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THE FAITH THAT QUALIFIES FOR VALID BAPTISM

 

A DISCUSSION BETWEEN JOHN S. DURST AND J.C. McQUIDDY

 

NASHVILLE, TENN.

McQUIDDY PRINTING CO.

1914

 

 

PREFACE

 

There is a pronounced feeling in some quarters that it is unchristian and inimical for members of the church of Christ to discuss their differences through the medium of religious papers. Some of those who freely admit that it is right and proper to point out error as taught and practiced among the sectarian bodies maintain that brethren in the one body should settle their differences quietly and without public argument, notwithstanding the fact that oftentimes the issue involved is fundamental and one side or the other is plainly guilty of teaching unscriptural doctrines.

The sickly sentiment that says, " Keep still about such differences among brethren and devote your energies to the sects," is unworthy of our highest thought and reflects upon the brave, intrepid spirits of the Restoration, who were not afraid to expose error even, if it were found in the bosom of their families. Had such a sentiment all the time prevailed, we would still be under the control of the Catholic Church and subject to conditions of religious oppression. Error is error it matters not who teaches it, and the result of teaching and practicing error is always harmful.

High-toned, honorable controversy among brethren is always in order when it is needed. Jesus Christ and his apostles frequently indulged in such controversy, and the record of it has come down to us as a matter of historical fact. " Speaking the truth in love " does not imply reticence on important issues, nor a namby-pamby acquiescence to every wind of doctrine that may spring up among our brethren. We should and we can, without strife and wrangling, discuss these differences publicly. To deny this is to deny divine authority and example.

So much for the spirit of the Durst-McQuiddy discussion on the faith that qualifies for valid baptism and for the


4 PREFACE.

motives that inspired its publication. The mere statement of the questions to be discussed indicate their importance.

Brother Durst affirmed the following: "A belief that baptism is for the remission of sins is essential to its validity "

Brother McQuiddy affirmed the following: "Persons who at the time of their baptism believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, repent of their sins, and are baptized to obey God, receive scriptural baptism, although they do not at the time understand that baptism is unto the remission of past sins."

Each disputant thus plainly agreed to affirm a certain definite proposition, and it behooved him to confine his argument to that issue and not to state something else in its stead. Each disputant should also have borne in mind, during this discussion, that his opponent was a brother in Christ, and not a contender for sectarian principles or positions and treated him as a brother. Under such a rule, for one disputant to represent the other as being classified with sectarians in all their errors would be plainly discourteous. We ask the readers to form their own conclusions in these matters. May the truth of God's word prevail. A. B. Lipscomb

 

Discussion on Valid Baptism

 

ARTICLE I. BY JOHN S. DURST.

 

"A belief that baptism is for the remission of sins is essential to its validity."

I enter upon this examination for no other purpose than that the truth may prevail. It is at my own initiative that I do so. If I shall fail to prove my proposition, no one but myself will be to blame for the failure. Of course the baptism of my proposition is preceded by the preaching of the gospel a belief in Christ and a repentance unto life. My proof must necessarily come from that part of the New Testament addressed to the alien. Here we are to find the Christ-given requisites of the baptism demanded of the sinner, and that its purpose must be under to constitute it a valid baptism. What, then, are its requisites? There must be first, a scriptural subject. We cannot scripturally baptize any other character. Second, there must be a scriptural act. It takes this to constitute it a scriptural baptism. Third, there must be the scriptural design or purpose. I take it that we are agreed till we reach the necessity of understanding the design of baptism. Brother McQuiddy denies my affirmation, and the contest will be over this feature of the question. I have been satisfied in my own mind that the Gospel Advocate's position 'just here is erroneous, and I will at once begin with my proof. The principle for which I contend is found in the "parable of the sower. " He that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it." (Matt. 13: 23.) The word of the Lord is the seed of the kingdom. Baptism for the remission of sins is a part of the word of the Lord given to the alien. Therefore it must be so understood. We find a practical exemplification of this fact in the conversion of the Ethiopian. " Understandest thou what thou readest?" After Christ was


6 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM

preached to him, he obeyed him. Did he understand that baptism was for the remission of sins? Certainly so, for after he was baptized he went on his way rejoicing. He then by his own action understood what baptism was for. (Acts 8.) This was also the case with the jailer in Acts 16: 34. Brother McQuiddy will have to find a case where the rejoicing occurred before baptism to prove his proposition We will see about this when he reaches it.

I will now get at the real issue practically. If an infant is immersed for the remission of sins, is it a valid baptism? Immersion is the right act, and for the remission of sins the right design. But Brother McQuiddy will not contend: that the subject is a scriptural subject. We have then an agreement that an infant is an improper subject for baptism. Then it follows that we must understand who is a proper subject for baptism. Once more. A penitent believer is sprinkled for the remission of sins. Is this a scriptural baptism? We have a proper subject and a proper design. But we both say that the act is unscriptural Then should we not understand what the scriptural act of baptism is? Last, but not least, one is immersed because his sins have been remitted and to get into a church unknown to the New Testament. Is his baptism valid? I say it is not. Why do I say so? Because he had an unscriptural design and was ignorant of the truth. Error does not save any one. It is the truth that saves, and not then till it is believed and obeyed. In the language of the old war veteran, Tolbert Fanning, in discussing this very subject, he said: " We cannot see how it is possible for one who is ignorant of' the truth to obey God acceptably." Will Brother McQuiddy tell us why it is necessary to understand who a proper subject for baptism is, what the proper action of baptism is, and not necessary to understand what the proper design is? The answer of Peter to inquiring penitents on the day of Pentecost, to my mind, forever settles this question: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name [by the authority] of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." They that gladly received his word were baptized. "For the remission of sins" was


7 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

a part of Peter's word. They therefore gladly received this statement, understandingly, and because of an intelligent obedience to his demands the Lord added them to the church.

So we find that whatever repentance was for, baptism was for. Would you affirm that it is not necessary to understand that repentance is for the remission of sins, in order to the validity of baptism? If this were true, one can receive a valid baptism without understanding that either repentance or baptism is for the remission of sins. In this case, what would be the object of repentance and baptism? There must be something to induce the sinner to repent and be baptized. Evidently the remission of all past sins is the God-given object. So I contend, and it is so stated. If Brother McQuiddy denies the foregoing, then it devolves upon him to tell us what, how much, or how little the sinner's faith should embrace to secure the remission of sins. In Acts 3: 19, Peter again commanded: " Repent ye, therefore, and be converted [what for?], that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord." I believe we are a unit in the fact that baptism is embraced in the expression " be converted." If, therefore, this is correct, these parties, like the Pentecostians, were commanded to be baptized for the blotting out of sins. The stated object or purpose, then, is that which prompts the obedience and makes the act valid. When Ananias came to Saul, he found him a believing penitent yet unpardoned. No remission of' sins had yet occurred. He has not yet been told at what period along the pathway of obedience that he would be forgiven. Then it follows that he must understand this {act that he may know when it occurs. Do those who are baptized because their sins have been forgiven understand this fact? This is proof conclusive that the sinner must understand what to do to secure the remission of sins. There is no use in giving the object of baptism it is not necessary to understand it; and if it were necessary to state the object and to understand the object, it follows that both are necessary to its validity. We are a unit in


8 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

the position that the gospel contains facts to be believed, commands to be obeyed, and promises to be enjoyed. The promise of the remission of sins is a part, then, of the gospel, and was given as a part of the first gospel discourse, and follows faith, repentance, and baptism. Now the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Repentance is a part of' the gospel. Baptism is also a part of the gospel. The promise of remission of sins is also a part. If, therefore, it is not necessary to understand that part of the gospel that secures the salvation of the alien from the condemnation into which his past transgressions have placed him, then tell us what is the motive (if any) that should actuate him in coming to Christ. If the sinner is saved by only a part of the gospel, then I insist that Brother McQuiddy should tell what part that is. I will here state that if my affirmation is incorrect, every discussion, either public or private, that has been held with our opponents on the design of baptism, was time spent for naught. It devolves upon Brother McQuiddy to tell us how he would frame a proposition for debate with a Baptist on the design of baptism and what he would engage in the debate for. His position being correct, they are as safe as we are, for it is not necessary to understand what they are baptized for. In due time he should unbosom himself for our information, and we expect him to do this. The fact that in recorded cases the rejoicing over the forgiveness of sins came after baptism shows that sinners understood what they were baptized for. The difference between then and now is this: They were correctly taught by inspired men, and understandingly obeyed the teaching; now the people are incorrectly taught, and many obey incorrect teaching. If the reception of this incorrect teaching does not invalidate their acts, it follows, according to the old adage: "If ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise." I understand that every command that the Lord has given the alien is intended to be understood, that he may intelligently obey him, and that he has given him something to induce him to obey him. Being therefore moved by the God-given motive constitutes the validity of the act.


9 DISCUSSION of VALID BAPTISM

As I am confined to a certain limit in this little discussion, I must close for fear I may run over my space. I shall have more to say when Brother McQuiddy shall have replied.

REPLY I. BY J. C. McQUIDDY.

Let the issue be clearly defined Brother Durst and I both teach sinners to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, to repent of their sins, and in the name of Christ be baptized into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He further teaches that "a belief that baptism is for remission of sins is essential to its validity." This he is undertaking to prove in this discussion. I am disappointed that he has not attempted to quote a passage that shows faith in a design of baptism essential to its validity. I shall call on him to the close of this discussion for the scripture, but I predict it will never be given.

He does not debate the proposition he affirms, but another. His affirmation, which I deny, says nothing of the understanding. Please stick to your proposition.

