"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.V No.IX Pg.6-7a
April 1943

Trusting Jesus

W. Curtis Porter

That a man who would be saved must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is distinctly taught in many places in the New Testament. Furthermore, for a man to "believe on the Lord" involves the idea of "trusting Jesus." But many people, including a host of preachers, have a very vague conception of what it means to trust Jesus. For example, the following quotation is taken from the pen of Ben M. Bogard in the Orthodox Baptist Searchlight, of which he is editor:

"I have had many debates with Campbellites and have charged them with not believing in Jesus Christ at all but simply believing the historical facts about Jesus. They believe in Jesus Christ just as they believe in the Devil; that is, they believe what the Bible says about Jesus just as they believe what the Bible says about the Devil, and hence they have no more faith and no different faith in Jesus than they have in the Devil. They do not have faith in Jesus in the sense of trusting him, relying on him for salvation."

This statement of Bogard gives the general idea of "faith alone" advocates. They claim there is nothing for you to do in order to be saved--just put your trust in Jesus and let him do it all. If anyone has an idea that he must render some sort of obedience to gospel commandments in order to be saved, they think such is an evidence of the lack of faith. If the man "trusted Jesus," he would not think of such obedience to the gospel. The statement of Bogard, as are many of his statements, is a base misrepresentation of the people whom be styles Campbellites. Those people do not "believe in the devil" in the same sense they "believe in the Lord." Certainly they believe all the Bible says about Jesus, and they believe all the Bible says about the devil. But that does not fully represent their faith. Not only do they believe all the Bible says about Jesus, but they also believe all that Jesus says. While they also believe all the Bible says about the devil, they do not believe all the devil says. So this point of difference makes a vast distinction between their belief relative to Jesus and relative to the devil. It is not merely a question of believing what the Bible says about Jesus. We must believe what He says. We must also believe what His inspired representatives say in the Bible. Bogard perhaps, believes all the Bible says about Jesus. (I would be willing to affirm, however, that He does not, for His "system of doctrine" is out of harmony with some things said about Jesus.) But if I should grant that Bogard and his people believe all the Bible says about the Lord, the fact remains that the Lord made many statements that they do not believe. So they do not believe all that Jesus says. How can a man claim to have faith in a person and then deny the truthfulness of plain statements made by that person? Yet that is the position of Bogard and the Baptists who claim to be "trusting Jesus." Not only do Christians (called Campbellites by Bogard) believe all the Bible says about Jesus and all that Jesus and His representatives say, but their faith in what Jesus says is so strong that it leads them to do what He commands, to obey his requirements. They do not have faith like this in the devil. They believe the facts that the Bible relates about the devil, but they put no confidence in the statements of the devil and certainly make no effort to obey His requirements. I wonder if Bogard, in spite of all his denominational blindness, is not able to see the difference here. There is a vast difference with reference to our faith as it relates to the Lord on one hand and to the devil on the other.

This brings us to inquire about what it really means to "trust Jesus." And to make some effort to find out who the man is that is actually trusting Him for salvation. After all, what did Jesus say about salvation? He said: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mark 16:16.) His representatives said; "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins." (Acts 2.38.) "Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins." (Acts 22:16.) "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us." (I Pet. 3:21.) Bogard does not even believe these statements. He will dispute and argue with the Lord about the place baptism sustains in the plan of salvation. He will try to explain away what the Lord plainly put into the scheme of redemption. Christians believe what they say but Baptists do not believe them. Which is the greater degree of faith? In view of these statements made by the Lord and His representatives, what would "trusting Jesus" involve? One man says: "Lord, I know that you put baptism between a man and his salvation and that your inspired ambassadors said to 'be baptized for the remission of sins' and to have our sins washed away,' but I do not believe all of that is necessary. I refuse, therefore to be baptized for the remission of my sins but just trust you to save me without my doing what you have commanded." And he sits down and waits for the Lord to do it all. Another says: "Lord, I know that you commanded me to be baptized for the remission of my sins, as well as to believe and repent of my sins. It is my desire to do all that you have commanded me. With faith in you as the Son of God, I have repented of all my sins, and am now ready to be baptized for the remission of sins,' trusting you to fulfill your promise in saving me when I have complied with your requirements." And he goes immediately and is baptized. Now, which of these men really "trusted Jesus"? Bogard says the first man "trusted Jesus" but the second man "believed in Jesus just like he believed in the devil." What do you say about it?

In the same article from which the foregoing quotation is taken Bogard also delivers himself in the following fashion:

"In debate with Joe S. Warlick some years ago he said if faith is all that is necessary to salvation, be had been saved all his life for he always had believed in Christ.' I told him that he did not believe in Jesus Christ now, much less believe in him all his life. He answered that he believed everything the Bible said about Jesus Christ and what more is necessary? I answered: Do you not believe all the Bible says about the Devil?' He confessed he did. Then I said: You have no more and no different faith in Jesus Christ than you have in the devil: Campbellites believe in the devil in the same sense they believe in Jesus Christ'."

