, and had never seen any man erase the grin before. I do not claim all the credit for this. On other occasions he was contending for the truth and meeting error, but on this occasion he was contending for heresy and fighting against the truth. This made a great deal of difference. The load was too heavy for his grin and it gave way.

Cross Examination

When the debate began Brother Conner entered into a course of cross-examination with me--I would answer his questions from my seat, and he would answer mine from his seat. This sort of thing has always been "right down my alley." So I was pleased, as I always am, when he as my opponent entered into this. At the beginning of this he seemed to think it was a fine thing, and when I answered from my seat, he said: "That is fine--speak right up." But it had not gone far till he didn't think it was so fine--he found himself in too many predicaments. He soon reached the place where he definitely refused to answer my questions and refused to let me thus answer his. He complained to the audience about it and said I was just trying to befuddle the minds of the people. I am no prophet but I venture the prediction that Thomas L. Conner will never enter into such cross-examination in any debate we might have in the future. After he refused to answer any more in this fashion I committed a number of questions in writing for him to answer in writing. He made a stab at the first group I gave him, but after that gave this up also and refused to answer any more in this way. Such has always been true with false teachers--they prefer not to say anything about some issues that develop, for they find the best way to keep out of trouble is to refuse to answer questions.

"After This The Judgment"

Attention has already been called to the language of Heb. 9:27 in proof of a judgment after death. Here Paul said: "As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." In an effort to set aside this statement Brother Conner wanted to know how many men were involved in this. He claimed it was not all men but just the priesthood of the Old Testament. I replied that it mattered not how many men were involved. If it has reference to the priests of the Old Testament, it remains true that there is a judgment for them after death, and my proposition was sustained and if these were judged when Jesus arose, as he claimed they were, that was still a judgment after death for them. But I maintained that it does not refer to the priesthood of the Old Testament. If reference were made to them, it would read: "It was appointed unto the priests of the Old Testament once to die." Or if he wants to make it include all men of the Old Testament period, it will have to read: "It was appointed unto men once to die." But it does not say this. Paul does say it "was appointed" but it "is appointed." He was writing more than thirty years after Jesus arose from the dead, and according to Conner, more than thirty years after their judg- (sic) not say it "was appointed" but it "is appointed." (present tense)--it is appointed right now-thirty years after the resurrection of Jesus, and their judgment was therefore in the future from the time Paul wrote. By no process can it be made to read it "was appointed" unto men once to die and thus be made to refer to people only who has died in the past. The present tense of the statement as made by Paul presented a barrier that Conner was never able to hurdle.

During the course of the discussion Conner boasted that he always stayed put, that when he preached a thing people would always find him standing by it. He did not preach a thing one time and back out of it, he said, but always stood ready to deferred anything he preached. This gave me opportunity to repeat the charge which I had already made that he had taken three distinct positions concerning Heb. 9:27 within the last few months. A short time ago on one of his radio programs he endeavored to fix up Heb. 9:27. He declared that this portion of the statement--"after this the judgment" is not inspired. He read from the Twentieth Century translation--"death being followed by judgment"--and said this translation put this part of the verse in brackets, which proved it to be an interpolation. It is not the word of God at all, he asserted, but is a spurious interpolation. In reply to that on a broadcast of my own I showed that Bro. Conner does not know the difference between brackets and parentheses, for this statement is placed in parenthesis by this translation and not in brackets at all. Furthermore, if he rejects as uninspired all the New Testament that this translation places in parentheses, he will have to reject a large portion of the New Testament. This cured Bro. Conner of this position. And a short time later in a personal interview with him in the presence of others he said the judgment of Heb. 9:27 is a judgment for the body. He failed to stay put and defend what he preached in the first instance concerning Heb. 9:27. But in the debate he said it refers to the priesthood of the Old Testament. So he changed again. First, it was an interpolation; second, it was a judgment for the body; and third, it was a judgment for the priesthood of the Old Testament. So it looks like he may not be as stable as he claimed to be. And I did not find him ready to defend what he had preached about it. It would be utterly impossible for him to defend all of his positions. And, try as I did, I could never get him even to refer to these three positions he had taken. He did not so much as mention with a denial--he knew the charge was true and thought best to let it alone.

And he became even more reckless with regard to verse 28: "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." He declared this coming of Jesus took place at Pentecost. To him and his fellow-heretics, therefore, the second coming of Christ is past. If he comes again, it must be his third coming or his fourth coming or some other--it cannot be his second coming, for according to them, that occurred at Pentecost. But the tense of the verb again arose to disturb his theory. Paul said: "Unto them that look for him shall he appear a second time." "Shall appear" is the future tense of the verb. So the second coming of Christ was future when this language was written. But Brother Conner makes it refer to an event that he says occurred thirty years before the language was uttered. That is very enlightening-- "shall appear"-- past tense-thirty years ago. In an effort to ward off this blow he said it is not strange that Paul referred to the second coming of Christ thirty years after it occurred, for in the same verse he mentioned the death of Christ, and that took place thirty years before. It is true, I replied, that he mentioned the death of Christ that occurred thirty years before, but he did not mention it in future tense. He said: "Christ was once offered." "Was offered" is the past tense of the verb, and he referred to the death of Christ in the past, but "shall appear," which is used concerning the Lord's second coming, is not past tense, and the cases are in no sense parallel.

