Reflections On Truth, October 1990

"Come, Let Us Reason Together"

by David Padfield

The prophet Isaiah pleaded with the people of God to return to Jehovah. Their sins had separated them from God (Isa. 59:1-2). The Lord begged His people to return to Him or else they would be "devoured by the sword." In the first chapter of this book we find the tender words, "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isa. 1:18).

On November 8 and 9, I will be having a public discussion with Don Phillips, preacher for the Terre Haute First Baptist Church. Don and I invite you to "reason together" with us as we discuss how those who have "sins like scarlet" can be made "white as snow." The propositions are as follows:

Proposition for Thursday, Nov. 8, 1990: "The Scriptures teach that water baptism is for (in order to obtain) the remission of sins." Affirmed by David Padfield, Denied by Don Phillips

Proposition for Friday, Nov. 9, 1990: "The Scriptures teach that salvation comes at the point of faith, before and without water baptism." Affirmed by Don Phillips, Denied by David Padfield.

The question before us is clear: Are men saved at the point of faith, or, are further acts of obedience required? We will be discussing the gospel plan of salvation as it applies to us today.

Before my first debate, someone asked me how he could tell who was the "winner." I suggested the only "winner" in a debate is truth itself. Unlike college debate teams, there will be no scorekeeper.

The audience will be required to remain quiet during the discussion. They will also be directed to carefully consider the arguments advanced by each disputant. They will be asked to consider whether the disputants answered each others arguments with fairness and candor.

There is a solemn responsibility on both disputants to conduct ourselves in a godly manner. Hedge's Rule Of Controversy states, "The parties should mutually consider each other, as standing on a footing of equality in respect to the subject in debate. Each should regard the other as possessing equal talents, knowledge, and desire for truth, with himself; and that is possible, therefore, that he may be in the wrong, and his adversary in the right." Mr. Hedge also states that "As truth, and not victory is the professed object of controversy, whatever proofs may be advanced, on either side, should be examined with fairness and candor; and any attempt to ensnare an adversary by the arts of sophistry, or to lesson the force of his reasoning, by wit, cavilling, or ridicule, is a violation of the rules of honorable controversy."

Location: Terre Haute is approximately 70 miles west of Indianapolis, Indiana,on Interstate 70. It is 170 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri and 100 miles north of Evansville, Indiana.

Accommodations: Several faithful brethren in the Terre Haute area have agreed to provide lodging for any Christian traveling to the debate.

Fellow Laborers: I have asked John Welch to moderate for me. John preaches for the High School Road congregation in Indianapolis, and has served as my moderator in two other debates. Harry Lewis, my fellow laborer in Evansville, will be my timekeeper and assist me at my table. Greg Gwin has agreed to run the overhead projector and keep my charts in order. Greg preaches in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Just as Paul urged the Ephesian brethren to pray for him, I solicit your prayers so "that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel... that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak" (Eph. 6:19-20).

For further study

remission of sinsSee related articles on this Debate on Baptism or download Charts from the Padfield-Phillips Debate. Over 120 overhead charts used by Padfield in this debate (PDF file size: 251k). You will need Acrobat Reader, available free from Adobe Systems, in order to view the charts.

"For The Remission Of Sins." A few years ago David Padfield wrote to several prominent Greek scholars and posed this question: "Is it grammatically possible that the phrase 'eis aphesin hamartion,' 'for the remission of sins,' as used in Acts 2:38, expresses the force of both verbs, 'repent ye and be baptized each one of you,' even though these verbs differ in both person and number?" This booklet contains photocopies of their responses and explains the phrase "for the remission of sins" in a very detailed manner (PDF File size: 640k).