Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 10, 1958
NUMBER 48, PAGE 12-13b

Floyd Thompson -- Edwards Elliott Debate

Wallace W. Thompson

Floyd Thompson, of Santa Ana, preacher for the Berrydale church of Christ in Garden Grove affirmed the first three nights, January 6-8, on the "essentiality of baptism." Edwards Elliott, grand-nephew of Nathan Bier who met Alexander Campbell in debate in 1843, affirmed the last three nights, January 13-15, "salvation wholly of grace" in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church Building in Garden Grove.

Both debaters conducted themselves on a high plane, and the audience caught on the genial attitude of the speakers. Several who had formerly opposed this type of discussion were heard to openly express a change in feeling, and that if debates were conducted on this high level they thought much good would result therefrom.

1) Special emphasis was given by Brother Thompson to the point that his proposition called for the present tense "is necessary," not was in respect to the days of Adam, Abraham, Moses; but "is" in these "last days" indicating the present time "now."

2) Attention was given in definition of the proposition that it did not call for baptism to every person but only to the "penitent believer."

3) A fatal blow to the Presbyterian position was dealt in five questions from which Mr. Elliott never recovered:

a) Is it necessary to believe what you teach on baptism?

b) In John 1:17 is baptism a part of the law that was given by Moses or grace and truth that came by Jesus Christ?

c) Is baptism a part of the gospel?

d) Is baptism the righteousness of God or the righteousness of man? and, e) Are any of the commandments of Jesus Christ non-essential?

Argument No. 1 by Brother Thompson:

Force of all power of heaven upon command of baptism — Matt. 28:19, 20. The name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is upon the command.

Argument No. 2 — Mark 16:15,16. Salvation from past sins dependent upon it. Belief and baptism necessary to save from past sins. Belief without baptism brings the consequence of damnation.

Argument No. 3 — Repentance and baptism necessary to the remission of sins. In demonstrating this Floyd used the numbers 2 plus 2 equals 4; 2-2 equals 0; repentance-baptism equals nothing in way of sins remitted.

Argument No. 4 — Demands that which we "must do." Scriptures used to uphold this were Acts 9:6 and Acts 22:16.

Argument No. 5 — Dealt with "doing the commandments of God" based on Revelation 22:14, and clinched by Acts 10:47, 48 in Peter's command to the Gentiles at Cornelius' house.

Argument No. 6 — Based upon the "cleansing power of the blood of Christ." (John 19:32-34.) Jesus shed his blood in his death; we, "Paul and the Romans," were baptized into the death of Christ in Romans 6:3,4.

Argument No. 7 — Founded upon "obedience to the form of doctrine" — Romans 6:17 and Romans 6:3, 4 picturing the form or "mould."

Argument No. 8 — Declaration of the Gospel from 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Death and burial and resurrection. Acts 18:8 hearing, believed, were baptized.

Argument No. 9 — The Old and the New in 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 3:27.

Argument No. 10 — Based on Grace of God and faith of man; passages used to sustain position were Ephesians 2:8,9; James 1:22 and Acts 19:1:5. These were only half the arguments used in defense of the proposition.

Mr. Elliott's negation dealt with figures in the Old Testament, weeping that Jesus was helpless to save without man being baptized, kept in the middle of the "mode" of baptism as it is falsely so-called, said that Acts 2:38 "for" meant "with respect to" and fell completely when confronted with the same "for" in Matt. 26:28; he said that repentance and faith could not be separated, and that 1 Peter 3:21 was a "dark" passage and that he had a "lot of trouble" with it and, of course, he over-worked the idea of "faith alone." We cannot give a detailed account in a brief article, but Mr. Elliott admitted that Brother Thompson's questions were "loaded." In one of his speeches he bluntly contradicted Peter's statement in 1 Peter 3:21 by saying "baptism does not save." Even though we are partial to Brother Thompson, it was manifest to all that a COMPLETE VICTORY FOR TRUTH had been gained from the rock-ribbed and rock-studded New Testament truths presented.

Mr. Elliott Affirming On "Salvation Wholly Of Grace."

He ran true to the old Calvinistic school of thought, plunged the race into a total depraved state due to man's "federal head" Adam; in giving the four (4) aspects of sin he defined it thusly: 1) Guilt; 2) Want of righteousness; 3) Corrupt nature; and 4) Actual transgression. Brother Thompson swept his whole frame work aside in presenting Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 driving him to the consequence of "universal salvation." Driven also was he to the point of direct operation of the Holy Spirit when he used 1 Corinthians prove that those "in the flesh cannot please God" referring this statement to the "natural man" not being able to receive the things of the "Spirit of God." Mr. Elliott could not extricate himself from his proposition which called upon him to prove that salvation is "wholly" of grace. He constantly took the position that "grace", and "works" could not be mixed, using as a text Psalms 18. other "sugar" passages he liked were Ezekiel 18, Ezekiel 37 (the valley of dry bones), Acts 11:17,18, and Ephesians 2:8,9 and Ephesians 2:1,8. Brother Thompson showed clearly how faith is made perfect by works from James 2 and Hebrews 11. Of course, Mr. Elliott took the position that salvation is "unconditional." So, this leaves it all in the hands of our creator; and, as they teach election for the saved, if any are damned the blame for it rests upon God.

5 Questions Presented By Brother Thompson:

1) Are sinners damned because of their sins? sins they have committed?

2) If an unregenerate man reads the Bible to learn of God, is it sinful?

3) "I came not to judge the world, but to save the world." (John 12:47.) Is the "world" that Jesus came to save the elect or the non-elect?

4) Is there anything at all that a man can do to bring about his salvation?

5) "And thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matt. 1:21.) Who are "his people?"

As you can well imagine, it was a complete rout of error and a glorious victory for truth. Interest ran pretty high and the crowds were very good.