Debate Notes

Number 0006


MARK 16:16

by Tracy Dugger

Jesus stated to His apostles, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that  believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:15-16).  Surely this passage is among the clearest in all the Bible. It explicitly teaches that baptism is necessary for salvation. However, many attempt to dismiss the force of Jesus’ words: “He that believeth and is baptized  hall be saved.” They teach, “He that believeth and is NOT baptized shall be saved.” One can easily see that Jesus did not so teach.

One objection leveled against God’s people when they teach from Mark 16:16 is that Jesus did not say, “He that believeth not AND IS NOT BAPTIZED shall be damned.” When Curtis Porter met Glenn Tingley on this matter in public debate, Tingley responded to Porter’s argument on Mark 16:16 by saying that it did NOT say, “he that believeth not and IS NOT baptized shall be damned.”

Brother Porter countered in the following manner:

“No. I know it did not. If it had, it would have been silly. Suppose that some of you teachers who have a class in school, would give your class this statement tomorrow: “He that eats food and digests it shall
have health.” You require the class to bring the negative of that on the following day. The next day Johnnie comes back with this: “He that eats food and digests it shall have health; but he that eats not and does NOT DIGEST IT shall starve.” I wonder what kind of grade little Johnnie would get on that? … Why that’s silly–the very idea of digesting food that you haven’t eaten.

Let me tell you, my friends, the man who has not believed can no more be scripturally baptized than a man can digest food that he has not eaten. It takes both eating the food and digesting the food to bring health; but eating no food alone will bring starvation; and you do not have to say, “And does not digest it.”

It takes both belief and baptism to bring the salvation; but unbelief alone will bring the damnation; and you do not have to say, “And is not baptized.” It takes both belief and baptism to bring salvation, but belief alone will bring condemnation.”

[PORTER-TINGLEY DEBATE, Dehoff Publications, Murfreesboro, TN, 1947, p. 269].

Porter devastated the error of Mr. Tingley by using a simple parallel.