A Universalist-Baptist Debate Re-created
This is a dramatic re-creation from the second day of a six-day debate between a Universalist and a
Baptist in Mississippi that occurred in Mississippi in July of 1907. It is a late example of an evangelistic
tool that Universalists used widely during the nineteenth century.
Length: About 40 minutes, although introduction and discussion should ideally be included, and that
would take it to about 50 minutes +/-.
Rev. A.G.Strain, Universalist
Rev. J.J. Porter, D.D, Baptist Minister
Staging: Usually done “on book” so that familiarity with the script is important, but memorization is not
The presentation can be done with no special costuming, although the addition of at least some
suggestion of period dress and props can add atmosphere. “Props” could include one or two Bibles for
the two debaters and a stack of books representing “the representative theology of his people” that the
Baptist debater refers to. Furniture would include a chair for each debater, a lectern or pulpit, and
possibly a table.
The exchanges excerpted are taken from the second day of a six-day debate near Ellisville, Mississippi,
in July of 1907. The issue under debate was, “The Bible and reason teach that all men will finally be
made holy and happy.” We have no information about the Rev. J. J. Porter, D.D., the Baptist speaker.
The Rev. A. G. Strain, the Universalist, was an itinerant southern Universalist preacher. He was the son
of the Rev. B. F. Strain (Universalist), and was named for the Rev. Almon Gage (Universalist). People
who as children knew him describe him as a tall, kindly man, with a sense of humor. (“I’m not sure
about going to heaven because I can’t play the harp and I don’t like ambrosia, but if they have
watermelon and let me play my fiddle it will be all right.”)
The debate was apparently taken down by a stenographer. It was published in a book of slightly over
290 pages in length.
Such debates were frequently used by Universalists to spread their views. This excerpt from one debate
can offer some insight into how this mechanism might have worked.
Although the proof-texting by both debaters sounds very ‘retro’ to contemporary Unitarian Universalist
ears, careful attention reveals some interesting thinking by the Universalist: “I do not want people to
think that Universalism teaches that salvation is going somewhere . . . what I mean by salvation is this -
hungering and thirsting after righteousness.”
Gordon Gibson has presented the debate at three of the congregations once served by A. G. Strain, and
one time one of Strain’s granddaughters introduced the performance.
Over many years and in many places Universalists engaged in debates with their orthodox Christian
opponents. It was believed to be an effective tool for spreading the message of universal salvation.
Today you get to go back over a century in time and listen to a portion of one such debate.
In July of 1907 there was a debate over the course of six days between the Rev. A. G. Strain,
Universalist, and the Rev. J. J. Porter, D.D., a Baptist. The proposition that they debated was,
“Resolved, that the Bible and reason teach that all men will finally be made holy and happy.” The
debate was held at the Burruss Memorial Universalist Church near Ellisville, Mississippi.
There obviously was a stenographer on hand to record the debate. In due course the debate was
published. It ran to 293 pages of fine print.
The Rev. A. G. Strain was the Universalist debater. His father, the Rev. B. F. Strain, had also been a
Universalist minister serving southern Universalist congregations. Some people who have heard re-
creations of this debate remember the Rev. A. G. Strain as their childhood minister. They tell of a tall
man with a gentle sense of humor. The congregations that he served in his career ranged at least from
North Carolina to Texas.
We know little or nothing of the Baptist, the Rev. J. J. Porter. It appears from comments in the debate
that both men were circuit riders.
Now, use your imagination to place yourself in the sanctuary of a rural church. It is July 16, the second
day of this debate. We will pick up with the Rev. A. G. Strain’s second speech on this second day of the
debate, defending the proposition that “the Bible and reason teach that all men will finally be made holy
In answering my brother’s remarks I shall introduce some new scriptures, because when I can make the
Bible answer, or when the words of Scripture answer a question as well as I can answer it in my own
language, I generally use these words.
