A Listing of Public Debates in which
Primitive Baptist Ministers Have Participated

Is Eternal Salvation by Grace Alone? Or, is it by Human Effort: (free-will, good works, and performance of conditions by men?)

During the nineteenth century, religious discussions in the form of public debates, between some of the leading advocates and representative men of several religious denominations, were frequently held. In almost all cases, the Primitive Baptists were challenged by others to participate in these debates, rather than challenging others. The religious body which most often challenged our people was the "Campbellites," as they have been of a disposition to want to debate, probably due to their founder, Alexander Campbell, having set that example. Such discussions were much less frequent during the twentieth century, at least as far as the Primitive Baptists are concerned. Religious debates are still being held by other denominations, but we seldom hear about them, and relatively few of our present ministry have engaged in them. However, as our beliefs have not changed, we have republished several of these old debates (see our lists of books and microfilms for sale).

Debates were held from the earliest pioneer days. Elder Wilson Thompson chronicles his participation in debates in his autobiography. Elder Daniel Parker debated the Methodist champion, Frank King, in Tennessee, before coming to Illinois, and here he met the leading mission advocate, John Mason Peck. As shown below Elder R. M. Newport and Elder Joel Hume participated in debates at a very early date. There were many others whose names we do not have at hand. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Elders Lemuel Potter, George Y. Stipp, T. S. Dalton, John R. Daily, and others, were often called upon to defend the cause of truth in this way, in the midwest.

Public debates often fell into disfavor because the disputants were not able to maintain a Christian composure, and resorted to name-calling, innuendoes, etc., although the rules of logic governing debates strictly forbade such tactics. However, in spite of this, several of our able defenders, including Elders Lemuel Potter and John R. Daily, were widely praised even by their opponents as being calm, gentlemanly in their behavior, quick of wit and with a sense of humor enabling them to keep the discussion pleasant, and many other highly complimentary expressions.

The following impressive account of the good example manifested by Elder George Y. Stipp in proper Christian behaviour is quoted from an article written by the St. Joseph correspondent of the Champaign Signal, a local newspaper:

"For the past week or so the village of Kenney, Illinois, has been convulsed over a series of religious debates between G. Y. Stipp of Vermillion Co., Ill., and Rev. W. B. F. Treat, of Bloomington, Ind. This discussion ended the other day, and the logic used by Mr. Stipp was so overwhelmingly superior to that used by his antagonist, that he was universally declared to be the champion in the debate. The people in Kenney had manifested so much interest in the matter, that when the debate closed a number of the prominent citizens of the place, non-church members, showed their appreciation of the talent of Elder Stipp by clubbing together and presenting him with a handsome gold-headed, ebony cane. Miss Sallie Turner made the presentation speech, in which Mr. Stipp was warmly thanked for this gentlemanly demeanor during the discussion and for the ability with which he handled the subjects."

The following is a list of debates of which we have some record:

1839 Elder Richard M. Newport (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder W. C. Buck (Missionary Baptist), on missionary operations and kindred institutions (W. C. Buck, of Louisville, Kentucky, was the editor of the Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer).

1840 Elder John Harper (Primitive Baptist) of St. Marys, Illinois, vs. Elder John Rigdon (Campbellite), on "baptism for the remission of sins." This debate was published at Rushville, Illinois, in pamphlet form, but we do not have a copy.

For published correspondence about this debate, Click Here

1840 Elder Richard M. Newport (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Maurice R. Trimble (Campbellite), at Palestine, Illinois.

1840 Elder Richard M. Newport (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Anderson (Campbellite), in Kentucky.

1842 Elder Henry Avery (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Joshua Page (Campbellite), in Henry County, Missouri.

1842 Elder Joel Hume (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder Elijah Goodwin (Church of Christ), at Mt. Vernon, Indiana. Goodwin affirmed, Hume denied, the following proposition: "Is it possible for all men to be saved by complying with conditions within their power?"

1843 Elder Joel Hume (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Roberts (Campbellite), at Newburgh, Warrick Co., Indiana.

1844 Elder Reed Burritt (Old School Baptist) vs. S. W. Alden (Methodist), at the Old School Baptist Church in Burdett, Schuyler Co., New York, on the subject of baptism. 1st. Is Infant Baptism valid? Alden affirms, Burritt denies. 2nd. Is Immersion baptism exclusively? Burritt affirms, Alden denies.

1852 Elder G. M. Thompson (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Mark Bennett (Missionary Baptist), Sep. 27, 1852, at New Hope M. H., Edgecombe Co., North Carolina. 1st. Is the Modern Missionary Enterprise supported by the Word of God? Bennett affirmed. Thompson denied. 2nd. Is the Modern Missionary Enterprise condemned by the Word of God? Thompso affirmed. Bennett denied. Also, On October 29, 1852, the same two ministers met again at Goldsboro, North Carolina and debated the same questions.

1853 Elder Moses Morehouse vs. Elder Andrew Gregg, June 30, July 1st and 2nd, 1853, at Smelser's Grove, Grant County, Wisconsin, on eight propositions over which there had been controversy between several of the ministers of the First Northwestern Association.


1853 Elder Joel Hume (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Benjamin Franklin (Campbellite), at Mt. Vernon, Indiana (Published). Propositions included: Total hereditary depravity, the possibility of all men where the gospel is preached becoming Christians, the design of baptism, and the possibility of falling from grace. Four days.

1856 Elder G. M. Thompson (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder G. W. Selvidge (Missionary Society), at Calhoun, Georgia, Jan. 15-17, 1856. Proposition 1. Is the modern missionary enterprise sustained by the scriptures? Selvidge affirmed. Thompson denied. Proposition 2. Is the modern missionary enterprise condemned by the scriptures? Thompson affirmed. Selvidge denied.


