Maxey - Hughes Debate

First Affirmative
to the Second Proposition
by Michael Hughes

Thursday, October 17, 2002


If a repentant, confessing believer in Jesus Christ has fully committed Himself/herself to being obedient to Christ Jesus in baptism, but dies unexpectedly prior to actually complying with that command (due to circumstances beyond his/her control), that person will be condemned to eternal punishment in hell.

Brother Maxey has had his turn at the affirmative and now it is my turn to prove that what God has said He will do is indeed what He will do. It is my job now to prove the above proposed statement, so let us begin by defining our terminology.

"Repentant" is a word that defines the character and attitude of one that has recognized that they have come short of the glory of God as a result of sin (Rom. 3:23), that their sin has caused a separation between themselves and God, (Isa. 59:1-2), that the wages of that sin is death, (Rom. 6:23), and that Christ died so that they would not have to pay that penalty, (John 3:16). As a result of that recognition they have godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10) and have changed their former life putting off the old man and putting on the new man, (Col. 3:5-10; Rom 6:3-6).

"Confessing" is that term that refers to an individual that believes, recognizes and acknowledges verbally as well as by conduct before men that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God and that as such He is their Lord. (Matt. 10:32-33; Acts 8:36-37; Rom. 10:9-10; 1 John 4:15).

A "believer" is a person that believes that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 8:36-37) and is willing as a result of that belief to acknowledge Him as Lord, (Rom. 10:9-10). A believer will be obedient to Christ in ALL things (Matt. 7:21-23; Matt. 28:18) and thus will validate his faith by his actions, (James 2:18). Thus actions, of course, being conduct and actions that are of faith (2 Cor. 5:7, Rom 10:17).

"Fully committed" means that a person has entirely, wholly or completely pledge themselves to full and complete obedience to the will of the Father. Such an individual has determined that their life is going to be spent in obedience to God regardless of the costs or consequences.

"Obedient" is a word that some have a problem with today, especially in the realm of religion. In Acts 6:8 this word is used in regards to a number of priests that were "obedient." It is used again of Christ in Philippians 2:8 where we learn that our Lord was "obedient" unto death. It is a term that has to do with being submissive, to heed and conform to authority and the commands of authority. Webster’s 1868 dictionary defines it in the following way. "Submissive to authority; yielding compliance with commands, orders or injunctions; performing what is required, or abstaining from what is forbid."

"Baptism" we hopefully do not have to define too expansively. It is by the very nature of the word an immersion of one’s body completely into water (Acts 8:37ff). We will later in this debate show just exactly what the function of baptism is, let it suffice to define it now though as the only means described in scripture by which one can be in or put on Christ (Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:27).

A "command" is what is given by someone that has authority. It had the requirement of needing to be obeyed if one wishes to be in compliance with the person in authority. Webster’s (1868) defines it as follows: To bid; to order; to direct; to charge; implying authority, and power to control, and to require obedience.

"Condemned" is defined, "Censures; pronounced to be wrong, guilty, worthless or forfeited; adjudged or sentenced to punishment." It is the word "damned" in Mark 16:16.

Hell is that place of torment reserved for those condemned. It is the lake of fire and brimstone. It is the second death (Rev. 21:8).

I do not believe that any other terms require definition, if so then we can clarify them in the next article. Al suggested in his second affirmative that I was going to have problems in my affirmative because I would be in a position of proving that a person that has not been baptized WILL be condemned. He tried to compare my position with his, suggesting that my problem would be similar to his.

This is not correct. Let me explain now the difference between what I am affirming and what Al tried to affirm. Al put himself in the position of trying to prove something that God NEVER SAID HE WOULD DO! Understand that. Now in comparison I have to prove that what God said He would do is indeed what He WILL do.

In Acts chapter 2 we have the first recorded Gospel sermon of the Apostle Peter. We also have recorded the response to that first sermon that resulted in the establishment of the church by our Lord on the day of Pentecost in AD 33.

As Peter pointed to the crowd and said, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." (Acts 2:36). As the people listening heard those words we are told that they "were pricked in their hearts" and that they cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). Peter's response to them rings down through the years to mankind today, "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."

