I was finishing up a few items on this “down day” after the debate (I am finally getting the hang of this: never schedule anything for the day after a debate—why did it take me 15 years to figure that out?) and getting ready to pack up and head down to New Jersey (Please, Lord, if you could, and I know this is a tall order, but, could I make it through the Belt Parkway and over the Verrazano Bridge without…You know…hitting an accident?) when all of a sudden this strange thought hit me: I wonder if anyone has commented on the debate over at the Envoy web board? I had not looked at the board since before leaving for Massachusetts, so I figured there would probably be something there, especially since Art Sippo struggles to go a day without posting something about how I fear him, etc. So I popped by. And guess what? Yeah, you guessed it.

It is definitely ironic, less than twenty four hours after engaging in the tenth annual “Great Debate” on Long Island, (my 56th moderated, public debate, and my 34th against a Roman Catholic apologist) to read the words of folks who, though they have never met me (and, in my experience, have never attended a debate, or even taken the time to listen to one) know all about my very soul. For example, one kind lady, Betsy, writes, ” James White is a liar, a coward AND a wimp.” No, documentation did not follow. Does it ever? But one particular fellow, john6jmj (ironic for any Roman Catholic to make reference to John 6, when you think about it—and in last night’s debate, Mr. Rutland refused to even touch the text of John 6:37, claiming we really can’t know what the grammar means because, he said, God transcends time!), really got on a tear because Sippo has said he has had a standing challenge for me to debate him since 1991 (the date of our encounter in Toledo, the one where he demonstrated that in public he then had the behavioral standards of a ten year old). So he’s jumping up and down and is all excited, and writes, “Patrick, all I hear about is how great James White is. Now the truth comes out. Sounds to me like Dr. Sippo is ready to go.” I wonder where he hears that? Then he starts losing control:

I think the good Doctor will destroy White.
Patrick, go tell White I think he is a BIG BABY! A WIMP! That will get him to debate because he is so full of pride.
Tell him that he remindes me of “The Terminator” ARNOLD. Says he catholic but terminates babys through birth control. Tell James the truth, he’s a protesting Christian, in it for the money and he doesn’t have the guts to hit the beach and fight like a man.

This isn’t a whole lot better than some recent e-mails Bob Sungenis sent us along the same lines. What an amazing display. And he continued,

Hey James, are you afraid to debate Dr Sippo?
Patrick, you don’t think that James can handle himself?
Tell White to stop wimping out!
Put up or shut up about James White. He is hiding “under” the desk, and don’t tell me you can’t or haven’t told him about Dr’s challenge.
Tell James to get out from “UNDER THE DESK”! Put up or SHUT UP!

Well, john6jmj, Lord willing, I will be doing The Dividing Line this coming Tuesday morning upon my return to Phoenix. For a while now I’ve been inviting such brave and well-informed folks, such as yourself, to call in, toll-free, 877-753-3341, so you can explain the basis upon which you make such…free comments. How about it? Maybe you will do what almost none of your compatriots will do, and will call in to face me directly? I’d love to ask you a few questions about what you have read, what debates you have heard, and the theological foundations that allow you to speak of others the way you do.

And maybe, if you would call in, I could fill you in on the fact that in the summer of 2003 I contacted Art Sippo about doing a debate in Toledo, Ohio (I believed he was still living there. I was unaware that he had moved to Illinois. BTW, he kindly declined the debate offer on the Bodily Assumption of Mary). Just how afraid am I when I have debated the man in the past and have contacted him within the past two years about another possibility? I assure you, I do not fear Art Sippo. I continue to find him incredibly abusive and childish in his behavior, but if we had a real moderator like Bill Shishko (who has moderated the debates on Long Island for a number of years now) who could control Sippo’s outrageous behavior (and who could, in fact, disqualify such behavior on the spot), there are any number of topics upon which I would be happy to engage Sippo. I would be happy to defend the thesis, “There is a fixed number of the elect that God has chosen in eternity past who are saved perfectly and without failure” but he might not find that objectionable; there are a number of canons from Trent that would fit on such subjects as justification, the Mass, etc., and if you really think, john6jmj, that Art Sippo is your great champion, surely he’d defend purgatory, or even indulgences, yes?

The fact is, john6jmj, I have a hunch it would be Art Sippo who would hesitate to put himself in a position to have to engage in serious, concentrated, video-taped, moderated cross-examination on the basis of the text of Scripture itself. For some odd reason, I find my Roman Catholic opponents doing hand-stands to avoid having to endure that particular activity.

In any case, john6jmj, I look forward to talking to you on the Dividing Line! If Tuesday, 2pm EDT doesn’t work for you, we will be doing the program again Thursday evening, 7pm EDT. Don’t forget that number! 877-753-3341!

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