I doubt if he feels just exactly easy after making the remarks that he did about a personal devil, for after
asking me if I believe in a personal devil and obtaining my negative to the same he proceeded to try to
make it appear that I denied the existence of the devil altogether. I do not think the brother can feel
exactly right over that. If he will tell me where his personal devil was created and who created him, I
shall be very much obliged.
Further than this, if he will tell where and when his endless hell was made, I will be still more obliged,
for I fail to find any account of this in the account of the Creation in Genesis. It seems that these were
forgotten in the enumeration of things created; and then in looking over the map I fail to find them on
the map, and I did not find nor see so much of them now in the imagination of the people as I used to, so
they seem to be fast fading away altogether.
He claims that I introduced Scriptures that belong to him. I wonder if he thought I would use an
almanac in this debate. I feel I have a right to use any passage in the Bible, and if there is one passage in
the Bible that contradicts another, then I would have to doubt the whole. I find it as easy to prove
universal salvation from the threatenings of the Bible as from the promises of the Bible. I do not look
upon the Scriptures as contradicting each other -- one being on one side and the other on the other side.
That will not do. Christ said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not
shall be damned,” showing that there was to be a division at some time, some to be saved and others
damned. Again Christ also said, “If I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all men unto Me.” This “all
men” includes the saved as well as the damned, and I must believe both of these Scriptures or turn the
witness out of court altogether. I therefore accept both Scriptures as true, one to be fulfilled at one time
and the other at another time.
It is strange to me that when positive proof is presented of universal salvation that some people will look
sad. If I believed in the endless reign of the devil; if I believed that there was a single individual; yes, if
I believed that there was a single animal anywhere doomed to the endless torture, consigned to endless
flames, whose cries for mercy would only serve to sink him deeper into an awful abyss of agony -- if I
believed that, I would never smile again, and there is no doubt in my mind but that this infernal doctrine
has done more to fill the lunatic asylum than any other cause under heaven.
My opponent quotes: “those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh and the lusts thereof.” I would
like to know how many people who are present can claim to be Christ’s under this test. I want you to
quit looking at somebody else’s faults for a moment, turn your eyes back and answer me the question,
and be honest about it, God being your judge, have you crucified the lusts of the flesh? Have you no
fleshly desires? No selfish desires? Are you free from those things? Be careful how you answer. God
knows whether you are telling the truth or not. I am afraid my brother is not Christ’s if it takes that to
make one Christ’s. I believe that Scripture; I believe all that is necessary to make one holy and happy,
and I stand before you with the words of Paul. Without holiness no man can see the Lord, and if my
brother is not entirely free from love of selfish pleasures, from the lusts of the flesh, if he has not entirely
crucified the flesh with the lusts thereof, according to his argument he never will do it for he claims that
there is no chance beyond this life. He will go on and die in that condition, and I am afraid hell would
be crowded. It would be worse than this schoolhouse if all had to go to hell who have not fully crucified
the flesh and the lusts thereof in this life. He made this remark. I quote his exact words. No one can be
Christ’s without he has crucified the lusts of the flesh. I want you to think of that. Have you ever
crucified the flesh and the lusts thereof? I came before you to prove that in God’s good time this will be
accomplished. We do not know how long it will take.
Let me say, my friends, I trust that we shall be honest and sincere in this discussion. We are dealing with
tremendous issues -- heaven and hell; life and death are involved. What I want to know is what God
reveals in this Book. I want to know the truth, and if God teaches that the impenitent sinner is lost, not
only for time but eternity, I will believe it and preach it, because it is God’s truth; and so far as reason is
concerned, I like reason, but nothing is better than the Bible; but if my brother has any reason that will
overthrow the Bible, let him bring it. I am open to the truth, and regard facts wherever presented. I am
not afraid of theory. I have no sympathy for abstract things. I can dodge a theory, but I cannot dodge a
fact. I am held responsible for facts and if there are any facts in this book that prove the doctrine of my
brother’s proposition, I shall ever be grateful to him to bring these out.
