Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Day Four of the Steve Gregg vs. James White Debate
04/08/2008 - James WhiteI was, of course, very disappointed with the second half of today's program. I don't know if Mr. Gregg just became upset at the refutation of his errors on Acts 13:48 or if this was planned, but he decided to do the "This is a yes/no question---please ignore all the presuppositions and assumptions I will load into this, and answer in ten seconds and then let me add a snide remark at the end of each before moving on"---routine, which, given the gravity of the topic and the context (two professing Christians), I felt was utterly reprehensible. I will not engage in on-air food fights with folks who want to talk over me--that is not an appropriate behavior for the topic at hand, and it does not edify the listeners, who can't figure out who is saying what anyway. If Mr. Gregg wishes to seek to overthrow the testimony of Scripture to the universal sinfulness of man, let him make his case. I will respond. But I believe there are standards for those who profess to be Christians. It is one thing for a Muslim, or a Mormon, or an atheist, to behave in certain ways, but Mr. Gregg professes faith, and therefore must be held to a higher standard.
In any case, I have written to Mr. Gregg and Pastor Spurlock and included the following suggestion for the final day:
We utilize the question/answer format we use in debates where we cannot trust one or both of the participants to behave: that is, the person asking has one minute to ask a question.The person who is asked the question has two minutes to respond; the questioner then gets one minute to respond to the response. This can be done for a certain block of time, say 12 minutes (encompassing three questions by the same person), or back and forth.I believe this will allow for controlled interaction while either precluding, or making obvious, the use of disingenuous tactics. Here's the program (free/high quality).
One other note: Mr. Gregg posted this in his forum: "I almost choked when he came on afterward and said that he would never stoop to such a tactic as asking me big questions demanding a yes or no answer (like "Does Jesus intercede for the non-elect?"). I really had believed the man would participate in honest dialogue. I am saddened." I have noted that Mr. Gregg struggles to see or present meaningful comparisons and parallels. For example, he mistakenly suggested that my pointing out his promotion of a translation of Acts 13:48 found in only one committee-translated English version of the Bible (the Jehovah's Witnesses' New World Translation) is parallel to my pointing out that 1 Timothy 2:4 defines "all men" as all groups of men by contextual indicators before and after the text. There is no logical or rational parallel between the two: I am not suggesting a meaning for "all" that is not found anywhere else in the NT, while he is presenting a meaning for the periphrastic construction in Acts 13:48 that is completely unique. The same thing appears here: I asked a direct and relevant question (which Mr. Gregg has yet to respond to), "Does Jesus intercede for the non-elect?" I did not ask it like Gregg was asking his questions, "Does Jesus intercede for the non-elect, yes or no, and you will have less than 15 seconds to answer or I will accuse you of taking too much time and hogging the conversation." As long as Mr. Gregg refuses to recognize the problems in his argumentation, little positive will come from attempting to dialogue with him. This will not stop him, however, from questioning my honesty, and, it seems, the users of his forum to question my spiritual state as well ("It is obvious that he is held under the power of another and will not be able to refuse that power.")