By David D. Bonner
In the last two weeks of October, Ronald Buxton, preacher for the Southside church of Christ in Duncan, Oklahoma and T. Grady McCord, preacher for the Jesus Name Church in Comanche, Oklahoma, engaged in an eight-night debate on the subjects of the Godhead (whether there are three persons or one) and what, if anything, one has to say while baptizing in order for the baptism to be valid. Buxton had done his homework well and presented the truth with clarity, using some fifty charts with logic and force. Not only did McCord not even try to meet the arguments Buxton presented, but the audience went away frustrated not even knowing what McCord believes on the Godhead. McCord defined “person” as one who has flesh and bones and affirmed there was no flesh back of Bethlehem. With his definition, Buxton was not able to get McCord to commit himself as to whether there was even one person in the Godhead before Jesus came into the world, or whether there is even one in the Godhead now, although by inferences it seems he may think Jesus is in the flesh now (?).
On the baptism question, McCord presented the four Scriptures (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5) which specifically state that baptism is in Jesus’ name and affirmed that is what the baptizer must say while baptizing. He affirmed the validity of baptism hinges on what is said at the baptism. Buxton ably proved that although one must be baptized in Jesus’ name, yet the Bible nowhere states what must be said, if anything, at the baptism, only what must be done. Buxton affirmed that all we do in word or deed must be done in the name of the Lord (Col. 3:17) and asked McCord if we have to say it for each act of worship, etc. to validate each action, to which McCord responded with silence.
Buxton conducted himself throughout the debate with dignity as a Christian ought.
In this part of Oklahoma, crowds where truth is discussed are never big but McCord’s people seemingly dwindled some during the debate; faithful brethren from the area attended consistently. The seed was sown so only time will tell what the results will be in the hearts of those who attended. Ben Roberson, who claims to have debated these questions throughout the years and moderated for other debaters who have met Guy N. Woods and others, moderated for McCord. I moderated for Buxton.
Truth Magazine XXIV: 49, p. 796
December 11, 1980