Two Calvinism Debates Concluded:
New Testament Christianity Set Forth; Day of Pentecost is Key; Results in Several Immersions
by John Doughty
December 21, 1999
The Churches of Christ were founded in debate. The great debater of the faith was the apostle Paul, God’s chosen vessel in declaring His name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. Paul “disputed” in the Lord’s name with the Grecians in Jerusalem, and with the Jews in the synagogue of Athens, as well as daily in the marketplace there, (Acts 9:29, 17:17.) In Ephesus, Paul’s mission was clear; “[he] spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God,” (Acts 19:8,9.)
The word “dispute,” DIALEGOMAI in the Greek, means “to discuss, argue, exhort, dispute, or reason,” and is the source for our word “dialectic.” This was the evangelistic approach employed by Paul. The idea of debate, based upon the Biblical “dispute” is not to be confused (as the archaic KJV appears to do in Romans 1:29 and 2 Corinthians 12:20) with the Greek word ERIS, which should be translated “strife.” While strife is condemned, the New Testament evangelist is admonished to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort,” (2 Timothy 4:2.) Certainly, both Peter and Paul advocated dialectic battle, called APOLOGIA, in 1 Peter 3:15, where Peter admonished to “be ready always to give an answer….” and in Philippians 1:17, where Paul declared, “I am set for the defence of the gospel.”
That the word “dispute” should be used in Acts 19:8 with “persuade” is very significant, because the word “persuade” PEITHO in Greek, means “to convince by argument.” The word PERSUADE is the same Biblical word that is also translated as FAITH, BELIEVE, and OBEY!! Vines Expository defines PEITHO as “bringing a change of mind by the influence of reason or moral considerations.” It is used of salvation, (Acts 17:4) as well as steadfastness (2 Timothy 1:12.) This is the language of God, according to the prophet Isaiah (1:18) who declared, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord…”
The New Testament days were days of persuasion, when the Word of God was central to all teaching and preaching, and was the criteria of spiritual discrimination. How noble were the Bereans of Acts 17:11 who “searched the scriptures daily” to see “whether those things were so.”
The Restoration Movement owes a great debt to preachers and thinkers such as Alexander Campbell, who put New Testament Christianity on the map with his famous debates, most particularly the Debate on the Roman Catholic Religion. Meeting Bishop John Purcell of Cincinnati in the city’s Sycamore Street Meetinghouse on January 13-21, 1837, Campbell distinguished the Church of Christ, founded in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, from the hierarchical institution which came into power a few centuries later whose headquarters were centered in Rome. For Alexander Campbell, the greatest way to restore the New Testament church founded in Jerusalem was to expose the apostate institution of Rome. Campbell believed that denominationalism would be abandoned for New Testament Christianity, only after exposing the false church.
At present remains a generation of Churches of Christ/Christian Churches who still subscribe to the term “Restoration” but whose doctrine (or lack thereof) far removes them from the Remnant ideal, that John revealed in Revelation 12, and with which Campbell so strongly identified. In many pulpits, the apostles doctrine has been deemphasized, even deposed. The pseudo-salvation of Augustinian and Calvinistic mysticism (feelings and experiences) has usurped new covenant ordinances. Postmodernism (the rejection of authority) pervades the church and has replaced the “whole counsel of God” with the philosophy of existentialism (no absolute truth) epitomized in slogans such as “don’t judge,” “just preach love,” and “we’re not the only Christians, just Christians only,” i.e. open-membership.
The real problem is that while the brotherhood remembers a Restoration, they have lost their Biblical identity as being the New Testament remnant of believers. Many cannot handle the responsibility that they are it! Is there any other type of Christian, outside of those whom the Lord adds (annexes) to His church? (Acts 2:47.) The sin of open membership is that it overides new covenant conditions. Should we have an inferiority complex if we happen to be the only people who still obey the New Testament commands? Can we handle the responsibility of obedience, even if the company is sparse? (Mt. 7:14.)
Enter Charles Doughty, an Ohio Golden Gloves boxing champion turned preacher, who for 40 years has earnestly contended for “the faith once delivered.” He believes that “Restoration,” has become too generalized, and has adopted this new apellative, “the Remnant” of Rev. 12:17; those “which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” This “Remnant” or “left-over piece of the original,” was pictured as coming out of the wilderness and overcoming the false doctrine which the dragon, Satan, had spewed forth.
