Last year, right after the Great Debate on Long Island, I got in contact with Jimmy Akin again. We had tried to get him involved in the annual debates on Long Island, twice he had agreed, and twice had pulled out. This had led us to be hesitant to even ask, since it is so hard to “fix” things when one of the participants pulls out. Anyway, rather quickly the issue became formulating a topic, but right then I had a ton of things hit me all at once, including travel, teaching, a publishing deadline, and in the meantime the folks back on Long Island arranged this year’s debate opponent anyway. So the convo ended. I’ve heard that Jimmy Akin has made comments about being willing to debate on Catholic Answers Live, and have even recorded some comments (just never to around to playing them on the DL). So I found this entry on Akin’s blog most interesting:
Jimmy vs. James: Two Diff’rent Guys This Time
A reader writes:
Please tell me when your going to throw down with James White of A&O ministries again….
Can’t rightly say. Don’t have anything scheduled with him at the moment, but am open if the right topic and venue comes up.
We heard he is afraid of you……
I wouldn’t presume to know what’s in another’s heart in such a matter, though I do detect signs that there are certain subjects that White doesn’t seem to want to debate–not for intellectual reasons (e.g., Catholics and Protestants aren’t close enough on them to make it profitable to debate them) but for some other reason.
It is my understanding that Mr. Akin does not like to fly, hence the problems in getting him across the US for the New York debates. But, we had been inviting Catholic Answers (including Karl Keating) to debate in San Diego (their home base) for quite some time. In fact, we had contacted them first before getting Mitch Pacwa to debate in December of 1999 in El Cajon. In any case, since we have a lot of friends in the Southern California area, I am certain an appropriate debate can be arranged with Jimmy Akin. There is still the matter of his errors on the “inceptive aorist” at John 6 to address, of course, so possibly a debate on the issue of election and predestination would be possible (Jimmy Akin was once associated with the Presbyterian Church). Soteriology would be relevant, given his book on the subject. Of course, I think the Marian Dogmas are the single best illustration of how Rome does not function on the basis of “Scripture and Tradition,” so I would definitely challenge him to defend one or more of those dogmas.
As to what “certain subjects” Mr. Akin is referring to, I have no idea. Surely when picking a topic it is important to make it one where there is a clear issue at stake so that people will be interested in attending and you can make an important point. There are certain topics that are simply not worth debating since they do not allow for meaningful interaction. “The Pope’s Personal Motto is Goofy” just wouldn’t fly (though I would support the thesis).
In any case, let’s look at the schedule for 2005/2006 and put something together. Possibly a two-night encounter, one night I defend, one night Mr. Akin defends? I know there is talk of cruising to Alaska again in the future, so if not in Southern California, somewhere on the West Coast might work out as well so that we can make the debate part of the cruise experience (like this year in LA). In any case, to the person who wrote to Catholic Answers: since Jimmy Akin and I have only done one debate (and no, it was not on BAM. That was not a debate anymore than Open Lines Friday is a “debate” on Rush), on KIXL radio in Austin, I very much look forward to a truly formal debate, with video cameras, proper moderation, and topics that will allow the truth to be clearly seen.