Friday, October 06, 2006

Debate? What Debate?

Well, that seems to be the question regarding the debate on "Baptists and Calvinism" scheduled for October 16 in Lynchburg, VA. The events of the last two days have made the prospect of actually having the debate very slim. The moderator, Brett O'Donnell has unilaterally changed the terms and format that all four debaters had previously agreed upon. I find this whole thing very sad.

I am sitting in the Sau Paulo airport in Brazil and only have sketchy wif-i. In fact, it is more like w_-f_. So, this must be brief. For the specifics, click on the Alpha and Omega link at the right and read James White's last few entries.


Matthew said...

A cynical part of me want's to say "I knew it" - but the wiser, more optimistic, part of me wished for the best.

The important part is that you and Mr. White tried to hash this issue out.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Bartimaeus said...

It is absolutely inexcusable behaviour on the part of the people of Lynchburg. To unilaterally renege on an agreed format for a debate is beyond my comprehension. How can anyone take anything that comes from the folks at Liberty University with any degree of seriousness?

One can only hope that a debate will occur in the future but at the present time and given the poisoness atmosphere created by Drs O’Donnell and Caner that will never happen. Maybe it is a good thing that this farce has finally come to an end.

Considering Dr Ergun Caner’s lack of exegetical ability and his total lack of understanding of both Baptist church history and Calvinism I wonder how much the students at liberty would have profited. As a Calvinist I am still waiting for a cogent argument from the other side. So far I have had to put up with the likes of a Dave Hunt.

Stephen Atkins
Toronto, Ontario
AKA Bartimaeus

Arthur Sido said...

As a relatively newly called SBC pastor (about 3 months), and one who sporadically attends Liberty via the distance program, I am sorely disappointed at the way our dean has conducted himself.

The only consolation I take is that this matter will not be ultimately decided in a formal debate setting, but rather if we are truly to reclaim not just a belief in the Bible but a belief in what is in the Bible, it will be won church by church and pulpit by pulpit.

Chessmann said...

I have followed Dr. White's ministry since the late 90's. I am just newly acquainted with Dr. Ascol.

As much as I hate to say this, I truly feel that Ergun Caner was always well aware of what he was doing.

- he knows the difference between a Calvinist and a hyper-Calvinist.

- he knows that Tom and James are Calvinists.

- he knew that this debate would probably never take place, and knew that all steps necessary would be taken to assure this.

I would love to be put into a position of needing to apologize for making these statements. But....

I can hardly believe what I have seen from the keyboards of the Caner's, particularly Ergun.

WorshipLeader said...

After that post a while ago that told about them actually getting on the same page and willing to compromise, I was so glad that tempers were cooled and that there would be no more posting of emails. (mind you, I read them all and thought white was justified) I thought the bravado would end and this would go on quietly leaving any dishonesty or shiftiness, any deceipt or dishonesty hidden from view. It always comes to light. I'm just stunned. Unlike some who will say that they knew it all along, I feared it all along but thought that everyone had come to their senses and realized the error of their grandstanding and dishonesty. Anyone who read the emails saw antagonism and dishonesty. (righteouss antagonism and a clear look at dishonesty). I just thought that there was some humility shining through. But it doesn't appear to be the case. Who will call these men on this? They will continued to be revered in their circles, in the's just sad. I'm very very sorry to hear this.

tim rogers said...


Those are some pretty hard thoughts concerning the motivation behind another. I can tell you that I personally was with Dr. Ergun Caner within the last two weeks and we spoke about upcoming debate. He was looking forward to it and even stated so much. He gave very nice acolades about Dr's Ascol and White. Never did I hear him one time speak a disparaging word toward either of them.

While I do not know Dr. Caner personally, I can tell you we were not in a large gathering but a smaller one around the dinner table. Both Dr's Caner were present and very excited about the debate.


XB6 said...


I've no doubt you had a nice time with the Caners but this is a perfect example of actions speaking louder than words. This is both silly and shameful on the part of those involved with the debate from Liberty. Unfortunately, it is representative of many of my Southern Baptist brothers who are in leadership at any given mega church and have a 'my way or the higway' way of doing things. Those of us who have followed this journey towards a debate on Oct. 16th are well aware of which side has went above and beyond in an effort to coordinate this and which side has fallen shy of common courtesy.

Andrew said...

Chessman, when you say "I feel that..." that isn't a good enough reason to make the accusations you have made. So Jesus warns in John 7:24, "Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment." May all of us who eagerly desired to see this debate subject our feelings of disappointment to Jesus.

