header image
Home arrow Writers arrow Nichols-Holder Debate arrow First Night: Nichols' First Negative
First Night: Nichols' First Negative PDF Print E-mail
Written by Holder/Nichols   

 

Mr. Moderator, Honorable Opponent, Ladies and Gentlemen: It affords me very much pleasure to be here this evening to study the word of God with you concerning things eternal. It is a delight to have you present to study with us. I trust that, like Cornelius of old, we are “all here present before God to hear all things commanded.” (Acts 10:33.) It is a pleasure to contribute what we can to the enlightenment of the people on matters of religion. I am happy to meet my distinguished friend again in debate. I had a very pleasant discussion with him about six years ago at Tallassee, Alabama, and I believe we shall also have a nice discussion here. I invite you to come with a prayerful heart; bring your Bibles and pencils, take notes and study with us and let us get all the good out of the discussion that we can.

If we may be financially able to do so we shall publish this debate in book form, so that all may have further opportunity to study for themselves. I esteem my fine opponent very much; yet this debate is not to be a battle of roses, nor a mutual admiration contest. It is to be a real discussion in which we arc honest with each other and with you, and strive to present what is believed to be the plain teaching of the word of God.

I shall now pay attention to his speech as he delivered it. He argued that Christ, and Christ only, saves sinners. Now that is true, if he has reference to the one who does the saving. But Christ does not save without conditions. Christ saves after we meet the conditions, putting us in line to receive the salvation which is of Christ. I wish to join my friend in saying Christ is our Saviour, and that he must save, or we perish forever. We can‘t save ourselves in the sense that Christ saves men. I agree with my opponent on this—as he well knows.

He further showed that it is by the shed blood of Christ that our sins are to be forgiven—that his blood was shed “for the remission of sins.” (Matt. 26:28.) That is true; and I believe that just as much as my friend. But the issue between us is not about Christ shedding his blood for the remission of sins; but, is the remission of sins conditional upon man’s part? Must the sinner do anything in order to obtain the remission of sins, FOR WHICH HE SHED HIS BLOOD? And did he shed his blood for ALL MEN ALIKE? My opponent took the position that he did not. If he did not, why did he not? was it because he was not interested in all men? was it because he did not have the power to do it? was he not good enough to do it? why did he not shed his blood for all men, if he did not?

Has God ordained for us to do anything in order to receive the remission of sins for which the blood was shed? Must we believe as a condition? In Acts 10:43 Peter says, “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” But my opponent says the sinner receives the remission of sins while an unbeliever, and unconditionally on his part, and that one does not have to do anything in order to receive the remission of sins. Thus he goes back on the prophets, for the apostle Peter says every one of the prophets bore witness to the fact that it is the believer who is to receive the remission of sins, and not the unbeliever, as my friend teaches: “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43.) There is (1) “believeth,” and (2) “remission of sins” afterward, making belief a condition upon which we are to receive the remission of sins.

Then in Acts the second chapter we have the first sermon preached in a general way under the great commission, and when they heard and asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37), the apostle Peter said, “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.” (Acts 2:38.) Here they were to “repent and be baptized. . . for the remission of sins” for which the blood was shed. There is no remission without the shedding of the blood. Without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22.) Ho, the remission offered upon faith, in Acts 10:43, and this faith expressed by repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38), is the only remission promised because of the blood. God has not offered any other sort of remission—other than remission through Christ, and his grace and blood.

But my opponent says Christ meets all the conditions— that it is conditional on Christ’s part, and on his part only. Let us see about that: in speaking of both Christ and us the Hebrew writer says, “Though He were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” (Heb. 5:8-9.) My friend won’t accept that, but says “he is the author of eternal salvation unto sinners who have never obeyed him, nor met any condition.” He says Christ met all the conditions, and there are no conditions for us to meet. That is the difference between my opponent and the Bible. He says Christ died for our sins—gave himself for sins, etc. Yes, but how many of us? For how many sinners did he die?

He came to John 10:14-15, “I lay down my life for the sheep.” Christ was here talking to his disciples, not alien sinners and he laid down his life for them. But did he die for them only? Where is the passage saying he died for nobody but those disciples that he had there before the cross? And where is the passage that says the atonement was limited to the ‘sheep,’— his disciples? If he died for nobody but the ‘sheep,’ why does he command others to do something? Paul says God “commandeth all men every where to repent.” (Acts 17:30.) But it would do no good to command all men every where to repent” unless Christ died for “all men every where.” Now, let my opponent grapple with these things. Let him tell us whether “all men every where” are ‘sheep’ or not. If not, here God “commandeth all men every where to repent,” when he only sent his Son to die for a few, according to my friend. Why command all to repent if he did not provide salvation for all?

