Maxey - Hughes Debate

Second Affirmative
to the Second Proposition
by Michael Hughes

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Good day to all our readers. I must once again beg your indulgence for the delays that I have caused this debate to suffer. My wife went into the hospital last week with what turned out to be a very, very nasty virus. She went into the hospital at 1:00 AM on 10-19-02 and was not released until 2 PM on 10-25-02.

While running back and forth between the hospital and home I myself became ill and spent several days in bed when not at the hospital. My wife finally went to work yesterday, but I woke up with a very severe sinus headache and ended up spending another day without accomplishing much at all. At last however we are all well . . . and hopefully will remain healthy for a while. I really feel that we have already had our share of fall/winter illnesses.

Anyway, thank-you for your patience and tolerance of the delays and hopefully we will complete this debate this week so that those waiting so patiently can proceed with theirs.


I have determined from brother Maxey's arguments, both while he was in the affirmative, and especially in his recent negative response to my article, that I really do not need to write this article at all. I have intended to do it the entire last week and a half, however have been prevented from being able to do so by any number of circumstances completely and entirely beyond my control. Since my intentions were real and sincere and it was not my fault it is still just the same as though I had already written the article! Hard to believe? Brother Maxey says it is so! Look at paragraph's five and six of his first negative. He states that, "Thus, in a way, one can correctly declare that the act itself has ALREADY been performed WITHIN THE HEART . . ."

Now, since this is the case, then I am not really late with an article at all! Nay! In fact, I really didn't need to write it at all, because Al should have known what I was going to say and should have already written his response last week. Then, since my intent would still have been what it ought to be, and I was still prevented from following through with my intent, then Al should have just written his final negative since, once again, It was just as though I had already written my final affirmative, thus the delays are not my fault at all they are really Brother Maxey's!

Now there is not a reader one that doesn't recognize the above for what it is which is a complete farce. This is, however, exactly the argument that Brother Maxey has made in regards to the necessity of being baptized. He has ridiculed this necessity as merely "getting wet" (see his statements in paragraph thirteen of his negative) without realizing that it is "the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Remember 1 Peter 3:21 where we are told that "baptism doth also now save us" and that it is NOT merely "the putting away the filth of the flesh." It is not merely getting wet, yet that is how Brother Maxey refers to it.

He says that I am preaching to the choir, that I spent a considerable amount of time and space demonstrating the need for baptism. He says that he concurs with me. (Note paragraph twenty-two). Readers, Al does NOT concur with me. He spent three affirmative articles trying to prove that God would save without immersion and in his response to my affirmative he flat out denies the necessity. Note the following statements. "It is simply a fact that the outward demonstration is merely a refection of the already present inner reality." (Paragraph 17).

"Baptism is not a work that must be accomplished so we can earn or merit our salvation. Baptism is a response of faith. It is a demonstration of faith. It is a manifestation of faith. But, it is our FAITH, in conjunction with His grace, that saves us, not the demonstration itself. Immersion is merely a visible manifestation of that saving faith." (Paragraph 18)

Does that sound like someone that believes that baptism is a necessary part of God's plan of salvation? It does not to me. It sounds like that Baptist doctrine of salvation by faith only! Every Baptist I know would shout Amen, Hallelujah, to that statement. How in the world one can claim to believe that baptism is a necessary part of salvation (and Al, that is too what this debate is EXACTLY about) and then turn around and make the above statement is an absolute amazement! I am reminded of the words of James once again. "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." James 1:8 KJV. With that, also the admonition, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." James 4:8 KJV. Don't you suppose part of the drawing near to God, cleanse your hands and purifying your hearts would consist at least in part of teaching ONLY that which is contained in the word of God without giving contrasting opinions based on feelings and emotions? I would think so.

Now, before I proceed to my affirmative arguments, I feel that I must first deal with some statements of Al response to my affirmative, which actually turned out as more of a continuation of his affirmative argument than a response to my affirmative. However I do feel there are some items that need to be addressed.

In paragraph two Al makes an argument based on Matt. 12:34-35. He states that the fruit is merely a reflection of the tree. The fruit is good because the tree is good. We need to recognize that Al is arguing from the perspective that one is already right simply because his intent is good, but do you remember the fig tree? There was a tree that gave every appearance of being a good tree, yet it was without fruit. What happened? Was the appearance sufficient? If it were, then why did Christ curse it so that it withered and died? (Lk. 11:12-23).

What about the branch that does not bear fruit? What occurs to it? It is cast out! John 15:2. But what if it intended to bear fruit and simply was not able to because it was prevented by circumstances beyond its control? Would it not then, at least according to Al, be a "foul and fiendish" (para. 11) husbandman (which by the way represents the Father) that cuts that branch off?

Al states in paragraph five that "Obedience to the Lord is a demonstration of a heart already committed to such obedience. Compliance flows from an established commitment of heart. The former will never truly occur without the latter." I have no disagreement with this statement. Never have. In fact, as Al noted, much of the definitions of my terms points to this very fact. The difference that Al and I have is this. The latter (commitment of the heart) will never be acceptable without the former (compliance). This my friends is what Al does NOT believe. He believes that commitment without compliance is sufficient. That one can be saved because they have faith whether they have obeyed the Gospel command to be baptized or not.