With regard to Chessman's post, I agree with Tim that is not wise to speculate about what Dr. Caner "knows" and what are the motivations of his heart. Besides, there is no reason to speculate about what motives "could be" in the Caners' hearts. Both Dr. O'Donnell and the Caners now have a documented history of saying one thing while doing another. And promising one thing and then demanding the exact opposite. These are dishonest and disrespectful actions that speak for themselves. Thus, there is no reason to make accusations about "deeper motives" unless they can be substantiated.

That being said, I am really disappointed at this turn of events. I live in Roanoke, Virginia and planned on making the 35 minute drive to Lynchburg. I was going to bring a camcorder and interview students before and after the debate. Oh well.

Also - Tim, although your anecdotal experience with the Caners is encouraging, it also flies in the face of what has JUST taken place in email correspondence! I am not saying that it didn't happen - I'm just saying... that's pretty weird! On the one hand the Caners were saying how excited they were about doing the debate, and how Dr's White and Ascol are such swell guys. But at the same time they were allowing and supporting Dr. O'Donnell to sabotage the event. Do you see how your personal experience with the Caners does not even remotely correspond with their other actions regarding this debate?

Something else I don't understand: how do you sit with both Dr's Caner at a "small gathering around the dinner table" and also "not know them personally"? Man, if you come chow down with me at the dinner table you will get to know me (and I will know some things about you) before we finish our meal! I jsut can't hold a conversation with the green beens or meat loaf!

Chessmann said...

Well, this is why I used the word "feel", rather than "am certain".

And the reason I "feel" this way :^)
is due, in part, to watching a man who calls himself a christian intentionally misrepresent others.

Ergun knows that James and Tom are Calvinists, and not hyper-Calvinists. This is beyond question. The man is not unintelligent. Yet, he willfully chose to do so - publically - and in the process intentionally mislead those who take heed to what he says.

That, of course, is only one of the issues, sadly.

Chessmann said...


Your point re: John 7:24 is well-taken, and I will endeavor bear that in mind in any future posts.

irreverend fox said...


sad is not the word. let me pray about it and ask the Lord if He would fill my mouth with the proper word to discribe this entire situation.

I hope it don't take place actually and I thank God all of this has been documented. It's just awful the way they have treated the two of you...let them offer somebody else for Jerry to pimp...I still can't get over that phrase being used.

Mopheos said...

Man, you'd think that a University with the caliber of debate team and department that LU has could manage to put this debate together with virtually no problems and to the satisfaction of all participants. It's not as though they haven't done this before...

allofgrace said...

All this is disturbing...especially on the heels of some things that are going on in my church of late. It seems that honesty, transparency, and being above board with things is becoming a relic of the past with many across the SBC..and other places as well. A part of me is glad the debate isn't taking place...I was afraid it might turn into a circus atmosphere with the Caners. Another part of me simply wishes that brothers could engage in honest and open discussion and debate, without one or more parties turning things into another episode of Jerry Springer or Maury. It's just sad.

P said...

I always thought Tom Ascol was something of a 'wet fish'.His heart was never in it and he wanted out from the beginning.JW has gone down sniping like a gnat as well so Caners win by default.Perhaps a predetermined forordained conclusion to a sorry saga.

jdlongmire said...

You have got to be kidding "little-p" - in fact - I will assume you were just using satire to make a point. Otherwise that statement was so disconnected from reality that you should probably get some therapy.


Richard said...

I think that Dr. Falwell is responsible. Ergun Caner and Dr. O'Donnell answer to him. Dr. Falwell can make this debate happen if he chooses to. Perhps he is afraid of being embarassed by his own praise of Calvin in a 2001 sermon as pointed out by John Orlando.

tim rogers said...

XB6 & Brother Andrew,

Allow me to begin by saying, I have never been in a formal debate and I pray that God in His Sovereignty never allows it. My heart could not bear the strain.

Having said that, you can tell that I do not know how these things are negotiated. I am sure there is give and take on both sides and issues about who speaks first and who speaks last are part of these negotiations.

My point being, I am hearing only from Dr's White and Ascol as to the reasons. Dr. White has only posted his email reply to Dr. Emir Caner. ( I believe it was Emir) We have not heard from the Dr.'s Canner as to their reasons or their rational on the issue. In reading Dr. White's email response he references something about the Caner's relying on Dr. Odonnell's decision that the debate structure needed changing. While I truly understand the disappointment the good Dr.'s White and Ascol feel, I cannot understand why this is a deal breaker. If, as we all believe, these men are Christian why can they not all sit down somewhere in a room and work out the details? I just feel that would be better than verbally attacking their character in an email then posting it publicly, and calling the debate off. That tactic gives the appearance that Dr.'s White and Ascol walked away from the debate, IMHO.