He says the rejoicing of the Ethiopian and others was evidence that they understood that baptism was for the remission of' sins. If the rejoicing is evidence of this understanding, then, as the Methodists, Baptists, and Mormons rejoice after baptism, they understand that baptism is for the remission of sins. Yea, more, every one who rejoices after baptism understands its design. As he is better at guessing than logic, why did he not guess he was rejoining because he had obeyed the Lord?

He asks me if the baptism of one who is immersed "because his sins have been remitted" is valid. I am not set for the defense of error in others any more than I am for it in my brother. With him, the person who believes in Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, and is baptized because God commands him and in obedience to him, is ignorant of the truth because he does not understand baptism to be


10 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

unto the remission of sins. With him, a man may understand the whole Bible; may love the truth; may do the very thing commanded; may believe in Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, at the time of baptism; may be baptized to obey God, to fulfill righteousness, and in answer to a good conscience; and yet, because he fails to understand that " baptism is for the remission of sins, he is ignorant of the truth." How narrow, how contracted, how selfish is his view of the truth! Christ "became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation." (Heb. 5: 8.) Our souls are purified in obedience to the truth. (1 Pet. 1: 22.)

He asks why it is necessary to understand the subject, the action, and not the design of baptism. The answer is easy: There is a marked difference in a man's knowing what an act is which he must perform and knowing God's design of baptism. He asks me to tell him if I hold it necessary to understand that repentance is unto the remission of sins in order to valid baptism. I will let him answer his own question: "When Ananias came to Saul, he found him a believing penitent yet unpardoned. No remission of sins had yet occurred. He has not yet been told at what period along the pathway of obedience he would be forgiven. Then it follows that he must understand this fact that he may know when it occurs." Yet he had repented before remission was promised and without knowing when it would occur. There, now, he has yielded his proposition! If a man can repent without knowing when he is forgiven, why can he not be baptized without knowing when God pardons?

He makes " for the remission of sins " an object, a promise, and a command. In one breath it is the object to induce the sinner to repent and be baptized, in another it is a command to be obeyed, and in still another it is a promise to be enjoyed. He does not agree with Paul when he makes the design the inducement to baptism, for he makes it the goodness of God. He says: " Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering. not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth


11 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

thee to repentance? " (Rom. 2: 4.) If " for the remission of sins " is a part of' the command, " Be baptized," then wherever we find it, it must read: "Be baptized for the remission of sins." It is not so found anywhere In the best version of the New Testament, which reads: " Be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins."

He tells us repentance, baptism, and the promise of the remission of' sins, each, is a part of the gospel. It is not the gospel, according to Paul, who says it is " that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures." (1 Cor. 15: 3, 4.) This is the gospel which he declares is " the power of' God unto salvation to every one that believeth." Brother Durst is preaching another gospel. " But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema." (Gal. 1: 8.)

The obedient are blessed. I find examples of blessings being received after obedience when the recipients did not know the design. "Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." (Heb. 11: 8.) He obeyed without knowing when he would receive the blessing. He was blessed in his obedience in offering Isaac, though his understanding was imperfect and he believed he would slay Isaac and God would raise him from the dead. Christ told his apostles that he would die and rise from the dead, yet they did not believe it. They gave all up as hopeless when he died. Yet he did not fail to keep his promise to rise from the dead. While here he promised to baptize them in a short time in the Holy Spirit and to give them his kingdom. But, great and wise teacher as he was, they did not understand and believe him, for they said: "Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" Notwithstanding their imperfect faith and understanding, he baptized them in the Spirit and founded his church. The apostles baptized be-


12 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

lievers who did not understand all the truth they preached unless they knew more than the apostle" themselves. They baptized believers that they might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is a design of baptism. Will our brother say he is ignorant of the truth because he does not know what the gift of the Spirit is? To be consistent, he must admit that he is ignorant of the truth. Peter assured the Pentecostians the promise was to them, their children, and all that were afar off. Peter did not understand who was embraced in " all that are afar off," but was decided in the belief that it meant only Jews. He never preached to the Gentiles until, ten years later, God showed him by the vision on the housetop and a miracle that he should not call any man " common and unclean." The Pentecostians did not understand this truth, yet Brother Durst will not hold their baptism invalid. Does any preacher know that applicants for baptism understand all the apostles taught? How can he know, unless he asks them? I invite attention to these facts.

I cannot accept his theory because it makes faith in one particular design of baptism necessary. A man with faith in Christ, the Son of God, is not qualified for baptism unless he also believes in this one design of baptism! As the confession should be as long as the faith, he should add a codicil to the confession and inquire of every one who wishes to be baptized if he believes baptism is for the remission of sins. I read where inspired teachers inquired to know if persons had faith in Christ, but not where one inquired to know if they believed baptism was for the remission of sins.

I close with a few impeachments against this new doctrine. It demands (1) a new faith; (2) a new gospel; (3) a new confession; (4) more concern about God's work than our duty; (5) new terms of fellowship; (6) a perfect understanding of the divine side of salvation before God will keep his promises.


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ARTICIE: II. BY JOHN S. DURST.

Yes, let the issue be clearly defined.

I see that Brother McQuiddy is disappointed in that I have not attempted to quote a passage that shows faith in a design of baptism essential to its validity. He will continue to be disappointed, for I will not attempt it in the sense in which he puts it, and I have not so affirmed.. Let us note the New Testament statement that there is " one faith " and " one baptism." It speaks of the faith of Christ and faith in Christ. The faith of Christ is the gospel of Christ; faith in Christ is one's acceptance of the gospel of Christ. Baptism for the remission of sins is a part of the gospel of Christ. Faith comes by hearing the word of the Lord. A part of the word of the Lord is that baptism is for the remission of sins. Therefore, our faith being in Christ, we do or act as he tells us what to do, and for the purpose stated by him. I tried to get Brother McQuiddy to meet the issue when I asked him to tell how he would frame a proposition for discussion with a Baptist on the design of baptism and what would be his object in debating it. He let it severely alone. Now, inasmuch as he has said it is not necessary to understand the design of baptism, I insist that he answer this. That he may see the relevancy of my contention, I ask: If a person should come to you to be baptized on a confession that God has already spoken peace to his soul and for Christ's sake has already pardoned his sins, would you baptize him on such a statement? If you would not, and he goes to a Baptist preacher and is baptized on this confession, and at some subsequent time he presents himself under your invitation to become a member of the church of Christ, knowing these facts, what would you do? The one baptism, my brother, is not simply an immersion, but is the immersion of one whose faith in Christ leads him to travel the pathway of faith that puts him into a state of remission of dim. " He that believeth


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and is baptized shall be saved." " Shall be saved " is the equivalent of remission of sins.

Brother McQuiddy says there is a marked difference in a man's knowing what an act is which he must perform and knowing God's design of baptism. Why did you not tell what the difference is? Did God have a design in man's performing the act? What was it? Did God have a design in baptism? What was it? Should man understand what the act is? If not, how can he know when he has performed the act? Should man understand the design of the act? If not, what idea has he of what is to be accomplished by it? Here is another question I asked Brother McQuiddy: How much or how little should one's faith embrace to secure the remission of sins? If he were saved by a part of the gospel, what part of it saves? He cited 1 Cor. ] 6: 3, 4, and says: " This is the gospel which he declares is 'the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.'" He charges me with believing another gospel. I deny it. I believe that reference as strongly as he. But is it affirmed in that quotation that it is the gospel in its entirety? Does Brother McQuiddy believe this? If this is true, there should be no statement to the effect that we should obey the gospel; for surely no one can obey the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. We can obey the form of doctrine (Rom. 6: 17, 18) in that we die to sin, are buried with Christ by baptism, and arise to walk in newness of life. The new life begins when we are baptized for the remission of sins. Brother McQuiddy, is it possible that you do not believe it necessary to understand when one is translated into the new life? Surely it cannot be before his sins are remitted. If not, is he not to be assured of this fact? I have stated that if my position is incorrect, every debate held during our restorative work on the design of baptism was time spent for naught. Is this true or not true? If not true, tell us what was gained by these discussions on the design of baptism. I have shown the necessity of understanding the design of baptism by the principle taught in the parable of the sower. (Matt. 13: 18-23.) I also showed it in the conversion of the Ethiopian. It is


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 15

implied in this part of the commission: " Go . . . teach all nations." It is emphatically stated in " He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved "—showing conclusively what baptism is for. Therefore it is necessary to its validity. The erroneousness of your argument, or rather your conclusion, on the question of rejoicing will be apparent to every one. Will Brother McQuiddy contend that as Methodists, Baptists, and Mormons rejoice after baptism, that it is based on the same acts of obedience to Christ as that of the Ethiopian and the jailer? The rejoicing of these was based on an intelligent acceptance of the truth; that of the others, on erroneous teaching. I asked Brother McQuiddy the question: " Is the baptism of one who is immersed because of the remission of sins valid? " His reply is: "I am not set for the defense of error in others, any more than in my brother." Then you admit this person to have been erroneously baptized. Now, then, if he were erroneously baptized, is an erroneous baptism a valid baptism, and should we not understand what a valid baptism is? Of course, one is to be baptized because God commands him; but do you mean to say that the person who believes in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and is baptized because God commands him and in obedience to him, understands the whole Bible, loves the truth, does the very thing commanded, is baptized to fulfill righteousness and in answer to a good conscience--that such a person does not understand that baptism is for the remission of sins, when the Bible specifically states this fact?