1856 George Y. Stipp (and two Campbellites) vs. Three Universalists. George Y. Stipp also debated Eld. Shortridge, the Church of God, "Soul-Sleepers", A. B. Lewis (Church of God), and Eld. Loutenhizer (denomination unknown).

1857 Elder William Shields (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder A. D. Fillmore (Campbellite), at Franklin Church, Edgar Co., Illinois.

1858 Elder Samuel Williams (Primitive Baptist) vs. two unnamed Universalists, each debate lasting three days, the debates were two weeks apart, and were held at Centerville, Ohio, and Casstown, Ohio.

1860 Elder George Y. Stipp (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder R. M. Martin (Campbellite).

(Date unknown) Elder George Y. Stipp (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder William P. Shockey (Universalist). The propositions were as follows:
1. The Bible teaches that there will be a final and endless punishment of the wicked." (Affirmed by Elder Stipp). 2. "The Bible teaches that finally all the wicked will become holy and happy." (Elder Shockey affirmed.)

(Date unknown) Elder George Y. Stipp (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder J. M. Stephenson (Church of God). This debate began on a Tuesday and closed on the following Friday. The proposition was, "The Scriptures teach that there is a conscious entity of man which remains conscious after death." (Elder Stipp affirmed). An account of this debate was published in a local paper, which published that "Elder Stipp has shown clearly and logically that the quickened man has an immortal soul, and that this soul continues in a state of consciousness after the body dies."

1863 Elder Joel Hume (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Benoni Stinson (General Baptist), at Owensville, Indiana (Published). The following propositions were affirmed by Stinson, and denied by Hume: 1. That Jesus Christ by his death and resurrection made a full and complete atonement or satisfaction to the Adamic law for the whole human race, and also a possible salvation for all men from actual sins. 2. That man is a moral agent, endowed with the volition of free will, capable of choosing or refusing eternal salvation, as it is proposed in the gospel. 3. That personal salvation is free to all men, and offered to all on certain conditions to be performed by man, the performance of which results in his salvation. The two following propositions were affirmed by Hume and denied by Stinson: 1. That the elect of God, or church of Christ, was chosen in him before the foundation of the world, and that Christ died for them only, and that all that Christ died for will be eternally saved. 2. That personal salvation, so far as relates to the future world, is the effect of the sovereign grace of God bestowed upon sinners unconditionally.

1867 Elder Grigg M. Thompson (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder O. A. Burgess (Reformer), from September 25 through October 3, 1867, at North Salem, Hendricks County, Indiana, on Total Depravity, Election, Church Polity, Free Moral Agency, Water Baptism, and Final Apostasy.

1868 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Dr. Richard C. Flower (Campbellite), at the Primitive Baptist Church in Grayville, Illinois. (An account given to us recently states that Dr. Flower "preached, debated, and swindled his way through Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, and Ohio before ending up on the East Coast in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Richmond, Va. In Boston he built a magnificent health palace that catered to wealthy, mostly female clients who came to believe that he could heal cancer by touch. He became embroiled in scandal related to a suspicious death, and fled to Mexico and Canada before being caught, and sent to prison. It was then discovered that he was wanted for murder in Pennsylvania for a suspicious death related to his unlicensed medical practice). All of this sad revelation of the character of Dr. Flower came to light afterward, and was not known at the time of the debate.

1870 Elder Benjamin Lampton (Primitive Baptist) vs. J. W. Fitch (Methodist).


1872 Elder George W. Griffin (Primitive Baptist) versus David Lipscomb (Christian), at Gallatin, Tennessee, in January 1872.

1873 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder William Holt (Campbellite), at Paris, Illinois. After this debate was over, the citizens of Paris, business men and others, told the Primitive Baptists that if they would undertake to build a new meeting house, they would assist them.

1873 Elder John A. Thompson (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Benjamin Franklin (Disciples of Christ), at Reynoldsburg, Ohio, from November 10th through 13th, 1873, on the following propositions: 1. Remission of sins as set forth in the gospel is offered to the unconverted or alien sinner on conditions in which they exercise free-will and have power to perform; 2. The quickening of the sinner by the Spirit of God into new life or eternal life is independent of the written word or Scriptures; 3. Baptism as commanded in the commission is in order to the remission of past sins; 4. The eternal salvation of Christians as set forth in the scriptures is the work of God independent of conditions to be performed by man.

1873 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Mr. Stone, at Mt. Pleasant Church, White Co., Ill.

1873 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Ed Hearde (Non-resurrectionist), in Jasper Co., Ill.

1875 Elder Gilbert Moffatt (Primitive Baptist) vs. James M. Kidwell (Church of Christ), Warren Co., Tennessee.

1877 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Mr. Butler (Campbellite), in Graves Co., Kentucky, regarding eternal salvation.

1878 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder W. P. Throgmorton (Missionary Baptist), at the Regular Baptist church in Benton, Illinois, beginning on January 8, 1878 (on the third day it was moved to the Court House, which still failed to accommodate all the people who attended). The propositions discussed were: 1. "The churches known in this country as Missionary Baptist churches, are churches of Jesus Christ, and have a regular succession from the apostles to the present time." (This was discussed for three days). 2. "All Christ died for will be eternally saved." (This was discussed for a day and a half). In this debate Elder Throgmorton said that Hardshells treat their ministers as beggars, after which Elder Potter asked all the Primitive Baptist ministers present whether they had ever asked anyone for money for preaching, and they all said no. He then asked all the Missionary Baptist ministers present if they had ever asked for money for preaching, and they all said yes. He then asked, "Now who is the beggar?"

