A Case of Hollow Boasting

by Gene Frost

    In the July issue of Faith and Facts (an oxymoronic title: the magazine is neither true to the Faith nor accurate with the Facts), its publisher, John A. Welch, wrote a review of two debates held in August 1999 between Jeff Asher and David Bonner. I was unable to attend these debates and so I will not comment on the discussions, which I leave to others. My interest in the review stems from the fact that I debated John Welch in 1995, to which he refers in his review of the Asher-Bonner debates. If his accuracy in reporting the Asher-Bonner debates is no better than his references to the Frost-Welch debate, I would say that his reported impressions are suspect.

    John Welch boasts of great victories in every debate in which he has engaged. What he fails to accomplish on the polemic platform he seeks to do in his boasting. He compliments himself and claims victory over his opponents, by putting words in the mouth of David Bonner.

    "Brother Bonner insisted that there be no computer presentations during the debate. He felt that these were a distraction in previous debates and had resulted in other men being unfairly beaten in those discussions."

    As we have often shown before, John Welch is "careless with the truth." I suppose he thinks that if he can repeatedly claim victory in debate, maybe someone (who obviously has not read the published transcriptions) will believe it. However, his boasts are empty of substance and are fabrications of his own wishful thinking. Knowing his penchant for prevarication, I knew that he had put words in the mouth of David Bonner. Before so charging him, I called David Bonner, who … well, let him state it in his own words:

    "For John Welch to say, ‘He felt these were a distraction in previous debates and had resulted in other men being unfairly beaten in those discussions,’ is a BIG FAT LIE. I never said such a thing."

    Bonner adds: "JW told about 15 lies in his writeup of the debate."

    A man who beats his opponents in debate doesn’t have to boast about it, nor does he have to put lying words in the mouth of others. It is not only dishonest; it is infantile. John Welch boasts of a great victory in our debate, while refusing to ever debate me again on any subject. Some champion!

Another Case

    John Welch is known for his carelessness with the truth. He has been exposed time and again. Just a few weeks ago, Nov. 11, 1999, he wrote that I had written the propositions we debated, that I had chosen the wording of the propositions. When I responded that he had written the propositions and would debate no others, he tried to divert attention from his misrepresentation, saying, "Brother Frost should remember his own words. The proposition he used appears in one of his old articles." Indeed, I remembered, and knew that John Welch was lying. I then demanded that he cite the reference, to either give proof of his charge or apologize. Knowing that I had told the truth in exposing his misrepresentation, he had no choice but to ask me to "pardon" him. I thanked him for the correction: "I knew I had stated the truth and that you were wrong again; another instance of your carelessness with the truth."

Why No More?

    For those unfamiliar with the Frost-Welch Debate, perhaps I should briefly outline why I believe he refuses to ever debate me again. The admissions made during our debate and since, I believe have rendered him powerless to defend his heretical doctrine. Let me state three facts.

— 1 —

    In our debate in 1995, I affirmed the immutability of God, that "the inner being of Jesus, His Spirit, was unchanged when He came to earth." John Welch affirmed that the Spirit that inhabited the body of Jesus was changed.

    Before the debate, Welch had taught: "Jesus, prior to his birth could adequately be described as equal with God. He divested himself of the glory, honor, divinity, godhood and became subject to the Father as a man. Whatever qualities and characteristics had been his as divine were foregone. Whatever privileges and powers there might have been were stripped from him. He was a man."

    It was this statement that precipitated the controversy over the nature of Christ. Though Welch later changed his wording of the concept – he apologized for saying that Jesus divested His godhood because he was misunderstood (not because it was error) – the concept itself did not change. He confessed his tactic in our debate: "I’ll apologize to you for any word I’ve used. Fine, let’s get rid of it. But, brother Frost, I believe the same thing; I haven’t shifted." (Welch’s Fourth Affirmative.)

    In the debate we pressed for an admission that he had taught error in saying that Jesus surrendered His Godhood, stating that he owed an apology to a brotherhood that had suffered strife and division because of his doctrine: "Tell us, John, is this statement true or false? Don't just say you shouldn’t have used it and you were wrong to use it. Is this statement a true statement or is it a false statement? If one says God ‘divested himself of the glory, honor, divinity, godhood and became subject to the Father as a man,’ is that true or is that false?"

    For the first time, John Welch admitted that what he had taught was not true:

    "Frost: I asked you to tell us if the statement is true or false, not whether you should have said it.

"Welch: It’s false! That first one up there is wrong." (Welch’s Second Negative.)

    As I stated in my next speech, the debate should have been over then and there:

    "When he said, ‘I apologize. I was wrong,’ I said, ‘I appreciate that admission. We knew it was wrong when he first made it. This is the statement that brought about this controversy. If he had corrected it when he first used it and we called it to his attention, there would have been no debate here tonight. And if he had followed the consequence of that correction, he wouldn’t be taking the position that he is going to be taking in this debate." (Frost’s Third Affirmative.)