Now let me notice some things my brother said. In his opening remarks he said, “I do not know why
God created evil.” Will you say, beloved, that God Almighty created evil? You say that you do not
know why He created it, come out and say that He did create it! Implying that God did create sin and
evil! You said that God made the chaff as well as the wheat, and that he made evil men. The chaff
represents wicked men, and because He made these wicked men He will put them into unquenchable
fire, for being just exactly what He made them! Is that logic, eh?
What has the deity of Christ to do with this discussion? He does not accept of Christ’s deity in his
teaching. I have the representative theology of his people, and the deity of Christ is not accepted in their
doctrine. I am not here to expose what I believe to be the errors of Universalism from his standard. I
have the standard writers and books on theology, and I am not merely after him as to their theology, but
after the representative men and the standard teachers. This discussion is going into book form, and
thousands of people will read it who know nothing about the theology of Universalism. I am exposing
what I believe to be the fallacy of Universalists from headquarters and not merely from this brother way
down here in the piney woods.
Now Brother Porter wants to know if I will take my stand on the statement that God created evil. I will
turn it over to Isaiah and leave the matter to be settled between Isaiah and Brother Porter.
Isaiah 45:7: “I form the light and create darkness. I make peace and create evil, I the Lord do all these
Brother Porter insinuates that Universalism takes people to heaven without repentance. I wish my
brother could get this into his head. I hate to have to repeat it so often, but I do not want people to think
that Universalism teaches that salvation is going somewhere, and it must be that the people of this
congregation understand that what I mean by salvation is this -- hungering and thirsting after
righteousness. As I have already quoted, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after
righteousness for they shall be filled.” No matter where they go. This is to be the condition of people
when they are saved, and I would just as soon go to hell as to heaven, so far as that is concerned. It
doesn’t make any difference where I go. It is what I am and I am glad that I have the power and
privilege to teach that salvation consists in the changing of the rough nature so that instead of pursuing
the awful filthy habits of gambling, drinking and all of these filthy things, that to be saved is to be above
these base desires and be filled with desires for righteousness.
Now, to show you again what I mean by universal holiness and happiness I will quote from a Baptist. It
is strange that a Universalist should quote from a Baptist, isn’t it? Yet I am going to do that this time. It
is the first Baptist of which we have any record. He was a Primitive Baptist. Here is what he says. It is
recorded in Luke 3:5-6. “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low,
and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see
the salvation of God.” It seems from this that the Baptists in those days taught what Universalists teach
at the present time. This is to be the condition when Christ has made an end of sin and brought in
Mark you, he said that he did not care whether he went to heaven or to hell. I would not be surprised if
you did not get your desire. Now, in all frankness, I am uneasy about you. You say that you had just as
soon go to hell as to heaven where the river of life flows from the throne of God. What kind of man are
you anyhow? Did you mean that, beloved? He says he did. Up there in heaven where the tree of life is
and where the angels sing, and where Jesus has prepared a place for those who love and serve him;
where the river of life flows from the throne of God as clear as a crystal, and where every saint is at rest
and there is no more trouble.
He had just as soon go to hell where there is not a drop of water to cool a fellow’s tongue! If you are not
choice as to the place, I am afraid you will go down instead of up.
When I asked him to take the position that God created evil he read from Isaiah. Well now you know
that the word “created” here does not mean that God brought evil into existence and that he created evil
in the sense of producing it and turning it loose in this world. That Hebrew word means that God
permitted it to come, or do you know the Hebrew? Take a position here and say that the word “created”
comes from a word that implies that God Almighty created evil in the same sense that He created good.
You bring up the proof and say that it does. It is mighty easy to dodge behind an illustration or a
translation that does not convey the idea.
To review his last speech, I will say that I am sorry that he is not up to now on the subject of hell. It
appears that he is badly behind from a statement that he made that there was not a drop of water in hell.
