Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 16, 1955

Grider-Ray Debate

Roy J. Hearn, Bowling Green, Kentucky

Brother A. C. Grider met F. L. Ray, Missionary Baptist, on apostasy, each affirming two nights. Discussions took place at Park Street Church of Christ here in Bowling Green, April 26-29.

Throughout the debate Mr. Ray advanced about two arguments, and used few passages to try to sustain them. He took the position that only the inner man is regenerated, that the body is unregenerated, depraved, and the only part of the man that sins, and that the physical body will be regenerated at the resurrection. He made complete distinction between the inward and outward man, and severed the two completely insofar as service to God, and sin are concerned.

Brother Grider completely demolished the feeble argument in his first speech. On a chart he showed we are to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God (Rom. 12:1), and that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are to glorify God in our bodies. (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19-20.) If the body is an unregenerated child of the devil, as Ray's argument demanded, then we have a totally depraved, unregenerated body as the dwelling place of the Spirit, being presented as a sacrifice to God. Brother Grider pressed Mr. Ray to tell if he was presenting his body a living sacrifice. Also, since Baptists claim they are saved and become members of the body of Christ before baptism, and that they must be baptized to get into the Baptist Church, then the bodies thus baptized were unregenerated children of the devil, hence, the Baptist Church was thus constituted. The conclusion was inescapable.

Ray's most used passage was 1 John 3:9. Brother Grider explained it clearly and then asked Ray to reconcile that with 1 John 1:8. He said the latter referred to the body, not to the spirit. Brother Grider asked him if the truth abode in the inward or outward man. Mr. Ray agreed it was in the inward man. It was then shown that by the pronouns we and us the passage referred to the inward man, therefore, if the inward man says he has no sin the truth is not in him, and the persons in the passage included the apostle John. This again refuted Mr. Ray's position that the inward man could not sin. Ray demanded one Bible example of an inward man in hell, and within a few minutes himself brought up the rich man of Luke 16. Brother Grider took advantage of it and showed this was plainly an example as demanded by Mr. Ray, hence, the possibility of apostasy upheld.

In Brother Grider's affirmatives he confined his arguments to an array of excellent charts. On one he listed twenty-nine passages showing eternal life was both conditional and future, either of which would refute impossibility of apostasy. On another he listed thirty passages giving things a child of God can do, any one of which would damn the soul. Mr. Ray ignored these completely, and gave only passing notice to a few others since he was hard pressed.

Jeremiah 7:9-10 was introduced and Mr. Ray was asked if he believed the passage. If he said yes, he condemned his doctrine and admitted he was trusting in lying words. If he said no, he would deny the Bible. He ignored it completely. The passage is an exact parallel to Baptist position on apostasy, and Sam Morris, Baptist preacher, and others, are on record as saying no sin from idolatry to murder will endanger the soul of a child of god. Jeremiah says to believe and practice such is to "trust in lying words."

Conduct on the part of Mr. Ray was unusually bad and was such as would give debating, a bad name. He resorted to slanderous remarks about a faithful gospel preacher, which were baseless, unnecessary and uncalled for, and when asked to sign his name to the statements made, refused. W. T. Russell moderated for Mr. Ray, and promised faithfully the writer and Brother Grider twice that he would make Ray behave, but instead of keeping his word, gave "amen" to Ray's slander, and told him in his last speech to say whatever he wanted to (as overheard by Brother Unifier).

The sessions were well attended, and in general conduct of hearers was excellent. Brother Grider conducted himself as a gentleman, and most agreeably submitted to suggestions by his moderator in trying to keep the debate on a high plane. Good was done in spite of Mr. Ray's conduct.