I asked you if repentance is a condition in order to the forgiveness of sins. You let me answer it for you, and I suppose thus indorsed what I said, and concluded that I gave up my proposition, as Saul repented before he knew when his sins would be remitted. You very willingly run to unwarranted conclusions in trying to sustain your teaching. The Pentecostians had faith before they were told that repentance and baptism was for the remission of sins; therefore it is not necessary to understand that faith is for the remission of sins. Now, if neither faith, repentance, nor baptism is necessary to be understood, pray tell


16 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

us what is necessary to be understood to lead us to salvation. We have, then, a salvation that neither faith, repentance, nor baptism is necessary to secure. Remember that this was the period when the terms of the gospel began to be preached, and inspired men nowhere told sinners to do what they had already done, and you are not justified in the position that what they had already done is not necessary to be understood in order to their salvation. Their previous acts in these instances were sanctioned, for they had already done what would have been commanded; and being thus sanctioned, they, of course, recognized the necessity of it, in that salvation to be secured must be preceded by what had occurred with them. These cases were recorded for future generations, and there exists no excuse now for not understanding the terms of pardon. I, therefore, insist that you answer for yourself what repentance is for, and should it so be understood?

I will not now argue Abraham's ease. This will come up under your affirmation, and I will then notice it, for it is considered the Gibraltar behind which the apologists of sect baptism intrench themselves. Neither am I under any obligations to notice where disciples did not understand the Lord in things not yet made known.

What if the disciples did baptize believers who did not understand all that they preached? The question is, Did they understand the truth that saved them? If they did not understand it, they did not receive it; and remember, it is the truth that saves. He that receives the seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word and understandeth it. " He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." The one that is saved has received the word understandingly that part of the word that saves them is understood. Hence, Brother Tolbert Fanning was right when he said: " No one can obey the truth in ignorance." Remission of sins is a promise to be enjoyed. It is, therefore, intended for us to know where it is obtained. All of this is embraced in the expression, " The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." Let me suggest that Christ-does not say repent and be baptized for the gift of the Holy


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 17

Ghost, but for the remission of sins Do not forget that faith is an active principle that leads us not only to do what Christ commands, but to do it for the very purpose stated. " Ye are my friends, if ye do what I command you."

Your six items of impeachment are not well taken, as we will clearly see at the conclusion of this examination. I ask the reader to note carefully our respective arguments.

REPLY II. BY J. C. McQUIDDY.

Brother Durst is a representative of the Firm Foundation and is indorsed by its publisher. He assures us he will make no effort to give a passage that demands faith in a design of baptism. I quoted the proposition without defining it. If he does not mean, "A belief that baptism is for remission of sins is essential to its validity," then there is no issue between us and this discussion should cease.

The question of scriptural motives, subject, and action is not at issue. He argues that a man is not a scriptural subject unless he believes at the time of his baptism that it is for the remission of sins, and he loses sight of all God's designs of baptism, save " for remission." Baptism has no design, but God has many designs in demanding baptism. Believers are baptized into Christ, to put on Christ, " into his death," " into one body," " to fulfill righteousness," to receive the " gift of the Spirit," to obey God, and to receive every blessing that flows from obedience to the gospel. Any of the above motives are scriptural. But he says nay, if a man does not believe that baptism is for the remission of sins, he will be lost, although he believes in Christ, repents of sins, and is baptized to obey God and to fulfill righteousness. The man is lost, not because he disbelieves, but because he fails to understand just when God forgives his sins. Such a narrow conception of God dwarfs the nobler qualities of true manhood and makes a man narrow, conceited, and bigoted. No man understands and believes


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all that the apostles preached when he is baptized. A man may understand enough truth to be scripturally baptized, who, on account of erroneous teaching, does not know just when God pardons.

When I remember that error makes men as blind as bats, I am not surprised at his inconsistencies. He says Saul believed and repented when he did not know at what point he would be pardoned. The Pentecostians had faith when they did not know they would enjoy remission of sins at all. Faith is faith, regardless of when they were told what to do to complete their obedience. They believed and repented without understanding or knowing when they would be saved. Faith and baptism are so closely united in obedience that they cannot be separated. Baptism is an expression of faith, grows out of it, and has an element of faith in it. Repentance and baptism are connected by " and," a copulative conjunction. Surely, as we have Saul and the Pentecostians believing and repenting without understanding when they would be forgiven, believers may be baptized to obey God without knowing just when they will be pardoned. If not, why not? Why true of faith and repentance and not of baptism? I repeat with emphasis, he has not only declined to debate his proposition, but has yielded it.

He is worried over how I debate with Baptists. I am not debating with them now, and they are not in your proposition. You cannot get me away from the issue by talking about the Baptists to cover your defeat. If you could meet the issue, you would not seek to create prejudice by using the ad homineni argument. No man ever resorts to such an appeal until he knows his proposition is lost and cannot be sustained by the Bible. How much wiser it would be to attempt to quote just one passage! If you are a wise man, you will not be caught napping by affirming this doctrine the second time. I debate with Baptists just like I am with you. I hold that faith and baptism are united in the plan of salvation. I hope our brother will never try " to put asunder " any more " what God hath joined to-


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 19

gether." " He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."

The Baptists disturb his waking thoughts, and then in his sleep he must have troubled dreams over them. Grant that I would not baptize a man who said God had already pardoned his sins for Christ's sake. If after he had been baptized by a Baptist he were to come to me and say that he was baptized for that reason and no other, you ask what I would do. I would ask him if he believed with all his heart in Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. If he said he did, I would baptize him if he wanted to be. That is easy. Why don't you ask something difficult? The true position is that some people receive enough truth despite Baptist errors to be scripturally baptized. A man who has been baptized by a Baptist preacher comes to you and wishes to take the Bible as his only creed, repudiating all errors of sectarianism. He says he believes with all his heart that Jesus is the Christ and that he was baptized to obey God. What would you do with him? Would you add a codicil to the confession and ask him if he believed baptism was for the remission of sins? Would you run him down and baptize him against his will? If he were to submit to your baptizing him, it would be to please you and not God. It would not be of faith, and therefore sin. When it comes to your practice, you must practice as I do. You should cease binding men where God has not bound them. Will you answer my arguments and questions? You are in the affirmative and are logically obligated to do so.

The law of God is the evidence that we are pardoned, and not rejoicing. (Rom. 8: 16; Mark 16: 16.) If you will give just one passage that says " a belief that baptism is for the remission of sins is essential to its validity," I will accept it and close the debate.

When I affirm, I will tell you how much truth a man must believe in order to be scripturally baptized. Do you mean a man must understand and believe all the truth before he can be baptized? You should debate a little and define the limits.

I agree with you that " for the remission of sins " is a


20 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

promise. Paul says that he and others received " grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all the nations." (Rom.1:5.) The "obedience of' faith" of the obedience produced by faith; and since no one can obey the promise of the remission of sins, therefore remission of sins is not included in obedience. When believers inquired what to do to be saved, they were not told to do or obey remission of sins. As " for the remission of' sins " is no part of obedience, will the man who obeys God be lost simply because he does not know when he crosses the line? The promise is to the obedient. We purify our souls in obeying the truth. (1 Pet. 1: 22.) "He became unto all them that obey him the author of' eternal salvation." (Heb. 5 9.) " Rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus." (2 Thess. 1: 8.)

" For the remission of. sins " cannot be the means and motive of salvation. If, as he holds, " for the remission of sins " is a part of the gospel that saves and is equivalent to " shall be saved," then, as the gospel is God's power unto salvation, it follows that salvation is God's power unto salvation. His position reminds me of the way Baptist errorists interpret the commission: "He that believeth [is saved] and is baptized shall be saved." If Brother Durst is not careful, the Baptists will hold an experience meeting, give him the right hand of fellowship, and " shake him in."

I do hope Brother Durst will come up to his work in his last article on his affirmative.

The only faith requisite to baptism is faith with all the heart that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God. Just how much erroneous faith the Pentecostians had in their hearts when they were baptized is beyond any mortal's knowledge. We know, however, that they had some erroneous faith concerning the mission of Christ and the gospel of' his grace. They believed he came only for the benefit of the Jews, and in so believing they believed a falsehood They believed, at least some of them, that the law of' Moses had to be kept and that circumcision was


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 21

binding upon Christians. In so believing they believed a falsehood; and yet we are not informed that God refused to pardon them when baptized because of this erroneous faith. Does Brother Durst believe that those whom John the Baptist immersed received remission of sins? If so, was not that remission predicated upon faith in the Messiah to come, or a belief in the gospel of the kingdom? Did they have proper conceptions of the true nature of either the Messiah or his kingdom? If not, was there not some erroneous faith mixed with their obedience? Not one of the apostles before Pentecost understood the nature of Christ or the kingdom he was to establish, and yet they were not rejected because of this erroneous faith. Let me say plainly that I do not believe any one is saved simply because he accepts the teaching of Scripture on the act of baptism and is immersed. If he is not immersed to obey God and submit to the ordinance because God commands him to, and with a desire to honor him in the institution, his immersion amounts to naught. Furthermore, those who are baptized, and at the same time ridicule the ordinance, claiming that it has nothing to do with salvation, have not, in my judgment, obeyed God. With such people I will have no religious association nor fellowship at all.


22 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

ARTICLE III. BY JOHN S. DURST.

I will first make a complaint against Brother McQuiddy. He has permitted Brother Jones to insert a squib in the same issue that contains our first articles to create an advanced prejudice against my affirmation. (See page 80.) Brother McQuiddy, in his last article, adds to this effort when he says I am narrow, conceited, and bigoted. I expected better treatment at the hands of Brother McQuiddy. But let that go for what it is worth. I cannot afford to talk that way about my brethren.