The latest on the subject of hell is that that place has been converted into a beautiful park, and looshus
grapes are growing there, and there is a railroad built right through the place so that preachers can go to
hell on reduced fare. Now way down here in these piney woods that my brother has so sneeringly
referred to, he comes before you and when he is confronted with a passage of scripture that perhaps his
attention has never been called to, and having to say something on the spur of the moment without
having time to study about it, he says I go behind the Bible. Do you remember how he spoke to me and
said, “Will you take your stand on that, that God created evil?” Why he seemed so fully wrought up
when I said God created evil that I did not take any stand myself, but put the prophet Isaiah between me
and the dear brother. I said, “I will leave it with you and the Prophet Isaiah,” and I quoted Isaiah 45:7.
“I form the light and create darkness, make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things.”
Brother Porter says that is a mistranslation, and denies that God did create evil. When I examined the
matter, I found that he spoke altogether without authority -- that he did not know anything whatever
about the translation. I find the Hebrew word rendered ‘create’ in Isaiah 45:7 to show that God created
evil is the same Hebrew word used in Genesis 1:1, “God created the heavens and the earth.” My
opponent will say that is a mistake, I reckon -- a mistranslation. Again, it is the same word that is
translated ‘create’ in Genesis 1:21, “So God created the great whales,” the same word. So if it is a
mistranslation in one place I suppose it must be in the other, and my brother would have to stand before
you now, unless he retraces his steps and acknowledges defeat in this, and say, “No, God did not create
great whales.” Further than that, it is the same word that is translated ‘create’ in Genesis 1:27, “So God
created man, both male and female, in his own image.” It is the only Hebrew word that is anywhere in
the Old Testament translated or rendered ‘create.’ So my brother would have to say, “I do not believe
the Lord created anything, for the wrong word is used there.”
Now he has a proposition on his hands way down here in the piney woods, as he has so often spoken of
it. It is rather strange to find these things way down here in the piney woods. I want to say that this
community is famous for its good schools. Most anywhere in the state, you can hear of the good schools
at Union, and I am fully convinced that these good schools are detrimental to the doctrine of endless
misery. So if you want your people to believe in endless misery, do not have good schools.
Let us accept the plain declaration of God Himself that He created evil. Let my brother come up to the
proposition and see what he can do with it. I hope he won’t dodge the matter any more but come right
square up and show the people what he is able to do with it. That would cause him to appear more like
an honest inquirer after truth.
Had the people of this community not wanted something else besides the books that anybody can read,
they never would have called him here in this discussion, and while I do not wish to boast at all, I do
claim the right to think, and when I have an idea of my own, thank heaven I live in a land where I am
allowed to express it, and it is his duty to come up to this proposition and meet my arguments.
I repeat the question, if my brother is not holy now, and there is no chance to get holy after he leaves this
world, and there is no chance to see God without being holy, how does he ever expect to see God?
My brother has not quoted a passage, neither can he get one, to show that there is no change beyond this
life. Let him try it. Come up now and show that it is all limited to this world. Not a single passage can
he find. I will tell you what I think about it. When a preacher wants to make a good scare and cause a
great stir among the ignorant masses he assures the masses that there is no chance for reformation except
in this world and if they do not make confession now, they will be denied the privilege of reforming
through all eternity and many are thus scared into a false confession. The truth is, we are in eternity now
just as much as we will ever be and the change that we call death is the change from the bondage of
corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Although I am not able to tell the exact time
when all men will reach that condition, I have faith in God that these will some day reach it, because
God has sworn that all men will have righteousness and strength in Him and thus be holy and happy, and
he has all eternity in which to bring it about.
I am sorry that my brother again had to misrepresent my cause in saying that Universalists say that all
men will be saved whether they are right or wrong when he knows that my position is that being saved
means being right.
