Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 10, 1960
NUMBER 43, PAGE 4-5b

Moyer-Crawford Debate

Lloyd Moyer, El Cerrito, Calif.

It was my privilege to moderate for Forrest D. Moyer, my brother in the flesh and in Christ, in a debate with Lawrence Crawford, Baptist, which was held in Sunnyyale, Calif., Nov. 2-5, 1959. Crawford preaches for the Missionary Baptist Church in Hayward, Calif. and Moyer preaches for the church of Christ in Sunnyvale. This was the second debate in which these men have engaged together. Large crowds were in attendance at every session and excellent conduct prevailed. The disputants proved that men can come together and discuss difference without engaging in personalities. They discussed the "general church questions." Each affirmed two nights, "The church of which I am a member, known as is scriptural in origin, doctrine, practice, and name." Following are some of the outstanding points of the debate.


Mr. Crawford's whole argument on the Missionary Baptist Church was based on Matthew 28:19-20. He assumed that Jesus was speaking to the church. He said that since Jesus sent the church forth, it is a missionary church. He showed that the word baptizing is a participle (a verbal adjective) and the noun form is baptist. Therefore, he said that the church is a Baptist church sent forth, thus, Missionary Baptist Church. Moyer completely obliviated this argument by showing from the Greek grammars that a participle must agree with that which it modifies in gender, number and case. For baptizing to modify the church it would have to be singular number and feminine gender. Forrest showed from Bagster's Analytical Lexicon that the word baptizing here is neither singular nor feminine, but that it is plural number and masculine gender and therefore could not modify church. This argument had such strong effect that Crawford gave up his contention and said that the church was named by its enemies, i. e., that were they called Baptists by their enemies. In answer to a written question, Mr. Crawford admitted that the church in Jerusalem was a church of Christ (thus admitting Moyer was scriptural in his affirmative on the name.) Forrest continually pressed him to show when it ceased to be a church of Christ and became a Baptist church.


From Dan. 7:13-14 Moyer showed that the kingdom (church) could not begin until after the ascension of Jesus to God (Ancient of Days) in the clouds of Heaven (Acts 1:9.) Crawford said this meant when Jesus comes back to earth. Moyer pointed out to the audience the difference between Crawford and Daniel. The scripture says, came to the Ancient of days (God)," while Crawford says "comes to earth."

Moyer used Matthew 16:18 to prove the church could not have been in existence at that time (during the personal ministry of Jesus.) Crawford contended that "I will build", simply meant that Jesus said, "I determine to build (edify) my church." Moyer showed that identically the same word (oikodomeso) for "I will build" is used in Luke 12:18. If it means that the church was already built then it would have to mean that the old barns were already pulled down and greater barns were already built. He further showed the meaning of the word "oikodomeso." Bagster, p. 284, "1 pers. sing. fut. ind. act. of oikodomeo to construct, establish, Mt. 16:18." Thayer, p. 440: "to found, . . . Matt 16:18." It was shown that Crawford's argument on the word build was contrary to the greatest Greek scholars ever — the translators of the Authorized, American Standard, and Bagster, Thayer and others.

Moyer showed that all the prophecies concerning the establishment of the kingdom (church) were fulfilled on Pentecost.

On Depravity And Security Of The Believer

Forrest asked the following question on depravity: "When infants die, do they die in sin?" Crawford replied: "They die under the blood of Christ." Each night Forrest pressed him to tell when they ceased being under the blood of Christ. Whenever it is, they do what Baptists say they cannot do — fall from a saved relationship. Finally he said that at the age of accountability, when they reject Christ, they stand on their merits and no longer under the blood. Forrest then showed that not only is it possible for one to fall from grace, but that according to Baptist doctrine, all must fall. Crawford never got over the effect of this point.

Mechanical Instruments Of Music

The first two nights the Baptists had charge since Crawford was in the affirmative. They sang without the mechanical instruments. Yet Crawford used Col. 3:16 as a command to use them. Forrest pressed him with the fact that they had violated a command of God when they sang without the instruments if his argument was true. On the other hand, if their practice was acceptable, then his argument was false. Mr. Crawford contended that psallo means to play on an instrument. Forrest pointed out that in classical Greek it can mean this. But what does the scholarship say that it means in the New Testament? Forrest showed that the translators of the KJV and ASV never translated it as playing on an instrument, but to "sing" or "make melody." Bagster, p. 441, "In N. T. to sing praises Rom. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph 5:19; Jas 5:13." Thayer, p. 675, "in the N. T. to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song, Jas. 5:13 ... Eph 5:19."

Was Peter A Baptist Preacher?

Another interesting highlight of the debate was that Mr. Crawford bragged that the apostle Peter was a fine Baptist preacher and that he would take anything that Peter said. Forrest then pointed out fourteen things that Peter preached that Crawford and Baptists would not accept.

1. Peter preached for a church of Christ in Jerusalem (according to Crawford's own admission. He also admitted that it was the only church on earth at that time.)

2. Peter preached that baptism is for (unto) the remission of sins. Acts 2:38.

3. Peter preached that baptism is a command. Acts 10:48

4. Peter preached that baptism saves. 1 Peter 3:21.

5. Peter preached that you purify your soul in obeying the truth.. 1 Peter 1:22

6. Peter preached that God raised up Christ to sit on David's throne. Acts 2:30

7. He preached the "name of Christ." 1 Peter 4:14.

8. He preached the name "Christian". 1 Peter 4:16.

9. He preached "overseeing elders." 1 Peter 5:1-3.

10. He preached that a child if God can fall. 2 Peter 1:10.

11. He preached that people can forsake the right way and go astray. 2 Peter 2:15.

12. He preached that the beginning was when the Holy Spirit fell on Pentecost. Acts 11:15.

13. He preached that we are saved by the word of God. Acts 11:14; 1 Peter 1:23-25.

14. He preached that there was a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time. 1 Peter 1:5.

Forrest suggested that there was not a Missionary Baptist Church in the country that would allow Peter to preach for them. Also, he pointed out that if Crawford preached these things in the Baptist church in Hayward, it would cause quite a commotion.

It was a good debate and a victory for truth. Forrest's knowledge of the scriptures, years of research, ability, and gentlemanly conduct make him one of the ablest debaters among us today. He is "set for the defense of the gospel." The truth will never suffer in the hands of this fine gospel preacher.