He tried to offset these arguments in another way. Reference was made to the prophecy of Isa. 9:6: "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given." Here an event is spoken of in the present tense hundreds of years before it occurred. It is true, I replied, that prophecy is often put in the present and past tenses when reference is made to the future. God often spoke, Paul says, of "things which be not as though they were." Rom. 4:17. Thus future events are mentioned in present or past tense. But that is not parallel with Brother Conner's position on Heb. 9:27, 28. He makes Paul refer to the past in future and present tense. He did not succeed in finding where God called those "things which were as though they were not." He had the matter completely reversed. But he felt sure he had found a case parallel to his position in Heb. 8:13: "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." He said that I would admit that the old covenant had vanished away thirty years before, but Paul says: "It is ready to vanish away." So he insisted that "is appointed" may refer to those who died in the past. But here again his proof was not adequate. Paul did not refer to a past event in a present tense. He simply laid down a general principle--"anything that waxeth old is ready to vanish away." He read from the Twentieth Century translation which makes this all the more apparent: "Whatsoever becomes obsolete and loses its force is virtually annulled." It is a principle that is always true. It is true when Paul writes. "Whatever waxeth old is ready to vanish away." This statement is true now; and it was true when the old covenant passed away. It had been made old in the past and became ready to vanish away in the past. So he still had not found the past tense referred to in the present or future. The truth still stands that "it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" and that Christ "shall appear the second time without sin unto salvation."

The Great White Throne Judgment

When I introduced Rev. 20:11-15 that describes the judgment of the dead before one seated on a great white throne I did not know just what position Brother Conner would take concerning it. I emphasized the fact that it is a judgment of the dead. This necessarily put it after death, for if these were judged before they died, it would be a judgment of the living and not of the dead. So I presented to Brother Conner, in connection with some other questions, this question in writing:

"Does Rev. 20:11-15 describe a judgment of the dead or of the living who had not died?"

His written answer was: "Of dead." We have then, according to his admission, a judgment after death for somebody. And this led to a further explanation of his position. He claimed this referred to the judgment of all the dead of past ages. When Jesus arose from the dead he liberated all the dead of past ages from Hades, passed judgment upon them and sent them to heaven or to hell. To show conclusively that this can refer to no such judgment at the resurrection of Christ, as Conner fancied, I appealed to the language of the text. John says in verse 11: "I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them." When this judgment occurs, John says, the earth and the heaven flee away so that no place is found for them. And the first verse of the following chapter, which has a direct connection with this judgment scene, says: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea." At the time of this judgment, therefore, heaven and earth and sea pass away. This did not occur at the resurrection of Jesus. It has not yet occurred. Heaven and earth and seas still remain, and just as long as they remain we know that this judgment is not over. If they passed away when Jesus arose, where are we now? I asked Brother Conner repeatedly: "Where are you tonight?" "You cannot be in heaven, on the earth or in the sea, for, according to you these things are all gone." But he was never able to give me his location. It was plainly evident that he was "at sea" and that without a rudder. We have the same heaven and earth and seas that existed during the Old Testament ages; they have not gone; they are still here; and the judgment of the great white throne is still in the future. It is a judgment of the dead that will occur in the future when the heaven and earth and seas are destroyed.

While discussing some other points concerning future judgment, or judgment after death, Brother Conner insisted there could be no sense or reason in a judgment after death, unless a second chance was to be given. So he asked me the question: "Is our destiny sealed when we die?" I answered immediately: "Yes." On this he endeavored to make quite a play, claiming if our destiny is sealed when we die, then why will God judge us after death? There is no need for any such judgment, he claimed. He presented a number of questions in this connection, such as: "What need can there be for a judgment after death?"; "What kind of God do we have anyway?" and "Did God make a mistake when he judged us the first time before we died?" These questions were easily attended to, for I simply turned them around and handed them back to him. He had admitted that the people of past ages were judged after death, according to his interpretation of Rev. 20:11-15. So I simply handed the questions to him relative to his position on this passage. Here are the questions:

"Was the destiny of men of past ages determined before they died?

He answered: "Yes."

"Since their destiny was sealed when they died, what need was there of judgment after they died?"

No answer was ever given.

"What kind of God did they have?" no answer.

"Did God make a mistake when he judged them before they died?" No answer.

I insisted that he would answer these questions relative to his position on Rev. 20:11-15; he would have the answers he was seeking from me. The same reason exists for a judgment after death that existed with the people of past ages. If he will find the reason for their judgment after death, he will have the reason for ours. If God judged them after death without proving he made a mistake before they died, a judgment after death for us would not prove God made a mistake in our lifetime. But these questions he would never answer.

He also claimed that a man cannot be judged twice for the same offense; and as our destiny is sealed when we die, if we are judged after death, we are being judged twice for the same offense. So I simply asked him if the men of past ages, according to his interpretation of Rev. 20:11-15, were judged twice for the same offense. He admitted their destiny was sealed when they died, yet he claims they were judged after death. So the question was right back in his own hands demanding an answer. But the answer was never given. However, the audience could see his predicament.

He also made a play on the idea of two judgments, saying according to my position, we are judged before we die, and that is one judgment. Then we are judged after we die, and that is another judgment. So two judgments are necessary, he claimed, if my position is true. So he pressed the question: "How much judgment do we get before we die?" As to the first of these I handed it back to him as before, and asked him this: "Did the people of past ages have two judgments--one before they died and another after they died?" But he saw his question had rebounded and he made no effort to answer. And as to how much judgment we get in this life, such does not matter as far as the propositions are concerned. If I should admit that we get 99% of it in this life and only one per cent after death, he would still be wrong and my position would be right, for all judgment would not take place in life and there would still be some after death. I did not admit this, however, but simply showed that if it should be true, my position is still correct. But I turned this question back to him also: "How much judgment did the men of past ages get in their lifetime?" He says their destiny was sealed when they died. So if he can determine how much judgment they got before they died, he will know how much we get before we die. So at every turn his arguments and questions rebounded and gave him a knock-out blow.

