Excerpt from the Oliphant-Rice Debate
Dallas, TX, January 1935, pp 526-28 - The following is an excerpt from gospel preacher W.L. Oliphant's last speech on the proposition The Scriptures Teach that a Child of God Who has Been Saved by the Blood of Christ Can So Sin as to be Finally Lost, and his last speech in the eight night debate. I found it to be quite eloquent and touching.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this will probably be the last time I shall have the opportunity of speaking to all of you. Like the apostle Paul, I want to be 'free from blood of all men.' I warn you that you cannot live in sin on earth and then spend eternity with God and the blest in heaven. The Bible as clearly teaches this as it is possible for a thing to be taught. The grace and mercy of God are boundless. His love for us is beyond means. It is only through his wonderful grace that any of us can be saved. But, consistent with the majesty and holiness of deity, God cannot approve sin in any one. The Lord demands that we be faithful to him to the end. Does that mean that we must be faultless? None of us live faultless lives, but we may live faithful lives. To illustrate: Here are a man and a woman who have been married for half a century. Does that mean that they have been perfect? Have they been faultless? Have they never mistreated each other and had to apologize and forgive and overlook wrongs? No, it does not mean that. But it does mean that they have never been divorced. So the man who has been faithful to Christ has never been divorced from Christ. He has not deserted Christ or ceased to believe in him or serve him, even though his service has been imperfect. The grace of God will make that one faultless who has been faithful. If in our efforts to serve him, we make mistakes, our opportunities for forgiveness are legion; he has provided a plan whereby we may be forgiven. This plan involves repentance, confession, and prayer (Acts 8:22; James 5:16). Our high priest, in loving sympathy and perfect understanding, intercedes for us at the throne of mercy. He 'can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities,' since he 'was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin' (Hebrews 4:15). The Son of God, as our advocate, constantly represents us at the court of heaven. 'If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous' (1 John 2:1). But if we spurn and reject the opportunities of his advocacy until death overtakes us, we cannot expect a home in heaven: There is no sin there. Life's pathway is crooked, rugged, and dangerous. We can safely travel it only by following in the footsteps of him who gave his life for us. The turbulent stream of death must be crossed by all of us. Only by clinging to the hand of him who conquered death can we safely cross this stream and find rest under the shade of the tree of life. When the children of Israel, in their march to Canaan, came to the Jordan river, they were told that they could not stem its turbulent tide. From the viewpoint of man that was, no doubt, true; but God was leading. On the approach of God's appointed leader, Joshua, the dangerous water receded, and those who followed in the footsteps of Joshua crossed safely.
"I beseech you, my friends, that you walk in the footsteps of the Christ, not just for awhile, but down to the very end of life's journey. When you touch the waters of death, you will find that the chill has been removed by the great burning heart of the Son of God. Holding to his gracious hand and looking to the light of his glorious countenance, you may cross the otherwise dark and chilling stream in the blessed warmth and light of him who is our 'all in all.'
"May God bless you!"
Note: Did the old preachers and the old debaters among the people of God emphasize the grace of God? If you think not, read brother Oliphant's words again.