In the Scriptures anything is valid that is in harmony with its teaching. A belief that baptism is for the remission of sins is taught in the Scriptures, and is, therefore, necessary to its validity. The Lord is the Author of this teaching, and our acceptance of it shows our faith in the Lord, and not faith in baptism.

" The question of scriptural motives, subject, and action is not an issue." Then pray tell me what the issue is.

He speaks of many designs of baptism, and says a baptism for either one of these designs is scriptural. I now challenge him to show where the Lord commanded an alien to be baptized for any purpose except for salvation, or the remission of sins. Remember, in your proof you are not to go to letters written to those who had obeyed the gospel and were in Christ, but to the preaching to aliens. The things referred to by you are statements of blessings and privileges to be realized and enjoyed after they had been baptized for the remission of sins. Who has contended that baptism per se has a design ? The Lord has stated his purpose, which is the remission of sins to the party who obeys him in baptism, and this prompts the obedience and makes it valid. The one who is baptized because of the remission of sins does not obey God. The man is indeed a simpleton who cannot believe the plain statement, " Be baptized for the remission of sins." Yet you talk about


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM 23

ignorance resulting from erroneous teaching justifying a person in the face of A B C instruction. In another breath you say that " error makes men as blind as bats." " Consistency, thou art a jewel!"

He says: " Baptism is an expression of faith, grows out of it, and has an element of faith in it." Brother McQuiddy is about to fall over on the side of what he claims that I should prove--viz.,., " faith in the design of baptism for remission of sins." But for once he is right. Faith comes by hearing the word of the Lord. Baptism for the remission of sins is a part of the word of the Lord. Now tell me, why is baptism an expression of faith, and baptism for the remission of sins not an element of faith? Remember that Brother McQuiddy's reasoning makes neither faith, repentance, nor baptism necessary for the remission of sins, as I have previously shown. No wonder he dodges the question of his proposition to debate with the Baptists and the object of it. The Baptists will hereafter take this discussion and whip Brother McQuiddy into the Baptist ranks or drive him from his inconsistencies. Mark what I tell you. Why, he has even swallowed the doctrine of faith alone. Listen: " Faith is faith, regardless of when they were told what to do to complete their obedience," forgetting that he had just said that " baptism has an element of faith in it." He says he would baptize a Baptist who was baptized because of remission of sins if he wanted to be. Then if he did not want to be, you would take him, anyway, if he will just lay down the name " Baptist." Then tell us how much safer he is then than he was before, and what made him so. Certainly he was baptized to obey God, and your contention is, that is sufficient. Presbyterians, Methodists, Mormons, and others are baptized to obey God. Why not give them a shake into the body Of Christ, too? Yet, in the face of all this, he talks about the way Baptist errorists interpret the commission. Of all the dodgers I ever debated with, Brother McQuiddy caps the climax. He says: " The only faith requisite to baptism is faith with all the heart that Jesus is the Son of God." Let's see about that. " Without faith it is impossible to


24 DISCUSSION VALID BAPTISM

please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is." Is this all? "And that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Heb. 11: 6.) Brother McQuiddy eliminates the reward in the exercise of faith. The Pentecostians were not commanded to believe that the gospel was for both Jews and Gentiles and that the law of Moses was done away with for the remission of sins, and this is simply another dodge. Of course I believe that John's baptism was for the remission of sins. I go further than this--viz.,., that this prompted them to be baptized. A proper conception of the nature of his kingdom was yet to be revealed. Brother McQuiddy's efforts are simply to muddy the water; and after all that he has contended for, he kicks it aside in his conclusion. Listen to him: " Those who are baptized, and at the same time ridicule the ordinance, claiming that it has nothing to do with salvation, have not, in my judgment, obeyed God. With such people I will have no religious association nor fellowship at all." If this admission does not nullify his entire contention, I am too dull to argue any question. All of our brethren, from A. Campbell down to the current issues of the Gospel Advocate, have abundantly sustained my contention, when not seeking to defend their inconsistent practice of receiving sectarians on their baptism. Read our Brother Smith's article (No. 5) immediately following the publication of our first articles, as a sample. Had I space, I could more than fill the Advocate or the Firm Foundation with proofs of this statement.

Now, in concluding my affirmation, I ask Brother McQuiddy to meet the following and to quit dodging: In speaking of baptism, what do we mean, anyway? While there must be a proper subject and action, yet, whatever importance there is in the ordinance in settling the question, that importance is wholly to be appreciated by the design of the institution. The value of it is in the purpose for which it is ordained. Hence the design of the act is the important question. Is it necessary to preach baptism for the remission of sins? If so, it is necessary to understand the preaching. " It is written in the prophets, And they


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM 25

shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." (John 6: 45.) We are not commanded to be baptized for faith, for repentance, for justification, for regeneration, for adoption, for the Holy Spirit, but for the remission of sins. We are commanded to be baptized for one specific purpose, just as much as we celebrate the Lord's Supper for one specific purpose. Any other baptism is an invention of man and of no value. The faith that saves takes in the sense of words, and not merely the words themselves. l cannot conceive of truth having power over the heart or the hope of men, that is not understood. Paul's call to the ministry shows this. He was " to open their eyes understanding, and to turn them from darkness to light,

that they may receive forgiveness of sins." (Acts 26: 17, 18.) They could not be turned from darkness to light without understanding his preaching and the conditions in obedience to which they would receive the forgiveness of sins. He knew just how he received forgiveness and how to tell it to others. (Acts 22: 16.) Acts 4: 12 has never been noticed. This and Acts 2: 38 and Acts 22: 16 are bowlders in the pathway of Brother McQuiddy that he cannot get around.

In conclusion, I will compare the two following statements: "Jesus shed his blood for the remission of sins." (Matt. 26 28.) " Repent, and be baptized for the remission of sins." (Acts 2: 38.) For the remission of sins is the same in the Greek of both passages. In the one case it expresses the object for which something is to be done. In the other it expresses something for which something is commanded to be done. The logical and grammatical construction is the same in both cases, and, therefore, the meaning is the same. If not, why not? We will see. Have I sustained my proposition ? Let our readers judge.


26 DISCUSSION ON BAPTISM.

REPLY III. BY J. C. McQUIDDY.

Brother Durst begins his article with a complaint and charge which he cannot sustain. He could not possibly know that I inserted the paragraph from Brother Jones to create prejudice against his affirmation. In fact, I had nothing so do with its publication and did not know it was in the Advocate until I read his criticism. Neither did I say he was narrow, conceited and bigoted, for I gave him credit for being better than his doctrine. He is better at misjudging than discussing the issue.

He is a success at asserting that " a belief that baptism is for the remission of sins is taught in the Scriptures," but a failure in presenting one scriptural proof. Doctrine is taught in the Bible, but belief never. Men believe the doctrine, but it is worse than nonsense to talk about a belief of baptism being taught.

He challenges me to prove that the Lord commands baptism for anything else than the remission of sins, but demands that I make my proof outside of the Epistles. This is a tacit admission that other objects are found in the Epistles. He closes his eyes to the truth revealed in the Epistles and is not willing that we should use the testimony of Christians who have given a reason for their hope. Although Paul was inspired when he wrote that penitent believers were " baptized into Christ," " into his death," " into one body," " to put on Christ," still he would cut out these inspired truths. When a man comes into the remission of sins, he comes into Christ, etc. Brother Showalter was correct when he held in his discussion with Brother Jones that the above phrases from the Epistles involve the same idea as " baptized for remission." Then if " unto the remission of sins " be scriptural, so is each and every one of the others. I must not go to the Epistles, but he rushes to Hebrews, while he says my proof must necessarily come from that part of the New Testament addressed to the alien. " The legs of the lame are not equal." It is not necessary to go to the Epistles to make the proof. We can enjoy no greater blessing than to be


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 27

baptized into the name of Christ. The great commission is not in the Epistles. It reads: " Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matt. 28: 19.) He should be slow to charge others with being simpletons when he is so blind that he does not see this. Glass-house occupants should not throw stones.

He has not attempted an answer to any one of my questions. He charges that I have swallowed the doctrine of faith alone and that my reasoning makes neither faith, repentance, nor baptism necessary for the remission of sins, in the face of my consistent teaching that they all are unto the remission of sins. Truth needs no such support. Lest our readers be too severe in their criticism of Brother Durst, let me say he has undertaken an impossible task and is provoked because his proposition is lost. Instead of paying attention to my arguments, he says I would take, anyway, a Baptist who did not want to be baptized. I did not say so. I do not baptize people against their will, and this is what I taught. As our brother would not take him without " rebaptism," does he mean to say he would baptize him willy-nilly???

" Dodger," indeed! I never dodge from baby blows delivered at random! Let me assure you that I have no fear of you or of anything you can do to the doctrine I teach. It is unbecoming in you to make the accusation or to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think. He is shedding many needless tears over the way the Baptists will whip me. A noted Baptist editor has been invited to undertake it for about twelve months, but declines the job. As Jesus said, so I say to you: "Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves [yourself]."

The scriptures that I believe and teach as earnestly as I can are not bowlders in my path. Acts 2: 38; 4: 12; and 22: 16 I accept most heartily, but they do not prove the proposition. As Acts 2: 38 is relied on, let me place it alongside the affirmation. " Repent ye, and be baptized . . . unto the remission of your sins." "A belief that baptism is for remission of sins is essential to


28 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

its validity." While we are not commanded to be baptized for faith, neither are we commanded to be baptized for the remission of sins. We are commanded to believe, repent, and be baptized unto the remission of sins. Nowhere are we commanded to believe that baptism is for the remission of sins before we can be baptized.