Salvation consists in being holy, absolutely free from all that is sinful. That is the salvation that I
contend for. No Universalist ever contended for any other salvation. It is absolute purity, so that when a
man is saved he is raised above these wicked desires, hence John said, “Behold the Lamb of God that
taketh away the sin of the world.” Taketh away the sin of the world, for as long as there is sin in the
bosom of man there is no salvation. And the salvation that I am arguing for, pleading for, working for,
giving all the energies of my life for is this: A complete deliverance from all sin and selfishness. If I can
get a man to quit using tobacco, he is saved from that much. If I can get him to stop drinking whiskey,
he is saved from that much, and whenever I, as an instrument in the hands of God, succeed in getting
men and women above all the sinful things of life, then I have accomplished, or been the instrument in
the hands of God to accomplish, their salvation. That is salvation. That is what I am fighting for, and
universal deliverance from all these evils by some means must and will be effected.
Now let us take up that issue about God creating evil. I said when he introduced that piece of scripture
to prove from his standpoint that God Almighty created evil in the sense of sin, namely evil, that the
construction of that scripture and also the meaning of the Hebrew word “barah” would not prove that
God was the Creator or the author of evil -- moral evil or sin, and if he will refer to Mr. Young’s Analytic
Concordance, he will find that the first definition that his book gives there of this Hebrew word “barah”
is to prepare. That is the first definition. to prepare. Second, to form. Third, to fashion. Fourth, to
create. Now it is a very serious and fearful thing to charge God Almighty as being the Creator of sin,
when it is stated positively in the Bible that God Almighty hates sin. If He created evil and sin and all of
those vile wicked things that we have in this world, then why did He hate that which He created? The
meaning of that word in Isaiah 45:7 is to allow, to permit, to bring or create evil upon wicked people.
He creates or prepares or forms evil in the sense of punishing them in the way of bringing war and
destruction upon them. Let me read a statement from Amos 3:6, “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city,
and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city and the Lord hath not done it?” There is an
indication of war. That is the way God fashions or prepares evil upon wicked people. That is the sense
in which God produces evil and prepares or forms or fashions evil, not that he made the devil who is the
Do you believe that God made the devil, brother? You say that God created evil, and in the Bible the
devil is spoken of as the evil one. Do you believe that God created him? I say that God did not make
the devil, and I say that God did not make sin. If God made the devil, what did he make him for? Why
did He drive Adam and Eve out of the garden and would not let them go back, if he created the thing
that they did? Why did He punish them for it?
Let me turn over here and prove point blank that my brother has misrepresented God and charged him
with creating all the iniquity that we have in this fallen world. Genesis 1:31, “And God saw everything
that He had made, and behold it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
Did you ever read that, beloved? He was speaking of all that He ever created. This book of Genesis
means the Creation or beginning. God saw everything that He had made, and He said that it was good.
Did God make evil? If He did, then He said it was good, and what are you fighting against sin and evil
for when He said that it was good? Now that is your theology.
Now I will briefly sum up my arguments. You will no doubt remember that I said that our first parents
met with a certain punishment and that this punishment was administered in love, because God loved
them, and they were driven from the Garden of Eden in order that they might not partake of the tree of
life. I do not know what that was, but God saw fit for them to be turned away. It was not the thing for
them to take hold of just then, therefore they were sent out. As proof that this act was prompted by the
father’s love for his erring children, we have a figure saying that God made them clothes of skin. This is
a token of a father’s love for his children, and shows us that God drove them out because he loved them
and was looking out for their interest. It is needless for me to say that I have proved beyond controversy
that God would punish every individual being for all of his sins. This my brother has not even attempted
to show was false.
If punishment is inflicted from a spirit of retaliation and revenge, then Christ did not preach right when
he gave the sermon on the Mount. If He consigns people to torture, that is fiendish of Him. That is
retaliation. If you wrong me, I will wrong you -- you know that is not the spirit of Christianity. I have
shown that the punishments inflicted by our heavenly Father are inflicted because he loves the ones
punished. I have shown instances where this punishment has brought about obedience, and argued that
as it has done in the past so will it continue to bring about obedience in the future, and this is in perfect
harmony with the sermon on the Mount. When He said, “Love your enemies,” He breathed the spirit of
the gospel, and God must act in accordance with the principle of the gospel by loving his enemies. It
would not do for Him to contradict the doctrines that Christ laid down in that memorable sermon,
therefore He cannot inflict an endless evil. He must overcome evil with good, just as He has
commanded us to do.