1879 Elder Thompson (Primitive Baptist) vs. D. R. Lucas (Campbellite), at Timewell, Ill., on "foreordination, election, and free-will."


1880 Elder James B. Hardy (Primitive Baptist) vs. Rev. Isham E. Wallace (Missionary Baptist), on Church Identity, at Mt. Moriah Church, Marshall Co., Kentucky, July 26, 1880, and following days.

1881 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Williams (Universalist), in Franklin Co., Ill., on the following proposition: "The Scriptures teach that there will be a general resurrection of the bodies of all the sons and daughters of the first man Adam, or natural man, some of them to endless life, and some to endless punishment." Potter affirmed, and Williams denied.

1882 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder W. B. F. Treat (Campbellite), in Pike Co., Indiana.

1883 Elder G. M. Thompson (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder O. A. Carr (Christian), at Ashland, Boone Co., Missouri. Propositions: 1st. The Holy Scriptures teach the giving of eternal or spiritual life to the sinner dead in sin, is the work of God independent of the written word or scriptures. Thompson affirms. Carr denies. 2nd. The Holy Scriptures teach that to the penitent believer baptism in water is in order to the remission of past sins. Carr affirms. Thompson denies.

To read a detailed account of this debate, Click Here

1884 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder W. B. F. Treat (Campbellite), in Wabash Co., Indiana. Proposition affirmed by Elder Potter was: "In the conversion of the sinner, the Spirit of God operates directly and immediately upon the heart."

1885 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder H. Clay Yates (Cumberland Presbyterian), at Owensville, Indiana. (Published). The proposition was, "Resolved, that the gospel work carried on by the different denominations of the Protestant world in heathen lands or foreign countries, known as the Foreign Mission work, is authorized in the Holy Scriptures and is blessed and owned of God." - Affirmed by H. Clay Yates, and denied by Lemuel Potter. This debate is worthy of very close study.

1885 Elder William H. Gammon (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Jeffries (Christian Church), at Taylor's Chapel, near Pleasant Ridge Church, Pike Co., Indiana, in November 1885.

1886 Elder George Y. Stipp (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder W. B. F. Treat (Campbellite), at Kinney, DeWitt Co., Illinois. The subjects discussed embraced the following: total depravity, the quickening of sinners (whether the written word is the essential means), whether baptism is essential to the remission of sins, and church identity.

1886 Elder S. F. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) vs. Eld. E. A. Land (Christian), at Enon PB Church, Perry Co., Tennessee, February 9, 1886 and several following days. Two propositions, Cayce affirmed that the Holy Spirit operates independent of the Bible in regeneration and conversion; Cayce denied that eternal salvation of sinners is conditional. Synopsis of speeches in The Primitive Baptist.

1886 Elder A. A. Edwards (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Adam S. Wright (Campbellite), at Rogers, Benton Co., Arkansas, beginning July 14, 1886, and continuing eight days, four hours each day. Each speaker affirmed that the organization (church) of which he was a member is entitled to be regarded as the church of Jesus Christ.

1886 Elder T. S. Dalton (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder T. R. Burnett (Campbellite), on eternal salvation.

1887 Elder Ira Turner (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder James S. Bell (Campbellite), in Macoupin Co., Illinois, on the proposition that every individual of the human race is hereditarily and totally depraved.

1887 Elder E. D. Herod (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder T. W. Brents (Church of Christ), at Franklin, Kentucky, on conditional or unconditional salvation (published).

1887 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Thomas Dickey (Missionary Baptist), at Lilly M. E. Church, at Hickory Hill, in Wayne Co., Illinois (Published). The propositions discussed were: "The scriptures teach that on the cross Jesus Christ made a complete atonement for the elect exclusively." Affirmed by Potter, denied by Dickey. Two days.

1887 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder W. P. Throgmorton (Missionary Baptist), at Fulton, Kentucky (Published). The Question discussed was: "Who are the Primitive Baptist?" (meaning, who are the original Baptists?)

1888 Elder S. F. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder C. M. Wilmeth (Campbellite), at Willow Springs, Texas, beginning July 11, 1888, and continuing three days.

1888 Elder J. G. Webb (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder N. S. Williams (Christian), at Gober, Texas, July 17, 1888, and continuing three days.

1889 Elder S. A. Elkin (Primitive Baptist) vs. Eld. M. M. Modisett (Missionary Baptist), for four days. Unknown location, in Missouri.

1889 Elder Newton Peters (Primitive Baptist) of Portland, Ind. vs. M. A. Peters (Universalist) of Columbus, O.: Subjects: The death pronounced upon Adam in the Garden. The resurrection of the mortal body. The eternal salvation of all mankind.

1890 Elder R. W. Thompson (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder W. B. F. Treat (Campbellite), at Trafalgar, Johnson County, Ind., beginning March 25, 1890, and continuing four days, on the following two propositions: 1. The Scriptures teach that the quickening of sinners, dead in trespasses and sins, is the direct and immediate work of the Holy Spirit. Baptists affirm. 2. The Scriptures teach that baptism in water is essential and antecedent to the remission of the sins of those submitting to the same under the law of Christ. Affirm, Campbellites.

1890 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Henry R. Pritchard (Campbellite), at Fairview, Rush County, Indiana. The proposition discussed was "The present salvation from sin and the future salvation of the Christian are both conditional." Affirmed by Pritchard, denied by Potter.

1890 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive or Old School Baptist) vs. Elder W. T. Pence (Regular "Means" Baptist), the week of August 28, 1890, at Broad Street Baptist Church, Luray, Virginia. The propositions were: 1st. Whether God used the gospel as a means to regenerate sinners. Elder Pence affirmed, Elder Potter denied. 2nd. That the Scriptures teach in all cases the regeneration of souls without the gospel. Elder Potter affirmed, Elder Pence denied.

