Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 23, 1954
NUMBER 33, PAGE 12-13a

The Holt-Welch Discussion

Paul Brock, Bradenton, Florida

From November 16-18, Brother Charles A. Holt engaged Mr. D. L. Welch in religious discussion in Marianna, Florida. Mr. Welch is a leading preacher and debater of the United Pentecostal Church. The discussion was held in the city hall with very good attendance and the finest order. Besides the many members of the church in attendance (some from as far as 350 miles), there were Pentecostals, Catholics, Methodists, Baptists and a variety of holiness groups.

The discussion was scheduled to begin on Monday, November 15. About seven o'clock Mr. Welch called, stating he had forgotten the discussion and would be there on Tuesday night. This is not the first time Mr. Welch has "forgotten" to begin a discussion. We know of two other times he has failed to show up, the last one being his debate with Brother G. K. Wallace in Vernon, Florida. Mr. Welch's attitude indicates his importance (?) and therefore, the reason he could so easily overlook a religious discussion — a discussion of issues which he termed the most important thing in the world, and the dearest thing to his heart. If other brethren happen to meet Mr. Welch, be sure to send him a telegram on the day of the discussion lest he forget the dearest thing in the world — to himself, and I suppose his brethren. Since Mr. Welch did not appear the first night it was decided by the Marianna brethren to have Brother Holt preach. We had an excellent service.

The first two nights of the discussion Mr. Welch affirmed: "The scriptures teach there is but one person in the Godhead, namely: Jesus: and that baptism must be performed in the name of Jesus only." Mr. Welch's whole contention for the unitarian theory rests in passages which show the unity of the Godhead. He referred to Isaiah 43, 44, 46. Brother Holt showed these passages to be a condemnation of idolatry, and that they were believed and accepted in fulness by the negative. In each passage introduced the plural word "Elohim" was used. The passages used by Mr. Welch were the very passages that condemned his theory.

Concerning baptism Mr. Welch referred to Acts 2:38; 8:12; 10:48; and Acts 19:5, affirming this was baptism in the name of Jesus only. Brother Holt showed that to be baptized in the name of Christ is to be baptized by his authority. He further showed that the passages Mr. Welch used, did not say simply "Jesus" or "Jesus only." Brother Holt then showed that what the preacher said in administering baptism (if anything), is not revealed in these passages or any other passages in the New Testament. Mr. Welch contends that one must say the name of "Jesus" and that name of "Jesus" only over the one being baptized. Brother Holt asked Mr. Welch to show one passage where the preacher ever said anything in baptizing. He pointed out that it is all right to simply state what one does in administering baptism. In administering baptism in the name, or by the authority of Christ, one baptizes into the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, Those who believe Christ believe what Christ said concerning baptism, and if they say anything in administering baptism, they simply state what they are doing, baptizing into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Mr. Welch asserted many times in the discussion that the "Philosophy of the Trinity" began with the Catholics. Brother Holt showed the truth concerning the Trinity was revealed in the Bible in Genesis one. He then showed that according to the Manual of the United Pentecostal Church, it was 1914 when Mr. Welch and the Pentecostals had a revelation for their doctrine of "Jesus only."

Mr. Welch accused the church of hating the name of Jesus and trying to get it out of the Bible. In making these statements he referred to the church as the bride of Christ. This was another mistake for Mr. Welch, for Brother Holt again confronted him with his own manual — this time on the name of the church, the Bride of Christ. Brother Holt showed that while Mr. Welch gets "worked-up" over the name of Jesus, he refuses to wear the name of Jesus; belongs to a human institution, wearing a human name.

In every passage Mr. Welch introduced in the New Testament concerning Jesus, Brother Holt showed there was at least one other personality mentioned and sometimes the third one. Mr. Welch affirmed that in Genesis 1:26, the creation of man in God's image was speaking of things to come as if they already were, and that the completion of man in God's image would be in the resurrection. (1 John 3:2.) Brother Holt showed the fallacy of this reasoning (?) by reading verse 27, showing that God had finished his work of creation. Brother Holt then called attention to the issue — "Who is the US in Genesis 1:26?" If Mr. Welch's contention had been true, he still had not answered the question of the "us." He never did directly answer.

Perhaps the most significant development of the debate was Mr. Welch's continued refusal to answer the question, "Was the Son of God all flesh, or was he diety?" He was also asked to give the meaning of the word Son. This he never did. It was shown that Mr. Welch's unitarian theory forces him to the position that the "Son of God" was not divine, but flesh and only flesh — the body born of the virgin Mary. One cannot believe the unitarian theory and believe that Jesus Christ was, and is the divine Son of God.

On the last night Brother Holt was in the affirmative. The proposition: "The scriptures teach there are three separate and distinct personalities in the Godhead; namely: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." Brother Holt presented about ten affirmative arguments. He began with Ephesians 4:4-6, showing the three personalities in Paul's seven ones. He showed that Elohim is plural in number and admittedly so by Mr. Welch and then made his argument on the plural word in Genesis 1:1. He then showed the plural pronouns used to refer to God show the three personalities. From a large chart, Brother Holt showed the three personalities at the baptism of Jesus, Matthew 3:14-17. He showed that Jesus was on earth and God spoke from heaven at the transfiguration, Matthew 17:1-5. Brother Holt made an argument on John 14:28, showing that Jesus recognized the Father as greater than himself. Jesus also prayed unto the Father, "... not my will but thine be done ..." (John 14:28.) Brother Holt used another chart based on 1 Timothy 2:5. The chart had God and man on opposite sides with the word "mediator" and a large question mark in the middle. Mr. Welch was called upon to tell, "Who is the mediator?" In answer to this Mr. Welch said it was "the man" and that it was the man who died. This was his admission that the Son of God was all flesh and only flesh. Mr. Welch made several quibbles in attempted answer to the affirmative and then went back into his little memorized speech. One thing to his credit, he has memorized it well. Brother Holt pointed out that Mr. Welch thinks that if one says a thing loud enough somebody will believe it, and they will. After much continued stating the Catholics started the doctrine of Trinity, Brother Holt borrowed Mr. Welch's Catholic book and read from the same paragraph showing it had been believed for the first four centuries — this was long before the Catholic Church came into being. Needless to say Brother Holt answered all of Mr. Welch's arguments and quibbles. In the last ten minutes of his last Speech Brother Holt gave a masterful summary of things we had learned in the discussion, summing up the arguments for truth and showing the false arguments of the opposition. This was Brother Holt's seventeenth debate.

It was a good debate, well received, appreciated by the brethren in Marianna, and those who came from other places. It was my good privilege to moderate for Brother Holt. Mr. Barnes moderated for Mr. Welch. A good discussion carried on as this one, will do good in any community. The truth has nothing fear anywhere, anytime, and Brother Holt is one of its ablest defenders.