A thought occurs to me right here. Someone has intimated, and they have shown how little they know
about a debate, by intimating that I ought to follow my brother on his remarks concerning the deity of
Christ. That is not in this discussion, but remember this, that I have quoted scriptures regarding that that
my brother refused to answer. For instance, that Christ prayed to God. Would He pray to Himself?
Christ was born of a woman. Was God born of a woman? Christ said, “Of myself, I can do nothing.”
Would God say of Himself, “Of myself, I can do nothing”? Why, it is the very height of folly to be
talking about Christ being God.
You will remember that I made his favorite proof text prove Universalism. Matthew 25:41, “Then shall
he say to them on the left hand, depart from me ye cursed into the everlasting fire, prepared for the devil
and his angels.” I showed how this was full of love and beauty, and he strives to make it show that God
is fiendish and brutal.
I argued to show that this fire as well as the fire mentioned in Romans 12 by Paul were representative of
God’s infinite love. This seems so plain to me when Paul says, keeping in harmony with the sermon on
the Mount, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger feed him. If he thirst, give him drink, for in so doing thou
shall heap coals of fire upon his head.” This is the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels,
and manifesting this fire the devil and his angels are completely burned up, and I labored, and think I
showed to every reasonable man this this kind of conduct, prompted by the love of God, will subdue all
I would say here, friends, that if somebody commits an offense against you, I wish you would try it. If
somebody commits an offense against you, remember it. Don’t get fiery like my brother’s God.
Remember that you overcome evil with good, do not try to retaliate like his God, but as the God of the
Bible keep your senses just as our Savior manifested that everlasting fire from the cross, you manifest it
toward those who have offended you.
Hear him: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” You will find this kind of conduct
subdues all the hatred that your enemy holds toward you. This everlasting fire that you manifest,
kindled or prepared for the devil and his angels, this everlasting fire will subdue all the evil or chaff that
is in the bosom of your enemy, and you will make a Christian of him. This is the means by which the
gospel is bringing to obedience every wandering son and daughter of Adam.
You will doubtless remember that I showed from a quotation from Revelations how a false worship
brought about torment day and night, and referred to the fact that many people in this community who
formerly believed in an endless hell were so tormented during the time that they were worshipping the
beast that they were made to come to themselves. They rose superior to the worship of the beast and
commenced to worship the one true and living God, of whom, to whom, and through whom are all
I have argued the salvation of all men from the punishment of the wicked for this reason as much as for
any other: I do not want my children, or your children, to grow up with the idea that they can do
meanness and then shift the punishment off on Christ or any other innocent being. I think that is a cause
of a great deal of crime -- the idea that you can commit sin with impunity -- commit sin and then let
Christ step in between you and your punishment and receive all your punishment and you go free. Such
is the damnable doctrine of substitution or vicarious atonement.
I would love for Brother Porter to feel good. I would hate for him to leave here feeling so keenly the
pangs of defeat, but friends, I cannot give up the truth to accommodate him. I love the truth better than I
love Brother Porter and for that reason I am going to fight to the finish, and I assure you there is no truth
in his proposition.
My brother is through with his proposition. His arguments and his proofs are before you. You are the
jury to decide whether he has proved it or not.
He says that I dodged on that issue of God creating evil. I will let the published discussion show
whether I dodged on not.
He turned to John 1. That first chapter of John says that Jesus was the word, the divine “Logos,” the
Word that was in the beginning, the Word that was with God, the Word that was God, was made flesh
and nothing was created that he did not create. According to this scripture Jesus Christ was God.
Brother, will you say that Jesus Christ was the son of a man, and that Joseph was His Father?
I do not know.
God was not His father, was He?
Well, was Jesus Christ the Son of a man?
Who was his father? Joseph?