1890 Elder J. G. Webb (Primitive Baptist) vs. J. D. Tant (Church of Christ).

1890 Elder Ira Turner (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder H. P. Curry (Missionary Baptist), at Union Missionary Baptist Church, east of Jacksonville, Illinois, April 1890. Three propositions.

1891 Elder Josiah B. Dobbs (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder W. Ross (Christian or Disciples of Christ), at Baptist Church in Bentley, Illinois, for 3 1/2 days. First proposition - That faith, repentance and baptism are conditions performed by the alien sinner in order to the remission of his sins. Elder Ross affirms and Bro. Dobbs denies. Second proposition - That God chose his people or (church) in Christ before the foundation of the world, and that all that Christ died for will be eternally saved. Elder Dobbs affirms.

1891 Elder Robert W. Thompson (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder G. B. Hancock (Campbellite), February 1891 at West Grove, Iowa, for six days, on church identity.

For a detailed account of this debate, Click Here

1891 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Henry R. Pritchard (Campbellite), in Orange Co., Indiana.

1891 Elder John R. Daily (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Aaron Walker (Campbellite), at Clermont, Indiana. This was Elder Daily's first debate, and Walker had already engaged in over sixty debates. Walker affirmed, and Daily denied, the following proposition: "The scriptures teach that water baptism, administered to the penitent believer, is in order to his salvation, being a condition of the pardon of his past sins." Daily then affirmed, and Walker denied, the following proposition, "The Scriptures teach that God chooses or elects his people prior to any act of obedience on their part as a condition." The third day, Walker affirmed the freedom and power of the will of every sinner to choose salvation for himself, to come to Christ and accept salvation on the terms of the gospel. The fourth day, Daily affirmed, "The Scriptures teach that all who are regenerated and born again in time will be saved in eternity." Before this debate was over, some of the Campbellites were saying, Walker is getting too old to debate, and ought to quit.

To read a detailed account of this debate, Click Here

1892 Elder J. G. Webb (Primitive Baptist) vs. Jehu W. Chism (Church of Christ).

1892 Elder B. F. Querry (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder W. H. Williams (Campbellite), at Lena, Indiana. Proposition affirmed by Elder Querry: "Does the Bible teach that God chose His people in Christ before the foundation of the world, and that Christ atoned for their sins, and they for whom He atoned will be saved?" Proposition affirmed by Elder Williams: "Does the Bible teach that faith, repentance and baptism are necessary conditions to be performed by the alien sinner in order to eternal life?"

1894 Elder Joseph Sylvester Newman (Primitive Baptist) vs. E. m. Borden (Church of Christ), 1894. Elder Newman held about 50 public debates.


1894 Elder John R. Daily (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder William Weatherford (Campbellite), at Advance, Boone Co., Indiana. The four propositions discussed were: 1. The scriptures teach that water baptism administered to the penitent believer is for or in order to the remission of sins. 2. The scriptures teach that God chooses or elects his people unto salvation or eternal life prior to any act of obedience on their part. 3. The scriptures teach that God uses the preaching of the gospel as a means in the regeneration of sinners. 4. The scriptures teach that all who are born again in time will be saved in eternity. Daily affirmed the second and fourth; Weatherford affirmed the first and third. Several thousand people attended. After the first day, the Campbellites sent for help from some of their other debaters, but they all refused to come.

1894 Elder John R. Daily (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder W. H. Williams (Campbellite), at New Maysville, Putnam Co., Indiana. The propositions were as follows: 1. The church of which I, W. H. Williams, am a member, was founded by Christ and his apostles, and has existed on earth ever since. 2. The church of which I, John R. Daily, am a member, was founded by Christ, and has existed on earth ever since.

1894 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder J. N. Hall (Missionary Baptist), at Rock Springs Church, Fulton Co., Kentucky. (published?)

1894 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder E. G. Denney (Campbellite), in Washington Co., Indiana.

1894 Elder J. G. Webb (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Jehu W. Chism (Church of Christ).

1894 Elder J. G. Webb (Primitive Baptist) vs. Dr. McNutt (Missionary Baptist). At this debate, at Gober, Elder Webb quoted the following poem to illustrate the Missionary Baptists position:

"I do my preaching for the pay,
And I must have just what I say;
I'll feed the sheep 'till they are full
But I must shear and have the wool."

1895 Elder John R. Daily (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder E. G. Denney (Campbellite), at Asherville, Clay Co., Indiana. Propositions: 1. The church of which I, John R. Daily, am a member, is apostolic in its origin, doctrine, and practice. 2. The church of which I. E. G. Denney, am a member, is apostolic in its origin, doctrine, and practice.

1895 Elder John R. Daily (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder T. E. Ballard (Campbellite), in Carroll Co., Indiana.

1895 Elder G. W. Dalton (Primitive Baptist) versus Haywood Filmore Oliver (Church of Christ), at Alexander, Texas, July 1895 for seven days.

1895 Elder S. F. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) vs. Lee Jackson (Campbellite), at Lafayette Springs, Mississippi, on the proposition, "The eternal salvation of sinners, as set forth in the Scriptures, is the work of God, independent of any conditions to be performed by man." Cayce affirmed, Jackson denied.
To read Elder S. F. Cayce's 36 arguments in favor of unconditional salvation, Click Here

1896 Elder Lemuel Potter (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Inman (Campbellite), at Bethany Church, Lawrence Co., Illinois.