In his past two debates, Doughty emphasized Acts chapter 2, underscoring the Church/Kingdom teachings from Acts chapter 2. He brought three indictments against Calvinists and Calvinism. 1. Calvinists do not know the difference between the Old and New Testament. (Christ’s blood, Heb. 9:15) 2. Calvinists do not know when the church began. (The day of Pentecost, Acts 2:47) And 3. Calvinists have no record of their salvation. (the water of baptism, 1 John 5:8.) Seeing clearly the blunder of Calvinism, several immersions resulted following the debate.
The necessity of disputing, persuading, and contending is clearly seen from the scripture. The Churches of Christ were founded in debate, from the days of the New Testament to the days of the Restoration Movement. The fruits of debate are still being realized today, where Berean-like people are investigating truth .
If opponents criticize or dismiss debate altogether, it is likely that they have been conditioned in humanism and no longer hold truth to be absolute. Absolute truth implies authority, and Biblical authoritativeness is considered bigoted and unloving today where the Word of God is made subservient to feeling and experience. Another category of people may subscribe to the idea of absolute truth, nevertheless find debate unproductive. This condition is symptomatic of those who are simply unskilled in the Word.
In this age of compromise and cowardice, Evangelist Doughty shows that there are still men to stand in the gap. May every New Testament preacher do the same. The end of doctrine and commandments is love, (1 Tim. 1:3-5, 1 John 5:3) which is the true love of God.
Debates & Discussions:
–Creation/Evolution Debate (C. Doughty/Fezer) Scientific arguments for creation, flood, & young earth.
–Theistic Evolution Debate (C. Doughty/Olmsted) Biblical arguments for creation, and against theistic evolution.
–Creation/Evolution Debate (Gish/Pigliucci) Scientific arguments for creation
–Creation/Evolution Debate II (Gish/Pigliucci) Scientific arguments for creation cont.
-Calvinism Debate I (C. Doughty/Jordan) Old/New, Hebrews Discourse, Pentecost
-Calvinism Debate II (C. Doughty/Sandlin) Old/New, TULIP Expose, Pentecost
-Pentecostal Discussion (C. & J. Doughty) 4 hr. discussion on Charismaticism, 100 pp.
-Pentecostal Symposium (C. & J. Doughty) updated to include correspondence with professors in the brotherhood arguing for the modern availability of the 1 Cor. 12 gifts.
-Seventh Day Adventist Discussion (C. & J. Doughty) 2.5 hr. discussion, 40 pp.
-Jehovah’s Witness Discussion (C. & J. Doughty/Henry)
-Jehovah’s Witness II Discussion (J. Doughty/Hayes)
-Roman Catholic [Prison] Discussion (C. Doughty)
–The AIDS Solution (C. Doughty) 192 p., Spiritual & social commentary book with extensive documentation from Leviticus & Deuteronomy. $6.95
-The Champ (J. Doughty) 120 p. biography of Homer Doughty, Chuck’s father, who was a famous Ohio Valley prizefighter from 1936-1941) $5.00
-“The Perfect Word of God,” (C. & J. Doughty) Christian Standard; Positive evidences for “the perfect” being the Word of God.
-“Apostolic Authority & Existential Christianity,” (C. & J. Doughty) Restoration Herald; A refutation of JBC Professor Carl Bridges, Jr.’s Master’s thesis ‘When the Perfect Comes’ and position in which Bridges says the perfect is not the Word of God, and gifts have not necessarily ceased.
-“Simonists,” A refutation of the position taken by KCC Professors Larry Chinourd & Steve Pattison’s in their Kevin Yeager Discussion (1993) that the perfect is not the Word of God and that modern spiritual gifts are not ruled out by the Bible.
-“Report of Doughty/Jordan Debate,” J. Doughty, The Compass, 4 pp.
-“Report of Doughty/Sandlin Debate,” J. Doughty, The Compass, 4 pp.
-“Report of Gish/Pigliucci Debate,” J. Doughty, The Compass, 4 pp.
–“Report of Gish/Pigliucci Debate II” J. Doughty, The Compass, 4 pp.