He says that Jesus Christ was the son of a man and will not say God was His father, and if Jesus Christ,
the eternal Logos here, which John says was God, and had creative power, and created every thing that
was created, and if he was simply the Son of man, then you have Jesus Christ the Son of a fallen woman.
I warm up when it comes to an issue as to whether my Lord and Master is God’s Son. He is the only
begotten Son of God, and no man can be saved through Jesus Christ that denies his deity. Remember
He said that John the Baptist was a Universalist. John said to some of those Scribes and Pharisees,
“Except ye repent you cannot escape the damnation of hell. Ye are a generation of vipers, and the axe is
laid to the root of the trees. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the
fire.” Did you ever hear a Universalist preaching that kind of teaching, telling people that if they did not
repent they could not escape the damnation of hell? My brother, that is the doctrine you have been
denying here. You say that a man can die in his sins and God will raise him to a life of holiness and
happiness. There is no repentance in the resurrection when God raises men to holiness and happiness.
There is nothing in the grave or in the state of death that he can do, and yet John the Baptist told these
men that if they did not repent they could not escape hell.
He says that hell is a place of “looshus” grapes and fine sparkling, trickling water, but John the Baptist
talked about the fire of hell, and John talked about Jesus Christ who was greater than he and whose
shoes he was unworthy to loosen, and he said the He would burn up the chaff with fire unquenchable.
You say that John the Baptist was a Universalist. John the Baptist baptized in the River Jordan. The
best man that you have in your community has never been baptized. I never saw a better man than this
brother here. I hope he trusts in Jesus Christ for life and salvation, and that he believes that Jesus Christ
is the Son of the Living God. Yet you have never baptized him, and did John not baptize people? John
would not have said that there was nothing in baptism. Jesus Christ commanded people to be baptized,
and yet you will not baptize them. You set aside that commandment and do not observe it, and let me
ask, ladies and gentlemen, in all candor, if a man can throw out a part, can he throw out the whole of the
Bible? If you can throw out one verse of the Bible, can you not throw out more and more, and finally
you will have the Bible all torn to pieces. You had better let John the Baptist alone.
Adam and Eve sinned. He went back to that again. Adam and Eve sinned, and God drove them out. I
do not know what that has to do with this proposition. God drove them out of the Garden of Eden, and
they were cursed, and the earth was cursed, and they had to go out and earn bread by the sweat of their
brow, and confusion and strife resulted, and yet, according to his theory, God created all this. God
created the sin that Adam and Eve committed, and then drove them out of the Garden for exercising the
very thing that He Himself created. And you say God created that! He turned to 1st John to prove that.
Then he created that sin?
If it is evil, he created it.
Then why did God punish Adam and Eve for the thing that he created?
He punished them for the same reason that He punished Pharaoh after He had hardened
God created the sin and had Adam and Eve to commit it, and then He punishes them and all
of their posterity for doing just what God did Himself. If that isn’t a dilemma I never saw a brother in
one. God created sin and then cursed them for committing sin. He said, “If you do this thing ye shall
surely die.” You talk about an unjust God and an impartial God. God here creating the sin that men
commit and pronouncing it good, and because men exercised it, He let sin and death and punishment
come upon them. Everything that God created was good, and He created sin, therefore sin was good.
Adam and Eve exercised a good thing and God cursed them and cursed all the generations of the earth
after them. That is his theology. It will be a wonderful thing to read in print.
Now, my friends, I want to thank you for your kind attention, and I want to assure you that Brother
Porter and I deeply love each other. I have no ill feeling toward him and have no idea that he has toward
me, and I do not think the congregation ought to be more affected than we are. It won’t hurt much if
you get mad at us, for we are not here much of the time, but don’t fall out with one another. You keep as
cool and friendly as Brother Porter and I, and this debate will do good. It is going to be read by many
and great benefit will be derived from it. Don’t talk about it in a way that will cause you to hate each
other, but strive to feel that as God is the father of all, we are all members of one great family and should
love each other accordingly.