Our brother has treated the subject as though " for the remission of sins " is the only object God has in baptism. If a man believes that, in addition to faith in Christ, though he hold many errors, yet he can be scripturally baptized. He talks about being taught of God and understanding the truth in order to valid baptism. With him, the man who believes that baptism is for the remission of sins is taught of God, understands the truth, and can be scripturally baptized. His argument runs thus: No one can be baptized who does not understand the truth. He who believes that baptism is for remission of sins can be baptized. Therefore he who believes that baptism is for remission of sins understands the truth. Again: Those who understand the truth can be baptized. Those who believe that baptism is for remission of sins can be baptized. Therefore a belief that baptism is for the remission of sins is the truth. The doctrine is too narrow and cannot be the whole truth. Every text quoted lacks much of proving his doctrine. We all agree that persons must be taught, must understand the truth; but the amount of knowledge necessary to bring one to Christ is the point at issue. He has made no effort to tell us how much. I have urged him to tell, but to my insistence he has made no answer. Must a man know all the law of Moses to be baptized? Is it necessary to know all in the eighty-nine chapters of the gospel narrative to be baptized? He has not and will not draw the line except at belief in one " design of baptism." Why should a man believe in one " design of baptism " more than others? And why make the " design of baptism " an essential part of the knowledge, and not the " design " of faith and the " design " of repentance? He has told us that people believed and repented without knowing when they would be saved and even before pardon was promised.


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 29

Why is this true of faith and repentance and not true of baptism? Is not faith and repentance connected with baptism? If faith in a " design of baptism" is necessary, he should ask every one who makes the confession, Do you believe that baptism is for the remission of sins? He is inconsistent in asking only Baptists. The confession should be as long as the faith.

I have shown that in baptism there is a scriptural subject, action, and design. God's designs in baptism are many. The man who believes in the Christ, is baptized to obey God, into the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit, to fulfill righteousness and in answer to a good conscience, is validly baptized. He says no, unless he is baptized in the belief that baptism is for remission, he does not believe the truth and must be lost. He loses sight of the distinction between mistaking a truth and disbelieving it. With him, a man may do the very act commanded, may believe in the Christ, may do it with the highest and purest motive to honor and obey God, which are scriptural motives, and yet, because he mistakes the line between the church and the world, he will be lost!

We have agreed that the remission of sins is a promise. A promise cannot be obeyed. " Ye are my friends, if ye do the things which I command you "—not if ye do remission of sins or obey a promise. I have clearly shown that remission of sins is not included in obedience. Will those who obey God be lost simply because they do not know when God remitted their past sins? The promise is to the obedient. (Rev. 22: 14; Matt. 7: 21, 27; Heb. 5: 8; 1 Pet. 1: 22.)

These facts which destroy his proposition have received no attention and stand unanswered.

 

Discussion on Valid Baptism

ARTICLE I. BY J. C. McQUIDDY.

 

Proposition: " Persons who at the time of their baptism believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, repent of their sins, and are baptized to obey God, receive scriptural baptism, although they do not at the time understand that baptism is unto the remission of past sins."

This needs little defining. There is nothing mysterious about believing in Jesus the Christ. He came to us in our nature and died for us. Nothing is simpler than repentance. There is no experience we know better. Baptism is also simple. By his authority and in obedience to him we are baptized into his name. We are not required to understand all about the reason or the philosophy of it, but simply to be baptized into his name and because he bids us do it. We may not understand just how and when God forgives sins, as we may not understand just how God answers prayer. Nor do we have to understand how he works in us by his Spirit, in the use of the means he has appointed and furnished to build us up and sustain us spiritually, any more than we understand how he makes our bodies to grow and sustains them.

We should teach sinners God's promises, as well as the facts and commands of the gospel. We should all endeavor to teach sinners the whole truth, not confusing the facts, the commands, or the promises of the gospel narrative When sinners inquire what to do to be saved, we should teach them to believe, repent, and be baptized in the name of Christ unto the remission of sins. My teaching is that persons who have faith in Christ, repent of their sins, and are baptized to obey God, are scripturally baptized, though they may be mistaken as to just when their past sins are blotted out. My proposition includes all persons, and not simply Baptists or sectarians. In denying it,


32 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

Brother Durst assumes that faith in Christ does not qualify for baptism unless accompanied by an understanding Of one specific blessing that follows baptism. He appears to lose sight of all blessings that follow baptism, save one. This new faith needs proof, which can never be given. I shall now draw the line and show the faith which qualifies for baptism. The central truth of the Bible is that Jesus is the Christ. " Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matt. 16: 16.) This is the one truth that the apostles required sinners to believe. Why was the gospel history given? To produce faith in a " design of baptism? " Nay, verily. Will you accept the answer of the Spirit? " Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." (John 20: 30, 31.) Read again: " Because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom. 10: 9.) "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Acts 8: 37.) The American Revised Version inserts this last passage in the margin. These passages show beyond all cavil what the sinner must believe. It should be emphasized that Philip did not say, " If thou believest with all thy heart, and understandest that baptism is unto remission of sins, thou mayest." This faith in the Christ qualifies for baptism. I challenge a denial of this truth. My teaching says that " persons who believe," and does not contemplate a faith that is not genuine or a false faith.

On Pentecost Peter's entire effort was to produce faith in Jesus the Christ, and not faith in a " design of baptism." This is true of every sermon preached by the apostles. Accepting the words of Peter and having faith in the Christ, and realizing that they are guilty sinners, they are cut to the heart, and ask, " What shall we do? " the full force of which is, " What shall we do to be


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM 33

saved? " It should be noted that they inquired, " What shall we do? " and not, " What shall we understand? " If a patient were to ask his physician what to do to get well, he would not expect him to tell him what he must understand to get well. We should not be guilty of charging such inconsistency on the Spirit. He told them what they must do to be saved. He promised them two blessings to lead them to obey the command to repent and be baptized. The blessings promised were the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Commands are obeyed, while blessings are received and enjoyed. Men who are prompted to obey because God loves them are led by the highest and purest motive. " There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4: 18.) Others are led to obedience by the fear of punishment and the hope of reward. " Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men." (2 Cor. 5: 11.) While, therefore, we should encourage men to understand the promises of the gospel, we are not justified in teaching that the man will be damned who mistakes just when he receives the fulfillment of one promise. In this sermon Peter alludes to two blessings that follow baptism--the " remission of sins" and the " gift of the Holy Spirit." When these penitent believers were baptized unto the remission of sins, they also came into the enjoyment of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Both blessings are received at the same time. Yet Brother Durst holds that a person is lost if he does not know exactly when he receives one, while it is unnecessary to know even what the other is. He is again endeavoring to separate what God has joined together. They are inseparably connected and one is made dependent on the other. Again, he teaches that Saul believed and repented before he knew when he would be forgiven, and that the Pentecostians had faith before they knew when they would be pardoned. He also says that I am right in holding that baptism has an element of faith in it and is inseparable from faith. He does not deny that repentance and baptism are indissolubly connected in the plan of salvation. Hence,


34 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

as men believed and repented without knowing when they enjoyed remission of sins, as baptism is connected with both and has some faith in it, men can also be baptized without knowing just when their sins are remitted. This conclusion irresistibly follows and cannot be evaded. Hence, he being judge, my proposition is established.

Peter continues by assuring them that the promise is to their children and to " all that are afar off." Peter himself did not understand who were embraced in " all that are afar off; " so surely the Pentecostians did not understand its full import.

Children who honor father and mother have the promise of long life. While few, if any, understand the promise in childhood, yet, when in humble obedience to their parents they reverence both them and God, will not our Father fulfill his promise? The man who says nay slanders the character of God. No one can deny my teaching without taking the position that, in order to render baptism acceptable, one must understand every motive given to lead to it, every promise connected with it, every blessing flowing from it, else it is not acceptable service. In so doing he condemns his own and every other baptism that ever took place, save that of Christ. A man cannot select one motive to the exclusion of all others and say it is necessary to understand this, the others it is not necessary to understand.

If a man who does not understand that baptism is unto the remission of sins cannot be baptized, then Alexander Campbell was not baptized. I file again the following impeachments to this new doctrine: (1) It demands a new faith, (2) a new gospel, (3) a new confession, (4) new terms of fellowship, (5) a new church that had its origin in the days of Alexander Campbell, (6) more concern about God's prerogatives than about man's duty.


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 35

REPLY I. BY JOHN S. DURST.

Brother McQuiddy now has the laboring oar. He starts out by saying that his proposition needs but little defining. Grant it; but I will tell him what he does need. Please do not forget to give us just one ease of conversion to Christ under apostolic teaching where the party baptized did not understand that baptism was for the remission of sins. This will settle the question. Yes, " baptism is simple, and we are baptized into his name." But why are we baptized into his name? He says "because he bids us do it." But why does he bid us do it? I am not going be led off into side issues. You must produce the proof to sustain your proposition. We are now discussing the issue of the necessity of understanding the design of baptism. You say: " When sinners inquire what to do to be saved, we should teach them to believe, repent, and be baptized in the name of Christ unto the remission of sins." Then you turn right around and say that your teaching is " that persons who have faith in Christ, repent of their sins, and are baptized to obey God, are scripturally baptized, though they may be mistaken as to just when their past sins are blotted out." It is now in order for you to put your proposition by the side of Acts 2: 38 for comparison. Find the ease of conversion that sustains your proposition. Brother Durst teaches that faith in Christ takes God at his word, and that his word teaches that faith repentance, and baptism are for the remission of sins. There is no assumption, as you charge, in this. Neither does Brother Durst lose sight of the many blessings which follow baptism for the remission of sins. Just here I will state that better scholars than either Brother McQuiddy or myself have gone to record that " eis " in Acts 2: 38 means unto into, for, or in order to. And now I want to know how you would frame a proposition on the design of baptism with that Baptist whom you have been trying to debate with, and what would be your object in debating it. Why do you dodge this question?