From Jn. 10:26-29 my friend made again his point about the ‘sheep.’ Well, Judas was one of the ‘sheep.’ Jesus sent the ‘twelve,’ including Judas, to preach—not “eleven,” but it says, “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Here are some “Lost sheep.” (Matt. 10:5-6.) “Lost sheep!” “Go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 10:7.) In verse 16 he says, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” So Judas was called a “sheep.” Was Judas saved? He was one of the “sheep.” (Mt. 10:5,16.) “All we like sheep have gone astray.” (Isa. 53:6.) So, we were all once lost ‘sheep ‘—gone astray— the whole human race.

In Matt. 25:31-46 Jesus shall at the judgment separate the ‘sheep’ and goats—saved and lost. Why were some lost? “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.” (2 Thess. 1:7-9.) Would it be fair and just for the Lord to punish sinners with everlasting destruction for not obeying the gospel if Christ had not died for them, and no provisions were made for the lost? Punish them for not obeying, when they would not have been saved, if they had obeyed, he thinks. My friend thinks they were born ‘non-elect’ and God never loved them, Christ had never died for them, and no provision was ever made for them!

In Isa. 51:11 “The redeemed of the Lord” are to come to Zion. Yes, my Friend, but not out of Christ. I also believe men are redeemed, but not until they get into Christ. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Col. 1:14.) Again, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Eph. 1:7.) So, “redemption,” and “forgiveness,” by the blood, are “in Christ,” and we must do something to GET INTO CHRIST. We are baptized into Christ. “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom. 6:3.) So we are baptized into Jesus Christ,” and “in” him we “have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Again, “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 3:24.) Paul says, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal. 3:27.) That was a baptism that was by faith. Verse 26 says, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” My opponent says you are not children of God by anything you do—you had nothing to do with it—and faith had nothing to do with it— he denies that we are “children of God by faith “—but says one becomes a child of God without faith. He says it could not have been “by faith,” and that they did not have any faith until after they became ‘children of God.” I want him to explain Gal. 3:26.

My friend showed that Christ entered into the holy place “having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Heb. 9:12.) He has obtained it for us, then we must obtain it from Him—be baptized into him—-where we obtain it from him.

“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I Jn. 2:2.) Yes, “OUR” sins—the Christians’ sins. My friend has been talking about “We” and “Us,” etc. “He is the propitiation for OUR sins.” But the rest of the verse says, “NOT FOR OURS ONLY.” My friend says it is for ‘‘ours only”—just for the ‘sheep “—just “ours only.” But it says, “Not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 Jn. 2:2.) He says he will tell us what the word “world” means—he will define it. Well, I will be at the defining!

He quoted how Christ made “one offering for sins,” etc. Or, “one sacrifice for sins.” But the issue is: do sinners have to do anything to be saved by that one sacrifice? That is the question.

Then Rorn. 5:8-10, “Justified by his blood,” and “Reconciled unto God by the death of his Son,” etc. I believe this as much as he does. But we are not “justified” without conditions on our part. Why, the very first verse of that chapter says, “Therefore being justified by faith “—without conditions? No. Without faith? No, that is the way my opponent teaches it! But Paul says: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1.) My friend finds that we are “justified by his blood” (verse 9), and stops at that; he has only half the truth about it—the atonement part, God’s side of it. He ignores the human side of the plan of salvation, and even denies that there is any human side to it, except just to “be saved.”

When the jailer asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30), my friend would have answered “Do nothing; just ‘be saved’—’just be saved!”

(Audience laughed.)

Nichols: I am not saying these things to provoke laughter; I think it would be better for us not to laugh during a religious discussion, any more than we would in a sermon.

The jailer’s question was an honest question. He inquired, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30.) My opponent would have said, “Why DO! You can’t ‘DO’ anything; Christ did it all—and we are here to tell you all about how he did it. You may be one of those for whom he did it, and you may not be; we don‘t know whether you are included in it or not.” But Paul and Silas knew Christ had died for all alike, and one must do something, so they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.” (Acts 16:30-34.) He is now an obedient believer in Christ—by faith he has obeyed the gospel—been saved on conditions.

My friend brought up Mk. 16:16 and saps he believes it, but that I don’t. I deny that he believes WHAT IT SAYS. Verse 15 says there is “gospel”—good news—for “every creature” in “all the world,” and he has no good news for any, but the ‘SHEEP’—said so in his speech, died for the ‘sheep’ only, no good news for all. But the passage says, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mk. 16:15.) There is gospel or good news for “every creature” in “all the world.” When Jesus was born, the angel said to the shepherds, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Lk. 2:10.) Not just for the ‘sheep’ only. My friend does not believe verse 15, nor the next verse in Mk. 16. He thinks one is saved first, then believes and is baptized because he is ALREADY SAVED!

He believes: He that is saved should believe and be baptized. Let him deny it! I now ask him: “do you not believe that one who is saved should believe and be baptized?” I want the answer in his next speech! Don’t forget it, Sir! Jot it down, so you won’t forget it! But the passage says, “HE THAT BELIEVETH AND IS BAPTIZED SHALL BE SAVED.” (Mk. 16:16.) It does not say, He that is saved shall believe and be baptized. Again, it says, “He that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mk. 16:16.) He does not believe that, but thinks the ‘elect’ will be saved in unbelief, and then believe because they are saved. That is his position. He does not believe what Mk. 16:15-16 SAYS.