The Book Of Life

With reference to the judgment of Rev. 20:11-15; in which the book of life is mentioned as one of the books out of which the dead were judged, Brother Conner asked me the question: "Is the book of life the New Testament?" I answered from my seat: "No." Then, he contended, God will be an unjust God if he calls forth the dead and judges them out of a book they never saw during their lifetime. This, however, did not prove of any help to his cause. He was contending that this judgment of Rev. 20 was for all the dead of past ages before Christ came. These two questions I therefore gave him:

"Were they judged out of a book they never saw in their lifetime?"

"When did they see the New Testament?"

It is evident that those referred to in this passage were judged out of the book of life (John saw the vision, of course, and related it in past tense). But if it refers to the dead of past ages, they all died before Jesus arose and before the New Testament was ever given. They could never have seen the New Testament during their lifetime, for it did not exist. So if the book of life is the New Testament, and these were the dead of past ages, they were judged out of a book they never saw, and that, according to Conner made their God an unjust God, I pressed him to tell me when they saw the New Testament? His only reply was: "They saw Christ through the prophets." But Christ is not the New Testament, and this does not answer the question. He was in a predicament from which he could never extricate himself.

I took the position that the book of life is a register of names of the people of God. Paul in Phil. 4:3 referred to certain fellow-laborers in the gospel "whose names," he says, "are in the book of life." It is not the New Testament but a register of names. It does not contain the names of unbelievers but the names of God's people. Rev. 20:15 says: "Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Since people are going to hell who do not have their names written in this book I asked Brother Conner to tell us if his name is written in the New Testament. And if his name is written in the New Testament, I would like to have book, chapter and verse where I can read about it. He claimed his name is written in the New Testament, and that the name is "Christian." Then I introduced the statement found in Rev. 3:5: "He that overcometh " " 'I will not blot out his name out of the book of life." This indicates if a man does not overcome, his name will be blotted out of this book. Brother Conner will admit that a man may fail to overcome, unless he takes the Baptist position of once in grace always in grace; and if any man ever has failed, or if any man ever does fail, to overcome, then the name "Christian" is to be blotted out of the New Testament. This is the predicament to which a false theory will drive a man when he tries to defend it. Conner made no effort to extricate himself from this predicament. There is no escape from it if the book of life is the New Testament and the name written in it is the name "Christian."

Conner made the charge that I had preached at Black Oak, Arkansas, that the book of life is the New Testament and that he had witnesses to prove it. From my seat I denied the charge. Then he said: "Brother Cosner, stand up." A Brother Cosner stood up and said the charge was true. I replied: "I still deny it." It so happens that I have a record of all the sermons I have ever preached. These I brought with me for my next speech. Then I asked Brother Cosner when I preached this at Black Oak. He replied: "In 1920." So I turned to my record and read a list of every sermon I preached at Black Oak in that year, and not one single sermon was concerning the book of life. And it was several years later before I ever preached on this theme at Black Oak. I asked him what subject I preached on at the time he heard me make this statement. He didn't remember. So I went back of 1920 to keep the record straight. I had a sermon outline that I made in 1917 or early in 1918. I read the main divisions of this sermon outline and they all showed that in 1918--two years before he said he heard me preach that the book of life is the New Testament--I believed the book of life to be a register of names and not the New Testament. Then I went back beyond this. I wrote a little tract on "The Possibility of Apostasy" in 1914, which was published in 1915, and on two different pages of this tract my statements showed that at that time I believed the book of life to be a register of names. This tract was written the first year that I preached--and was six years back of the time that Cosner said he heard me. So from the very first year of my ministry I have always held to the same position I now hold, and when a man says he heard me preach a thing that I have never believed, there is just not a word of truth in it. But Cosner visibly suffered under this lashing, but such is what a man gets himself into when he allows himself to be used a tool by a heretic. Brother Cosner has taken his stand with Brother Conner on this heresy and will have to suffer the consequences of his stand.

New Testament Speaks To Living

At another time during the discussion Brother Conner made the argument that there can be no judgment after death, because the New Testament is to be the standard of judgment; and the New Testament, he said, speaks to the living. It cannot be made to apply to or speak to the dead. Hence, with this as a standard of judgment, there cannot be a judgment after death.

This line of reasoning, however, did not stand the test nor help him any in upholding his theory, for he had already claimed that the dead of past ages had been raised from the dead and judged after death out of the New Testament which he said the book of life is. So he makes the New Testament speak to the dead in that judgment. If he reasons away any judgment after death for us, because the New Testament speaks to the living and not to the dead, how will he manage to uphold his position on Rev. 20:11-15? As he makes the book of life mean the New Testament in that case he has it speaking to men after death. But this could not be, according to his later argument, and thus he upsets his own theory by trying to sustain it.

The Judgment Of All Nations

I have already mentioned the fact that I introduced Mat. 25:31-46 early in the discussion as it is upon this passage that Conner bases much of his theory. The coming of the Lord, he contends, in this passage refers to the day of Pentecost; all nations are gathered before him as the gospel is being preached to all nations; and the sheep are being separated from the goats as some obey the gospel and some do not; and the sitting on the throne of his glory occurred when he took his seat on David's throne at Pentecost. It is true, I contended, according to Mat. 19:28, that Christ is on the throne of his glory now; and it is also true that he will be on the throne of his glory when he comes, for after all, the passage does not say that "then he will begin to sit upon the throne of his glory."

I showed, however, from various points of view, that the coming of Christ mentioned in Mat. 25:31 is his future coming and that it did not occur at the day of Pentecost. The following points were presented in favor of this.