    Instead, John Welch argued that Jesus retained His Godhood (the state of being God) while surrendering His divinity (the attributes which constitute that state of being), which is a contradiction. One cannot be God without the divine nature, the essential constitution and properties or attributes (Gal. 4:8). Even so, he contended throughout the debate that Jesus surrendered the divinity (referring to attributes).

— 2 —

    Nearly a year and a half after our debate, I posted on an internet discussion site a statement that I had only recently received, a statement that John had made in a sermon some years before, in which he claimed that Jesus had given up His divinity (referring to attributes) for all time:

    "Ladies and gentlemen, Jesus did not give up his divinity for just 33 years. He gave it up for all time … for all time!"

    John responded, November 8, 1996:

"I made the statement quoted above. It is wrong.

"I have expressed regret for the statement which you quoted above and I have asked for your forgiveness for having made it and I have learned that it is not the truth."

    This was the first notice from John Welch to me wherein he admits to having taught error in contending that Jesus had surrendered His divinity.

    Since God the Word, in coming earth as Jesus, lost neither His Deity (Godhood or Godhead; Gr. theotes) nor His Divinity (attributes that characterize the being of God, theiotes), it follows that He was and is ever God. Yes, "in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." (Col. 2:9)

— 3 —

    Not only has John Welch admitted that he was in error in teaching that Jesus surrendered His Deity and in teaching that He surrendered His attributes of Deity, in our debate in Louisville he actually agreed with my affirmative that God is immutable. Therefore in coming to earth, there was no change in Jesus’ Spirit, His person, His essence, His Godhead, His substance, His nature, His very Being.

    In the opening remarks of our debate, I showed the difference in what we were affirming:

    "Let there be no confusion as to what is unchanged, or as John Welch will affirm is changed. We have reference to the very being of God, the essence of God, the substance of God, the nature of God, terms that John Welch uses as synonyms." (Frost’s First Affirmative)

    We noted that Welch before had clearly defined his concept of the Spirit in Jesus. He said in Beaver Dam, Kentucky in our exchange:

"Welch: "The fulness of the Godhead was always in Jesus.

Frost: "Now what do you mean by ‘Godhead’? Define it.

Welch: "The fulness of the person, spirit, or essence of Jesus." (Jan. 8, 1991)

    Again, in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in the (Thomas) O’Neal-Welch Debate, he said,

    "The word substance, nature, and being are synonymous with essence." (Third Negative).

    Therefore, we had an understanding before the discussion as what I believed was unchanged and what he believed was changed when Jesus came to earth.

    "We agreed to engage in this discussion, understanding that the difference is this: that John understands by the word ‘Spirit,’ the Spirit of God, Godhead, person of God, substance of God, essence of God, nature of God, being of God, all terms that he uses as being synonymous." (Frost’s First Affirmative).

    With this understanding, it was quite a surprise that John would in effect concede the debate. He said, in response, in his first negative speech:

    "Brother Frost, I agree with you on the immutability, the essence of Jesus."

    Being immutable (Mal. 3:6), God in the person of Jesus (1 John 1:1-3) never changed. In the flesh, He remained the same in essence, Spirit, person, substance, nature, being, and Deity! That was my proposition – "the inner being of Jesus, His Spirit, was unchanged when He came to earth" – and John Welch agreed with me.


    John Welch cannot deny that Jesus was fully Deity on earth. He cannot deny that all of the attributes of Deity (or Divinity) were in Jesus on earth. Therefore, He can no longer teach that the Spirit or Person of the Son of God changed when He came into this world as Jesus. It is no wonder that He says he will never debate me again on any subject.

The "Cleansing" Issue

    "But," it may be observed, "did he not recently say that he would debate the deity of Christ again if the cleansing of 1 John 1:7 is debated?" Yes, but he also said he would have a written debate if we first had an oral debate. We did, and he won’t. Can we trust him now?

    Even so, I have tried in vain to determine if he really disagrees with what I believe on cleansing. In his review of the Asher-Bonner debate, John Welch says of this writer:

    "Brother Gene Frost has finally come out of the closet about continuous cleansing."

    This implies that at one time I held secret what I believed, but now have come out into the open and have revealed what I really believe. I deny the charge. I challenge John Welch to state what it is that I supposedly hid in the closet, and what it is that I now declare! I have always been open about what I believe. I have never accepted what John Welch identifies as "continuous cleansing"; I do believe what the Bible says about the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleansing us from all sin. (1 John 1:7) John Welch is a false accuser. (2 Tim. 3:3)

    In an effort to determine if we do have a difference, I asked John if he would affirm the following proposition, which, if I understand what he is saying, is what he believes:

    "The Scriptures teach that when one sins he instantly walks in darkness, and to be forgiven and cleansed by God, and by one against whom he sins, he must repent of and confess each and every sinful act (or sin of omission in the case of God) to the offended, and without which God will show no mercy."

    I posted the proposition on June 18, 1999, and again on November 26. There has been no response from Welch. For one who presses others to answer his demands, this is strange behavior … except, in this case, John Welch doesn’t want to debate. He is at his best when boasting and haranguing.

    This article is just to keep the record straight.

Gene Frost
December 13, 1999

Back to the Top | Back Home