Question: James White, on his Alpha & Omega Ministries web page, said that you had “repeatedly agreed in the past” to a “live debate” with him but have gone back on your word and now refuse. What do you have to say?
Answer: “Repeatedly agreed in the past” to an oral debate? When? He refers to speaking to me at my book table at a conference just after publication of What Love Is This? We did indeed agree to a debate. Later, we agreed to do the debate in a book. Since that book was published, I never agreed to an additional debate. It would be redundant. I don’t know what that would accomplish.
White continues to claim (as on our recent radio discussion) that I agreed to an oral debate and went back on my word. In fact, the only references to an oral debate have been one-sided false statements by White, claiming that I agreed to one.
Just after the first edition of What Love Is This? was printed, White put on his website an open letter in response. Here is part of my reply from our website: “James, you and I have agreed on the phone today to put this debate in writing in the form of a book….That will allow the arguments to be studied more carefully by readers than is possible in oral debates….In the book we will have the opportunity to lay out our opposing views clearly and concisely from the scriptures so that readers can weigh them carefully.”
The debate in book form is far more useful than an oral one. This I agreed to, and it was done. A written debate gives both parties time to think clearly and to express their views to the very best of their ability. Readers can go at their own pace, back and forth between the arguments, carefully and calmly. James and I each took several months to express our views as clearly as we could. I am happy with the book and see no value in an additional oral debate.