1. The context of the passage shows it to be his second personal coming.

Attention was called to the fact that chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew make up one discourse delivered by Jesus on the mount of Olives. He had told his disciples that the time would come when the temple and Jerusalem would be destroyed. So they asked: "When shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" Mat. 24:3. In the sermon that followed, comprising these two chapters, Jesus answered these questions. A part of chapter 24 through verse 28 Jesus discussed the first question that pertained to the destruction of Jerusalem. Beginning with verse 29 and on through chapter 25 he discussed the second question that pertained to his coming and the end of the world. And over and over through this portion of the divine record Jesus referred to his second coming. He said: "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Mat. 24:36, 37. Again: "Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." Verse 42. And: "Therefore be ye also ready for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Verse 44. These verses all refer definitely to the Lord's second coming. And the same thought is discussed on through chapter 25, being mentioned expressly a number of times in the chapter, and at verse 31 the Lord said: "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory." So the entire context of the passage shows beyond doubt that Jesus referred to his second coming at the end of the world.

2. Also the coming of verse 31 is when he "comes in his glory."

This, beyond any question, refers to his second coming, for Mat. 24:30 shows that he comes "in glory" when he comes "in the clouds of heaven." He did not come in the clouds of heaven at Pentecost but will so come at his second coming which is yet future. Acts 1:9-11; Rev. 1:7.

3. This coming occurs when he comes with his angels--"and all his holy angels with him." Paul tells us when the coming with the angels will occur. "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Thes. 1:7, 8. So he comes with his angels when he is revealed from heaven "in flaming fire." This has not occurred yet, but it is the same coming of Mat. 25:31. Paul speaks of it in the future tense--"when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven." The coming of Mat. 25 is therefore the future coming of the Lord.

4. When he separates the sheep from the goats.

This did not occur at Pentecost nor is it yet taking place. The gospel is making sheep out of goats as men obey its requirements, but these were sheep before they were separated from goats. It is a separation that is to take place at the Lord's coming. I wrote on the board the following simple outline:

Sheep--Goats; Wheat--Tares; Just--Wicked

I showed the parallel as here outlined. The sheep, the wheat and the just refer to the same class of people; and the same class is represented by the goats, the tares and the wicked. The separation of the sheep from the goats is the same as the separation of the wheat from the tares and of the just from the wicked. If we can find when the just are separated from the wicked and when the wheat is separated from the tares, we will know when the sheep are separated from the goats. Jesus declares this will take place in "the harvest" in "the end of this world." Regarding the parable of the tares Jesus said: "Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn." Mat. 13:30. This is the separation of the wheat and the tares. But what does it mean? Jesus explained in Mat. 13:39:40 as follows: "The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world." The tares and wheat (children of the devil and children of God) are separated in the harvest. But "the harvest is the end of the world." Therefore the separation of the tares and the wheat will occur "in the end of this world." These are the exact words of the Son of God. Then with reference to the wicked and the just, as presented in the parable of the net in which the good fish and the bad are separated, Jesus said: "So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just." Mat. 13:49. We learn therefore, that the wicked are severed from among the just "in the end of the world" and the tares are separated from the wheat "in the end of this world." And since this is the same as the separation of the sheep from the goats, this also will take place in the end of the world. This completely upsets Brother Conner's pet theory on this judgment of all nations.

He took the position that the word "world" meant "age" and that it did not mean what I indicated in my use of the passage. I asked him, if the word means "age" in this passage, then to what age does it refer? Jesus was speaking in the Jewish age of time, and he said: "in the end of this world." Does this mean "in the end of this (Jewish) age? Brother Conner took the position that it does mean this. Then I showed, according to him, the harvest was already over, the judgment was completed and the righteous and the wicked were already separated before the Christian age began, for if it occurred "in the end of the Jewish age," that would not be "the beginning of the Christian age." Yet he claims the judgment begins with the Christian age and the separation occurs during that age as men obey the gospel. This put him into a predicament that he could never get out of. In fact, he could never pick up courage, although I prodded him much, to make an effort to get out of it. There is no way out of it. Although "world" sometimes means "age" it does not mean such in these passages, and clearly refers to the end of this earth when it and the works therein are burned up. Then is when the righteous are separated from the wicked and each class is given its eternal reward.

4. After The Tribulation Of Those Days

When I had shown that Mat. 25:31 must refer to the future coming of the Lord, for it is when he comes "in his glory," but he comes "in glory" when he comes "with the clouds of heaven" according to Mat. 24:30, Brother Conner took the position that the coming of Jesus with the clouds in Mat. 24:30 refers to his coming on the day of Pentecost. This proved to be a very difficult position for him. I called attention to a "great tribulation" mentioned in verse 21. Premillennialists apply this to the second coming of Christ at the end of this age. They say the righteous will be caught away, and for them it will be the rapture, and while they are away the wicked left on earth will undergo the great tribulation, before the Lord comes in the second phase of his coming. I do not believe this refers to any such and did not think Conner would take this position either. But I stated that this great tribulation was that which came upon the Jewish people beginning with the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus. I asked Brother Conner if' he would agree with me in this matter. He said that he would and shook hands with me that this great tribulation began at that time. Then I showed that Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus and his army in A. D. 70, nearly forty years after Pentecost. But Jesus said in verses 29 and 30: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." This coming of Jesus, the Son of God himself said, will occur "after the tribulation of those days." But that tribulation did not begin till nearly forty years after Pentecost. Hence, this coming cannot refer to Pentecost. If so, then Jesus was mistaken about, it, for Pentecost came nearly forty years "before the tribulation of those days," but he said he would come with the clouds of heaven "after the tribulation of those days." This so completely blocked Conner with respect to his position on this that he could never be induced to make any effort to clear up the matter. It could not be done, and the best thing for him was to stay away from it just as far as he could.

