By: Daniel Denham
Stop the presses! Here is a newsflash concerning Mac Deaver’s doctrine that Holy Spirit baptism occurs today and is necessary for one to experience the New Birth! Weylan Deaver, Mac’s eldest son, has falsified his daddy’s teaching on the subject! More to follow!
Of course, Weylan is completely unaware of the fact that he has done so, as also his father. For people who pride themselves as logicians, they, in fact, both have missed the clear implications of some of their own teachings elsewhere on the subject of salvation bearing on this newest peccadillo from Mac’s furtive mind. But nonetheless it has been done. But first we must back track a bit to bring everyone up to date on the matter.
A SOUND ARGUMENT ON THE FALSIFICATION OF THE DEAVER DOCTRINE
Several months ago I posted on Face Book the following notification on my page for public access:
Mac Deaver's present day Holy Spirit doctrine is falsified by one precisely stated question. True or False. One must be in Christ in the sense of being in the spiritual body of Christ as per Ephesians 1:3 and Ephesians 1:7 in order to receive the remission of sins. Mac teaches that one receives the remission of sins first in water baptism and then is regenerated in order to enter into the spiritual body of Christ, the church, through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. To draw out the point a bit, please consider the following hypothetical argument. If it is the case that the remission of sins can only be received initially at the time one enters into the kingdom (Eph. 1:3, 7), and if it is the case that the time of entering into the kingdom entails the regeneration of said individual (John 3:3, 5), then it must be the case that the receiving of the remission of sins by and the regeneration of said person must occur at the same instant.
The hypothetical statement can be easily set up in a Modus Ponens form syllogism with the statement comprising the Major Premise, the antecedent (the "if" portion, also called the protasis in grammar) comprising the Minor Premise, and the consequent (the "then" portion, also called the apodosis in grammar) comprising the Conclusion. As a Modus Ponens form in classical logic, it would be formally valid. The conclusion then follows. As the texts cited show, the premises would also be true. Thus, the conclusion would be true. The argument then is materially true and thus a sound argument. The conclusion is true, and so Mac's teaching must be false.
In short, consider: Major Premise: If the Mac Deaver doctrine of present day Holy Spirit baptism is true, then the doctrine that alien sinners receive the remission of sins before and without entering the spiritual body of Christ is true. Minor Premise: The doctrine that alien sinners receive the remission of sins before and without entering the spiritual body of Christ is not true (Eph. 1:3, 7). Conclusion: Therefore, the Mac Deaver doctrine of present day Holy Spirit baptism is not true. This argument is in the form of Modus Tollens and is formally valid. The premises are also true. So the argument is materially true and thus sound! Mac's doctrine is thoroughly falsified.
As of this writing, Mac has not even attempted to engage logically the sound argument posted above and made available to him through various sources. He really cannot answer it. He has resorted to what has become a standard reply from him on anything he really cannot answer. It is the hackneyed claim that something in the argument is “imprecise.” He will not show why he deems it as ‘imprecise.” It just is, because he says it is. That is just a dodge. It sounds good in sophistry, but it does not read well in print. Mac knows that a sound argument has been made against his doctrine, and so does Weylan! This is because they endorsed the very same argument in the writings of one, Thomas B. Warren, as shall be shown! But first let us consider the attempted rebuttal that the phrase is too “imprecise.”
MAC DEAVER’S ATTEMPTED REBUTTAL ANSWERED
One of Mac’s acolytes, Marlin Kilpatrick, was notified of this particular argument against Mac Deaver’s Spirit baptism doctrine. At first, Marlin, to his credit, acknowledged that the argument was very problematic for Mac’s teaching, but then he went to Mac to clear up the problem for him, as Marlin has repeatedly done when the Scriptures and logic clash with the new theories of his mentor. What was the devastating answer that Mac gave to Marlin to clear up his problem? As Marlin quoted him to others, “The phrase ‘in Christ’ is just not precise enough!” The poor apostle Paul, upon whose writings and use of the phrase and its equivalents the argument is based, did not have Mac Deaver to tell him to be more precise. What an amazing condition of things! We have to find out from Mac what Paul really meant to say but was too imprecise in saying it himself! Mac has already affirmed that Philip messed up in Samaria by not baptizing the Samaritans by expressly saying “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” so that Peter and John had to come all the way from Jerusalem to correct the matter (Except, 151-162). Now, he implicitly edicts Paul and the Holy Spirit who inspired him for imprecision in his teaching! Can you believe it? But such is the implication of Marlin’s recounting of Mac’s “explanation.” Let them iron it out between them!