Notice what baptism was for. It was "for the remission of sins." Why was this needed? Because all had sinned and come short of the glory of God and that sinned had created a rift between man and God. God had turned away his face and would not hear as a result of sin. (Rom. 3:23; Isa. 59:1-2).

God could not tolerate that which was unclean, that which was spotted by the world. One spotted by the world was an enemy of God and was at enmity with God (James 4:4). There had to be a process by which the spot of sin could be removed. Baptism is the means by which that is done.

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." These are the words spoken to Paul by Ananias. They are the words we need to heed today. Baptism cleanses one of there sins.

It is the means by which one approached God with a clear conscience. 1 Pet. 3:21 KJV "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." As one is baptized, their sins are washed away. They are washed, sanctified and justified (1 Cor. 6:11) and thus can stand before God with a clear conscience, undefiled, cleansed and pure.

Why does God deem this so important that nowhere in His revealed will does He suggest, hint or say that there is any type of exception whatsoever to this so very important command? I will show you that in just a moment, but first lets address the impact of what His revealed will means to us.

It is always important to establish the criteria of authority that one can or must except. As a Christian seeking to follow the will of God there can only be one set of criteria that is acceptable to use as a standard for our authority. That criteria must be the revealed will of our Father as it is given to us in the New Testament. That MUST be the standard by which we live and which we preach to others. 2 Tim. 4:2 KJV "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."

That word provides to us "all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3) and is "profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect (complete) thoroughly furnished unto every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

It is not sufficient therefore to suggest what I "think" God will do or will not do, because what I "think" does not stem from that which is doctrine or profitable for it. I can only ONLY say what God SAID he would or would not do.

I have neither the luxury nor the right to say as authoritative what I FEEL God would or would not do. First, because we do not walk by feeling but by faith as noted earlier and secondly, because what I FEEL is not profitable for instruction or any thing else. Therefore I must restrain myself to teaching only what the word of God says. Anything more or less then I am in violation of the very scripture that I am to uphold. Instead of being part of the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15) and become instead a force that is attempting to destroy that which God has given for our guidance.

Now, understanding the authority, let us go on to just why God is so adament concerning baptism that nowhere in His revealed will has he given an exception to that command. Baptism is that (which we have already pointed out) which cleanses us of our sin. Why is that so important?

Because NOTHING will enter heaven that defileth. Rev. 21:27 KJV "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." The only thing that will enter into heaven is that which is clean. One that has not had the benefit of baptism has not been cleansed. If one has not been cleansed then one will not enter into heaven. It is simple logic.

The only thing, the ONLY thing that would allow me to say or to teach otherwise would be to have a passage of scripture to point to, a thus saith the Lord, that says, repent and be baptized, EXCEPT or UNLESS something prevents you beyond your control. NOWHERE, NOWHERE, NOWHERE, does our Lord command, imply, or cause to be inferred such a doctrine.

Therefore, it must be taught that one that dies without benefit of baptism will be condemned and will spend eternity in torment.

Going along with the preceding thought, we must also recognize that one that has not been baptized is still in bondage to sin! He has not been made free in Christ. Belief does not accomplish that. Repentance does not accomplish that. Confession does not accomplish that. Only baptism put to death the old man and frees us from the bondage of sin.

Rom. 6:3-7 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: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin."

Again, when we consider that nothing that defiles shall enter into heaven and that baptism is the only thing that frees us from being a servant of sin that we understand once again that without baptism one cannot hope for heaven.

Christ will deliver the church up to the Father. 1 Cor. 15:24 KJV "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power."

Nowhere do the scriptures teach us that anyone that is outside the kingdom (which is the church) will be delivered to the Father. When we look at Acts we learn who is in the kingdom. We find that the Lord adds to the church (the kingdom) such as should saved (Acts 2:47). Nowhere however do the scripture command, imply, or infer that any should be saved that have not been baptized.

My friends, as comfortable as it may seem to say otherwise, when we look at the scriptures, what God has said rather than what man feels we can say nothing other than the one that dies without being baptized will be condemned. There are no exceptions without adding to the word.

Thank-you for your attention.