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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Tom Ascol and James White Comment on the Debate

Yesterday, both Tom Ascol and James White commented on their blogs about the debate upcoming this October. Here is some of what Ascol said:

I am praying that this debate will bring honor to our Lord by showing how brothers can disagree strongly and decisively without resorting to the kind of name calling, misrepresentations, distortions that too often characterizes disagreements on this issue. I am also praying that the Gospel of God's grace will be set forth clearly and simply; that God's Word will be accurately handled; that truth will be honored and error exposed. I have no doubt that not only James, but also Ergun and Emir would join me in saying "Amen" to these petitions offered to our Lord. As God brings this to mind, please pray to this end.
White shared some of his email correspondence with the Caners, of which he said:
Brothers, I am a Calvinist by conviction of the Word of God and for no other reason. I do not base my case on philosophy. I do not base my case on history. Surely, both have their place, but they are not the source, the heart, the ground, of my faith. I base my case upon the consistent, sound, thorough-going exegesis of the text of Scripture itself. And to bless the people of God...one must make one's case from the voice of Christ in His Word, wouldn't you agree? I am certain you would agree with me that the only way for our efforts to bear lasting fruit is if we lead our audience to a deeper faith in, trust in, and knowledge of, the Scriptures. Hence, while I will gladly address the full range of truths that make up the heart of my faith, from God's absolute sovereignty, man's total inability, God's unconditional election, Christ's perfect and perfecting atonement, the Spirit's infallible ability to regenerate, etc., there is a danger of being so unfocused as to never get to the text of Scripture itself, or, worse, to only cite it in a surface level manner. I'm sure you have experienced this frustration in your own debates, and would join me in not wishing to dilute the topic beyond what can be handled in, say, three hours?
There are several concerns about the debate that have been raised: 1. There is the concern of not faithfully dealing with the "thesis" of the debate. In other words, the debate will be littered with talking points without dealing with the main point of the debate. 2. There is a concern for a deficiency of thorough cross-examination of each others' points. It is not a mere restatement of each side's position, but a robust interaction and defense of one position in light of the other's arguments. 3. There is the concern for a superficial approach to Scripture with little exegesis and a lot of proof-texting. Deal with the texts period. 4. There is the concern for the defense mechanisms of name calling, mispresentations, and distortions of the truth. We have seen this all too often. Let's hope it does not happen here. 5. There is the concern that the moderator (whoever that may be) give fair ground to both sides in representing their view. There is such a thing as "home court advantage." To offer fairness, there needs to be a level-headed, objective referee, not one who has someone's hands in their hip pocket. It cannot be denied that there is great interest in the debate, especially given that so many in the SBC are not aware of its Reformed roots. I think the greatest impact of this debate will occur long after the debate is over and the ripple effect takes place. Well, it is already happening, but this debate will surely rock the boat.


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