Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 17, 1951
NUMBER 3, PAGE 6,10b

Garner's Report As I See It

W. Curtis Porter, Monette, Arkansas

Last fall I engaged Vernon L. Barr, Missionary Baptist, in debate at Center, Texas. Mr. Albert Garner, thought by many Texas Baptists to be a profound scholar and known by many other people to be a common plagiarist, wrote a short report of that debate in the Missionary Baptist Searchlight, October 10, 1950, under the heading, "Barr-Porter Debate As I Saw It."

Mr. Garner, among other things, said: "Mr. Porter, when pushed, admitted that he always baptized a child of the devil, as long as even his nose was out of the water he was still a child of the devil." It has never been necessary to "push" Porter to get him to admit that he baptizes a child of the devil who is in rebellion to the devil and is no longer serving him, but who is obeying the commandments of the Lord. However, there was nothing said in the debate relative to his nose being out of the water. Yet, according to Baptist doctrine, a man cannot be a member of the Baptist church nor eligible to become the bride of Christ "as long as even his nose is out of the water." In his report Mr. Garner failed to tell his Baptist readers that Vernon L. Barr admitted that he had to baptize a child of the devil in order to baptize a child of God. He claimed the body, the outward man, remains a child of the devil till the resurrection, but he said he had to baptize this outward man in order to baptize the inner man—the child of God.

Garner also asserted in his report that Vernon Barr "established indelibly that Campbellites teach salvation by 'baptism only'." However, he failed to tell how Barr "indelibly established" that Barr, in the debate, contended that since, according to Porter, a man does not reach salvation at faith, or at repentance, or at confession, but at the point of baptism, then faith, repentance and confession have nothing to do with it, and it is salvation by baptism only. It is strange that a man who would have people believe that he is a profound scholar, as Garner would like to do, could see anything "established indelibly" by this sort of reasoning, except that it establishes the fact that neither Barr nor Garner know much about the principles of logic or Scripture. The fallacy of this kind of reasoning was "indelibly established" during the debate. I showed, according to this, that we have bread by "cooking only." We do not have bread when we plant the seed, nor when we cultivate the grain, nor when we harvest the grain, nor when the grain is ground into flour, nor when the cook makes the flour into dough, but we have bread when the cooking is finished. According to Barr, and of course, according to the great Albert Garner, this makes planting the grain, cultivating the grain, harvesting the grain, grinding the grain into flour and making the flour into dough altogether non-essentials. These things, according to them, have nothing to do with it and we have bread by "cooking only." Furthermore, I showed that the same system of reasoning would make Baptists by "baptism only." A man does not become a Baptist when he believes, nor when he repents, nor when he confesses, nor when he prays, but only at the point of baptism. Therefore, faith, repentance, confession and prayer have nothing to do with making Baptists—he is made such by "baptism only." To these parallels Mr., Barr paid no attention. He could not be induced even to mention them. That he could not set them aside was "established indelibly." Upon this system of reasoning one could prove that Naaman was cleansed of his leprosy by the "seventh dip only." He was told to dip seven times in the River Jordan. But cleansing was not reached at either of the first six dips. It was when he had dipped the seventh time that his leprosy was cleansed. So could be argued, according to Barr and Garner, that the first six dips had nothing to do with it—it was the "seventh dip only" that brought cleansing. Such methods of argument do not "indelibly establish" scholarship for any man.

Another paragraph of Garner's report reads like this: "Another concession by Mr. Porter that was laughable to the knowing was his diagram of Acts 2:38 in which he placed 'one' in apposition with 'Ye.' His line of argument required that 'one' was plural." Well, this diagram didn't seem to be much of a laughing matter to Mr. Barr. It stayed on the blackboard throughout the discussion on the baptism question without ever being questioned by Mr. Barr. If there was any defect in the diagram of this passage he made no effort to point it out. The reason, I suppose, was that he was not among "the knowing." But since Mr. Garner was there, and evidently he thought himself to be among "the knowing," I wonder why he did not suggest to Mr. Barr the defects to be found in the diagram. Certainly Mr. Barr needed some such suggestion. But if Garner made any such suggestion to him, it did not impress Barr sufficiently to cause him to make any reply to the diagram. Maybe it was not as "laughable" as Garner portrays it. To tell the truth Porter did not simply make "one" in apposition with "ye" and contend that it was plural. But the expression, "every one of you," was shown to be in apposition with "ye." "Ye (every one of you) repent and be baptized for the remission of sins." This makes "for the remission of sins" modify both verbs, thus showing that whatever baptism is "for" repentance is "for." And if "for" means "because of," then sinners were told to repent because their sins were already forgiven. "Every one of you" includes the same number of persons included in the pronoun "ye," and is used in apposition with this pronoun. But of course, according to Garner, this "was laughable to the knowing."

The expression, "every one of you," as used in Acts 2:38 is a translation of the Greek term "ekastos." Joseph Henry Thayer in his Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, which is recognized as the greatest New Testament Lexicon ever published, in defining this word, says: "When it denotes individually, every one of many, is often added appositively to nouns and pronouns and verbs in the plural number." Page 192. Baptist preachers claim that "every one of you" cannot be used in apposition with the pronoun "ye," inasmuch as "ye" is a plural pronoun. But Mr. Thayer, the great lexicographer, says that this expression "is often added appositively to pronouns in the plural number." Mr. Thayer says that it can be —and often is — used in apposition with plural pronouns. But Mr. Garner says that it cannot be so used — that to make such a use of it "is laughable to the knowing." We would have to conclude, therefore, that Mr. Thayer, the great Greek scholar, was not among "the knowing." However, Mr. Garner, one of the greatest plagiarists of all time, is among "the knowing and "laughs" at Mr. Thayer. The reader can decide for himself as to who is the greatest scholar, as to who is among "the knowing," Mr. Thayer or Albert Garner. If you have any difficulty in making such a decision, I am really afraid that you are not among "the knowing."