Maxey - Hughes Debate

Third Affirmative
to the Second Proposition
by Michael Hughes

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Al gives me to understand that I have received from him as well as the readers (meaning the Religious Debates List members), unmerited favor due to my "special circumstances." He said that as a result of that unmerited favor that there was no insistence upon "strict compliance with procedural rules and regulations." Another result of this unmerited favor then was he states, that "love triumphs over law!"

However, the fallacy of this argument was that there was no "special circumstances." I was ill and my wife was in the hospital, this is true. There was however no need for these circumstance to be considered "special" in relationship to the debate. In fact, it would not have mattered if I had purposely chosen to not respond for however amount of time that I may have chosen, because my dear readers THERE IS NO STANDARD!

That's right, look at the list rules. I will not post them here (I will make them available to other readers outside the list). There is not one rule that states how much time a disputant is allowed to send an article to the list. Without a standard, there can be no "special circumstances" or more accurately an exception.

This is a moderated list and it is the responsibility of the moderator(s) to determine whether an excess amount of time has been taken by a disputant, but that is an arbitrary decision that does not base itself on a standard. If a moderator exercises their responsibility and states that a disputant must respond within a particular amount of time then that disputant gives reason as to why that is not possible for him, even then, though the moderator may grant an extension, it is based upon arbitrary decision making, not law. It may even be a granting of a favor, but not unmerited, for the moderator has determined that the circumstance warrant the extension of the original arbitrary deadline.

If Al granted me "grace" it was because I did not respond in the particular amount of time that HE thought I should have. I did not however need his grace.

Oh, by the way, gracious Al who stated, "What I would NOT do is demand that the moderator of this debate declare Michael to be in default by virtue of failing to post his response in a timely fashion. What I would NOT do is declare Michael a loser in this exchange by virtue of some rule of regulation. I would evidence LOVE over LAW." Well, dear reader, I am here to tell you that Al's grace did not last very long. Just this week in an e-mail to Jeri Dentel (who is moderating this debate) he requested just exactly what he said he would NOT request. Oh, what amazing grace! Oh, what wondrous love!

I do however need God's grace which is precisely why I need to do those things which God has determined that I MUST do to receive it. I have yet to find in the scriptures any exception to what God has said man must do. Al certainly didn't find one in the affirmative, neither will he in the negative.

Al missed the point concerning exceptions in the Bible. He tries to argue essentially that since God has stated certain exceptions that there will therefore be certain exceptions in other areas than the ones that He stated. Al, the argument that was presented and that you need to deal with is that God has already stated the ONLY exceptions that He makes. I even listed them. There is no exception to the necessity of baptism. You can not find one. Until you do you cannot say that one will be saved without it. Not with God's approval anyway.

Al still wants to argue that obedience occurs in the heart before that actual compliance. (Look at paragraphs twenty-four and twenty-five of Al's second negative). This is not true. It is the willingness to obey that occurs in the heart that brings about the obedience. I believe that is exactly what James teaches concerning sin and its actions. It conceives in the heart as lust, which then bringeth forth sin, which then brings forth death. (James 1:13-15).

Al, just out of curiosity, a man has been a faithful Christian for twenty-five years. Prior to that however he was a drunk (what we today call an alcoholic). For all these years he has been faithful, then one day something terrible happens. It doesn't matter what it is, just that it sends him into a whirlwind. In desperation to try to deal with it he can only think about having a drink, so he heads to the store/bar in order to get a drink. On the way he gets into a fatal accident and is killed. Is he lost forever now? Do not cop out by saying that you don't know what is he might have done had he survived. You are presuming intent on baptism, so presume intent here as well. If you say no, then you will have to concede the issue on baptism as well. If you say yes, Well, can you really serve such a legalistic, vindictive God as that?

It is obvious that Al does not understand implication when in paragraph twenty-eight he claims I go far afield by stating that God would have to save one that never heard the Gospel based upon what their intent would have been had they heard it. He does not understand that if it is true that God would save one based upon intent of the heart at the time of death then to not save every person who would have had that same INTENT would make Him a respecter of persons. Which is why there are no exceptions found in the Holy Scriptures. God is NOT a respecter of persons just as Peter so aptly learned (Acts 10:34). Therefore God's plan of salvation is the same for every person. "He that believeth and IS baptized shall be saved . . . " Mk 16:16.

Now, I promised near the end of my last affirmative article that I would show in this article the reason why God said what He said regarding the necessity of baptism. We want to do this by looking at what occurs to one that is baptized.