Christ's Coming At Pentecost

Inasmuch as Brother Conner applied so many passages that spoke of the coming of Jesus to the day of Pentecost, he was pressed to tell how he came on the day of Pentecost. I asked him the question: "Did Christ come in person on the day of Pentecost?" His answer was that he "came in power." That did not answer the question but was an evasion of it. I wanted to know if a personal coming of Jesus occurred on that day. In conversation with others, I have been reliably informed, Bro. Conner had said that Jesus came in person and was visible to human eyes on the day of Pentecost, but he could not be induced to answer during the debate. The fact is that Jesus did not come in person on the day of Pentecost--he came only through the representation of the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit came as his representative. In this way only did Jesus come on Pentecost. So his application of so many passages to Pentecost was a misapplication. He relied greatly upon the statement made in Mat. 16:27, 28: "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." The coming "in his kingdom" of verse 28 is a parallel of Mark 9:1 in which Jesus said they would see "the kingdom come with power." This would occur during the lifetime of some who were then present and was fulfilled on Pentecost when the Spirit came as the representative of Jesus. But Conner insisted that if verse 28 refers to Pentecost, verse 27 also does; and his coming "in the glory of his Father with his angels" occurred on Pentecost. He wanted to know by what authority I could make verse 28 refer to Pentecost but verse 27 to a yet future coming of the Lord. I showed that at the coming of verse 27, as mentioned by the Lord himself, all men will receive their rewards--"then he shall reward every man according to his works." If this refers to the day of Pentecost, every man got his reward that day; for when Jesus comes; according to this passage, "then (at that time) he shall reward every man." The word "then" does not mean a long time after his coming but when he comes. I did not get my reward at Pentecost; Conner did not get his reward on that day. So I know this coming of Christ did not then occur. Conner said the people on that day were rewarded with remission of sins when they obeyed Christ and wanted to know if I had not received the same reward. I replied that I had received remission of sins, but I did not receive it on the day of Pentecost when people did who heard Peter preach. I did not receive his reward at the same time. So the passage cannot be made to refer to the day of Pentecost but to the future coming of the Lord when he comes to reward every man.

The Resurrection Already Past

As I have before mentioned I showed that the day of judgment takes place on the same day as the resurrection. Martha said concerning Lazarus: "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day." John 11:24. Thus it is seen that the resurrection will occur on "the last day." But Jesus says those who reject him will be judged" in the last day." John 12:46. So the "resurrection day" and the "judgment day" is all the same day. Brother Conner tried to offset the force of this by saying: "If Porter had read the next verse after the statement made by Martha, he would have ruined his argument. In John 11:24 Jesus said: I am the resurrection!" He emphasized the word "am"--"I am the resurrection--not I will be, but I am." So he insisted that this proved the judgment to be right then--not somewhere in the future. This was another unfortunate adventure for Conner. If this proves the resurrection day to be when Jesus uttered that language, then the resurrection is past already, and we have no future resurrection to look forward to. Brother Conner had claimed he believes in a future resurrection, but his argument on this destroys such an idea. Furthermore, if the resurrection and judgment were right then, it was in the Jewish age when Jesus spoke these words and not in the Christian age at all. So that puts the whole thing at the wrong time to fit Conner's theory. It is true that Jesus said: "I am the resurrection" but he went on in the same verse to say: "He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." And "shall live" is future. It remains true, therefore, that the "resurrection day" is the last day, and the "judgment day" is the same.

Conner's Affirmatives On Judgment

I shall give briefly Conner's affirmative arguments made to sustain the idea that all judgment, takes place during man's lifetime in the Christian age. He seemed to think if he found the word judgment anywhere in the Old Testament, regardless of the connection in which it was used, it had to apply immediately to the Christian age of the world. So he introduced a number of passages from Psalms that had reference to the time of David. But he applied all these to the Christian age. He made but little argument on them--he simply dealt with them in running fashion and assumed the point to be proven. The following is an example of his ramblings.

"The Lord is known by the judgment which he executeth." Psa. 9:16.

"For the Lord loveth judgment." Psa. 37:28.

"The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment." Psa. 37:30.

"The meek will he guide in judgment." Psa. 25:9, 10.

"The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment." Psa. 1:5.

"Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven." Psa. 76:8, 9.

With perhaps one exception none of these passages can be applied to the Christian age of the world--they were true in David's day, and if they prove anything at all as far as this issue is concerned, they prove the day of judgment to be in the time of David instead of the Christian age. In fact not one of them says anything about "all judgment," even if they should or could be made to refer to this age, and the passage that Conner must find is one that says "all judgment occurs now" or word equivalent to this.

Other Passages From Psalms

Psa. 72:2 was introduced as an affirmative. David says: He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment." Note the two words used in this passage--righteousness and judgment. If this proves all judgment is now (provided it refers to the Christian age), it proves all righteousness is now. If it works in one case, it must work in the other. So according to Conner, there will be no righteousness after this age is over. This reply applies to many arguments made by him and upsets his whole scheme. Concerning such I asked him the question: "Will any justice or righteousness be exercised or manifested when Jesus comes?" He answered in writing: "Not on soul of man." So, according to his answer, whatever God sees fit to do to the souls of men after Jesus comes again, it will be neither upon the principles of justice nor righteousness. He will therefore treat the souls of men with injustice and unrighteousness. Such is the straits to which false teachers are driven in their efforts to defend a heresy.

He also used Psa. 96:10-13. This states that the Lord "shall judge the people righteously." But it does not even intimate that it refers to a judgment in his lifetime. In fact, verse 13 says: "For he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth." This cannot refer to his first coming, for he said he "came not to judge the world" (John 12:47.) But he is coming the second time to judge the world. Jude 14, 15. So if the passage has reference to a personal coming of the Lord, it is still future and sustains my position concerning judgment. The same is true concerning his argument on Psa. 98:7, 9.

