Dan Corner, Evangelical Outreach, and Debates

UPDATED INFORMATION!  Dan Corner just won’t give up.  In May of 2001 Dan tried to “spin” his refusal to debate me on the real issues with a new Audio offering.  Click here to listen to my response to Mr. Corner as it was aired on the Dividing Line Webcast.


A number of months ago I was sent a URL to Evangelical Outreach, the ministry of one Dan Corner (http://www.hhs.net/evangout).  I visited the site, noted a few basic errors in the foundational approach of Mr. Corner, and left an e-mail on the subject.   This brought about a quick correspondence, and that was it.  Then, Mr. Corner released a very lengthy book on his central doctrinal concern: what he calls “Once Saved, Always Saved,” or OSAS.  This again resulted in a few e-mails back and forth, the last dated 4/16/98.  In these e-mails, Mr. Corner challenged me to debate the issue of OSAS.  I informed him clearly that I would be glad to debate, but that we should start where it is logically necessary to start. That is, OSAS is a belief based upon other beliefs, and since Mr. Corner and I do not share those other beliefs, we would first have to debate them before addressing OSAS.  Those other beliefs would be the sovereignty of God in predestination and election, and the deadness of man in sin.   So, I provided him with a counter offer: let’s debate those issues instead.   He declined.

It is interesting to note how his last note of 4/16/98 ended:

Again, my original offer stands. I will gladly debate the subject of my

new book with you, Morey, Hunt, Ankerberg or Hanegraaff. Please do NOT

tell anyone I’m unwilling or misrepresent me in some other way.

So Mr. Corner wants to make sure that he is not misrepresented, and we can surely all understand such a desire.  I have never had any intention of doing so, hence, there’s no problem on this end.

Then, a few days ago, Mr. Corner popped into my e-mail world yet once again.  But this time, he was in a different mode:

Date: Sat, 01 Aug 1998 22:42:47 -0400

Reply-To: evangout@hhs.net

Organization: Evangelical Outreach <http://www.hhs.net/evangout>

To: orthopodeo@aomin.org

Subject: You’re about to be exposed

Dear Dr. White,

Greetings in Jesus’ name.

I’m having a radio interview out of California in about a week and a

half. I plan to expose you and others as some who have refused to

publicly debate me on the subject of once saved always saved in an

equally timed, fair exchange of ideas.

Of course, if you change your mind by then, I won’t include you along

with the others, but I sincerely doubt that you will since you

apparently are afraid do debate this particular issue with me.

Contending for the faith (Jude 3,4),

Dan Corner

<http://www.hhs.net/evangout>

Evangelical Outreach, PO Box 265, Washington, PA 15301

“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning

of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Heb. 3:14).

I found the approach interesting: titling one’s message “You’re about to be exposed” does not exactly bode well for the “temperature” of the ensuing dialogue.  But I thought my response was pretty fair and straightforward:

< chuckle >

Hi again, Dan. Been a while since I’ve gotten a note from you.

You need to realize, Dan, that the number of folks talking about “exposing” me for this or that is legion. 🙂 Just do a good web search on my name sometime. You’ve got your Roman Catholics, and your Mormons, and your Jehovah’s Witnesses, and your atheists, and especially your King James Only type folks. The list is long and distinguished! So, someone “threatening” to “expose” me is almost humorous.

However, what is not humorous is the fact that you know the statement is untrue. While you claim your book is “irrefutable,” you know that I *have* invited you to debate. I have invited you to debate on the fundamental issues that give rise to the one topic you have made your life’s work, or so it seems. I have explained, logically and biblically, that the issue of the perseverance of the saints or the perfection of Christ’s work as Savior is based upon more fundamental questions, specifically, the sovereignty of God in election and predestination, and the nature of man as sinner, specifically, his deadness in sin. You have refused to debate those issues against me, insisting that I skip past the fundamental issues of disagreement, and debate an issue that can never be resolved unless the basics are covered first.

I would liken your position, Dan, to that of a person who insists that I debate him on the subject of the procession of the Holy Spirit without first addressing the issue of the Trinity itself. In fact, I recently got a series of e-mails from a fellow who denies the deity of Christ and the person of the Holy Spirit. Now, wouldn’t you agree that it would be very silly of me to debate this person on whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son without first discussing the more fundamental issues of the deity of Christ and the personality of the Holy Spirit, and the Trinity itself? Such seems obvious.

In the same way, as I have explained to you, the perseverance of the saints is a divine truth plainly presented in passages such as John 6:37-40. But any meaningful discussion requires that the *foundation* of the truth be debated, that being the *ability* and *willingness* of God to save perfectly in Christ. Jesus said that it was the Father’s will that He lose NONE of those given to Him by the Father. If you deny the Father is even *able* to give any to the Son, so as to entrust their salvation into His hands, you are obviously not going to see or accept the teaching of such passages.