1896 Elder S. F. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus Rev. W. P. Throgmorton (Missionary Baptist), for three days in July 1896, at Boydsville, Arkansas, ten miles west of Rector. First Proposition: The Scriptures teach that the eternal salvation of an alien sinner is unconditional on the part of the creature. Cayce affirmed, Throgmorton denied. Second Proposition: The Scriptures teach that the eternal salvation of the alien sinner is conditional on the part of the creature. Throgmorton affirmed, Cayce denied.

1896 Elder S. F. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder W. L. Butler (Christian or "Campbellite"), at Thompson Station, Tennessee, beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8, 1896 and continuing three days. 1st proposition: The Scriptures teach that the salvation of the alien sinner is unconditional on his part. Cayce affirmed. Butler denied. 2nd proposition: The Scriptures teach that baptism to a penitent believer is in order to the remission of past sins. Butler affirmed. Cayce denied.

1896 Elder John R. Daily (Primitive Baptist) versus George H. Cramer (Pentecostian Free-Gospelites), for four days at Cincinnati, Indiana, the 8th through the 11th days of September, 1896. Proposition: "Do the Scriptures teach that water baptism and the Lord's Supper were Jewish ordinances, which were blotted out and nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ?". Cramer affirmed. Daily denied.

1896/1897 Elder J. B. Cottle (Primitive Baptist) vs. W. Q. Young (Missionary Baptist), at Gravel Hill, Tennessee, December 29th, 30th, and 31st, 1896, and Jan. 1st, 1897. 1st proposition: The Scriptures teach that the eternal salvation of an alien sinner is unconditional upon the part of the creature. Cottle affirmed. Young denied. 2nd proposition: The Scriptures teach that the eternal salvation of an alien sinner is conditional upon the part of the creature. Young affirmed. Cottle denied.

1897 Elder S. F. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder A. G. Freed (Christian), at Sweet Lips, Tennessee.

1897 Elder S. F. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) vs. J. D. Tant (Church of Christ), Anson, Texas, July 1897.

1898 Elder C. M. Weaver (Absoluter Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder J. F. Hight (Campbellite), at New Burnside, Illinois.

1898 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) vs. N. L. Clark (Church of Christ), at McComb City, Mississippi.

1898 Elder John R. Daily (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder W. H. Williams (Campbellite), at Mill Creek PBC, Belle Union, Indiana. Propositions were as follows: 1. The Bible teaches that sinners are regenerated by means of the gospel, the spoken, or written word. 2. The Bible teaches the total depravity of all mankind in a natural or unregenerated state. 3. Reason and the Bible teach that man is a free moral agent, endowed with power and free volition of will to come to Christ and obtain eternal salvation by the performance of certain conditions. 4. The Bible teaches that God chooses or elects all his children to salvation or eternal life, prior to any act of obedience on their part as a condition. 5. The Bible teaches that water baptism to the believing penitent is for the remission of sins in the sense that it is a condition of pardon. 6. The Bible teaches that all who are regenerated and born again in time will be saved in eternity. Elder Daily (Primitive Baptist) affirmed propositions 2, 4, and 6, and denied 1, 3, and 5.

1898 Elder J. M. Thompson (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder J. H. Lawson (Church of Christ), on Church Identity, (written, not oral).

1899 Elder J. H. White (Primitive Baptist) vs. G. L. Chapman (Church of God), in August 1899. Proposition: "Resolved, that salvation from sin, or eternal life, is unconditional on the part of man, and independent of the written or preached word of God."

1899 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus N. L. Clark (Church of Christ), McComb city, Mississippi, March 1899.

1899 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus W. D. Craig (Church of Christ), at Perkins' Mill, near Tillatoba, Mississippi, beginning on August 21, 1899, and continuing four days, on the subject of "Identity of the Church." Points discussed included Origin or establishment of the Kingdom or Church; Conditionality of Salvation; Possibility of Apostasy; and Close Communion.

1902 Elder J. S. Newman (Primitive Baptist) versus Samuel A. Ribble (Church of Christ).

1903 Elder James Adams (Primitive Baptist) versus William H. Trice (Church of Christ), at Trinity, Tennessee.

1904 Elder J. C. Hurst (Primitive Baptist) versus William W. Otey (Church of Christ), at Allisonia, Virginia.

1904 Elder S. F. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus R. O. Rogers (Campbellite), at Senath, Missouri, with each affirming that the church to which they belong is scriptural in origin, doctrine and practice.

1904 Elder E. M. Verell (Primitive Baptist) versus A. H. Smith (Campbellite), at Cumberland (near Maben), Webster Co., Mississippi, for four days beginning on Monday after the 5th Sunday in July.

1904 Elder S. F. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus A. G. Strain (Universalist), for four days beginning Tuesday August 16th, at Fellowship, in Jones County, Mississippi. Proposition 1: The Scriptures teach the final salvation of all the race of Adam. Strain affirms, Cayce denies. Propositon 2: The Scriptures teach that ony a portion of the race of Adam - the elect of God - will be finally saved in heaven. Cayce affirms, Strain denies.

1904 Elder Stephen I. Gardner (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder A. K. Williams (Campbellite), at Alma, Illinois, in about July or August 1904. Debate lasted two days, two hours each day. The proof texts used by Elder Gardner in affirming that the Primitive Baptist church is apostolic in doctrine and practice are listed in an article published at the time.

1905 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus W. G. Tucker (Campbellite), July 1905.

1905 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder A. Malone (Missionary Baptist), near Day's Cross Roads, about fifteen miles from Lafayette, Tennessee, beginning December 12, 1905. Points discussed: Regeneration by the direct or immediate work of the Holy Spirit, or by the instrumentality of the gospel; all for whom Christ died will be savbed, or that a provision was made for the salvation of the whole race of Adam.