Arguments From Isaiah

A number of arguments were based upon the prophecies of Isaiah by Brother Conner

These will here be noted briefly.

"He shall judge among the nations." Isa.2:2-4.

At least Conner found a passage that refers to the Christian age, for this is a prophecy of the establishment of the church on Pentecost, as can be readily seen by reading the. entire passage. I have given only the statement that concerns judgment. But Conner and I had already agreed that according to some meanings of the term, judgment goes on now in man's lifetime. What he must find is a passage that contemplates "all judgment." This passage does not. It does not say: "He executes all judgment among the nations." One office of a judge is to decide controversies and promote peace. And that is true according to this passage. There was a middle wall of partition between the Jews and Gentiles (the nations), and this had to be removed that peace might be made. Paul declares Christ broke down this wall between the nations by his crucifixion on the cross and brought them to a condition of peace. In that sense the Lord "judged among the nations." But the passage falls far short of sustaining the new heresy proclaimed by Conner and his associates.

"The Lord standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people." Isa. 3:13.

The verse before and the verse after this passage shows reference is made to Israel in the Jewish age of the world and that it has no reference to the Christian age. Verse 12 says: "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them." And verse 13 reads: "The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your hand." The covetousness and oppression of the rulers of Israel are pointed out and God was ready to judge them. This verse gives no support to Conner's theory concerning all judgment in man's lifetime in the Christian age.

"But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God that is holy shall be sanctified in righteousness." Isa. 5:16.

This too refers to Israel in the Old Testament age, as it refers, according to verse 13, to God's people who went into captivity. But if by any twist it could be made to refer to the Christian age, it would still prove too much. Note the expressions: "exalted in judgment" and "sanctified in righteousness." If this means all judgment now, it means all righteousness now. So there would be no righteousness after the death of man. Conner is not yet ready for this conclusion. But if it holds true with one statement, it holds true with the other.

"Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever." Isa. 9:6, 7.

Again Brother Conner found a prophecy that refers to the Christian age, for this distinctly points out the reign of Christ on David's throne. But again it proved too much for him, for the passage says his government would be established "with judgment and with justice." If this means all judgment occurs during the whole period of the Christian age, it means all justice occurs at the same time. If it proves there will be no judgment after death, it proves there will be no justice after death. Remember, "that which proves too much proves nothing."

"But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth." Isa. 11:3, 4.

This is also a prophecy of Christ and his reign over men, as the whole context clearly shows, but nothing is said about "all judgment" occurring during the lifetime of any man. If it proves all judgment is now, it proves all righteousness and equity are now; and that is too much for Conner, although he did say, as before mentioned, that no justice will be shown to the souls of men at the coming of Christ. He still thinks their bodies may get some justice, righteousness and equity.

"Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet." Isa. 28:16, 17. This argument has the same defect, as far as Conner's theory is concerned, as others just mentioned, even though it does refer to the reign of Christ. For if "judgment will I lay to the line" means there will be no judgment after death, the "righteousness to the plummet" would mean there will be no righteousness after death. "The Lord is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness." Isa. 33:5. Conner claimed that Zion meant the church, and as Zion was "filled with judgment" it proves that all judgment goes on through the church now.

I contended that Zion sometimes means the church and sometimes not, but even if I should agree that it does in this text, it still fails to prove his contention, for not only was Zion "filled with judgment" but also "filled with righteousness." Hence, if it means no judgment at the second coming of Christ, it also means no righteousness at his coming.

I have not given every argument based by Conner on Isaiah, but these give the general trend of his contention and show that his whole theory must be based upon a misrepresentation of the passages. All the others are just as easily met, but space forbids a complete review of every passage.

Judgment In The Earth

Two prophecies from Jeremiah were used by Conner to sustain his heresy. Here they are. "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth." Jer. 23:5. "In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land." Jer. 33:15.

These, of course, refer to the reign of Christ, the righteous Branch, and Conner emphasized the fact that the verses say that he "shall execute judgment in the earth" and he "shall execute judgment in the land." If in the earth, it could not be after death, he claimed. But the judgment that will occur when Jesus comes will be "in the earth" for Jesus will come to judge the earth. Like many others already mentioned these prove too much for Conner, for they say he will execute "judgment and justice in the earth" and "judgment and righteousness in the land." If they prove no judgment after death, they prove also no justice and righteousness after death. They prove too much when used according to Conner's views--therefore they prove nothing for him.

Hallowing The Sabbath

An argument that proved very embarrassing to Conner was one he based on Ezek. 20:19. The text reads: "I am the Lord your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments and do them." Conner emphasized the idea that we must "keep his judgments" in our lifetime in the Christian age--hence, judgment day is now.

I replied by calling attention to the fact that the word "judgment," according to the definitions I gave in my first speech of the debate, sometimes means "law." And that is the meaning of it here. To "keep his judgments" simply meant to "keep his laws." But to show you how far a heretic will go in his desperation to prove his heresy and how he will misrepresent a text of Scripture to carry his point, all that is necessary is just to read the next verse. It says: "And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you." Thus Conner has taken a passage that refers to the Jews under the law and told them to "keep the sabbaths" and makes it apply to Christians in the New Testament age. There was no need for any man to make this blunder if he were not trying to prove a theory that lacked Bible sanction. I asked him repeatedly, and pressed the question with telling effect: "Brother Conner, are you hallowing the sabbaths?" He could never be persuaded to return to the passage to say anything about it. It proved his undoing at this point, and the debate closed with the question never answered or even mentioned by him.

Judgment Given To The Saints

An interpretation equally as bad as the foregoing was made by Conner on a prophecy of Daniel. It is found in the seventh chapter of Daniel. His arrangement of his arguments was as follows:

1. "Thrones were cast down-Ancient of days did sit." Verse 9.