Now, to be certain, Mac will claim that the argument’s use is too imprecise, and not Paul’s use, but it will be observed that the argument specifically is based on Paul’s use in Ephesians 1:3, 7. Clearly, these verses use the phrase in an adverbial, locative sense, which means that Paul is locating where “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3) and “redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph. 1:7) are to be found. They are “in Christ” thus meaning they are in His spiritual body, which is the church (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). One receives these blessings when he is baptized in water into Christ to put Christ on, according to Galatians 3:26-29. Well, that is quite precise in force, is it not? And quite easy to grasp! The idea of incorporation into Christ, i.e. His spiritual body, is the significance of this typical Pauline use of the phrase and its equivalents. If one is in Christ, He is in the church. If one is in the church, he is in Christ. The phrases “in Him” and “in Whom” used in Ephesians 1 simply reflect the same basic incorporative idea as “in Christ.” This is precisely how the argument employs the phrase and its equivalents. Thus, the claim by Mac is false. The rebuttal fails.
If one is in the Christ and thus in the church, it must be the case that when he enters into Christ he also enters the church. Further, when he enters the church, he necessarily also enters into the kingdom of God, which is the church on earth today (Matt. 16:18-19; Col. 1:12-13). If he is in the kingdom, he therefore must also have experienced the New Birth, as that is essential for one to enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5). One cannot be in the kingdom without having been born again – born of both water and the Spirit. But Mac admits that when one is first lowered into the water, he receives immediately the remission of sins, even though Mac also contends that such a one is not yet a Christian, despite having the remission of sins, and must then be baptized in the Spirit to be regenerated and thus become a Christian. Mac claims that the man who has remission of sins without being a Christian, a member of the Lord’s church, is a “saint.” He is a “saint” but not a child of God, according to Mac Deaver’s doctrine. (Biblical Notes Quarterly, 2011, p. 14).
The argument shows, as Ephesians 1:3,7 teach that when one receives the remission of sins he necessarily becomes a child of God because he is now “in Christ” by the same process and at the exact same point in time. When he enters Christ, his sins are forgiven, and vice versa. As a result, he also becomes a child of God “through the faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26-29). The latter phrase is again an adverbial, locative construction telling where one becomes a child of God “through the [Note the Greek article, HDD] faith” or Gospel system. He receives the blessings pertaining thereto. He is an heir “according to the promise.” So, the Deaver doctrine of present day Holy Spirit baptism to regenerate people as children of God is a false doctrine. Mac cannot answer that, which, I strongly suspect, is one reason he pulled out of the debate. He would have to deny the obvious to hold to his error.
ANOTHER PROBLEM FOR MAC CREATED BY HIS OWN WRITINGS
The position taken by Mac in his 2011 BNQ article is also directly contradicted by that taken by him in his first book on the Holy Spirit, which is titled The Holy Spirit (Center of Controversy – Basis of Unity) and published in 2007. On page 301, in describing the process of being baptized in water and then the Spirit, he writes:
As a man’s body is lowered in the water, when it is submerged in the water, the Holy Spirit submerges that man’s human spirit within himself to change his nature. And at the precise moment when God considers that man no longer sinner but now saint, at that precise instant, the regenerating submerging Spirit moves from the outside to the inside of that heart (Tit. 3:5; Gal. 4:6). Less than this we cannot write; more than this we do not know. (301).
It will be observed that (1) Mac clearly implied that the Holy Spirit is operating initially on an alien sinner directly and immediately while the sinner’s body is immersed in the water of baptism. That entails a direct, immediate operation of the Spirit on a person who is still in the world as an alien sinner. But Mac admits that those who are of the world cannot receive the Spirit (John 14:17). He also affirmed here (2) that the reception of forgiveness of sins and the regeneration of one’s human spirit occur at the same “precise instant.” He says that “…when God considers that man no longer sinner but now saint, at that precise instant, the regenerating submerging Spirit moves from the outside to the inside of the heart…” So, there is no time difference between forgiveness and regeneration according to this statement. Thus, Mac stands here in direct contradiction with his position in the BNQ article that affirms that the alien sinner is first forgiven or cleansed of sin in order to become a saint, and then the new saint is immersed in the Spirit in order to be regenerated and become a child of God – a Christian. (3) Mac implied that he knows that what he has written here in 2007 on this point is the truth and he cannot write anything less than this on the matter and be true to it. Yet, within 5 years his known truth changed, and he is now affirming that one can be a saint first but a Christian later! Simply, amazing!
