While in Ardmore, Oklahoma, a sister in Christ related an interesting episode about the late brother J.W. Chism. Many years before, Henry Stetson (related to the Texas hat maker of that name), came into Oklahoma preaching for the Baptists, enjoying great crowds wherever he preached. Some brethren in Ardmore approached Mr. Stetson about having a public discussion. They proposed that he meet with brother J.W. Chism. Mr. Stetson agreed to discuss the Bible plan of salvation in public debate.
The first debate lasted almost a week, and centered on passages like Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; Galatians 3:26-27; 1 Peter 3:21; etc. As the debate drew to a close, Mr. Stetson challenged brother Chism to meet for another debate in another community. Brother Chism picked up the gauntlet. On the third or fourth day of that second debate, brother Chism had just finished his second affirmative argument. Mr. Stetson walked slowly to the podium. Everybody assumed he would enter his negative speech. However, Mr. Stetson turned and spoke directly to brother Chism. He said that if brother Chism would take his good confession that he was ready to be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
Obviously, the debate closed with that act of obedience to the Gospel (Romans 6:1-4, 16-18). Brother Stetson then held a meeting in that very community with almost fifty people being baptized into Christ, and added to the Lord’s church (Acts 2:41- 47). Brother Stetson continued as a faithful Gospel preacher for years to follow. Let us never underestimate the power of the Word of God (Rom. 1:16). Remember, when a man who is honestly mistaken hears the Truth, he will either quit being mistaken, or he will quit being honest!
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