2. "The judgment was set, and the books were opened." Verse 10.

3. "Judgment was given to the saints." Verse 22.

4. "The saints possessed the kingdom." Verse 22.

5. From this he concluded that the saints possessed the kingdom at Pentecost, judgment was then given to them then, the judgment was set and the books opened, and the judgment day is now going on.

The fallacy of his interpretation was easily shown. Verses 21 and 22 say: "I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom." So this horn made war with the saints "until they possessed the kingdom." Conner says they possessed the kingdom at Pentecost. So the horn made war with the saints before Pentecost and until Pentecost. This horn was the little horn that sprang up among the ten horns of the fourth beast of Daniel's vision. So I pressed Conner to tell us when this little horn made war with the saints before Pentecost. He never told us. The fact is, the little horn was the papal power that sprang up from the Roman kingdom (the fourth beast) and this horn did not even exist till after Pentecost. Another of Conner's arguments took wings and left him.

Destruction Of Hades

Conner's proposition required him not only to prove that all judgment takes place during man's lifetime but also that the intermediate state of the word was destroyed when Jesus arose. In other words, he claims that prior to the death of Christ when men died their spirits went to Hades, or to the intermediate state of the dead. But when Jesus arose, he claims, he liberated all that were held in Hades, judged them and sent them to their eternal rewards; and he destroyed Hades. Since then when men die, he says, they go straight to their eternal rewards-to heaven or to hell.

As negatives to this idea I showed that Jesus in A. D. 96-long after his resurrection from the dead--was said to "have the keys of hell (Hades) and of death." I tried to find out why he would still have the "keys of Hades" in A. D. 96 if Hades itself was destroyed in A. D. 33. Furthermore Rev. 20:11-15 shows that "death and hell (Hades) were cast into the lake of fire" when "the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them." Since earth and heaven have not yet fled away then death and Hades have not yet been destroyed--cast into the lake of fire. This argument remained unharmed when the debate was over. It proves conclusively that Hades was not destroyed when Jesus arose. But I wish to note some of the argument made by Conner in support of his contention.

A Group Of Scriptures

He gave a group of passages in "running fashion" without saying much about them but intending for all of them to prove that Hades was destroyed when Jesus arose. Briefly I give them as follows:

"Wilt thou show wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee?" Psa. 88:10. "Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell." Psa. 86:13.

But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave." Psa. 49:15.

"O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave." Psa. 30:3.

Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise." Isa. 26:19.

"Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake." Dan. 12:2.

"He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." John 11:25.

Some of these passages point out the final resurrection of the dead. Some of them refer to David's time and to David's experience. They refer not to a resurrection of the dead but to deliverance from death. Conner had already taken the position that the men of Nineveh and Sodom and Gomorrah had been raised from the dead when Jesus arose. So I asked him: "Did that resurrection include all the rest of the dead of past ages?" He answered that it did. So he had committed himself by his answer to this question and his use of the foregoing Scriptures to the idea that every person who died before Jesus did was raised from the dead when he was. All this was involved in his idea of a destruction of Hades. So I turned to the second chapter of Acts and read Peter's statement about David. He said: "Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day." Acts 2:29, David was among the dead of past ages, but Peter, on the day of Pentecost, this side of the resurrection of Jesus and the time when Conner claims Hades was destroyed, said that David "is dead and buried." He did not say he "was dead" but he "is dead." He was dead at the time Peter

spoke. He had not been raised from the dead and Conner is wrong in saying all the dead of past ages arose when Jesus did. Furthermore, Peter said concerning him: "For David is not ascended into the heavens." But Conner says all the dead of past ages were taken to heaven with Jesus. Either Conner is wrong or Peter is wrong, and I could not believe it was Peter. Brother Conner came back and said he did not mean to say that their bodies were raised--that Peter's body was still in grave, but he referred to their spirits instead of their bodies. But I showed that he used the passage of Daniel" many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake"--and applied this to the destruction of Hades; and I wanted to know what part of man sleeps in the dust of the earth. Is it the spirit that goes to the dust, or the body? After all, the spirit does not die, and if anybody was raised from the dead it was a resurrection of the body and not the spirit. This completely upset his argument on this point and he made no further effort to recover.

He Led Captivity Captive

The statement of Paul in Eph. 4:8 was used as a major argument in favor of his idea of the destruction of Hades. Paul said: "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." This is a quotation from Psa. 68:18. The marginal reading of Eph. 4:8 is: "He led a multitude of captives." The argument based upon this runs in this manner. The captives were the people held in Hades; Jesus went to Hades when he died, and when he came out he liberated all the captives held there; he destroyed Hades, and those who since die cannot go to Hades; and he took the liberated multitude to heaven with him when he ascended.

But I showed the falsity of this reasoning. 1. There is nothing to indicate that the captives were those held in Hades. 2. If it be admitted that these were captives of Hades, it does not say that all were liberated--just a multitude. 3. Nothing is said about Hades being destroyed. These things must be assumed. In Mat. 27:52, 53 we read that "many bodies of the saints which slept arose and came out of their graves after his resurrection." If releasing a "multitude" from Hades means all in Hades were liberated, then raising "many" from the graves would prove that all were raised. Even Conner later denied this to be true. And if releasing a multitude from Hades proves Hades was destroyed, then raising many from the grave would prove that the grave is destroyed. Yet men are still being buried. And if delivering a multitude from Hades proves that no one goes to Hades when he dies now, then delivering many from the grave would prove that no one goes to the grave when he dies now. If it so works in one case, it will work in the other. Thus you can see the absurdity of the argument. But the passage says nothing about liberating anybody from Hades. The picture is of Christ as a conquering king who has captured a multitude of his enemies and leads them away in triumph. Thus he leads them away as captives just as a king might lead away captives from an opposing king. And if the captives Christ led away were men held in Hades, then while they were there and before Jesus led them away, they were the enemies of the Lord. We would have to conclude that all who were in Hades were servants of the devil while they were there and enemies of the Lord. But the Lord captured them and led them away. It can thus be easily seen that the whole passage is a symbolical representation of the conquering work of the Son of God and is not to be taken to mean that Jesus led a literal group to heaven when he ascended.