"It were better to explain to Campbellites what faith means than to contend with them about the design of baptism and such like. They have never believed on the Lord Jesus Christ."

Of course, according to Bogard and the Baptists, "faith means" to deny what the Lord said about baptism and to refuse to submit to it "for the remission of sins," as the Bible commands, but to "trust" Jesus to save you without complying with his conditions of salvation. The people whom be calls Campbellites understand that "faith means" to take Jesus at his word and to do all that he has commanded, looking to Jesus for the blessing of salvation conditioned upon those commandments. In view of such it seems to me that someone should "explain to Baptists what faith means." These paragraphs from Bogard add nothing by way of argument that is not contained in the one already noticed, but I give them because of the reference to Bro. Joe S. Warlick. Whether Bogard correctly reported this debate matters not. I seriously doubt that he gave a full report of the matter, for I am sure that Bro. Warlick understood that to believe in Jesus means to trust Jesus; but I have an idea that he did not understand faith to mean to trust Jesus to repudiate his own will and save a man without doing what he commanded him to do for his salvation. And yet that is what Bogard thinks "trusting Jesus" means. But note that Bogard says concerning Christians: "They have never believed on the Lord Jesus Christ." And notice also that he told Warlick that "he did not believe, in Jesus Christ now, must less all his life." When I read this statement from Bogard I at once recalled another statement made by him when he learned of Bro. Warlick's death. It was made about eighteen months prior to the preceding statement. It is found in Orthodox Baptist Searchlight, issued of January 10, 1941, and is as follows:

"There is within me a feeling of distinct loss today for I have just received a telegram that my most valiant antagonist, with whom I had twenty-three debates, is dead. He died January 2, 1941, at noon. He and I had some hard contests and we did not give an inch in our sharp contentions with each other but our personal friendship grew with the years and we became as brothers in the flesh. We actually slept together while in one of our hardest-fought debates and I shall never forget some fine help he was to me once when I stood in need of just what he could do. He could easily have refused but he graciously granted my request. No matter what it was, it was a friendly turn he gave that has never been forgotten. He has visited in my home and I have been entertained by him. My reputation was safe in his hands. In spite of his heretical doctrine, I can but believe that he at heart trusted in my Savior and I expect to meet him over on the other side and we shall have a big time talking together in that place where we shall understand."

I am not concerned about what the request was that Bro. Warlick granted Bogard. I am glad that he was big enough to do it, whatever it was. But I am concerned about his statement relative to Bro. Warlick's faith. Look at it again: "In spite of his heretical doctrine, I can but believe that he at heart trusted in my Savior and I expect to meet him over on the other side." Now, I wonder just when Bogard thinks Bro. Warlick began to "trust in the Savior." At the time of the debate which Bogard reported he did not believe up to that time that Warlick had ever "believed in Christ." He thought then that Warlick had as much faith in the devil as he had in the Lord. Just when, then, did Warlick begin to trust Jesus? It would be very interesting to have Bogard to tell us. Did he give any evidence after that time that he had faith in Christ that he had not given before? Was it the granting of Bogard's request that caused him to conclude that Warlick had actually trusted in the Savior? I doubt if it is any of these things. In all probability if Warlick were living today and should engage Bogard in debate, Bogard would still say that Warlick had as much faith in the devil as he had in the Lord. But the "feeling of distinct loss" of such a friend and antagonist, upon hearing of his death, led Bogard to make a statement that he completely forgot eighteen months later when he said concerning Warlick and others: "They have never believed on the Lord Jesus Christ."

It is interesting too to note that Bogard expects to meet Bro. Warlick in heaven "in spite of his heretical doctrine." If the "doctrine" which Warlick taught was "heretical," then Warlick was a heretic, and such are not promised a place "on the other side." There are some things that men ought to understand "on this side." Even Bogard ought to understand that "heresy" is classed by Paul with "the works of the flesh," and that he says that "they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Gal. 5:19-21. He should likewise know that Peter declares that "false teachers" who "bring in damnable heresies" shall "bring upon themselves swift destruction." 2 Pet. 2:1. Furthermore, he ought to understand that Paul said: "A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself." Tit. 3:10, 11. Bogard thinks Warlick was this kind of man. He thinks he was a teacher of "heretical doctrine," hence a "heretic" who brought in "damnable heresies." Paul said such "shall not inherit the kingdom of God" and Peter said they will wind up in "swift destruction," but Bogard expects to meet one of them in heaven "in spite of" what Paul and Peter said. Paul ordered that such a teacher be rejected "after the first and second admonition," but Bogard, after twenty-three admonitions in public debate, still expects God to accept a heretic "on the other side."