September 22, 2017

Report on the Belue-Childress Debate (3)

By Melvin Curry

This is the final article in this series. It is our prayer that the brief summary of material found herein will be useful to those who are called upon to oppose the errors of the United Pentecostal Church.

Jesus Is More Than Flesh

In addition, brother Belue completely destroyed Mr. Childress' contention that Jesus was merely "a human bodily form." He asked his opponent three questions: (1) Is a being with the ability to pray composed of flesh only or of flesh and spirit? (2) Is the body without the spirit dead? (3) Can a dead body pray?

Mr. Childress gave no significant answer to the first question. Perhaps he sensed the dilemma. But he could not avoid the last two. He agreed that the body without the spirit is dead, and that a dead body cannot pray.

In proof of the fact that the body without the spirit is dead, he quoted the words of Jesus on the cross, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mt. 27:46). According to Mr. Childress, when the Father forsook Jesus, the Spirit of God departed from the dead body suspended on the cross.

This was all brother Belue needed. Matthew 27:46 teaches that the Father had already forsaken Jesus at the time He spoke those words. The Eternal Spirit had already departed from the Lord. He was left alone. But He wasn't dead yet! Why? Because He had a spirit of His own. After lamenting His abandonment by the Father, Jesus "cried again with a loud voice" (v. 50), "and yielded up the ghost." Luke records what Jesus cried, "Father into thy hands I commend my spirit" (23:46). Certainly this wasn't a dead body praying to the Father! Yet, the Father had already forsaken Jesus. The truth is that Jesus possessed a personal spirit in addition to a "human bodily form." This spirit was still within Him and He commended it to the Father. Jesus was more than flesh.

Another passage which teaches that Jesus is more than flesh is Hebrews 10:5. Mr.

Childress had more difficulty with the argument based on this verse of Scripture than he did with any other argument on the entire Godhead question. Mr. Welch offered him no help; neither could any of the Pentecostal people engaged in friendly discussions offer any refutation of the argument. Its effectiveness was felt by all. Jesus said to the Father, "A body hast thou prepared me." This was diagramed as follows:

Whose Body Was It? 

Mr. Childress contended that Jesus was the "bodily form" of God. But if Jesus is the "body," who is the Me? It is an utter impossibility to make one person out of the Thou, the body, and the Me. Mr. Childress, desperate for an answer, perverted the passage making it read, "I prepared a body for myself." Brother Belue demonstrated the absurdity of such sophistry. James teaches, "the body without the spirit is dead" (James 2.26). Since Jesus is the "bodily form," and since the body is distinguished from the spirit (Me) in Hebrews 10:5, then Mr. Childress was forced into the position of believing in a dead God. This is the logical consequence of attempting to prove that there is only one person in the Godhead.

Conclusion

This was a splendid discussion in every way. Both men behaved themselves in a spirit conducive to honorable controversy, and the interest gained momentum from night to night. Much good has come as a result of the debate. Truth has nothing to lose and everything to gain in an open and honest public discussion.

Truth Magazine VI: 5, p. 13
February 1962

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