Billingsly/Benton Debate on The Gospels
Dan Billingsly's First Affirmative
The Scriptures teach that the four books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- before
the cross, belong to the Old and not the New Testament.
Affirm: Dan Billingsly
Deny: Terry Benton
Being in the affirmative of this study, I ask brother Benton to follow and answer my arguments by
number. If he will number his arguments, I will answer by number. This will make it much
simpler and easier for all to follow and understand.
THREE QUESTIONS WHICH BILLINGSLY AND BENTON MUST ANSWER:
1. Where do the Scriptures teach that the Old Testament age, revelation and authority of the Old
Testament law of Moses (old Mosaical covenant) end?
BILLINGSLY: The Scriptures teach that all Old Testament Jews in the last generation of Israel
became "dead to the law by the body of Christ" on the cross (Rom. 7:4). In his death, Christ
"nailed" the Old Testament law of Moses to the cross (Col. 2:14). Christ was the "end" of the law
of Moses by his death on the cross (Rom. 10:4). By his death, Christ "took away" the Old
Covenant" with Israel that he might establish the New Covenant with the New testament church in
Acts 2 (Heb. 10:9-10).
2. Where do the Scriptures teach that the New Testament age, revelation and authority of the New
Covenant of Christ begin?
BILLINGSLY: The Scriptures teach that the New Testament age, revelation and authority of the
New Covenant began in Acts 2. In Acts 2, not in MMLJBC, the Holy Spirit guided the apostles'
into "all" New Testament "truth" as prophesied and revealed by Christ (Jn. 16:13-14). In Acts 2,
not MMLJBC, for the first time in history, Peter preached the "keys of the new covenant
kingdom" -- the New Testament gospel "plan of salvation." In Acts 2, not MMLJBC, for the first
time in history, alien sinners obeyed the New Testament gospel, became New Testament
Christians as they were "added" to the New Testament kingdom. In Acts 2, not MMLJBC, for the
first time in history the New Testament church was "established" on earth. In Acts 2, not
MMLJBC, for the first time in history the New Covenant church was established in the New
Testament faith of "the apostles' doctrine."
2. Are all men today in this New Testament age, alien sinners and New Testament Christians
alike, accountable to "all" New Testament teaching?
(For more information on the covenants, please visit my website at www.fbsbdb.com)
ARGUMENT 1. Understanding the Bible does not depend on which translation one uses or if one
understands the original languages of the Hebrew Old Testament or Greek New Testament. It does
not depend on one's level of education or how long they have been reading or studying the Bible
and attending church services.
More than any other factor, it depends on understanding the Old Testament age and doctrine of
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- before the cross (MMLJBC), Christ's teaching of the old
covenant law of Moses and his relationship to and practice of the Old Testament religion of Israel
Understanding the Bible depends on whether or not one understands the scriptural difference
between the Old and New Testaments and when and where the Scriptures -- not the Roman
Catholic church -- teach that the Old Testament age really "ends" and the New Testament age and
revelation of new covenant doctrine really "begins."
ARGUMENT 2. Roman Catholic "Heresy" Of 1486 AD: Unfortunately, (and a fact that many
among churches of Christ do not know), in 1486 AD and the beginning of the Protestant
Reformation in Europe, when the Roman Catholic church attempted to maintain and defend "papal
(Pope) authority" as the Protestants were clamoring for "Bible authority," Roman Catholic
translators, publishers and printers of the Bible -- on the basis of earlier apostate lists and canons
of Scripture compiled during the infamous "dark ages" -- arbitrarily inserted an unauthorized New
Testament "title page" between the book of Malachi and Matthew to divide between the Old and
Of course, this Roman Catholic "heresy" of 1486 denies and contradicts what the Scriptures teach
on where the Old Testament "ended" and the New Testament "began," and subsequently has
misled millions of people who seek to know God's will for this New Testament age.
Without question, this erroneous Roman Catholic "title page" is the most misunderstood "page" in
the Bible. It has become the fundamental "cause" of most of the misunderstanding of the Bible and
religious division among those who would "follow" Christ. Its sectarian spirit has created untold
false doctrine about Christ and his new covenant church. It has certainly misled and confused
brother Benton. Just watch his arguments.
