Vol.XII No.XII Pg.8
February 1976

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

Years ago a young, inexperienced preacher asked this young, inexperienced preacher to serve as his moderator in a debate. The subject was the Security of the Believer, and my friends opponent was well versed in debate maneuvers.

One night he drew a bottle on the chalk board, read John 5:24 (He that believeth... shall not come into condemnation-), put a B (for the believer) in the bottle, and sealed the bottle with a large stopper which he labeled, Gods SHALL NOT. Then he challenged my friend to get the believer out of that bottle.

What he didnt know was that these two young squirts had a large bottle-opener sitting in the pew behind us — the veteran, bro. J. Early Arceneaux. He hastily scribbled a note, Put the unbeliever in a bottle, and threw it over my shoulder. We got the point. My colleague drew another bottle, read John 3:36 (He that believeth not.. .shall not see life-), put Un (for unbeliever) in the bottle, and sealed that bottle with a stopper labeled, Gods SHALL NOT.

You get the unbeliever out of my bottle, and I will empty yours.

Debating was quite simple — with brother Arceneaux sitting close by. If man believes as an act of free-agency (Rom. 10:17), and thus gets out of the unbeliever category; he can shipwreck deny or err from the faith by that same free-agency (1 Tim. 1:5; 19; 5:8; 6:10 etc.), and thus get out of the first bottle. As long as the believer, or the unbeliever, remain in their state of faithfulness or rejection, as the case may be, the destiny of those in such states remain their God-appointed lot.

Our opponents fundamental theology was Calvinistic, and to remain consistent with this, he would have to say God elected and foreordained each individual to his final destiny, and there could be no bottle escape. But our respondent was committed to free-agency — at least in the matter of faith — so now he had to say the unbeliever could exercise such choice but the believer could not; or face a contradiction in revelation. (He put a new argument on the board, and forgot the one he erased.)

A little experience with those old arguments and recognition of where they lead, could keep neo-Calvinists of today from getting bottled up.