The oddest things happen in the weeks leading up to debates. I have observed that over the years. I remember prior to a debate on Long Island years ago Sungenis and Sippo and their followers were going nuts sending me nastigrams. And so here it is, less than two weeks prior to the Long Island debate, and what happens? Well, I have Sungenis doing his thing (oddly, the RC’s going after me in other areas would go after him as well, and vice-versa, which sort of makes me chuckle a bit, in light of Madrid’s own cooperation with Sungenis in the past, and the claim that following Rome leads to such unity), and then over on Madrid’s web-board Art Sippo, one of the worst examples of behavior amongst their “apologists” is holding forth, engaging in the most personal, vitriolic ad-hominem you can imagine (any man who has to insult your mother is obviously not much of a real challenge), and evidently with the blessings of Madrid himself (so much for RC apologists and the “high road”).

So it seems Madrid has had to get into the fray. He’s posted some articles on his equivalent of a blog. Now, very usefully, he has posted the text from his This Rock hit piece against me from 1993, the one I referred to below. Here it is. Now, read that, then my response, here. I’d be happy to point you to his rebuttal to my documentation of his errors, but…there is none. A decade has passed, and there has not been any reply to my knowledge.

Now, I spent half an hour or more reviewing Madrid’s discussion of the Sippo debate on today’s DL, so I won’t repeat it here. I would just like to focus upon one line from Madrid that is so transparently ridiculous that it tells us something about the real motivations behind this current resurrection of a twelve year old debate. He quotes Sippo as saying, “As he and others remarked afterward, debating White “was like fishing out of a barrel.” Now, that is surely Sippo-speak. I have noted in the past that he would ask a question during cross-examination, sit down on his table, swing his legs around, making mocking faces to the audience and pointing, and then, when I was finished answering (sort of hard to do when you are debating someone who is acting like that), pop up to his podium and say, “Of course, no Protestant can answer that question anyway…” and go on with his monologue. His every action was calculated to mock and demonstrate disdain (including his “bathroom break” during my presentation—which also gave him time to get a soda pop on his way back). Madrid, of course, did nothing to stop him, just as he had allowed Matatics to ramble on for the first 14 minutes of our initial debate in Long Beach without once even mentioning the topic of the debate (a good reason to never have a debate with Patrick Madrid as ‘moderator’).

But I invite any semi-rational person to consider, for just a moment, the idea that debating me is like “fishing out of a barrel.” I have never heard any Roman Catholic apologist claim that I have lost every debate I have done. In fact, I have not heard any claim that I have lost even 50% of them. So, if I am such a push-over, why is it we have to work so hard to find opponents anymore for debates on Roman Catholicism? Wouldn’t they be lining up to get the chance to have us spend our funding on doing the video taping and providing them with a free unedited master so as to get their overwhelmingly clear and compelling message to our constituents?

I’d like to follow up on Madrid’s words. Since debating me is like fishing in a barrel, how about Patrick Madrid putting his debating skills where his keyboard is? The first major articles I wrote on Mary were in response to Madrid. So, how about Patrick taking up the defense of the Marian dogmas in the next Great Debate on Long Island, in 2006? Specifically, how about defending the idea that Mary was Immaculately conceived? Perhaps he would like to defend the “Ark of the New Covenant” theory he has propounded in the past? Should be easy against the likes of this poor dumb Baptist from Arizona, yes? Like fishing in a barrel!

Now, Mr. Madrid knows we have a pretty good turnout for the Long Island debates, but still, since he seems to agree that debating me is like “fishing in a barrel,” why not let all his Envoy readers see this as well? I mean, despite the fact that Envoy has, in the past, published entire articles directed at me that somehow did not mention my name (how odd!) and in fact did not even give the readers citations of my work they were critiquing (while quoting from it directly, just without citation!), surely the best way to prove I am such a push-over as a debater would be to engage me directly in the pages of his own magazine, right? That way his own audience would see just how good a debater he is and how bad I am. So, I am offering to help Mr. Madrid do that. I will gladly engage him in a written debate in the pages of Envoy on the exegesis of the key Petrine texts, Matthew 16:17-18, Luke 22:31-32, and John 21:15-18 (the “golden texts” of St. Peter’s basilica). We can spread the discussion out over four issues, covering each passages, and even have interaction on the preceding texts, too! I would love to do this after my debate this fall with John Dominic Crossan. And I’m certain Mr. Madrid will jump at the chance.

Now, in case debating the Petrine texts is a bit too ambitious, how about the exegesis of 1 Cor. 3:10ff, in light of Madrid’s article found here? The interested reader will note that I addressed every single aspect of this article in my debate with Fr. Peter Stravinskas, and in other articles on our website, and that Madrid shows no evidence of knowing anything about those replies. But still, surely the debate with Stravinskas was likewise just “fishing in the barrel,” so maybe Madrid could follow Stravinskas’ lead in a written debate?

In any case, I look forward to hearing back about Mr. Madrid participating in next year’s debate on Long Island and on the written debate in the pages of Envoy.

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