Over the past 36 hours a number of e-mails have shot back and forth between myself and Dr. William Hamblin of BYU. As has been the case in the past, the initial contact was unsolicited on my part. I noted its nature below. But it came at an interesting time, for we will be debating once again in Salt Lake City in just a few weeks, and Dr. Hamblin had been one we had invited to debate the issue of “temples,” for he had offered comments in response to our brief tract on the subject a while back. (I read these comments, and replied to them, on today’s Dividing Line). He declined that, and previous invitations, to engage in open, scholarly, moderated, recorded public debate. We note that other BYU notables, even some, like Daniel C. Peterson, who have publicly said they would debate me “anywhere, anytime,” have, upon being given the opportunity of following through on their words, declined.
We would like to publicly challenge Dr. Hamblin to debate, “The Priesthood of the LDS Church: Consistent, or Contradictory to, the Bible?” on October 1, 2004, as part of the series of debates we have been presenting in Utah. Now, Dr. Hamblin believes Alpha and Omega Ministries to exist solely to promote bigotry, and that we are interested in nothing but fund raising and rallying our “fanatic fans” (all of these sentiments say much to all those familiar with our ministry, our facilities, and our history). Therefore, he refuses to engage in a public debate before video cameras because he does not want us to “sell” them and, seemingly make lots of money. So, to remove this objection, we are offering to make the audio recording of the debate available for free in real audio format through straitgate.com. Further, the video recording on DVD, and the audio recording on CD, would be made available AT COST, and nothing more. Dr. Hamblin would, of course, be provided, at our cost, with an unedited master video tape of the debate which he could use as he wishes, including selling it at whatever price he would like. We will also reimburse Dr. Hamblin for gas and food (it is not like Provo is a LONG way from Salt Lake City).
Now, I have also contacted a major national publisher to inquire as to their interest in a “Debating Calvinism” style book. Obviously, such a work would provide a tremendous opportunity for Dr. Hamblin to expose all of my “anti-Mormon” errors and, if this was to work out in conjunction with the public debate, would make a very useful “package” deal, providing both written and oral components.
Dr. Hamblin only seems to wish to do some kind of minor Internet dialogue on temples. If he chooses to reject our offer for a full, open, public, moderated debate (and possible published work as well), we will be forced to make note of this, of course. If that transpires, then an Internet discussion can be arranged, for, as I demonstrated on the Dividing Line today, there is surely nothing of substance in his attempted rebuttal of the assertion that the New Testament does not instruct Christians to build temples, knows nothing of the LDS priesthood concepts, etc. A written Internet-style dialogue would be only marginally useful, and surely we would all be left to wonder what would really happen in a real debate where real cross-examination would be expected and undergone.
We will let you know what Dr. Hamblin says.