This metamorphosis in his doctrinal “truth” was necessitated by his realization of the self-contradictions in his prior “truth.” Now, he wishes for us to accept the conclusion of this new “truth,” which he has come to hold. But he still offers the proviso that even that “truth” may have to change as he comes to greater realizations and new conclusions through his continually receiving new insights directly from the Holy Spirit in his studies of the subject. As he claims this does not entail new information, it must be the case that his mental capacities are being enhanced by the Spirit with these new enlightenments. But new self-contradictions have arisen, despite such advancement in his brain power.
Perhaps, it was the realization of this glaring self-contradiction between Mac’s 2007 book and 2011 article that moved him to submarine the debate that we had agreed to hold. At any event, it is clearly a self-contradiction that refutes his doctrine. If he asserts his 2007 teaching stated above is true, then he implies a direct operation on an alien sinner. If he asserts that his 2011 doctrine is true, thus making the distinction between one being a saint and one being a Christian under New Testament law, then he implicitly admits that he taught false doctrine in 2007, of which he has not repented, and really did not know what he claimed to know at that time. It then begs the question: Does he really know that the 2011 doctrine he is teaching is true or do we have to wait for the next evolutionary stage of Mac’s Spirit baptism doctrine to get closer to the truth?
WEYLAN DEAVER’S REVIEW OF THE WARREN BOOK
Now Mac’s eldest son, Weylan, has added to his father’s discomfiture over the subject – again, unknowingly, but quite effectively and even with his father’s tacit approval no less. In fact, Weylan actually falsified his daddy’s teaching before I did!
In October of 2012, Weylan wrote a review of Thomas B. Warren’s book The Bible Only Makes Christians Only and the Only Christians on behalf of the journal for the Warren Christian Apologetics Center. This review was reprinted in the October 10, 2013 online edition of the Biblical Notes Quarterly, which is operated jointly by both Mac and Weylan Deaver. It was obviously approved by Mac Deaver himself for republication in his own journal. Thus, in effect, Mac placed his own imprimatur on the observations of Weylan who gave Warren’s book and Warren himself a glowing endorsement across the board. Mac by extension also endorsed the teaching of Warren in the book.
But what does that have to do with the falsification of the Deaver doctrine on Holy Spirit baptism? Before I answer that question, we should first note the review by Weylan. Please, read carefully the following:
Thomas B. Warren was a premier Christian philosopher of the twentieth century, and his influence in apologetics is still felt. More than a theologian and philosopher, he was a gospel preacher. And what happened when he turned his logician’s mind to the subject of the church was a book titled The Bible Only Makes Christians Only and the Only Christians.
In this case, the title really does say it all, and serves as the book’s central thesis. Its focus is neither the existence of God, nor the deity of Christ, but, rather, an all-out defense of the uniqueness of the Lord’s church. It is an honor to review, in part because my grandfather, Roy C. Deaver, is one of the preachers to whom the book is dedicated.
As an accomplished debater, Warren knew the power of precision. His terms and propositions are sharply defined. His arguments are cogent and unambiguous. With a rare combination of facts, force and feeling, Warren demonstrates concern for souls while marshaling the muscle of Scripture to wield his thesis with the subtlety of a sledge-hammer. Those used to hearing anemic religious claims may be shocked at his vigorous writing, ignited by his understanding of just how high the stakes are: Every reader will spend eternity in heaven or hell, based on his relationship to the church of the New Testament. Warren wrote to win souls, not to entertain.
The book is composed of eleven parts which are divided into thirty-seven brief chapters. It ranges over epistemology, ecclesiology and soteriology. Firing both barrels at the denominational concept of the church, Warren leaves it unable to give more than a dying gasp. With an arsenal of logic and hermeneutics, he operates as a biblical surgeon, severing denominational from divine doctrine, cutting away the cancer of religious creeds, exposing the healthy tissue of a body nourished by Jesus’ blood because it is governed by naught but the simple New Testament.