1906 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus E. M. Borden (Campbellite), at Buffalo Church, near Bennett, Ripley County, Missouri, from Tuesday, October 2, through Friday, October 5, 1906, on the subject of the "Which church is apostolic in origin, doctrine and practice."

1907 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder I. N. Penick (Missionary Baptist), at Martin, Tennessee, July 9, 1907, for four days, on four propositions, regarding the Atonement and Operation of the Spirit.

1908 Elder John R. Daily (Primitive Baptist) vs. Thad S. Hutson (Campbellite), at Toddville, Iowa, for eight days, on the following propositions: 1. The Scriptures teach that water baptism, administered to the penitent believer, is in order to the remission of his past or alien sins. 2. The Scriptures teach that God has unconditionally chosen or elected a portion of the human family to be his children, who are thus to be finally brought to glory by Christ. 3. The Scriptures teach that a child of God may so apostatize as to fall away and finally be lost. 4. The Scriptures teach that unregenerated sinners are totally and hereditarily depraved. Elder John R. Daily affirmed the second and fourth propositions, and Mr. Hutson the first and third.

1908 Elder John R. Daily (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder John Hughes (Universalist), at the Universalist Chapel, Waltonville, Illinois (Published). The proposition affirmed by Hughes was: "The Scriptures teach that all the human family will finally be brought to enjoy a state of endless holiness and happiness." Daily denied. The proposition affirmed by Daily was: "The Scriptures teach that there will be a resurrection in a spiritual state of the natural bodies of all the dead of the Adamic race, a part of whom will suffer endless punishment." Hughes denied.

1908 Elder J. B. Hardy (Primitive Baptist) versus Ben M. Bogard (Missionary Baptist), held in Arkansas.

1909 Elder John R. Daily (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder W. H. Boles (Church of Christ), at Dahlgren, Illinois, on church identity, for four days.

1909 Elder S. A. Paine (Primitive Baptist) vs. Haywood F. Oliver (Church of Christ), at Oglesby, Texas, Feb. 9-12, 1909. 1st. The scriptures teach that God gives spiritual or eternal life to alien sinners independent of any conditions to be complied with by them. 2nd. The scriptures teach that faith, repentance, confession and water baptism are necessary conditions to be complied with by alien (dead) sinners in order to the spiritual or eternal life offered them.


1909 Elder J. B. Hardy (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder W. T. Boaz (Church of Christ), at Barton's Creek, Tennessee.

1910 Elder J. B. Hardy (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder W. T. Boaz (Church of Christ), at Centerville, Hickman County, Tennessee, in March 1910, on the necessity of baptism, and preservation of the saints, for four days.

1910 Elder J. B. Hardy (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder W. T. Beasley (Christian), at Craigfield, Tennessee, March 1910.

1910 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus J. W. Hulsey (Missionary Baptist), at Dayton, Arkansas, December 20 and 21, 1910.

1910 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus Mr. F. M. Slover (Mormon), at McKenzie, Alabama, beginning December 27, 1910 and continuing for four days, on the subject of church identity being that of the New Testament.

1911 Elder S. A. Paine (Primitive Baptist) vs. Coleman D. Nichols (Church of Christ), at Chalk Mountain, Texas, before 1911.

1911 Elder John R. Daily (Primitive Baptist) versus W. P. Throgmorton (Missionary Baptist), July 1911, four days, at the Opera House in Marion, Illinois. The first question debated (for two days) was "Resolved, That the Scriptures teach that all for whom Christ died will be eternally saved." Elder Daily affirmed, Throgmorton denied. The second question (the last two days), was "Resolved, That the Scriptures teach that God employs the preaching of the Gospel as a means of regeneration." Throgmorton affirmed, Daily denied.


1911 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus F. B. Srygley (Christian), at the Primitive Baptist Church, Third Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee, December 25-30, 1911, on the proposition, "Is salvation conditional or unconditional?"

1912 Elder John R. Daily (Primitive Baptist) vs. W. P. Throgmorton (Missionary Baptist), at the Missionary Baptist College, Ewing, Illinois (August 13-16), (Published). Proposition 1. The Scriptures teach that all for whom Christ died will be eternally saved. Daily affirmed, Throgmorton denied. Proposition 2. The Scriptures teach that God employs the preaching of the gospel as a means in the regeneration of sinners. Throgmorton affirmed, Daily denied.

To read a "Parody of Amazing Grace" written during this debate,
Click here.

1912 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder Allen Hill Autry (Missionary Baptist), near Board Camp, Arkansas, beginning Tuesday, July 16, 1912 and continuing for four days.

1914 Elder John R. Daily (Primitive Baptist) versus I. B. Bradley (Campbellite), at Stewart, Mississippi, Nov. 4-6, on the following propositions: 1. The Scriptures teach the doctrine of personal and unconditional election. Affirmative, John R. Daily. Negative, I. B. Bradley. 2. The Scriptures teach that Baptism in water to a believing penitent is in order to his pardon or forgiveness. Affirmative, I. B. Bradley. Negative, John R. Daily. 3. The Scriptures teach that the regeneration of sinners is the work of the Spirit of God alone, independent of human means or instrumentalities. Affirmative, John R. Daily. Negative, I. B. Bradley. 4. The Scriptures teach that a child of God may so apostatize as to fall away and be finally lost. Affirmative, I. B. Bradley. Negative, John R. Daily.

1915 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus W. T. Goalen (Campbellite), at Headland, Alabama, beginning June 29 and continuing through July 2, 1915.