Yes, Christ “knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. 5:21.) But we must get “into Him,” to be made righteous “in Him.” Paul says, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom. 6:3.) I trust this is good Scripture with my friend. Christ was “made unto us wisdom and righteousness.” (1 Cor. 1:30.) But we must put him on before we have that “righteousness.” “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal. 3:27.) So, we “put on Christ,” who is our “righteousness,” by being baptized into Christ.” I put on my coat by getting into it. We are “baptized INTO Christ,” thus put him on as our “righteousness.”

Rom. 5:19, “By the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Yes, it is by the obedience of Christ, but that does not exclude obedience of the sinner to Christ. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered: and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” (Heb. 5:8-9.) Now, I believe both of these scriptures, and my friend does not. He only believes the first one, and adds the word “alone,” or “only” or some such idea to that one, so as to exclude the other one and make it false.

Rom. 10:1-4. My friend thinks this is unconditional salvation. Paul says, “My heart‘s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” (v. 1.) “And have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God,” (v. 3.) That is something man must do to be saved—“submit himself,” etc. That is doing something to be saved, as I have just shown that upon a proper faith, repentance and confession we are “baptized INTO Christ,” where salvation is.

Yes, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Rom. 10:4.) Yes, “to every one that believeth,” not to a certain few or ‘elect’ who have not believed, and are in unbelief. This righteousness is “to every one that believeth “—you must do something—must become a believer. It is conditional, don’t you see?

Yes, Christ is the “mediator.” (1 Tim. 2:5.) As such he stipulated the terms—the conditions—upon which man is to be saved, when he said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized shall he saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mk. 16:15-16.)

He says Christ remits sins, and shed his blood “for the remission of sins.” (Mt. 26:28.) But I have shown that the sinner must believe in order to receive the remission provided by his blood. “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43.) This is the remission for which he shed his blood.

Heb. 10:14, “By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” Yes, but they are not sanctified without conditions on their part. Jesus said “Sanctify them through thy truth.” (Jn. 17:17, 19.) He said, “Thy word is truth.’’ Paul says they are ‘‘sanctified by faith.” (Acts 26:18.). One is not sanctified in unbelief and do-nothing-ism, as my friend teaches.

My friend says there is no general atonement either in the Old or New Testament. How did proselytes come in back there, then? “Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” (Mt. 23:15.) They had a system of proselyting Gentiles, and therefore the atonement back there was not for Jews only. Others could become as Jews. Were they righteous before God without an atonement?

Jn. 17:11, “Those thou hast given me.” But he had given him Judas, as one of them, and he was lost. The next verse says, “Those that thou gayest rue I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition.” (Jn. 17:12.) My friend says Judas never was saved! Well, he was one of those given to Jesus.

That is my reply to his speech. Now, here are some negative arguments. God loved the whole world, and made belief in Christ necessary to everlasting life. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The next verse says, ‘‘God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (Jn. 3:17.) Again: “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the saviour of the world.”  (1 Jn. 4:14.) “World”—not just ‘sheep’ or ‘elect.’ Christ died for all who were dead in sins: “We thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.” (2 Cor. 5:14-15.) Let my friend deny it!

Christ died for the world, all without life, not the ‘elect’ only. “The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (Jn. 6:51.) Let my friend say the ‘world’ is only the ‘elect.’ Again, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor: that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Heb. 2:9.) Speaking of God, the American Standard Version says, “who willeth that all men shall be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4.) Then verses 5-6, “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all”—not just the ‘sheep.’

A man for whom Christ died could be influenced to so sin as to be destroyed—lost. “DESTROY NOT him with thy meat, FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED.” (Rom. 14:15.)

Again, sinners are to be saved by the gospel. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:16-17.) One is not saved before, and without, the gospel. “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, and which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved.” (1 Cor. 15:1-2.) My friend denies it. He thinks one is saved without the gospel, and that even if the Bible were destroyed, it would have nothing to do with salvation.

Again, the sinner must hear to be saved. “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22-23.) Why destroy them for not hearing Jesus, if be did not die for them, and if they were not in the atonement, and if God never loved them?

My friend does not believe the sinner remains lost for not doing something—for not believing, but: “He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God.” (Jn. 3:18.) My opponent teaches that the lost see and receive life without believing and in their unbelief—get life before faith. But “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (Jn. 3:36.) Paul says, “We have access by faith into this grace.” (Rom. 5:2.) If no faith, then no grace. Paul says, “Therefore it is of faith that it might be by grace.” (Rom. 4:16.) Again, “By grace are ye saved through faith.” (Eph. 2:8.) Not saved before faith, but “through faith,” and that makes it conditional on our part.

Moderator:    Raps for time.

Nichols: My time is up, and I thank you. I hope you will listen as well to my friend.

 

Last Updated ( Friday, 05 January 2007 )
< Previous   Next >

Purpose

The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.