So, Dan, let’s be honest. I do radio programs all across the United States on a weekly basis. If I wanted to threaten folks with “exposure” as you have done to me, I could do it with far more regularity than you could ever hope to do. But I refuse to behave in such a manner. I know I have invited you to debate the real issue, and you have declined, preferring to stay with the one issue you have made your crusade in life. If I wanted to go on nationwide radio and “expose Dan,” I could do it. But I have no interest in such things. I know, and you know, and most importantly, God knows, that I have responded to your challenge in a biblical and logical manner. If you are an honest man, you will say on that radio interview, “James White, being the Reformed theologian he is, has insisted that we debate election, predestination, and the deadness of man in sin before addressing the issue of the perseverance of the saints, and I have declined his invitation.” If you are not an hoenst man, you won’t bother being accurate in what you say. In either case, Dan, God knows the truth. I hope you will do what is right.

James>>>

His response made me wonder about the time I had invested in the above response:

From: evangout@hhs.net

Date: Wed, 05 Aug 1998 11:09:43 -0400

Reply-To: evangout@hhs.net

Organization: Evangelical Outreach <http://www.hhs.net/evangout>

To: orthopodeo@aomin.org

Subject: Smokescreen Jim & OSAS

Dear Dr. White:

Your time is quickly running out before you get exposed as one who will

not debate the believer’s security with me. I have no doubt that you

would gladly do it in a flash if you thought you could refute my

arguments. Since you can’t and yet you want to save face – you have

created both a smokescreen and an excuse not to debate this issue that

you think is related to the Gospel!

Contending For The Faith (Jude 3,4),

Dan Corner

<http://www.hhs.net/evangout>

Evangelical Outreach, PO Box 265, Washington, PA 15301

“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;

and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers” (Jam. 1:15,16).

I asked Mr. Corner if he’d mind if I put his rather blustery e-mails on our web page.   No response.  Instead, this arrived:

From: evangout@hhs.net

Date: Thu, 06 Aug 1998 10:25:38 -0400

Reply-To: evangout@hhs.net

Organization: Evangelical Outreach <http://www.hhs.net/evangout>

To: James White <orthopodeo@aomin.org>

Subject: A DEBATE Challenge …

Dear Dr. White:

Greetings in JESUS’ holy name.

Please know my past email was not a “taunt” as you suggest. You describe

yourself as a Reformed “theologian,” you hold a doctorates, are an

experienced debater and believe people like myself are editing the

gospel, yet you won’t debate me on the subject of the believer’s

security.

If you thought you’d win, you would debate me in a flash. But you refuse

to enter the debate arena with me. I believe you’ve read over my new 761

page book and/or some of the articles on our website dealing with this

issue, and you realize that your chief arguments are demolished and that

there are too many arguments laid out for a conditional security that

you cannot deal with. Consequently, you are trying to cloud the issue

rather than declining because you are fearful.

By the way, Reformed theologian Arthur Pink contended for OSAS without

such a heavy emphasis on predestination, etc. as you seem to believe is

essential to do such.

If you want to debate this issue, respond quickly. I am going to expose

you for the gospel’s sake if you don’t.

Contending for the faith (Jude 3,4),

Dan Corner

I replied:

>Dear Dr. White:

>

>Greetings in JESUS’ holy name.

>

>Please know my past email was not a “taunt” as you suggest. You describe

>yourself as a Reformed “theologian,” you hold a doctorates, are an

>experienced debater and believe people like myself are editing the

>gospel, yet you won’t debate me on the subject of the believer’s

>security.

Dan, I’m not going to spend too much time repeating myself. We have both challenged the other to a debate. I have challenged you to debate the central and foundational issue that separates us: God’s sovereign predestination and man’s deadness in sin. You have refused my challenge. You have challenged me to debate the believer’s security, and I have refused yours. I, however, unlike you, have given a reason: logically and rationally, the topic I have challenged you on *precedes* the topic you have presented to me. Hence, if you truly wished to address the issue, you would go at it from the logical starting place, not a place way down the line of logical reasoning.

>If you thought you’d win, you would debate me in a flash.

Let’s turn this around, Dan. Would your reasoning hold if you put it this way?
Dan Corner has been challenged to debate predestination and the deadness of man in sin by James White, Director of Alpha and Omega Ministries. Mr. Corner has declined. Obviously, if Mr. Corner thought he could win, he’d take up the challenge in a flash.
Does that logic work, Dan? Or shall we conclude that you refuse to use the same standards with others that you use with yourself?

>But you refuse

>to enter the debate arena with me. I believe you’ve read over my new 761

>page book and/or some of the articles on our website dealing with this

>issue, and you realize that your chief arguments are demolished and that

>there are too many arguments laid out for a conditional security that

>you cannot deal with. Consequently, you are trying to cloud the issue

>rather than declining because you are fearful.

< chuckle > Well, it would be easy to start playing these games, Dan, and psychoanalyzing each other. But I won’t do it. I’ve not even seen your book, Dan, nor have I done anything more than read a couple articles on your site (as you will recall, I e-mailed you quite some time ago with problems with one of the articles I read). I have every confidence in my beliefs, and in fact, am teaching on John 6 right now in Bible Study. You seem absolutely desperate to avoid dealing with the facts I have presented to you concerning the logical priority of God’s sovereignty and the nature of man over your OSAS issue. All of your e-mails utterly ignore that, and, when we post these e-mails on our site, anyone else can see the same thing.

