Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Quick Report from Santa Fe
09/11/2010 - James WhiteIt's a beautiful morning here in Santa Fe. I have become accustomed to arising early in the mornings of late, but this morning---I didn't. It takes quite a while to wind down after two full debates (on two widely divergent topics), so I didn't get to bed overly early either. In any case, I'm 4/6ths of the way through the "month of uber debating." The audio of both debates has already been posted by the church here. We will post them at aomin.org next week. The church video recorded the debates as well (it helps with all the citations I presented, especially in the Bodily Assumption debate) and we hope to have the DVDs and mp4s up before long.
I do believe that the person who charts out debates (i.e., does a flow chart following lines of argumentation, testing for consistency and logic) will find the first debate very enlightening. I tried as best as I could to untangle Dr. Sungenis' use of terminology to try to bring clarity to the issue, but it was difficult. Though Robert claims to understand Reformed theology, I leave it to the listener to discover if that is a sustainable conclusion. In any case, a very clear contrast between a once-for-all, God-centered gospel and a theoretical, man-centered system of synergism was presented. I wish I had asked the question I gave at the end of my closing statement during cross-examination, for Dr. Sungenis did not understand or answer the question. But I think that in and of itself spoke clearly to the real answer and hence to the resolution of the debate.
The second debate was truly eye-opening. First, I think I should point out that Robert Sungenis is the only Roman Catholic out there that I know of who will actually stand in public debate to defend the Bodily Assumption--the "big names" know better! They know there is no meaningful way to defend this concept outside of saying, "Look, the Roman Church says it, believe it!" That is all Rome has, really, and that does not hold up well to examination. But I think the Bodily Assumption is the single clearest illustration of the fact that all of Rome's apologists are simply dishonest (or deceived, or both) when they proclaim fealty to "Scripture and Tradition." The Bodily Assumption is found in neither, which is why Sungenis had to take the route, "We don't need Scripture or Tradition." Think how many times you've heard Staples, Akin, Keating, Madrid, et al talk about Scripture and Tradition, and yet in reality, neither is relevant to the dogma of the Bodily Assumption. This dogma is a shining example of sola ecclesia, the Roman Church, and in this instance, the Roman bishop, as the final and ultimate authority. What the listener will find fascinating here is that the Roman Catholic position is left fighting desperately not only against sound exegesis (as it always is), but against a cadre of sound, contextually accurate patristic citations as well. This debate is one of the clearest exposures of Rome's true nature I've ever participated in, right up there with the Stravinskas debate on purgatory.
Since I'm down to only one Flip video unit, I recorded only the cross-examination periods of both debates, which I provide here:
I will be speaking here in New Mexico through Sunday morning, and then home for the Unitarianism debate on the Jewish Voice Broadcast on Tuesday. The race continues on!