Has this false "title page" also misled you in your efforts to understand the Bible and do God's will
in this New Testament age? You may be completely unaware of how this fallacious Roman
Catholic "title page" has affected your efforts to understand the Old and New Testaments.
(Questions? email to firstname.lastname@example.org)
ARGUMENT 3. Biblical Manuscript Authorities Confirm The Roman Catholic Origin And
Erroneous Placement Of The New Testament "Title Page." The following quotations from biblical
manuscript authorities on the text and canon of the Bible show clearly that the New Testament
"title page" -- the page that divides the books of Malachi and Matthew -- was first arbitrarily
placed in the Bible by Roman Catholic translators and publishers, and was first printed by Pruss of
Strasbourg in 1486 AD. THIS IS THE ROMAN CATHOLIC HERESY THAT BROTHER
BENTON SUPPORTS, PROMOSTES AND ENCOURAGES YOU TO BELIEVE AND TRUST
AS AN INSPIRED DOCTRINE FROM HEAVEN. That means that from the time of the 1st
century apostles to 1486, there was no inspired division authorized or made between the books of
Malachi and Matthew. If we are going to "rightly divide" between the Old and New Testaments by
the teaching of Christ in MMLJBC and the New Testament apostles in Acts 2 through Revelation
22, then these four books must be placed, as Christ, the Holy Spirit and the apostles did in the Old
Testament, and not in the New Testament as done by the Roman Catholic church, the Protestant
denominational world and promoted and preached by brother Terry Benton and others.
HARDING GRADUATE SCHOOL OF RELIGION, 1000 Cherry Road, Memphis, TN 38117
"Dear brother Billingsly, The sort of information I understood you to be looking for is likely to be
found in the set: T.H. Darlow and H.F. Moule, HISTORICAL CATALOGUE OF PRINTED
EDITIONS OF HOLY SCRIPTURE. It appears that the Gutenburg Bible (1455 AD) did not have
a 'title page.' Our copies of the Sinaiticus (4th century manuscript) and Alexandrius (5th century
manuscript) do not have a New Testament 'title page.'" Jack P. Lewis, Professor of Bible
BIBLIOTECA APOSTOLICA VATICANA, Vatican, Rome, Italy
"Dear Mr. Billingsly, With regard to when the title-page was inserted between 2 Maccabees and
the beginning of the Gospel according to Matthew, I call your attention to p. 421, of THE
CAMRIDGE HISTORY OF THE BIBLE, Vol. 3. It states: 'In 1486 Pruss of Strassburg printed
the first Bible with a title-page.'" REV. William J. Sheehan, C.S.B.
BRITISH MUSEUM/LIBRARY DEPARTMENT OF MANUSCRIPTS
Great Russell St., London WClB3DG, England
"Dear Sir, The oldest manuscripts of the Greek Bible were not produced with such a title-page at
the beginning of St. Matthew's Gospel as we find in our modern printed editions." Dr. Scot
McKendrick, Curator Of Classical, Byzantine and Biblical Manuscripts
AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY, 1865 Broadway, NY, NY 10023-7505
"Dear Mr. Billingsly, The first printed edition of the Bible was a copy of the Latin Vulgate printed
about 1455 by Johan Gutenberg....The first known example of a title-page is the 1486 edition of
the Bible in Latin published by Pruss of Strassburg, which carried the words 'Textus Biblie.'"