1916 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus C. M. Stubblefield, at Mt. Moriah Primitive Baptist Church near Elva, Ky., on October 9th and 10th, 1916, on the proposition of Salvation being conditional or unconditional.

1916 Elder J. W. Herriage (Primitive Baptist) vs. J. F. Haston (Church of Christ), at Roady, near Wynnewood.

1917 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus Francis O. Howell (Christian) at Vaughn's Chapel, near Idlewild, Tennessee, beginning Tuesday, March 27, 1917 and continuing four days.

1917 Elder J. M. Arledge (Primitive Baptist) versus E. C. Fuqua (Church of Christ), at Olathe, Colorado, November 18th and continuing a week (or longer), on the proposition by each that their "church is scriptural in name, origin, doctrine, and practice, being the church built by Jesus Christ."

1918 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder Daughtery, at Liberty Hill meeting house, near Dickson, Tennessee, beginning Tuesday, August 6, 1918.

1918 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus I. B. Bradley, near Burns, Tennessee, beginning on Monday, September 23, 1918 and continuing five days.

1919 Elder Joseph S. Newman (Primitive Baptist) vs. George T. Searcy (Church of Christ).


1920 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus J. D. Tant (Campbellite), at Winfield, Alabama, beginning on Tuesday, August 3, 1920, and continuing four days.

1920 Elder C. C. Agee (Primitive Baptist) versus J. D. Tant (Church of Christ), at Centralia, Oklahoma, November 9-11, 1920, on conditional or unconditional salvation.

1921 Elder J. T. Robinson (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder Oliver C. Dobbs (Church of Christ), at Rock Creek, Alabama, December 1921.

1922 Elder C. F. Parker (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder Oliver C. Dobbs (Church of Christ), Russellville, Alabama

1922 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus N. L. Clark (Campbellite), at Lebanon, Missouri, beginning August 21, 1922.

1923 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus J. D. Tant (Campbellite) at Parrish, Alabama, beginning on Tuesday, March 13, 1923 and continuing four days, on "Church Identity."

1923 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus H. B. Taylor (Missionary Baptist) at Watertown, Tennessee, beginning on Tuesday, May 8, 1923, and continuing four days.

1923 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus Ben M. Bogard (Landmark Baptist, or anti-board faction of the Missionary Baptists), at Leedy, Mississippi, beginning on Tuesday after the third Sunday in July 1923, on "Church Identity."

1924 Elder C. H. Cayce (Primitive Baptist) versus O. C. Lambert (Christian) at McEwen, Tennessee, beginning Monday, April 7, 1924 and continuing through April 10th.

1927 Elder J. B. Hardy (Primitive Baptist) versus J. D. Tant (Church of Christ), at Whitehurst, Tennessee.

1927 Elder W. C. Davis (Primitive Baptist) vs. W. T. Beasley (Church of Christ), 1927 at Burns, Tennessee, and again in 1928 at McEwen, Tennessee, and again in 1929 at Lyle, Tennessee.

1928 Elder Joe Meece (Primitive Baptist) vs. Br. Wallace (Church of Christ), Anson, Texas.

1929 Elder W. C. Davis (Primitive Baptist) vs. H. m. Phillips (Church of Christ), at Nashville, Tennessee.

1929 Elder J. B. Hardy (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder Boone L. Douthitt (Church of Christ), at Hohenwald, Tennessee.

1929 Elder Joe Meece (Primitive Baptist) vs. Robert Lester Colley (Church of Christ)

1931 Elder R. V. Sarrels (Primitive Baptist) versus John E. Arceneaux (Church of Christ), at Anson, Texas.

1932 Elder M. C. Johnson (Primitive Baptist) vs. H. M. Phillips (Church of Christ), at Nashville, Tenn.

1933 Elder J. S. Newman (Primitive Baptist) versus Haywood F. Oliver (Church of Christ), at South San Antonio, Texas.

1933 Elder J. D. Holder (Primitive Baptist) versus John R. Vaughan, Sr. (Church of Christ), at Tupelo, Mississippi.

1933 Elder Joe Meece (Primitive Baptist) versus H. D. Jeffcoat (Church of Christ), at Teague, Texas.

1933 Elder Joe Meece (Primitive Bapitst) vs. Roy Harrison Lanier, Sr. (Church of Christ), Blanton, Texas, 1933, and again in 1934, on salvation

1934 Elder J. W. Hardwick (Primitive Baptist) versus W. R. Wilcutt (Christian), at Fulton, Mississippi.

1934 Elder W. C. Davis (Primitive Baptist) vs. H. M. Phillips (Church of Christ), on unconditional salvation and baptism

1937 Elder W. C. Davis (Primitive Baptist) vs. Gus Dunn (Church of Christ), at Parrish, Alabama.

1938 Elder J. W. Hardwick (Primitive Baptist) versus William L. Totty (Church of Christ), at Lafayette, Tennessee.

1938 Elder J. D. Holder (Primitive Baptist) versus John R. Vaughan, Sr. (Church of Christ), at Tupelo, Mississippi.

1938 Elder M. L. Welch (Primitive Baptist) versus John E. Arceneaux (Christian) at Manitou, Oklahoma.

1938 Elder M. L. Welch (Primitive Baptist) versus Logan Buchanan Sr. (Christian).

1939 Elder Ariel West (Primitive Baptist) versus Robert L. Huffman (Church of Christ), at McKenzie, Alabama.

1940 Elder Ariel West (Primitive Baptist) vs. Glenn A. Parks (Church of Christ), written discussion.

1940 Elder Richards (Primitive Bapitst) vs. Guy N. Woods (Church of Christ), Grassland, Texas.


1941 Elder W. C. Davis (Primitive Baptist) versus J. J. Lancaster (Church of Christ - Campbellite), on the following propositions: 1. God gives eternal life to the dead alien sinner, (W. C. Davis affirmed); and 2. Faith, repentance, confession and baptism in water are conditions of pardon of past sins, or salvation, to a dead alien sinner (J. J. Lancaster affirmed). Held at Harmony Church in the West Tennessee Association, from Monday, March 24, 1941 until Thursday evening of the same week.