>By the way, Reformed theologian Arthur Pink contended for OSAS without

>such a heavy emphasis on predestination, etc. as you seem to believe is

>essential to do such.

>

>If you want to debate this issue, respond quickly. I am going to expose

>you for the gospel’s sake if you don’t.

Again, Dan, if you are honest man, you will let anyone know the truth as it really stands. If you are not, there’s no reason to debate a dishonest person anyway. BTW, we air a program every Thursday in one of the largest markets in the nation (WMCA, covering New York City). I wonder if I should do a series of programs on this subject, and include your e-mails as examples? Might be an interesting discussion.

To make your threats and taunts a little more vacuous, let’s try this:

Dan Corner is hereby challenged to do a three-part debate series against James White:

1) God’s Sovereignty and Predestination. White would affirm that the Bible teaches that God decrees whatsoever comes to pass, and that He has an elect people who will be saved in perfection by Jesus Christ their Savior. Corner would deny.

2) Man’s Deadness in Sin. White would affirm that the Bible teaches that man is dead in sin, a slave to sin, and unable to come to Christ outside of the sovereign drawing of the Father.

3) The Perseverance of the Saints. White would affirm that the Bible teaches that the elect of God are saved perfectly by Christ, and since the very faith that is theirs is a divine gift of God, it cannot fail, but they will persevere and enter into heaven.

Details on place, time, etc., would have to be worked out. Obviously, I am handing all the advantage to Mr. Corner, since I am affirming in all three debates. But the challenge stands, and if Mr. Corner declines, we would strongly recommend that he not go about saying that it is Dr. White who is unwilling to debate him.

This e-mail, along with the others from this week, will be posted to our website, www.aomin.org, for all to read.

James>>>

If anything more develops on this topic, we will post it here.

James White

August 6, 1998

On November 1st, Dan resuraced and sent the following:

Dear Jim

Greetings in Jesus’ name.

We thought you should know that you have been awarded the Skull and Crossbones Award in our latest apologetic quarterly because of your unscriptural teachings about the believer’s security. You can view your page on the Internet at http/www.evangelicaloutreach.org/jimwhite.htm

In case you were wondering, I would still like to debate you on the subject of my book, that is, the believer’s security. By a debate, I mean an equally-timed, fair exchange of ideas with an impartial, unbiased moderator.

Defending The Faith (Jude 3,4),

Dan Corner

To which I replied:

 

 

Why thank you! To be so honored for standing for God’s grace is truly wonderful! We shall link to it immediately so that people can see what you have done.

Of course, Matthew 5:11 applies here as well, since, of course, you are lying about me. That’s not unusual—false teachers do that all the time. But, just in case you have a conscience that is not seared as yet, let me again correct your falsehood: *IF* you would bother to read what I have written, and *IF* you would read the e-mails I have sent to you (our recent conversations are posted on our website—we will link to you, will you link to our reply?), then you would know that I do not turn the grace of God into a “license for immorality.” In fact, I quote from my book, _Drawn by the Father_, pp. 30-31, to illustrate your misrepresentation:

“The One Coming”

This phrase simply repeats the subject of the preceding clause, and we have already examined the rich meaning seen in the description of the Christian as the one who “is coming” to Christ. But lest we overlook, in our proper zeal for the truth of the eternal nature and security of salvation, the danger of false profession, let us remark again that the tremendous promise that is here given, and which will be further amplified in the following verses, is not for those who do not truly trust, truly believe, truly *follow* Jesus Christ. There is no foundation in this passage (or any in God’s Word) for one who does not truly love Christ, does not truly desire to follow Him, to be with Him, to honor Him and to glorify Him, to claim “eternal security.” Simply walking down an aisle, shaking a man’s hand, praying a prayer, or being baptized in a baptistery is not necessarily the same as coming to Christ and believing in Him. Surely, many have truly come to Christ through a prayer, or in an evangelistic service. But the simple *performance* of these acts does not make one a Christian. A one-time faith is not saving faith, nor are strong feelings that last but a night the same as trusting Christ as Lord.  Faith that saves lasts, and those who have this kind of faith are coming and believing in Christ. These, *and these alone,* will persevere, and these alone can claim the wonderful words  that are hear spoken by Christ.

I’m sorry you are so blinded by your crusade that you cannot accept correction. I’m sorry you are willing to be downright dishonest. I do hope and pray God will deliver you from this delusion that has become your primary thrust. But all of that aside, your misrepresentation is clear, and I call you to be honest enough to admit it, and deal with reality.

>In case you were wondering, I would still like to debate you on the subject of my book, that is, the believer’s security. By a debate, I mean an equally-timed, fair exchange of ideas with an impartial, unbiased moderator.

Oh, I wasn’t wondering. You know I have challenged you to debate the ENTIRE issue, and, as many have noted, it is you who is unwilling to do so. I know this is true; God does, too, and anyone who really cares, knows it as well.