Let us first look at Acts two. Acts 2:38 KJV "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Act 2:47 KJV "Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

There are two things that need to be seen here. The first is that when one is baptized their sins are forgiven. Ananias said they were "washed away," Acts 22:16 KJV "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." This is so very essential because Isaiah tells us that our iniquities have separated us from God and that He will not here us (Isa. 59:1-2). Paul tells us in Romans that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and that the wages of that sin is death (Rom. 3:23; 6:23).

It is therefore necessary for every person to somehow have that sin taken care of. God devised baptism to accomplish that. We are told that nothing will enter into the kingdom or into heaven that defiles. Rev. 21:22-27 KJV "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." Since I find absolutely no exception to these statements, I must conclude that God will not save one that has not been baptized because their sins have not neither remitted nor washed away.

Now let us look at Romans. Rom. 6:3-5 KJV "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"

I believe this to be one of the wondrous passages of the New Testament. Jesus told us in John 3:3-5 that a man must be born again to enter the kingdom of God of both water and Spirit. B.W. Johnson says regarding this passage:

Quoting Alford adds, "All attempts to get rid of this have sprung from doctrinal prejudices."

Jesus told us what must be done and Paul gave us the how. As one is baptized, he is baptized into Christ they are buried with Christ, and they are raised to walk in newness of life. God makes no exceptions. Nowhere does He tell us that there are "special circumstances" that will allow the defiled to enter into heaven, that will allow one outside Christ to be saved, that will allow the OLD MAN to enter into a saved state. No. The old man must be put to death and that is done in baptism. The new man must rise. That is done in baptism. Where are the exceptions? There are none. Therefore it must be concluded that God will not save the one that has not been baptized.

Now Galatians. Gal 3:27 KJV "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." This passage is not dissimilar from the Romans passage in which we say that it is baptism that puts us in Christ. There is nothing in scripture that teaches us that there is anything else that puts us "into" Christ. We do not believe "into" Christ. We do not repent "into" Christ. We do not confess "into" Christ. Neither, my friends does the Bible, God's Holy inspired Word, teach anywhere that we INTEND "into" Christ. It does however teach that we are BAPTIZED into Christ.

It is also the means by which I put on Christ. Having put on Christ we then become His. (Gal. 3:28-29). We are not His prior to that, nowhere does it teach that we are. Then by becoming His, we are heirs according to the promise. Not before, Not until we have put on Christ.

Al thinks that it is despicable to think that God would not save one that has not yet complied with the gospel even though he intended to when he died. But if God will save one that is "in the water" that has not yet been buried, putting the old man to death and then raised, then He will save the one "on his way to the water." Then He will have to save the one that will "go to the water tomorrow, because I can't get there today." Then He would need to include the one that was "going to do it next Sunday at worship services." On and on ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Since God is no respecter of persons to be consistent if we teach the one, then we have to teach the other as well.

What needs to be realized however is that God HAS set specific parameters. He is not like Al who extends his grace temporarily when it isn't even needed, but then withdraws it without ever knowing the circumstances. No, God is constant. He has told us what to expect. He has told us about His grace and how to obtain it. He has told us that He is a loving God (John 3:16; Heb. 5:6-8; 1 John 4:8, 16). He has told us how to obtain His grace and we can count on Him to be consistent in extending that Grace for our Lord is the faithful and true witness (Rev. 3:14; 21:5).

We also are told however, whether we like it or not, that our God is also a vengeful God that will destroy them that obey not the truth. 2 Thess. 1:7-9 KJV "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;"

The Hebrew writer warns that it is a "fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God." (Heb. 10:31) Indeed it will be. Therefore the question that Peter asks is indeed a valid one. "What manner of persons ought ye to be?" It is as valid today as it was the day he penned the words.

Al said in his first affirmative that "a command not obeyed is a command not obeyed." Though he misapplied this statement to Abraham, I couldn't agree with the statement more. A command not obeyed is a command not obeyed. One in the process of "being baptized" is not one that has "been baptized." They have not been added to the church, they are not in Christ, they are therefore not in the body, their sins have not been washed away, they have not put on Christ, they have not been born again, therefore I MUST conclude that my proposition is correct. God will not save the person that has not yet been baptized.

If that is not correct, then the scriptures throughout this article are invalid. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is false and Christ is NOT the faithful and true witness.

Gal. 1:6-9 KJV "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."