Warren did not intend his thesis be refuted, and this affects the style with which he wrote. His arguments and analysis benefit from verbal precision, repetition, and the inclusion of numerous Scripture citations. Those same qualities can also be tedious (chapter 35 repeats much of chapter 26), but, in this case, with Warren treating a topic so vital to us all, we affirm unhesitatingly that the tedium is worth the trouble. This is not light reading before bedtime. Nor is it for the spiritually spineless who cannot abide the staunch claims of Scripture. But, for the reader truly interested in discovering or defending the church about which the apostles preached, then this book is a veritable tour de force on the composition and uncompromising stance of the church of Christ. Those who agree with Warren will applaud his contribution. Those who disagree will find precious little with which to defend themselves against the relentless case he builds. None will have difficulty seeing exactly where he stands.
One should especially note the following statements (the bolding is mine for emphasis):
(1) “Thomas B. Warren was a premier Christian philosopher of the twentieth century…”
(2) “As an accomplished debater, Warren knew the power of precision.”
(3) “His terms and propositions are sharply defined.”
(4) “His arguments are cogent and unambiguous.”
(5) “With a rare combination of facts, force and feeling, Warren demonstrates concern for souls while marshaling the muscle of Scripture to wield his thesis with the subtlety of a sledge-hammer.”
(6) “Those used to hearing anemic religious claims may be shocked at his vigorous writing, ignited by his understanding of just how high the stakes are: Every reader will spend eternity in heaven or hell, based on his relationship to the church of the New Testament.”
(7) “Warren wrote to win souls, not to entertain.”
(8) “Firing both barrels at the denominational concept of the church, Warren leaves it unable to give more than a dying gasp.”
(9) “With an arsenal of logic and hermeneutics, he operates as a biblical surgeon, severing denominational from divine doctrine, cutting away the cancer of religious creeds, exposing the healthy tissue of a body nourished by Jesus’ blood because it is governed by naught but the simple New Testament.”
(10) “Warren did not intend his thesis be refuted, and this affects the style with which he wrote.”
(11) “His arguments and analysis benefit from verbal precision, repetition, and the inclusion of numerous Scripture citations.”
(12) “Those same qualities can also be tedious (chapter 35 repeats much of chapter 26), but, in this case, with Warren treating a topic so vital to us all, we affirm unhesitatingly that the tedium is worth the trouble.”
(13) “This is not light reading before bedtime. Nor is it for the spiritually spineless who cannot abide the staunch claims of Scripture.”
(14) “But, for the reader truly interested in discovering or defending the church…this book is a veritable tour de force on the composition and uncompromising stance of the church of Christ.”
(15) “Those who agree with Warren will applaud his contribution.”
(16) “Those who disagree will find precious little with which to defend themselves against the relentless case he builds.”
(17) “None will have difficulty seeing exactly where he stands.”
I fully agree with Weylan’s assessment of Brother Warren’s book and of Warren himself. But Weylan’s ringing endorsement of that book sounds, in actuality, the death knell of the current Deaver doctrine on Spirit baptism. Those who hold to Deaver’s theory cannot continue to logically hold to Warren’s case which Weylan has so eloquently praised and eulogized. A significant part of the case pertains to the very argument that I posted earlier in this serial on the force of the phrase “in Christ” and its equivalents in adverbial, locative constructions.
Weylan has admitted above that Warren’s argumentation is precise, cogent, and unambiguous. It therefore does not suffer from any logical fallacies or imprecision in its use of terms. The very term “unambiguous” is a specific, universal denial of any ambiguity in argument from Tom Warren in the book. Brother Warren is therefore, according to Weylan’s review and Mac’s tacit endorsement of said review, not guilty of the fallacy of ambiguity of amphiboly, which is the basic charge that Mac has leveled against my argument posted in the first installment in this series of articles.
Weylan states clearly that Warren’s use of terms and his arguments entail “verbal precision” and are supported by “numerous Scripture citations,” with which Weylan obviously agrees as demonstrating the Biblical basis for Warren’s case in the thesis. In effect, Weylan has admitted that Warren taught the truth about each of the matters he discusses clearly, precisely, and without any equivocation.