Also, Brother Andrew, you may sit down with me at a meal and we will speak about anything you desire. I promise that you will not have to talk to the green beans and mashed potatoes. You can ask my wife, my love language is let me talk. However, at the end of the meal you may know some things about my family and myself that you did not know before the meal, but you will not know me personally. I believe that we just are using the word "personally," differently.


Gordan said...

Tim Rogers,

I think if you read carefully that Drs. White and Ascol are asking the very same questions you are.

Why can't these things be discussed and negotiated by Christian brethren in an attitude of charity?

That's the point, sir.

That sort of reasonable give and take is specifically being bypassed, in favor of having one person (I don't know who, not accusing anyone by name)unilaterally make all the decisions by fiat and then demand that White and Ascol comply. This is done without asking for, or accepting, their input.

Why indeed can this all not be reasonably negotiated? Good question.

The documentation is irrefutable: one side has always begged for that, and one side has consistently blocked it. Anyone who really cares about the answers to your questions can get them by reading the history of this saga at Dr. White's site.

Gordan said...

By the way, Dr. White has taken a lot of heat for meticulously saving all the correspondence he's had with the other side.

Now, it's looking like that was a really fine idea.

But, judging from the comments of a person like "p" above, there are still those, nevertheless, who will not allow a little thing like factual data to influence their opinions.

WorshipLeader said...

Mr. Rogers,
I think that your question is astonishing! Dr. White has catalogued all the instances of this mentality displayed by the Caner camp. They have been relentless in their actions not to be reasonable. The emails showed a resounding drum beat of "my way or no way" from the Caners when all White and Ascol have asked for is compromise. It's all there. It's all there! I hate that this is this way, but it is this way and the evidence is overwhelming. Don't discount a man who posted his email response that may only tell part of the story, but it certainly does tell some of the story. And it's the same story. It's just sad. I want nothing more to honor and respect all my brothers in Christ wether I know them or not, but the actions displayed here are inexcusable.

Bartimaeus said...

After reading an anti-Calvinist Post from a fellow who calls himself P I wonder if he believes in a Sovereign God who can determine anything. Or Is God captive to the whims of man’s almighty freewill. Actually P touched on the real issue and the heart of the controversy. It is not that God loves everybody equally without exception but rather is God sovereign over all his creation able to make some vessels for honour and some for dishonour.

But I am in full agreement with Dr White on this one. The only way that a meaningful debate can occur is at a neutral location. One on one and at least three hours and a period meaningful cross examination. But I doubt if Pope Falwell would ever allow that to happen. The only freewill at Liberty is that of Jerry Falwell

Stephen Atkins
Toronto, Ontario

tim rogers said...

Brother Gordon,

Am I talking to an action hero? :>)

You say, "Anyone who really cares about the answers to your questions can get them by reading the history of this saga at Dr. White's site." While I truly believe Dr. White to be a committed believer in Jesus Christ and his character is without question, you have directed me to the point I was trying to make. This is just one side of the issue. While Dr. Ascol did post an email correspondence he had with Dr. Ergun Caner that was contentious in nature, but I understood from a post on this blog those issues were resolved. I believe Dr. Ascol even commended the Dr.'s Caner for their Christian character in resolving their differences. Now Dr. White has posted "Unless I hear back from the other side by 5pm EDT that the agreement which was reached by all four participants in September remains in force (it has been arbitrarily rescinded without discussion by outside individuals), the debate will be canceled." This statement begs to question the openness for negotiations.

As I have said earlier, I have never debated publicly, therefore, I do not know what goes on behind the scenes. However, I at one time was involved in sales and would have to negotiate quite often. I knew my limitations and I also knew the limitations the other side had to work within. We could aloways come to a happy medium if we were able to sit down and talk. If we were unable to sit down and talk I knew the deal would not come together. The above ultimatum by Dr. White would suggest to me a refusual to sit down and talk.

I am merely trying to say that it is hard to discern truth by hearing from only one source.


WorshipLeader said...


"I always thought Tom Ascol was something of a 'wet fish'.His heart was never in it and he wanted out from the beginning."