Of course, a belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is the central truth of the Bible. But, Brother McQuiddy,


36 DISCUSSION ON BAPTISM.

this belief is " that we might have life," and how to obtain it. Life, salvation, or the remission of sins, and how to obtain it, is the issue. Jesus was preached to the eunuch. Jesus had commanded his inspired men to preach as stipulated in his commission. Faith, repentance, baptism, and remission of sins is just what they were commanded to preach. Remission of sins is the issue we are discussing. " Thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day, that repentance and remission of. sins should be preached among all nations." If in preaching Jesus, Philip failed to preach remission of sins, he was not true to his trust. But the eunuch accepted the teaching, obeyed the Lord, and went on his way rejoicing. Therefore he understood it. The sinner must believe every item in the commission, and he cannot believe them without understanding them. This is true of every ease of conversion, or the necessity of their preaching under the commission was a nullity. If Brother McQuiddy's argument amounts to anything, it is that a person can have the faith in Christ that saves, and disbelieve what God says about baptism for the remission of sins. He insists " that it should be noted that the Pentecostians inquired, 'What shall we do?' and not 'What shall we understand?'" Do you mean by this that they must not understand what was told them? Again: " If a patient were to ask his physician what to do to get well, he would not tell him what to understand to get well." But, my brother, if the physician were to tell him he must take the medicine prescribed for him in order that he might get well, would getting well be the inducement to the taking of the medicine? You surrender your proposition in the statement: " The Lord, through Peter, promised them the blessings to lead them to obey the command to repent and be baptized." The blessing promised was the remission of sins, and, as you say, this led them to obey him. Thank you. We are not discussing the reception of the Holy Spirit. When we get through, if there is a difference here, we can then discuss it if you desire. Neither are we discussing the " children who honor father and mother have the promise of long life," but we are discuss


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 37

ing the manner of becoming a child of God. Please stick to your proposition. I think your plurality of designs have been answered to your discomfiture. The baptism of A. Campbell is not now under discussion. I think we are now about ready to hear the question, " Where was the church before Alexander Campbell was born? " This covers all that is in your first that needs an answer. The reader will readily see that you are evading the issue and also misrepresenting what has gone to record in this discussion. It is presuming upon the ignorance of our readers to continually notice his misrepresentations, and I assure him that I am not provoked, but simply sorry for him in his untenable position.

I will now show some of Brother McQuiddy's glaring inconsistencies. In his second reply to me, he said: " I hold that faith and baptism are united in the plan of salvation " Then he admonished me " not to put asunder what God had joined together." Good! If they are joined together in the plan of salvation, and I should heed your admonition, will you not permit me to admonish you to let " for the remission of sins " stay right where the Lord put it? Then we will stand together in this matter. If one of these is not necessary to be understood, the others are not. Therefore the plan of salvation is not necessary to be understood. You said in your second reply to me that " the obedience of faith is obedience produced by faith." Good! Now, then, is baptism because of the remission of sins produced by faith in Christ? If so, it is necessary to be so understood. Brother F. W. Smith, page 70, Gospel Advocate, No. 3, 1914, truly said: " Whatever is appointed by divine authority to bring us into the name of Christ is involved in the salvation secured by being in that name. Can we not see that baptism is the thing God appointed for that purpose?" " This argument will do with a Baptist, but not with Brother Durst. On page 137, Gospel Advocate, you say that " a person can have faith, repent, and be baptized without knowing just when he will be pardoned." On page 138 you say: " The promise is to the obedient. We purify our souls in obeying the truth." Then it follows that the


38 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

obedient are assured of the promise. Therefore this promise resulted from faith, repentance, and baptism. On page 137 you say: " I agree with you that 'for the remission of sins' is a promise." On page 68 YOU say that " be baptized for the remission of sins'' is not found anywhere in the best version of the New Testament. Then tell us, where do you find it as a promise?

In your second reply to me, you say: " Faith and baptism are so closely united in obedience that they cannot he separated. Baptism is an expression of faith, grows out of it, and has an element of faith in it." Notice, that in order to salvation, you admit that " baptism must follow faith as an expression of it." Now tell us why baptism for or the remission of sins should not follow faith as an expression of it. But again, you say: " Faith is faith, regardless of when they were told what to do to complete their obedience." Now, if there is anything in this for you, it is that faith saves before it is completed by obedience.

You have argued that it is not necessary to understand that either faith, repentance, or baptism is for the remission of sins then conclude your second article by saying: " If one is not immersed to obey God and submit to the ordinance because God commands him to, and with a desire to honor him in the institution, his immersion amounts to naught." It is not necessary to understand that either faith, repentance, or baptism is for the remission of sins, yet you say that " baptism because of the remission of sins is an erroneous baptism."

You have argued that the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ is all of the gospel. Therefore, as you say our " souls are purified in obeying the truth," the gospel has no part to perform in purifying the soul, as we cannot obey the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

He says motives are not issues in this discussion. In another place he gives a plurality of motives and says any of these motives are scriptural. In the face of all of these things, he talks about my inconsistencies. My brother, " thou art the man."

I will conclude this reply with an examination of his


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 39

impeachment items. I will do this by a comparison of his position with mine.

1. I can read just what I believe in the New Testament, and can believe and accept the word of the Lord as a whole as it applies to salvation. It is, therefore, the faith that saves. Is this a new faith? Comparing yours with this, I charge that it is an insufficient faith, for it stops short of salvation, and one does not know whether he is saved or not, and it is not necessary to know it.

2. The gospel that I believe and obey is the gospel in its entirety as revealed in the New Testament. If this is a new gospel, I am guilty of the charge. But yours is an incomplete gospel in that it contains nothing to obey, and in proof of this you have given 1 Cor. 15: 1-4.

3. The confession that I believe in is " a belief with all the heart that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God," and that it must be made before one is baptized for the remission of sins. The confession that you believe in is acceptable if it were, " I believe that God for Christ's sake has pardoned my sins." Your codicil is: Were you baptized to obey God, or are you satisfied with your baptism? It is, therefore, insufficient and unscriptural.

4. My position is: All who are baptized upon the confession of faith in Christ, for the remission of sins, are in fellowship with Christ and the members of his body--the church. Your position is: All who are baptized to obey God, even though they do not understand that baptism is for the remission of sins, are in fellowship with Christ and his disciples, provided the hand of fellowship is given to consummate it.

5. The word of the Lord, which is the good seed of the kingdom, implanted in the understanding hearts of hearers, makes Christians, members of the one body, which is the church of Christ, anywhere, everywhere. This is the church we read about in the Bible. If it is a new church, I am guilty. I believe Paul said it was a new man (organization). Your position is that we must trace it back to Christ or we have no church. You cannot do this, yet you have a church--therefore a new one.


40 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

6. There is a divine part and a human part in securing salvation. God provided it for us, but we must accept it. We are to perform our part understanding what the will of the Lord is. Now you are too much unconcerned about man's part and contend that it is not necessary to understand it. Your charges are disposed of.


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM 4 l

ARTICLE II. BY J. C. McQUIDDY.

I have already shown from Acts 2: 38 that a failure to understand that baptism is unto remission of sins does not destroy faith in Christ. Brother Durst has taught that men believed and repented without knowing when they would be saved. He also says there is an element of faith in baptism and that they are inseparably joined together; hence, according to Brother Durst, a man may be baptized without knowing when he will be forgiven. The Pentecostians did not understand " the gift of the Holy Spirit," which, by the way, is one of Brother Durst's designs of baptism. In the next recorded conversion we learn that two blessings were promised to lead them to be baptized, which they could not understand. Let me say to Brother Durst, I have never intimated that rewards were not offered us to lead us to obey. Of course getting well would be an inducement to take the medicine, but the point at issue is: Must the patient understand just when the medicine would have the effect, otherwise it would have no effect at all? This is the issue to which you must devote yourself, and one you can never sustain. You should be slow to accuse others of dodging. " Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; and that he may send the Christ who hath been appointed for you, even Jesus." (Acts 3: 19, 20.) Here two blessings were offered them to lead them to obey, What were they? They were to be baptized in order that " there may come seasons of refreshing" and that " he may send the Christ." I have tried to find some one who understands just what these two blessings are. The search has been in vain. Peter's hearers did not and could not understand just when the Christ would come. Doubtless they could see no connect- ion between their baptism and the coming of Christ.


