Debate on the Deity of Christ

By Gene Frost

For years I have tried in vain to get John Welch, of Indianapolis, Indiana, to engage in a written and oral study of the deity of Jesus. He has been adamant in his demand to set every condition for a debateformat, propositions, and place. I have concluded that John Welch will never debate under terms fairly and mutually determined.

Finally, it has come to this: if there is to be a debate on the deity of Jesus (which we believe is sorely needed in order to offset the gross distortions emanating from the Welch party, to clearly set forth the issue, and give occasion for a public scriptural refutation of the heretical position being espoused by them) we would have to meet John Welch on his terms. Therefore, we acquiesced and on August 31 we submitted to him his propositions for debate. On September 24, he accepted. On November 10, the Expressway church in Louisville, Ky. offered their building for the discussion, to be held the third week of May. I accepted immediately. As of November 28, when no word had been received from John Welch, Greg Litmer (evangelist with the Expressway church) telephoned John. John wanted a later date, the third or fourth week in June. The elders of the Expressway church agreed to the third week, and since John Welch has no further demands, the debate is scheduled.

The propositions to be debated are:

(1) “Resolved: The Scriptures teach that the inner being of Jesus, his Spirit, was unchanged when he came to earth.”  Gene Frost, affirms; John Welch, denies

(2) “Resolved: The Scriptures teach that when Jesus came to earth his spirit was changed.”John Welch, affirms; Gene Frost, denies

The debate will be conducted June 19-20, 22-23, 1995, in the building of the Expressway church of Christ, 4437 South Sixth St., Louisville, Ky.

John Welch has had his way in arranging this debate. He has his propositions, his format, his place (he demanded Louisville), and his time. And, as one of his associates said, he has been preparing for debate “for nearly five years”; I am now beginning my preparation (I never get serious about a debate until propositions are signed). Yet, he writes in Faith and Facts that I have “every advantage”! My first reaction was laughter . . . but, then, you know, in a way he is right: I have the advantage: I have the truth! And he knows it, and this is why he has tried to assume the position we defended at Beaver Dam, Ky., which he denied, and ever since has desperately tried, but without success, to push the opposition into another position.

It should be an interesting discussion.

Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 1 p. 24
January 5, 1995