Righteous Go To Christ

Brother Conner argued that the righteous go to heaven as soon as they die. This he tried to prove by two statements made by Paul. In Phil. 1:20-24 he expressed a "desire to depart and be with the Lord." And in 2 Cor. 5:6-8 he declared his willingness to be "absent from the body and to be present with the Lord." Conner reasoned that this proves men go straight to heaven when they die, for when men leave the body they go to Christ. But Christ is in heaven. So they go to heaven-not to Hades-when they die.

But I countered with the statement of Solomon in Eccl. 12:7. He declared at death "the spirit returns to God who gave it." This was true in his day. But Conner says in the days of Solomon, before Jesus arose, men went to Hades when they died. But Solomon says they went to God. Where was God? Many passages declare that God was in heaven. Then since God was in heaven, will Brother Conner please tell us how men went to Hades when they died, inasmuch as Solomon says the spirit returned to God? If he can tell how men went to Hades, and yet went to God (who was in heaven), he will be able to understand how men can go to Christ now (who is in heaven) and yet go to Hades. An explanation of one is an explanation of the other.

Coming With His Saints

In Jude 14, 15 Jude quoted from the prophecy of Enoch: "Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints." This, Brother Conner claimed, proves that Christ took those saints to heaven with him when he ascended. Otherwise he could not come "with them."

I asked Brother Conner if it would have been possible for the Lord to come "with ten thousand of his saints" before Jesus ascended and took them to heaven. He said that such would not have been possible. I then turned to the testimony of Moses in Deut. 33:2: "The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from Mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of his saints." Thus it is declared in the days of Moses that the Lord "came with ten thousands of his saints." That was a long time before Conner says Hades was destroyed. So if the Lord could come with ten thousands of his saints in the time of Moses without having destroyed Hades, why could it not be true in the time of Jude?

Furthermore, I showed that the word "saints" in Jude 14, 15 is from the Greek Word "hagios" which is translated "holy one" or "saint" and that it is often applied to angels. When the Lord comes with his angels, he comes with his saints or holy ones. Incidentally this will also take care of the premillennialist argument about Christ coming "for his saints" and then coming "with his saints." His angels are "holy ones!' or "saints" and when he comes with all his holy angels, the prophecy of Enoch will be fulfilled.

Liberty To The Captives

The prophecy of Isa. 61:1, 2 was applied by Conner to the liberation of captives from Hades. Isaiah said: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he that sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn."

I showed that he misapplied this passage. Jesus quoted it in Luke 4:18-21 while teaching in the synagogue and said: "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." Jesus at that time was preaching "deliverance to the captives." He said so far he declared the Scripture was being fulfilled that day. But that was before he died and arose. It was before the time that Conner says he destroyed Hades. Then I asked Conner if Jesus that day was preaching to the captives in Hades. But he could not be persuaded to answer. Everyone knows he was not preaching to men in Hades that day, but he was preaching to men in the prison of sin. These were the captives that Jesus'" came to deliver. This was a complete overthrow of Corner's argument, and he made no effort to set it up again.

Swallow Up Death In Victory

Conner quoted Isa. 25:8: "He will swallow up death in victory." He applied this to the resurrection of Jesus and contended that it was fulfilled when he destroyed Hades at his resurrection. Then the victory over death was won. But this proved to be a very unfortunate move for him. I turned to I Cor.15:54 and read the statement of Paul. In connection with the sounding of the last trump when the dead will be raised and the living changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, Paul said: "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." So Paul quotes the very passage Conner introduced-"Death is swallowed up in victory"-and declares it will "be brought to pass" or be fulfilled when the last trump of God shall sound. Conner says it was fulfilled when Jesus arose from the dead and destroyed Hades. I pressed this with telling effect and Conner felt the force of it. His misrepresentation of the scripture stood out in bold outline. But he came back with Paul's statement to Timothy that Christ "abolished death" (2 Tim. 1:10) and wanted to know if Paul lied about it. I promptly told him that Paul did lied about it if his (Conner's) position is true. Conner says it was fulfilled when Jesus arose; Paul says it will be "brought to pass" when the last trump sounds. If Conner is right, Paul lied about it, for they certainly do not agree.

Beware Of These Heretics

I have made no effort to give every argument made during the course of the discussion, but I have tried to give enough that you may have a proper conception of the issues debated. And now I want to warn you against the heretics who are preaching this new heresy. I do not want to damage any one who might be rescued from this theory, but the following men have definitely taken a stand for the theory and are preaching it:

Thomas L. Conner, Leachville, Arkansas. Marshal Conner, his son, Leachville, Arkansas.

Tracy L. Wheeler, who moderated for Conner, Portageville, Mo.

James F. Breasts, Luxora, Arkansas.

If you want trouble in your congregation, call these men to preach for you. That is a sure way to have it. But if you want to avoid trouble, then refuse to use these men in any capacity whatever. They are heretics of the rankest dye and should be "marked and avoided" according to the instruction of Paul in Rom. 16:17. And remember if you aid them and bid them Godspeed, you become a partaker of their evil deeds. The way to avoid all this is to refuse to let them preach for your congregation. Put thumbs down on them forever unless they repent of their heretical teaching.