Now, he wants to qualify that with special circumstances, or at least what he defines as special circumstances, by saying the person has to be actually standing in the water or is under the water, but not yet risen up out of the water, but suddenly dies. These circumstances claims Al are sufficient for us to teach that God will save that individual even though he has not complied with the commands of Christ.

I am aware that I am having to make negative arguments here, but the style of Al's response to my affirmative requires it, but consider this. If Al is indeed correct then we are obligated to assume, believe, and teach that God will save that individual. He would, according to Al, be a "foul and fiendish Father," if He did not. If that is the case, then God has to also save the one that is on the way to the baptistery. He has to save the one that cannot make it on that day, but has every intention of doing it Sunday, but dies prior. If he does not, then he is a "foul and fiendish Father" as well as a respecter of persons. Since He makes one exception, then why not another. Since He knows the heart of every person then He would have to save the one that has died never having heard the gospel, because he knows that person would have obeyed if he had heard.

I once had a young man come to me that was concerned about his Uncle. He had been talking with him, but the man had committed murder and did not think God would forgive him. The nephew asked me how he could possibly reach him. I gave him several passages about Paul and the promises concerning forgiveness. It was perhaps two months later that I happened to ask the fellow about his Uncle and how things had gone. The young man was devastated. He told me that he really believed that those verses would have reached his Uncle, but he had been prevented with one thing and another and had never gotten the chance to talk to him. Several weeks before his Uncle had died in a fire in his home. The young man had a real difficulty dealing with and told me that he would never ever delay talking to a soul again. I told him that we learn from what mistakes we make, but that sometimes we are not responsible. I also told him that his Uncle was responsible for his soul regardless of whether or not he got to him with those additional verses. According to Al's doctrine I should have told him that things were fine that God knew his Uncle's heart and if he really would have responded to those verses then He was saved even though he didn't ever actually obey the gospel.

Dear readers, you must recognize that this is the impact and implication of the doctrine that Al Maxey is promoting. When he denies that a person will be lost that has under "special circumstances" not obeyed the gospel then he HAS to also defend the salvation of every other circumstance as well. It would never end. He states that I must prove that there is not an exception to the rule (paragraph 22) to prove my proposition and that I have not done so.

I will tell you flat out that the proof that there is no exception is that God did not give us an exception! When there were exceptions God noted them in His word. Ye shall perish . . . except ye repent (Lk. 13:3). Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another committeth adultery . . . except for the cause of fornication (Matt. 19:9). Ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven . . . except ye be converted and become as little children. (Matt. 18:3) No man can come to me . . . except the Father draw him. (John 6:44). A man cannot see the kingdom of God . . . except he be born again. (John 6:3) A man cannot enter the kingdom of God . . . except he be born of water and of the spirit. (John 3:5)

There Al, readers, there is the only exception that you will find in the Bible regarding baptism and salvation. "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." John 3:5 KJV

Now, what are you going to do Al? Are you now ready to argue that there is an exception to the exception? Perhaps, to deny this argument you are prepared to argue that there are those in heaven that are not in the kingdom?

The silence of the scriptures is deafening. God gives exceptions to a number of things. He has told us what those exceptions are as noted above. What stands out, glares, shouts its absence is an exception to one needing to be baptized to be saved. It is no where to be found. I do not have to prove what God will not do. I have already proven in my first affirmative what God said he will do. Now I have proven that God has not provided anywhere an exception to what He has said in this regard even though He has provided exceptions in other matters.

In affirming my proposition I have offered proof of what God said he would do. Al says he concurs, but denies it. Now in my second affirmative I have shown what God has NOT said He would do, Al will have to deny it or concede. In my final affirmative I will show why God said what He said. I will, of course, show this by what God has said concerning it.

Before I conclude I would like to remark on one other thing that Al offered in his "negative" arguments. In paragraphs fifteen and seventeen, he attempts to bolster his intent about intent being sufficient by giving the example of adultery in the heart and one dying while in the process of undressing a woman. In the case of the latter he asks if the sin of adultery would be counted against him. Fornication certainly would be, wouldn't Al? Do you think that God really is concerned with the specific sin involved? The man is committing sin regardless of what you wish to call it. I would call if fornication, which by the way is sufficient to permit his wife grounds for divorce.

In the former case however, Jesus never says that adultery actually, literally occurred. He said that it occurred only in the heart. Nowhere is there evidence that adultery in the heart is sufficient grounds for divorce. There is an obvious difference between the two. However, even should you want to argue the point, it is moot. I do not think that you want to go to the extent that you are about to extend yourself to here. If thinking about having sex with a person (looking upon her with lust) is adultery, literal and actual and is a parallel to baptism and salvation then you must be ready to argue that simply thinking about being baptized is sufficient for one to be considered saved. The fact that there is no literal adultery occurring by the way does not negate the sin involved. We are responsible for what we think as well as what we say as well as what we do.

Thank-you once again for your attention.