THOMAS B. WARREN’S ARGUMENT DECIMATES THE DEAVER DOCTRINE ON HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM
On page 147 of his book, Tom Warren wrote:
The Bible teaches that salvation is in Christ (II Tim. 2:10). To be in Christ is to be in His church (Gal. 3:26-27; I Cor. 12:13; Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:7; et al.). The Bible teaches that it is impossible for one to “cross the line” into salvation without “crossing the line” into Christ. The Bible also teaches that it is impossible for one to “cross the line” into Christ without “crossing the line” into the church. [Italics are his, HDD].
This is simply a statement of the same argument in other terms than what I used in showing the falsity of the teaching of Mac Deaver on present day Holy Spirit baptism as shown above. Brother Warren equated being “in Christ” with being “in the church,” the body of Christ. It will be observed also that he cited Ephesians 1:7 as a text involved in proving that precise point. Again, Weylan noted how precisely stated the arguments of Brother Warren are, and indeed he is correct in that, but he clearly failed to see that very point refutes his own father’s and his teaching on present day Spirit baptism! When one receives the remission of sins, at that same, precise time he enters into the church (the kingdom, Matt. 16:18-19) becoming a child of God. Cleansing, as I have contended all along, then does not precede regeneration, but the two are simultaneous in nature. It is indeed “the washing that regenerates, even the renewing of the Holy Spirit” or “the washing produced by regeneration, even the renewing of the Holy Spirit” as Titus 3:5 affirms in the genitive chain it employs. Mac has never addressed that construction in the original text, and, I strongly suspect, he never shall. The Greek construction does not fit his theory, and he knows it.
But Warren is not done relative to the locative use of the phrase “in Christ” and its equivalents. He adds on pages 152-153:
(11) I know that the Bible teaches that when a man obeys the gospel (being baptized, as a penitent believer in Christ, in the name of Christ) he enters Christ and – at the very same moment (not before or after) – becomes a child of God, becomes a Christian, becomes a member of the church of Christ (see: Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-5; Gal. 3:26-27; Acts 2:41, 47; Eph. 2:13-16; cf. Acts 11:26; et al.). [Italics are his, HDD].
So, Warren affirmed that he knew that at the same precise point in time one receives the remission of sins he also enters into Christ and becomes a child of God, a Christian and a member of the church of Christ. That leaves no room for “the first a saint and then a Christian” theory of Mac Deaver. One becomes both a saint, one forgiven of sins, and a Christian at the exact same time. Thus, cleansing does not precede regeneration. They are simultaneous in nature, as I have consistently affirmed. It is astonishing that neither Mac nor Weylan have realized this simple fact affirmed by Thomas B. Warren in his precisely stated and argued book! I stand where Warren stood on the subject. Mac and Weylan have left that position in order to affirm their Spirit baptism heresy.
But the evidence of Warren against Mac Deaverism is not yet complete even here. He notes at the bottom of page 153:
(20) I know that the Bible teaches that salvation is in Christ (II Tim. 2:10).
(21) I know that the Bible teaches that to be in Christ is to be in His body, the church (see above). [Italics are his, HDD].
Warren showed no hesitancy, no vacillation, and no confusion on the matter. He clearly is affirming here the same basic point I have made in refuting the current teaching of Mac and Weylan Deaver on present day Holy Spirit baptism. It should also be noted that the comments thus far cited from Brother Warren were made in chapter 26, a chapter specifically cited by Weylan in his review as one that was well worth reading and studying along with chapter 35 which repeats much of the same basic argumentation. Obviously, Weylan did not pay attention to either chapter nearly as intently as he affirms he did, or else he was pandering to those who greatly respected the work of Brother Warren in the book and are in agreement with that work, as though he too were in full agreement, when in fact he is not. Maybe, he will tell us which was the case, if he ever determines to respond to this material.