42 DISCUSSION ON BAPTISM.

Will Brother Durst tell us how the coming of Christ was dependent on their baptism? Will Christ not come again even if they did not understand it? In the face of this clear teaching, he states that we must believe every item in every case of conversion. The blindness and presumption of those blinded by false theories are astounding! Here is his fundamental error. If the gospel consists of all that the apostles preached, and a person must believe the gospel before he can be baptized, he must understand and believe all that the apostles preached before he can be baptized! Who is presumptuous and bigoted enough to accept this? Did you understand all the apostles preached when you were baptized? 'I am sure that many do not know the meaning of " wash away thy sins " in Acts 22: 16 when baptized. Paul defines the gospel to be the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus; but he will not accept this definition. He says it means everything that was taught by the apostles! If he is correct, there is not a baptized person in this world. I shall accept Paul's definition. I have taken from him now every conversion where we have " the remission of sins " or its equivalent mentioned. He tells us the gospel is composed of facts, commands, and promises. He tells us a man cannot obey a fact, but facts are a part of the gospel which he must obey or be lost. Thus he damns everybody. You have not only laid off more ground than you can cultivate, but you have fallen into the ditch you dug for me. He is so rattled that he has no sense of space and cannot state the issue! He has exceeded the agreed space almost fifty per cent. He does not know the issue. He says life, salvation, or the remission of sins, and how to obtain it, is the issue. Nay, verily. He does not seem to know that salvation is broader than remission of sins. See Thayer's Lexicon of the New Testament. I am satisfied we will not know the full import of salvation until we reach the judgment. We are discussing valid baptism. He makes belief in a design of baptism essential to its validity. If this were true, the apostles would have preached faith in a design


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 43

as well as in Christ. If the church had been built on Peter, they would have preached faith in Peter. So if it had been built on faith in a design, they would have preached faith in " a design of baptism." My brother, you must discuss the issue. You must show that persons do not have faith in Christ who entertain an erroneous view. I have shown, and repeat, that the Scriptures nowhere make faith in a design of baptism a condition of baptism. I teach that faith, repentance, and baptism are unto the remission of sins. He teaches that they are, if the believer does not mistake the point at which God pardons. I repeat, he has not attempted an argument to support his contention. Being ashamed of his flimsy foundation, he comes over to where I stand on God's truth and says " the word teaches that faith, repentance, and baptism are for the remission of sins." Substituting " unto," so say I. Why, then, did you affirm belief in " a design of baptism? " As we have converted him, it is to be hoped he will not fall from grace.

I did not see how he could be satisfied with his effort on the first proposition. Now I know he is not, for he is trying to answer my second article. He goes back to strengthen his first proposition. After he has done his best to show my glaring inconsistencies, I am pleased to have the readers decide for themselves. My work on that proposition speaks for itself and needs no apology. Stick to the issue indeed! Physician, heal thyself; for you have gone back to the issue that is dead and buried.

I still stick to the statement that we should not put asunder what God has joined together as acts of obedience on the part of man; and until he can show that " unto the remission of sins" is an act of obedience on the part of man, my teaching is untouched. If I were debating with a Baptist or any other sectarian, I would affirm that believers are baptized unto the remission of sins, but I would not affirm that " a belief that baptism is for remission of sins is essential to its validity;" neither would I deny the proposition you denied, but are ashamed to debate.


44 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

He persists in representing the man who is mistaken as a disbeliever. Peter did not understand some things he preached on Pentecost, hence you make him an infidel. I have a right to expect better things of you. He holds to the view that we cannot believe what we do not understand. He confuses the human and the divine in the plan of salvation. Obedience is the human side. The acts that constitute obedience are simple. The remission of sins, the gift of the Spirit, the atonement, and the resurrection all belong to the divine side of the gospel. That Christ, the just, should die for the unjust, no one understands; yet we believe he died for sinners. What is the atonement? It is an unsolvable mystery; yet he believes Christ died for sinners. I shall never understand in this world just why it was necessary for Christ to die that I may live, and why it is that all life comes from suffering and death; yet I believe it was necessary. He doubtless believes in the resurrection of the body. Can he explain it? Brought down to the final analysis, the only issue between us is, must a man believe baptism is unto the remission of sins to be baptized? He contends that a man must understand at least that " baptism is unto remission of sins," otherwise he is not baptized, though be believe in Christ, repent of his sins, and is baptized to obey God. With him, the one essential to baptism is an understanding that it is unto pardon. This being true, he should never baptize any one till he asks him if he understands that it is unto remission of sins. Still he preaches the truth. Two persons come forward. One of them has been baptized. To this one he says: " Were you baptized for the remission of sins? " To the other he says: " Do you believe with all the heart in the Christ, the Son of God? There is a difference? Which is authorized? Both cannot be scriptural. Here is another case: An illiterate man hears the disciples of Christ preach on " unto " in Acts 2: 38. He thinks they prove that baptism is unto pardon of sins. He also hears a Baptist preach on "for." He contends that it means "because of." The preacher refers to the cleans-


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM 45

ing of the leper in Mark 1: 40-44. The man sees the leper cleansed, and yet he was told to " offer for thy cleansing." He knows nothing of " peri " and " eis." The case of the Baptist appears strong to him. He does not know who is right, but he does believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that he bids him to be baptized. With this faith he is baptized. Does God recognize his baptism? If not, why not? Brother Durst admits he accepts the central truth of the Bible. What more must he accept? Read Acts 8: 37; Rom. 10: 9; John 20: 30, 31.

REPLY II. BY JOHN S. DURST.

Brother McQuiddy writes me that I am trespassing on the space allowed me, and that I should make this short enough to allow for the overplus in my first reply. I find, according to my count, to date (March 3) I have written four hundred and fifty-one lines; and he, four hundred and forty-seven lines. I have this to say: He, being one of the Gospel Advocate staff and manager, can write as much as he wishes in answer to me, and I will not complain. I think he needs more than he has yet given to prove his proposition, anyway. But I will try to comply with his request and cut this down.

You attempt to hide the fact that there are degrees of faith. The faith alone that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, never did save any one. Brother Durst has taught that the faith, repentance, and baptism of the Lord's commission, understandingly complied with, saves from past sins, and our readers will remember what I said about the faith and repentance of the Pentecostians and Saul of Tarsus. I have said nothing about the " gift of the Holy Spirit being one of the designs of baptism." On the other hand, I did say that no one was ever commanded to be baptized for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I have nowhere discussed the nature of other blessings that are to follow as a result of being baptized for the remission of sins, be-


46 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM

cause this is not the issue before us. You are an artful dodger; but I intend to hold you to your proposition, and it is about time you were gathering around it your props to keep it on its legs. Let me remind you that you have not yet given us the case of conversion where the party did not understand that baptism was for the remission of sins. Of course, if the patient did not understand that the medicine was given to cure him, there would be no inducement to take it; and if the sinner did not understand that the conditions to be complied with would cleanse him from past sins, there would be no inducement to obey the Lord. In Acts 3: 19, 20, the season of refreshing was a result of a realization of the blotting out of sins. The word " when " shows just at what time this occurred. Read the passage carefully. I have contended for an intelligent acceptance of the items embraced in the Lord's commission, that were to be preached to aliens for the remission of sins. If this is blindness and presumption, I plead guilty to the charge. Now to your question: " Did you understand all the apostles preached when you were baptized? " Yes sir. I understood that faith, repentance, and baptism were for the remission of my sins The Lord through them demanded this of me, and I heartily obeyed him. This is all that any apostle was commanded to preach for the remission of sins, and I believe every part of it; and believing the Lord, I accepted him and obeyed him. This I understand to be the gospel, which is God's power to save the sinner from past sins. It is not so with you. The gospel that you are preaching in this discussion consists only in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Why, Brother McQuiddy, thousands believe that, who make no pretensions to Christianity. I have never said that one can obey a fact; but you do say so, if obedience cuts any figure in the salvation of the sinner, for that is your gospel that contains only facts. Remember that I use the terms " salvation " and " remission of sins" as they apply to the alien and not to the Christian. Must I continue to deny the charge that I make faith in the design of baptism necessary to its validity? I have stated that my faith is in Christ, who


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 47

demands that one must be baptized for the remission of sins. You should be defending your proposition instead of my " want of sense of space and failure to see the issue." You can have all the rope you want; for the longer it is, the more you get tangled in the brush. I have never contended that unto remission of sins is an act of obedience, and Brother McQuiddy knows it. It is that which is promised, and acts of obedience are to secure the promise. DO you understand me? He will affirm in debate with a sectarian that believers are baptized unto remission of sins, but will not affirm that a belief that baptism is for the remission of sins is essential to its validity. This brings us still to the unanswered question, What would be your object in affirming that baptism is unto remission? Don't dodge it any more. You have but one more trial.

A little counter argument and I will stop. Let it be understood that I am combating the sectarian idea of when remission of sins takes place. Their theory was not in existence under inspired teaching; therefore there was no reference to it. But there were persons who had not been scripturally baptized, and an inspired man asked them: " Unto or into (eis) what were you baptized? " Why should I not have the same right to inquire into the status of men whom I think have not been scripturally baptized? (See Acts 19: 1-5.) Be it understood that these men had been baptized to obey God. Had they obeyed him? You contend that Acts 2: 38; Acts 3: 19; and Acts 22: 16 are not out of harmony with your teaching. Let us test you. Did not Peter tell inquirers what to do, and what for? Did he not do the same thing in the third chapter? Was not Ananias sent to Saul that he might know the will of the Lord? (Acts 22: 14.) If you say "Yes" (and you have said you believe them), then your only loophole for escape is to say that it was not necessary to understand what was told them.

But let's settle this matter. Jer. 31: 31, and to which Paul refers in Rom. 8, tells us that the new covenant should be written in the hearts of men, and that all should know him, from the least to the greatest. But how should they


48 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM

know him? In Matt. 13: 15 the Lord tells us how we are to know him. It is done by hearing, seeing, receiving, believing. Luke 8: 15 tells us what a good heart does. This new covenant contains baptism for the remission of sins. It cannot be written in the heart without believing the truth contained in it. Baptism for the remission of sins is as much a part of the new covenant as anything else that we find in it. What is true of one part is equally true of all parts. If it is not necessary to believe one part, it is not necessary to believe any part. Again: " It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1 Cor. 1: 22.) It will never please God to save any one only in the way it pleases him. But it pleased him to save those who believe the things preached. The things preached include baptism for the remission of sins; therefore it is included in the things believed. Once more: "The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." (Rom. 1: 16.) It contains facts, commands, and promises. This includes baptism for the remission of sins. Therefore, if one is saved without believing that baptism is for the remission of sins, he is saved by another power than the power of God. Then again: " God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." (2 Thess. 2: 13.) Since God chooses man to salvation through the belief of the truth, and baptism for the remission of sins is a part of the truth, it follows that for God to choose man to salvation, he must believe that baptism is for the remission of sins. All of this results from the teaching embraced in the Lord's commission to inspired men.

