I just read the following coming from Art Sippo’s keyboard. I honestly hope Bill Rutland will write to him and rebuke him for posting such outrageous lies, I truly do. Sippo writes:

Sadly, Mr. Swan you are coming into the middle of a discussion about which you know nothing. I was privy to the pre-debate antics of Mr. White. He had kept the format of the debate secret until last week when Bill Rutland finally DEMANDED to know it. It was then that Mr. White dropped the bomb-shell on him that there would be short opening statements (I think it was like 10 or 15 minutes) followed by 90 minutes of interogation with 5 minute final statements.

This is an outrageous lie. There is not a shred of truth in it, and I can document it. Sippo, of course, cannot, but documenting his outrageous claims has never been one of his strong points anyway.

We have used the same format for debate for a number of years now. Bill Rutland wrote no less than six e-mails to Chris Arnzen, who arranges the Great Debate series, asking to participate. One would think that a person who wants to participate in the series would actually have taken the time to observe the most recent debates in the series itself. In any case, the entire outline of the debate, including the order of speaking, time frames, etc., sent to Mr. Rutland did not differ one iota from the time frames used by Gary Michuta and Mitchell Pacwa in the preceding two debates, and were almost identical to those used by Patrick Madrid (I recall some slight alteration of the time frames agreed to by both sides immediately before the debate in conference with Bill Shishko in the Madrid debate, though I do not recall the details). This alone exposes Sippo’s lie (great secret when it has been used for years and video taped, isn’t it?), but there is more.

The debate format that Mr. Rutland objected to—which we had used for years—he responded to on April 22nd, not “last week.” It included twenty minute opening statements. It always has. Mr. Rutland wanted to have more time to make presentations than any Roman Catholic apologist has ever had in the debate series itself, and he wanted this at the expence of the cross-examination time, which was scheduled to be identical to that which we had with Michuta and Pacwa: two sets of 15 minute sessions for a total of 60 minutes. Rutland wanted to decrease this amount by 50% to only half an hour, and distribute that time to presentations, including having a tremendously long closing statement. I pointed out that we have been using the same format for years, and that he was asking for more presentation time and less actual interaction time than anyone in the past. He replied that if we did not make changes, he was not coming. Please remember, this was after the printing of the flyers, the beginning of advertising, etc. (none of which had cost Mr. Rutland a dime). As I noted, this conversation began in e-mail April 22nd. I have the e-mail archives. When I finally agreed to cut the cross-examination back by a full third, Rutland agreed, though it took him days to finally inform us that he would accept this. This was all completed prior to May 1. Evidently, Art Sippo is time-challenged as well.

I invite the reader to note well Sippo’s incapacity to deal with factual materials, even when they are recent factual materials, in a meaningful fashion. After posting this abject lie, he followed up with gems like this one:

Well, IMHO Mr. White does not worship the same God as historic Christianity does, either. The Calvinoid demiurge that White worships is an amoral monster as capricious and likely to do evil as Ahriman from the Zoroastrian pantheon. This view of “God” is a complete innovation derived from the serious errors in prot theology.

You can see Sippo’s aversion to truth extends to his theology as well as his dishonest relating of past events. Transport this kind of attitude into the debate from 1991 and you can get a good idea what the rest of the debate was like (the part that got “lost” in the taping).

On a related issue, I found it interesting that Patrick Madrid wrote,

Some time ago, Bill called me to discuss his preparations for this debate. I told him right up front that there was no point in strategizing because I strongly believed he should not participate in this debate on that subject. For a variety of reasons that I won’t get into, I tried my best to dissuade him from proceeding, but with no success. I know of several other Catholics (including a few apologists) who felt exactly as I did about this and who also tried to dissuade him from participating in this debate. I wish he had listened to us.

And along the same lines, Sippo added,

As to the question under debate, I did not care for it. Like Pat Madrid, I tried to dissuade Bill from debating that question primarily because the answer to it is not something that divides Catholics and Protestants. People on both sides have divergent views on this. Where we totally agree is that salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone. Where we differ is in the nature of that salvation and the means to achieve it. That is what we should be discussing.

It seems defending sections 841 and 1260 of the Catholic Catechism is not something high on the list of priorities for RC apologists. Or, possibly, there is a concerted effort to end the Great Debate series. I invite the interested reader to listen to the debate series as a whole and ask yourself why one side would be looking to see it end. It is a blessing to be able to simply point folks to the actual debates. I can’t imagine what it is like to have to lie about things and start false rumors just to prop up your view of “truth.”

The only sad part of all of this is that once again folks like “Betsy” and “john6jmj” will blindly believe whatever Sippo says, despite the fact he could never prove his allegations and we have all the documentation. I am sure in a few years I’ll hear from someone about how we tried to “ambush” Bill Rutland by keeping him in the dark about the debate format until a week before the debate even if Mr. Rutland is so kind as to correct this falsehood. But, thankfully, the truth is known by the One that matters.

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