Erroll F. Rhodes, Assistant Director, Bible Study Helps
OKLAHOMA CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY, 2501 Memorial Rd., Box 11000, Oklahoma City, OK
"Dear Brother Billingsly, The first "Title Page" to the Bible was added in 1486 to a Latin Bible
published by Pruss of Strassburg...The authority for its insertion was that of the printer...Second,
there were no title sheets in the oldest and best manuscripts...The first known examples of an
entire Bible in book form come from around AD 350 (and these included the Apocrypha in the
Old Testament like first and second Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, and additional books in the New
Testament like the Epistle of Barnabas, the Shepherd of Hermas, and the Teaching of the Twelve
Apostles)."Curt Niccum, Professor of the College of Biblical Studies
We can see from the above statements that the apostate Roman Catholic church of the "dark,
darker and darkest ages" took great steps to confuse and denigrate the written word of God in both
the Old and New Testaments. The present erroneous New Testament "title page" was just one of
the many doctrinal heresies of the Roman Catholic church in denying the truth of the Bible.
Is this Roman Catholic heresy what brother Benton believes and teaches? Yes!
3. The Scriptures teach that the Bible consists of a series of different covenants from Genesis
through Revelation, and to understand which books, chapters and verse make up these different
covenants is to understand the beginnings and endings of the covenants of the Bible.
The Scriptures teach that each different covenant consists of a specific but varying number of
books, chapters and verses. The old Patriarchal age and covenants began in Genesis 1 and ended
in Exodus 19. The old Mosaical covenant began in Exodus 20, continued through 1500 years of
the Mosaical age, and ended with the life and death of Christ in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23
and John 19.
The Scriptures teach that the six chapters of Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20, 21 and Acts
1 all describe the events in the work of Christ after his resurrection and during the fifty days
between the end of the Old Testament at the cross of Christ and the beginning of the New
Testament in Acts 2
The Scriptures teach that the New Testament of Christ is revealed in Christ's own new covenant
words to the Holy Spirit and apostles in Acts 2 through Revelation 22.
All books, chapters and verses are "rightly divided" (2 Tim. 2:15) into their proper old and new
covenants when we follow the teaching of the Scriptures -- not when one follows the false 1486
AD Roman Catholic division of the Old and New Testaments between Malachi and Matthew as
seen in our modern Bibles.
The Scriptures teach that the four books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- before the cross -
describe and detail the teaching and end of the Old Testament age and authority of the law of
Moses, not the beginning of the New Testament age, revelation and authority of the New
Covenant of Christ.
While Christ, as the last Old Testament prophet sent to Israel, spoke numerous Old Testament
"prophecies" about the then-soon-to-come New Covenant age and kingdom in MMLJBC (i.e.,
Matt. 16:18; Jn. 3:3-7), he did not teach or reveal specific New Testament doctrine during the
Old Testament age of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- before the cross. Neither Christ, the Holy
Spirit or the apostles ever teach that Christ's Old Testament "prophecies" in MMLJBC were then -
- are were to become -- New Testament doctrine.
No Old Testament "prophecy" of any Old Testament "prophet" has ever become New Testament
doctrine. The "fulfillment" of Old Testament "prophecy" in the revelation of the New Testament is
New Covenant doctrine.
4. The Bible must be interpreted by whole or complete covenants -- not by individual "verses" or
"topics." Because the Bible consists of a series of covenants that God has made with various
individuals, families, nations and the New Testament church, and because each book, chapter, and
verse belongs to one specific covenant and covenant age, to scripturally understand and interpret
the Bible, all books, chapters and verses must be "rightly divided" into their proper Old and New
Covenants, then each whole covenant must be interpreted by what it teaches, (not by what another
covenant teaches), and that teaching applied only to the people who were in or part of that
A. The different covenants of the Patriarchal age (Genesis 1 through Exodus 19) must be
interpreted by the teaching of those specific Patriarchal covenants and applied only to the
Patriarchal people within those covenants in that Patriarchal age.
B. The one Mosaical covenant that God made with the house of Israel during the Mosaical age
(Exodus 20 through Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23 and John 19) must be interpreted by the
teaching within that Mosaical covenant and applied only to the Jews of Israel with whom God
made that Mosaical covenant.
C. The six chapters of Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20, 21 and Acts 1 describe the fifty
day period of time between the Old and New Testaments. This was a period when no covenant for
justification and/or salvation from sin existed between God and man.