FURTHER EVIDENCE FROM WARREN
In chapter 35 of Thomas B. Warren’s book The Bible Only Makes Christians Only and the Only Christians, the discomfiture for Mac Deaverism on Spirit baptism becomes even more acute, as Brother Warren sets out his case in more detail relative to the locative use of the phrase “in Christ” and its equivalents. On page 204, he notes:
There are those today who claim that the Bible teaches there are Christians who are not members of the church of Christ. But I have no hesitation in affirming that the Bible teaches that every person who is a Christian is a member of the church of Christ. This means, obviously, that I am affirming that the Bible teaches that there are no Christians who are not members of the church of Christ. The church of Christ is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18). The saved are those who have been reconciled unto God, and those who have been reconciled unto God are members of the body (church) of Christ (Eph. 2:13-18). The matter is really just that simple, but in the light of the importance of the matter, let us say a bit more about it. [Italics are his, HDD].
It will be observed that Warren has affirmed that to be “in Christ” is to be in the body of Christ. He has also affirmed that the body of Christ is the church of Christ. He affirms elsewhere that the church of Christ is also the same institution known as the kingdom of God. He affirmed that when one enters into Christ he instantly becomes a child of God, a Christian, and a member of the body of Christ, which is the church. He just as clearly has affirmed also that salvation is only “in Christ” and thus in His spiritual body, the church. Among the texts he has utilized are Ephesians 1:7 which teaches that forgiveness is in Christ and Acts 2:38, which text shows that forgiveness is received by virtue of baptism in water for that very purpose. He has equated receiving the remission of sin with being saved. This is the same argument that I have made in falsifying the Mac Deaver doctrine of present day Holy Spirit baptism, which Mac claimed was too imprecise. But Weylan with Mac’s tacit approval has endorsed Warren’s argumentation, which is the exact same thing I have presented, as being precise, cogent, and unambiguous. Do I hear the dying gasp of the Deaver doctrine coming across the prairie from Sheffield, TX?
Yes, indeed, Thomas B. Warren knew “the power of precision,” which is why I made an argument falsifying Mac’s Spirit baptism heresy using the same argument that Warren made against the errors of Rubel Shelly and his compatriots, which is the historical background for his book. The argument refutes a lot of false doctrines, including the current teaching of Mac and Weylan Deaver on Holy Spirit baptism. Mac and Weylan simply have not grasped that fact, as yet.
Brother Warren is still not done in making his case, and so immediately adds:
The Bible teaches that salvation is in Christ (II Tim. 2:10). To be in Christ is to be in His church (Gal. 3:26-27; I Cor. 12:13; Mk. 16:15-16; Acts 20:28; Eph. 1:7; et al.). The Bible teaches that it is impossible for one to “cross the line” into salvation without “crossing the line” into Christ. The Bible also teaches that it is impossible for one to “cross the line” into Christ without “crossing the line” into the church. (204). [Italics his, HDD].
On pages 208-209 he states that he is, among other things, affirming the following:
(11) that the Bible teaches that when a man obeys the gospel (being baptized, as a penitent believer in Christ, in the name of Christ) he enters Christ and – at the very same moment (not before or after) – becomes a child of God, becomes a Christian, becomes a member of the church of Christ.
(12) that the Bible teaches that the church of Christ is the body of Christ.
(13) that the Bible teaches that the body of Christ is the church of Christ.
(14) that the Bible teaches that there is one body.
(15) that the Bible teaches that there is only one body with God’s approval.
(16) that the Bible teaches that there is one – and only one church – of which God approves (that is, the church for which Jesus died and shed His blood – the church which He purchased with His own blood.
(17) that the Bible teaches that every saved person now living on earth is a member of the church of Christ.
(18) that the Bible teaches that reconciliation unto God is in the one body, the one church (the church of Christ).
(19) that the Bible teaches that since no one can be saved apart from the shed blood of Jesus Christ and that, since the church has been purchased by the blood of Christ, no one living today can be saved from his sins without becoming a member of the church of Christ.
(20) that the Bible teaches that salvation is in Christ.
(21) that the Bible teaches that to be in Christ is to be in His body, the church. [Italics are his, but bolding is mine. HDD].
Warren affirmed that salvation from sin entailed one becoming a child of God and entering into the church “at the very same moment (not before or after).” He stated precisely that “no one living today can be saved from his sins” – that refers to cleansing, forgiveness of sins – “without becoming a member of the church of Christ.” That refers to regeneration – to becoming a child of God, a Christian. The two actions – cleansing and regeneration – occur then simultaneously, according to the teaching of Thomas B. Warren, which teaching Weylan Deaver with his daddy’s tacit permission endorsed as precise, cogent, and unambiguous.