I respectfully ask Brother McQuiddy to harmonize his position with the above, and he has my consent to use all the space he chooses. His next and my reply will close this discussion.


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 49

ARTICLE III. BY J. C. McQUIDDY.

The faith that saves is faith in Christ. It always expresses itself in obedience. Back to the patient. We are not discussing the motives that lead to obedience, but valid baptism. You contend that if the patient is mistaken as to when the medicine will take effect it will have none.

Certainly the twelve had been baptized unto the remission of sins, for John's baptism was for that purpose, but they had not been baptized in the name of Christ. He directs them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

I have shown by the Bible that faith in Christ qualifies for baptism. I have challenged denial, but no denial has been made. Instead of denial, he now says: "Must I continue to deny the charge that I make faith in a design of baptism necessary to its validity! " I rejoice in his conversion. He affirmed: "A belief that baptism is for remission of sins is essential to its validity." If this is not faith in a design, what is it? Again, he says: " If one is saved without believing that baptism is for the remission of sins, he is saved by another power than the power of God." It will take a wiser than Solomon to explain away these real contradictions. I hope he will never fall from grace, but will continue the remnant of his days to deny that faith in a " design of baptism " is essential to its validity. I have stoutly maintained that faith, repentance, and baptism are conditions of pardon, but have also unanswerably shown that faith in " a design of baptism" is nowhere made a condition of forgiveness. I deny that a perfect understanding of the divine side of salvation is essential to obedience on the human side. I have shown that, while we must know and understand the truth, the truth is that which refers to man's acts of obedience. He says: " I have never contended that unto remission of sins is an act of' obedience." Then, I ask, will the obedient be saved? Most assuredly. God will take vengeance on those


50 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

who " obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus." (2 Thess. 1: 8.) Paul says that he received "grace and apostleship unto obedience of faith among all the nations." ((Rom.. 1: 5.) The "obedience of faith" is that produced by faith; and since no one can obey the promise of remission of sins, therefore remission of sins is not included in obedience.

I have shown that in every conversion where remission of sins or its equivalent is mentioned, there are " designs of baptism " which were not understood. The gift of the Holy Spirit is a " design of baptism," yet our brother does not know what it is. In Acts 3: 19, 20, they were baptized in order that " seasons of refreshing " and the Lord might come. Note that they were baptized in order to the coming of these. He would not attempt to tell us how their baptism had anything to do with the coming of the Lord. Why? Because he does not know. When he does try, he only gets the more entangled in the meshes of his inconsistency. Scholars all say that "seasons of refreshing" means the same as the gift of the Spirit in Acts 2: 38. He makes the " seasons of refreshing" the assurance of pardon! Did any sectarian ever claim more for abstract spiritual impressions? They put "seasons of refreshing" before baptism; he, after baptism. Now what becomes of the value of' the "promise " of remission of sins, for which he has made such an ado, since he relies not upon the "promise" for assurance of pardon, but upon his mystic " seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord? " You must not fail to note that whatever " seasons " may mean, they come from the " presence of the Lord," and can, therefore, have no reference to any internal feeling of the convert as an evidence of forgiveness. " Understood all the apostles preached when you were baptized," indeed! If you did, you have progressed, like the crawfish, backwards.

You say, with me, that a man must obey the gospel. You say the gospel consists of facts, commands, and promises. Now you write: " I have never said that one can obey a tact." You have said more: he must obey commands and promises in addition to the facts. I cannot dignify such


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 51

reasoning by calling it an " artful dodge!" Paul declares the gospel that saves in 1 Cor. 15, but does not declare faith in a design of baptism; hence the design is not the gospel. The three facts are the death, burial, and resurrection of' Christ. The power that leads to salvation is the power that saves. We know how a man can obey the gospel (in form) by dying to sin, being buried in baptism, and being raised to the new life. If he is correct (that all things preached by the apostles constitute the gospel), it is not possible to obey the gospel. How can you obey a promise or penalty?

Nothing I have said justifies the insinuation that persons " need not believe" the truth. There is a vast difference between disbelieving and mistaking the truth. I stated a real example in my last and invited his attention to it. He declined to notice it. A man heard the disciples preach on Acts 2: 38. They appeared to show that baptism was unto remission. He heard a Baptist preach on " for." He referred to Mark 1: 40-44. He noted that the cleansed leper was told to offer ' for thy cleansing." He knew nothing of " peri " and " eis."." He was confused. He did not know whether " eis " meant " unto " or " because of." He did believe with all his heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of' God. He understood he bade him be baptized. Was he scripturally baptized? Answer " Yes " or " No," and your cause is lost. If you say " Yes," then faith in Christ qualifies for baptism, though a man does not understand just when forgiven. If you say " No," then the scriptures quoted are false and the Bible is uninspired. Which end of the dilemma will you take?


52 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM.

REPLY III. BY JOHN S. DURST,

This reply closes our discussion. In a private note from Brother McQuiddy, he calls my attention to the fact that our agreement leaves me only seventy-six lines for my reply. I must comply with this agreement. Brother McQuiddy's confusion must be apparent to all readers. This is the result of trying to defend an unscriptural proposition. He says: " We are not discussing motives that lead to obedience, but valid baptism." But, my brother, the Lord states the purpose of baptism; and while you are contending that it is not necessary to understand the purpose to make it a valid baptism, I am contending that it is. I am contending further that you cannot give a good reason why you preach baptism for the remission of sins. I am also contending that your patient will not take the medicine if he disbelieves it will cure. You thrust it down him and cure him, anyway. The twelve in Acts 19 were baptized by the preacher because they had been unscripturally baptized. That is exactly the reason why I baptize sectarians. While you stoutly maintain that faith, repentance, and baptism are conditions of pardon, yet you will take those who disbelieved this when they were baptized. You well know that those who were baptized because of the remission of sins, if they were honest, disbelieved that it was for remission of sins. It is not your teaching, but your practice, that I attack. You teach that a person should know and understand the truth, and then argue that he can acceptably obey the Lord without understanding it. Of course the obedient will be saved; but remember that if the alien is commanded to obey for a purpose, it is not obedience when done for some other purpose. The Lord's commission gives the conditions of pardon to the sinner, and we cannot expect pardon without a compliance with those conditions. " Seasons of refreshing " in Acts 3: 19 is the equivalent of the rejoicing in Acts 8: 39 and Acts 16: 34. This is not the evidence of remission of sins, but the result; and every blessing that we enjoy comes from the Lord. Such statements as these do not justify Brother McQuiddy in claim


DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM. 53

ing that: it is a contention in favor of abstract spiritual operations. Brother McQuiddy seems to lose sight of the fact that a part of the gospel is to believe the facts, a part to obey the commands, and a part to enjoy its promises. When we speak of believing the gospel, we refer to the facts; when we spear; of obeying the gospel, we refer to the commands; when we speak of enjoying the gospel, we refer to the promises. Your man you speak of, who heard the disciple pr each on Acts 2: 38 and what he said about " eis," should have believed and obeyed the gospel. The mere fact of his being confused in no way justified him in rejecting the teaching. Right here lies your dangerous contention. When he heard the Baptist preach on Mark 1: 40-44, on " peri,"," he heard a misapplication of the passage, for it pertained to the Jewish law; yet you say: " He believed with all his heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and was baptized. Was he scripturally baptized ? " I unhesitatingly say no. Why? Because his baptism was not an act of faith in Christ. He did not obey Christ in baptism. We are to obey from the heart as well as to believe with it. ((Rom.. 6: 17.)

Now, Brother McQuiddy, from the beginning of this discussion I have called for an answer to the question, " What would you debate with a Baptist on the design of baptism for? " You could not answer consistently with your practice, and hence made no effort. I have also asked you for " just one case of conversion where the party did not understand that baptism was for the remission of sins." Have you made an effort to produce it? Then what becomes of your proposition?

Brother McQuiddy has contended for a valid baptism on the part of those whose position is shown by the following paralleled with the position of the disciples. Be it understood, I am not charging him with teaching the items in the right-hand column, but in receiving them on their baptism if they say they were baptized to obey God. Once more let me add: It is his inconsistent practice against which I contend.


54 DISCUSSION ON VALID BAPTISM

DISCIPLES' POSITION SECTARIANS' POSITION.

1. One baptism. (Eph.4: 5) 1. Repentance.

2. Repentance. A direct work of the Spirit

3. The confession of Christ. to produce faith.

4. Baptism for remission of sins. 3. The confession of feelings.

5. Soul purified by having obeyed the truth. 4. Baptism because of remission of sins.

(1 Pet. 1: 21) 5. Soul purified as result of false teaching.

6. Builded upon the rock. (Matt. 7:26) 6. Every plant not planted by the Father,

7. The truth saves. (John 8:32) rooted up. (Matt. 15:13)

7. Believed delusion. (2 Thess. 2: 11 )

The issue is: Has the party represented by the right-hand column been scripturally baptized?

Read this discussion carefully, and if my conclusions from Brother McQuiddy's argument and practice are not justifiable, then give him the credit of it. I know that the erroneous contentions of all men look ugly when put in print. This discussion, when read by thinking people, will exhibit the error, wherever it may fall. Let the reader find it. With the best of feeling for Brother McQuiddy, I close.

 

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