D. The New Covenant that Christ has made with the New Testament church (Acts 2 through
Revelation 22). This New Covenant must be interpreted by the teaching within this same New
Covenant, and the teaching applied only to those whom it addresses. The New Covenant "plan of
salvation" is addressed to alien sinners and applies only to alien sinners (Acts 2). Christ's New
Covenant law for the church is addressed to only the church, it does not apply to alien sinners
outside the church. New Covenant law for the church applies only to New Covenant Christians,
those within the New Covenant church.
Brother Benton is going to ask you to believe that New Testament doctrine for Christians also
applies to alien sinners before they become Christians. Does Christ require alien sinners to live
the Christian life before they become Christians? Benton: Yes! Billingsly: No!
6. There are four simple rules for interpreting any book, chapter or verse in the Bible
A. Which covenant was in force at the time, with whom did God or Christ make the covenant
described in the book, chapter or verse, and to whom does this covenant teaching apply?
B. Who is speaking?
C. What is spoken?
D. To whom were they speaking?
7. The Bible cannot be scripturally interpreted by individual "verses" or "topics." The most
common mistake made in interpreting the Bible is the attempt to make one verse, for example
John 3:16, represent the whole new covenant message of Christ about salvation. The truth is that
John 3:16 is a verse from the Old Testament law of Moses describing how God "gave" his Son to
"save" the old covenant "world" of Israel (Matt. 1:21; 2:6; 15:24; Jn. 12:19). John 3:16 does not
even belong to the New Testament -- much less contain God's message of salvation for this New
Covenant age. To be scripturally interpreted, John 3:16 must be interpreted in harmony with all
other teachings of the book of John, the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke -- before the cross , as
well as all other books, chapters and verses that constitute the Old Testament law of Moses.
8. Another common mistake made in interpreting the Bible is to combine all Scripture of the
Bible on one "topic" and then teach that it is God's will for men today. For example, Old
Testament Scripture and teaching on temple "worship" ( is not God's will for the New Testament
church and her "worship" -- therefore it cannot be applied to the church. Only New Testament
teaching on "worship" in Acts 2 through Revelation 22 is a part of the new covenant, and only
new covenant teaching on "worship" can be applied to the New Covenant church. Old Testament
teaching on "worship" (or any other subject) does not, under any circumstances, apply to the
New Testament church.
These first eight arguments on the proposition: The Scriptures teach that the four books of
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John -- before the cross -- belong to the Old and not the New
Testament, are scripturally and historically true.
They prove the proposition -- but our ensuing arguments are going to thoroughly dismantle and
destroy brother Benton's position. These eight arguments cannot be scripturally attacked or
defeated by brother Benton.
He cannot successfully argue that Christ, the Holy Spirit and the apostles placed MMLJBC in the
New Testament, for all of their teaching denies such a heresy. More than 100 times in MMLJBC
Jesus declares that he is teaching the Old Testament law and prophets. For example, at the close of
the so-called "sermon on the mount" (Matt. 7:12); when the young Jew asked Christ what he
should do to have eternal life (Matt. 19:16-20); and when Christ was asked about the "greatest
commandment" (Matt. 22:34-40).
Not once in MMLJBC does Jesus ever state that he is teaching New Testament doctrine.
Why then do so many like terry Benton believe that the New Testament age begins and the
revelation of New Testament doctrine begins in Matthew 1? Because they have rejected the New
Testament truth of Christ and have believed the false doctrine set forth in the 1486 AD Roman
When anyone rejects Christ's truth of the New Testament in Acts 2 through Revelation 22 and
believes the devil's lie that Christ's old covenant teaching of the law of Moses in MMLJBC is New
Testament doctrine, they stand condemned. "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in
them that perish; because the received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for
this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might
be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thess. 10-12).
Our 2nd affirmative will show, by the Scriptures, that every word of MMLJBC relates to the Old
Testament, the old covenant law of Moses, the old covenant nation of Israel and the last old
covenant prophet -- Jesus Christ the Messiah, that old covenant Savior that God sent only to old
covenant Israel (Matt. 15:24; Lk. 19:10).
Let us wait patiently for brother Benton's 1st negative.