WARREN ON BAPTISM
On pages 81-82 in chapter 16, Brother Warren describes what occurs in the process of salvation and especially in water baptism. He writes:
One must hear the word, he must believe, he must repent, he must confess Jesus as Lord, and he must be baptized. It is at this point of his obedience that man obtains or receives the remission of his sins. The believer is to be baptized “unto the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). He is to be baptized that his sins may be washed away (Acts 22:16). He is to be baptized in order to enter Christ (where salvation is, II Tim. 2:10, where he becomes a new creature, II Cor. 5:17), Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:26,27. This fact having been clearly established, wherever (in the New Covenant) a believer is spoken of being saved, that believer must be understood as being a baptized believer (Mark 16:16). [Italics are his, HDD].
Then in a conclusion to the chapter, he is emphatic:
Let no man claim God’s promised blessing of salvation until he has obeyed the Gospel (Rom. 6:17,18; II Thess. 1:7-9). Let no believer claim remission of sins before he has been baptized into Christ. To do so is to delude oneself (Matt. 7:21; Prov. 16:25).
Brother Warren viewed the process of baptism as a seamless act in which one is simultaneously cleansed of his sins and regenerated as a new creature, a child of God in the spiritual body of Jesus Christ. There is no doubt of that from his book.
A CHILD OF GOD OR A CHILD OF THE DEVIL
Warren also argued quite cogently that every accountable person is either a child of the devil or a child of God. That argument is a strong disjunctive and does not admit of a third category as envisioned by Mac Deaver, when he contends that between these two categories is a third which entails individuals who are saints (and thus no longer alien sinners or children of the devil) but not yet Christians (and thus not yet children of God). Deaver’s contention was necessitated by two things in his current belief system: (1) his assumption that cleansing precedes and is distinct from regeneration; and (2) an effort to avoid the obviously false conclusion that there must be a direct operation of the Spirit upon the heart of the alien sinner (child of the devil) to regenerate him. As we have already seen, Warren refutes the first point – the assumption that cleansing precedes regeneration and is distinct from it – by showing that at the very moment one is cleansed he becomes a child of God and so is regenerated.
In chapter 17, Warren, writing on “God’s law of inclusion” relative to who is a child of God, makes the following observation:
2. God’s law of inclusion briefly explained. Every person who has reached the age of accountability is either a child of God or a child of the devil (cf.: Eph. 2:1-3; Gal. 3:26-27; John 1:11-13). An “alien sinner” is one who is still a child of the devil; he has not yet become a child of God. The alien sinner comes into fellowship with God at that point in his life when he actually becomes a child of God – not merely when he thinks he has become a child of God. (85) [Italics are his, HDD].
There is no third category which lies between one being a child of the devil and a child of God, according to this argument by Thomas B. Warren. It is false then to conclude, according to this argument, that one first becomes a saint and then a Christian. Rather one becomes a saint and a Christian at the same exact point in time, because all New Testament saints are Christians, i.e., children of God. It is absurd to affirm that an accountable human being on earth today can be a saint under New Testament law without being a child of God also. Yet, that is what Mac Deaver is precisely affirming, contrary to the teaching of Warren, which teaching has been implicitly endorsed by Mac’s eldest son, Weylan Deaver.
In 1954, Tom Warren engaged in a written debate with E.C. Fuqua on the subject of divorce and remarriage in which debate Fuqua affirmed that alien sinners (non-Christians) were not amenable to the law of Christ (the New Testament). In arguing his case against Fuqua’s error, Warren presented a version of this same strong disjunctive argument excluding a third category. He argued that all accountable persons are either “in the world” (in the sense, they are of the world and still in sin) or “in the church.” There is no middle ground. There is no half-way point. The law of excluded middle holds that one is either a Christian or not a Christian. He cannot be both in the same sense, at the same time, and in all of the same relationships. Otherwise one would be affirming a self-contradiction, if he contended that a person is a Christian and yet not a Christian at the same time under such conditions. The law of non-contradiction, upon which the law of excluded middle is based, will simply not permit both propositions to be true in that way. As Warren, in making certain observations concerning Fuqua’s own teaching relative to salvation and applying that teaching to divorce and remarriage, notes:
In my last article, I used Fuqua’s very own argument to show that one remains in the World until baptized into Christ. I will here repeat a part of that argument. Remember, I am quoting from E.C. Fuqua (and giving my “Amen” to it): “To be in the world is to be out of Christ – out of the family of God. To be in the church is to be out of the World – saved from the destiny of the World. The line of demarcation is crossed in baptism, for we are ‘baptized into’ the Church (which is the body of Christ); and baptism has the significance to taking a person out of one condition and into another. In baptism we die to the world; are then ‘buried in baptism,’ and from that burial raised to walk in the new life in Christ. (Rom. 6:1-5; Col. 2:12). Therefore, until one is ‘baptized into Christ’ he is still in the World – and lost.” (Nov., 1953, p.2 of the Vindicator). Now, Bro. Fuqua, you wrote the truth in November, 1953! It was a bitter pill for sectarians on the plan of salvation and worship and it is a bitter pill for you on “marriage.” Fuqua, you ought to be a “man” and renounce what you wrote here if you insist on holding your present position. You cannot hold to both! We are either in the world or in the church! (73-74). [Italics are his, HDD].