1941 Elder George E. Griffin (Primitive Baptist) versus John F. Adair (Campbellite), in Tulare, California, from Sunday night, May 18, 1941 and continuing for eight nights thereafter, on the following propositions: 1. The Scriptures teach that God from eternity purposed or predestinated a portion of the fallen race of Adam and elected the same to eternal happiness after death, and that number is so definite that it cannot be added to or subtracted from (Griffin affirmed). 2. The Scriptures teach that only those who accept and obey the commandments of God as contained in the gospel are the ones elected of God to eternal life after death (Adair affirmed). 3. The Scriptures teach that in the work of regeneration of the new birth, the Holy Spirit operates directly and immediately on the heart or soul of man without any conditions performed by man (Griffin affirmed). 4. The Scriptures teach that in the work of regeneration or the new birth, the Holy Spirit operates only through the written or spoken word of God, namely, the gospel, and that separate and apart from the gospel there is no salvation (Adair affirmed).

1943 Elder Ariel West (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder R. W. Rhodes (Absoluter), at El Dorado, Arkansas, Aug. 9-12, 1943. on Predestination.

1946 Elder R. W. Rhodes (Primitive Baptist) vs. Carl C. Jones, Sr. (Church of Christ, at Spearsville, Louisiana, Nov. 18-23. (Published by Cayce Publishing Co.)


1948 Elder J. D. Holder (Primitive Baptist) versus Mr. Sterl A. Watson (Church of Christ), at Camden, Arkansas, Tuesday night, November 23, 1948, and the following four nights, on the following propositions: 1. The Scriptures teach that the church of which I am a member, known by me and my brethren as the Old School or Primitive Baptists, was set up during the personal ministry of Jesus Christ and is scriptural in origin, doctrine and practice (Holder affirmed). 2. The Scriptures teach that the church of which I am a member, known by me and my brethren as the Church of Christ, was set up on the first Pentecost after Christ arose from the dead, and is scriptural in origin, doctrine, and practice (Watson affirmed).

1949 Elder W. T. Cook (Progressive Primitive Baptist) vs. Barry Lee Anderson (Church of Christ), on unconditional salvation; again, in 1950, on identity of church.


1949 Elder J. D. Holder (Primitive Baptist) vs. Grover C. Brewer (Church of Christ), at Fulton, Mississippi, December 27-30, 1949.

1950 Elder J. D. Holder (Primitive Baptist) vs. Charles A. Holt (Church of Christ), at Mt. Pleasant, Texas, on salvation (1500-2000 present)


1950 Elder J. D. Holder (Primitive Baptist) vs. Gus Nichols (Church of Christ), at Medina, Tennessee, for four days, on two propositions: 1. Is salvation conditional on the sinner's part? and 2. Did Christ die for all men alike?

1951 Elder W. C. Davis (Primitive Baptist) vs. George W. DeHoff (Church of Christ), at Van Leer, Tennesse, on salvation. (published)

1952 Elder W. H. Fox (Primitive Baptist) vs. Forrest D. Moyer (Church of Christ), at Quay, New Mexico, on salvation


1954 Elder Jesse Bass (Primitive Baptist) versus Elder M. F. Manchester (Church of Christ), at Comanche, Texas, January 18-21, 1954.

1955 Elder George E. Griffin (Primitive Baptist) versus Johnnie Price Williams (Christian), at Rupert, Idaho, 1955.

1957 Elder George E. Griffin (Primitive Baptist) vs. Guy N. Woods (Church of Christ), at Lovington, New Mexico, July 15-18, 1957, on Eternal Salvation.

1957 Elder George E. Griffin (Primitive Baptist) versus Ronald G. Lovelady (Christian), at Lennox & Norwalk, California, on salvation.

1962 Elder Virgil Lowrance (Primitive Baptist) vs. Thomas H. Tarbet (Church of Christ), Big Spring, Texas.

1963 Elder Ben Walston (Primitive Baptist) vs. Billy Dollar (Church of Christ), at East Houston, Texas, Oct. 28-31, 1931.

1982 Elder Hulan F. Bass (Primitive Baptist) vs. J. L. Davidson (Church of Christ), written discussion on Salvation, conditional or unconditional.

1985 Elder Vance Rodgers (Primitive Bapitst) vs. Jerry C. Moffitt (Church of Christ), Auston, Texas, on Apostasy


Other Public Debates held, for which the dates are not available to us, included: Elder R. W. Thompson (Primitive Baptist) vs. Elder W. B. F. Treat (Campbellite) (R. W. Thompson held five public debates, two with Campbellites and three with "Soul-Sleepers"); Elders G. M. Thompson, John A. Thompson, and Harvey Wright (all Primitive Baptists) each debated with Elder Aaron Walker (Campbellite) at different times, and also held numerous other debates of which we have no account. Elder Lemuel Potter participated in at least fifteen other debates not shown above, of which we have no record. Elder T. S. Dalton participated in at least thirty public debates during his lifetime. Elder Joel Hume had already held six debates before his debate with Stinson in 1863; we only have a record of three of these, as shown above. Elder Peter L. Branstetter of Missouri wrote in 1889 that he had participated in three debates.

Many other debates were held of which we have no record.

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