Though I am nearly 6000 miles from home, I still get multiple copies of advertisements sent out from active Roman Catholic apologists (for which I’m grateful, by the way—that is not meant to be a complaint). I guess Patrick Madrid of Envoy Magazine has sent out one of late, for I’ve gotten more than one copy. In it he is promoting some of his past debates, including two he has done with me. Actually, the only two he has done with me, to be specific. First is the 1993 debate on sola scriptura from San Diego (the hottest debate ever—the Santa Anna winds were blowing, and the church had no air conditioning, so it was quite literally the hottest debate I have ever been at), and secondly the Veneration of Saints and Images debate from Long Island. I was just looking it over and ran across this in the description of the sola scriptura debate:
Listen as White attempts to prove that the Bible is sufficient for Christians, resorting to an array of futile arguments, including his unintentionally humorous “Unique Pen” contention (which backfired on him), his faulty “Bike Shop” analogy, and his ineffectual “Man of God” argument.
Well, I guess that’s called “poisoning the well,” since I do not recall Mr. Madrid refuting the arguments. And if he did, why did I repeat those same arguments years later with Gerry Matatics and Mitch Pacwa, both to strong effect? We are not told. But this is old news. See, I guess Mr. Madrid figures it has been a dozen years, he doesn’t have to say much about the actual context. If Patrick feels he did so well in the debate, I wonder, why did he produce an error-filled “spin” piece on the debate only a matter of weeks afterward that appeared in the pages of This Rock magazine? I would invite anyone who listens to that debate to examine the facts for yourself right here. This is an extensive file—written so long ago now we warned folks about its length because everyone had slow internet connections back then. Anyway, I was just looking over it myself, and was amazed at all the straw men and myths Madrid included in his article. To my knowledge, he has never refuted this material. But hey, twelve years makes facts go away, I guess.
Another debate that is being offered by Madrid is the sola scriptura debate he and Keating had in Denver, Colorado during the Papal visit in 1993. This one is truly a slaughter. It was very, very sad to listen to. But one thing to keep in mind: I had challenged Keating and Madrid to debate during the papal visit. They declined, saying it was not an appropriate time for debates, and directed me to their former colleague, Gerry Matatics (resulting in the two night, 7+ hour debate on the papacy). However, after we arranged that debate, all of a sudden we find Keating and Madrid debating two fundamentalists who were not prepared to do so in any way, shape, or form, and scheduling the debate for the second night of my debate against Matatics so that I could not be in attendance. Now, I invite folks to listen to the presentation Keating and Madrid gave in that debate, and compare it with the second with me. Notice any differences? Why might that be? Think about it after you read the above linked article.
Madrid’s comments on the veneration debate are much more subdued. I have wondered how Madrid’s “audience” can listen to that debate and hear him dismissing clear biblical commands on the basis of moral development and relevance and not see the inconsistency on his part. Saying, “Yes, God commanded the Israelites not to do that, but that is because they had a problem with idolatry, and we don’t” is still one of the most amazing things I have heard someone publicly say in a debate. Just following that reasoning through will lead one right into the morass of relativism that plagues Western culture today.