Ironically, brethren, Mac Deaver, as Warren does here, has argued the same point on marriage in Mac’s own debates with various false teachers who have affirmed that alien sinners are not amenable to the law of Christ. But he has done in reverse on the subject of salvation the same thing that Fuqua did on marriage to try to extricate himself from his own self-created dilemma. He invented a third category between one being in or of the world and being in Christ or the church. In each case the new category was devised to avoid the obvious. As Warren called upon Fuqua to be a “man” and renounce his error on marriage, we now call upon Mac Deaver to be a “man” and renounce his error on salvation. He needs to give up the false doctrine of Holy Spirit baptism as necessary to one’s salvation. He cannot have it both ways. He cannot affirm there are only two categories relative to marriage as to accountability and so on, but three relative to salvation. He is caught in a vivid and vicious self-contradiction. He either needs to give up his current error on Holy Spirit baptism or else apologize to those whom has debated on the subject of divorce and remarriage.
Thomas B. Warren, who was indeed precise in his writing of this book, is directly at odds with the teaching of Mac and Weylan Deaver, as well as Glenn Jobe and Marlin Kilpatrick, in this matter. Weylan’s endorsement of the book shows that they either have not realized the self-contradiction in which they find themselves or they do not care anything about their logical plight and desire only to spread their theories at all cost, even if it means recognizing the work of a beloved and deceased mentor who would be appalled at where they really are in their teaching today on these very matters.
We call upon Mac and Weylan Deaver, as well as their followers, to repent of their false teachings and come back to the firm ground their mentor, Thomas B. Warren, held when he wrote this great book with such “power of precision,” as Weylan himself noted. It is certainly the case, brethren, that Thomas B. Warren did not hold – and never did hold as a Gospel preacher – the doctrine of present day Holy Spirit baptism for salvation. He rejected it firmly. His book does not affirm it, but rather implicitly refutes it. Weylan Deaver’s own endorsement of Warren’s book just as implicitly falsifies his father’s false doctrine, whether Weylan will admit it or not. It also does so with the tacit approval of Mac Deaver himself, whether Mac will admit it or not.
Sad it is when two men, Mac and Weylan Deaver, who were once known for their command of logic, must be lectured by a former student in the same field of their father and grandfather respectively on matters that they ought to know so well and indeed formerly did! I pray that they will return to the truth and give up the absurd, self-contradictory position in which they have placed themselves.
Deaver, Mac, Except One Be Born From Above, Sheffield, TX: Biblical Notes Publications, 2013. Deaver, Mac, Special Issue, Biblical Notes Quarterly, Spring, 2011.
Deaver, Mac, The Holy Spirit (Center of Controversy – Basis of Unity), Denton, TX: Biblical Notes, 2007.
Deaver, Weylan, Book Review: The Bible Only Makes Christians Only and the Only Christians, Biblical Notes Quarterly online. http://biblicalnotes.com/2013/10/10/book-review-the-bible-only-makes-christians-only-and-the-only-christians/
Warren, Thomas B., The Bible Only Makes Christians Only and the Only Christians, Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press, 1986.
Warren, Thomas B. & Fuqua, E.C., Divorce and Remarriage: Are Non-Christians Amenable to the Law of Christ?, Jonesboro, AR: National Christian Press, rpt.