Well, here's an instance of a man who was keeping his word despite your speculation of his misgivings is. He agreed to debate and was set to debate. After insult and mockery he pulled out only to come back to the table and debate after there was a promise of a fair debate with agreed upon rules that sought not to demagogue and destroy but to build up and enlighten both sides. This was too much to ask apearently. To call any man a 'wet fish' when wisdom calls for caution and discretion is unconscionable. Who cares what his misgivings are or were, he agreed to debate under specific terms. Why does that not matter to you?
Why, in your opinion P, does dishonesty and deceipt grant anyone the title of "winners by default?"
You say it as if it is an acomplishment or something to be touting which is amazing to me. Thanks for your contribution to the blog, It is important for all of us to be reminded that there are those who do not honor the truth that is plain for all to see who will.

Walton said...

Greetings again Founders!

I had chosen to reserve my comments and wait for the upcoming debate but since this is now officially off, I figured its safe to come out and comment.

First, however, I do want to reply to Tim Rogers who stated:

"Having said that, you can tell that I do not know how these things are negotiated. I am sure there is give and take on both sides and issues about who speaks first and who speaks last are part of these negotiations."

Walton answers:

Tim, please refer back to the mountains of transcripts that recorded the dialogue between the Caners and Dr. Ascol and Dr. White. What you will see is that there was much initial disagreement in regards to the format and thesis proposed by the Liberty side ( a grammatically incorrect thesis and an obscure format suggested by Dr. O'Donnell unknown to theological debate) which led to Dr. Ascol removing himself from the debate. After Dr. Ascol removed himself from the debate, Emir and Tom spoke and eventually came back with a format for the debate and thesis that was agreeable to all parties. The debate, format, time, place etc was all agreed to by all parties at that time.

THEN comes along Dr. O'Donnell behaving as grand poobah a few days ago and apparently wants to change some of the previously agreed to format of the debate 12 DAYS (!!!) before the agreed to date. Tim, quite clearly, this is nonsense. Dr. O'Donnell should live up to the agreement that was decided by all parties months ago. Instead of insisting upon the finalizing agreement, Emir has apparently bowed to O'Donnell's arbitrary changes.

On his blog, Dr. White makes an excellent point: "Emir, if Dr. O'Donnell is to be given ultimate, final, and complete authority over the debate (something that was never requested, let alone granted, by us), why did you come to us and ask what we would have to do to make this work? Why not have Dr. O'Donnell do this, since, if you are being consistent now, you did not have the authority to negotiate anyway? If you were negotiating in good faith then, how can you renege on that negotiation now? If you were not negotiating in good faith then, what was your purpose? I cannot begin to understand this behavior on your part."

Tim Rogers states:

While I truly understand the disappointment the good Dr.'s White and Ascol feel, I cannot understand why this is a deal breaker.

Walton replies:

Tim, it is a deal breaker because they (O'Donnell and the Caners) are breaking the deal. Make sense??
If Dr. Ascol and Dr. White were to travel to Liberty for this debate, what assurances do they have that O'Donnell won't decide to flip a coin to decide who is affirmative and who is negative? Shirts and skins?

Which leads to another point, I believe that Dr. O'Donnell has completely misunderstood the process. This is obviously a man who deals in the realm of high school and collegiate debate and believes that, in rather arrogant fashion, that HE is the grand determiner of format etc; REGARDLESS of what has already been decided between the parties. Unlike collegiate debate where the moderater is sovereign over all activities and the students are still, well, students, theological debates (or political ones for that matter) are decided to by parties irrespective of the moderater. The moderater's position to keep time, keep the peace, and get out of the way. The FUNCTION of the debate process is not what is important (as it is in collegiate competition), the CONTENT and veracity of information is what must be the focus.

Tim Rogers states:

If, as we all believe, these men are Christian why can they not all sit down somewhere in a room and work out the details?

Walton replies:

They already did. Dr. O'Donnell has chosen to undo the details that were previously worked out.

Tim Rogers states:

I just feel that would be better than verbally attacking their character in an email then posting it publicly, and calling the debate off. That tactic gives the appearance that Dr.'s White and Ascol walked away from the debate, IMHO.

Walton replies:

Tim, this is the very reason why the email was posted: to show that Dr. Ascol and White have nothing to hide and are above board in these matters.

The question must be asked, Tim: "What good reason to Dr. Ascol and Dr. White have to stay in this debate, seeing that all that they negotiated is being thrown out?" I mean, should they still go ahead with the debate if O'Donnell insists that the Caners dress like Batman and Robin and Dr. Ascol and Dr. White dress like the Joker and Penguin?

Quite clearly, men have broken their word. They need to be held accountable.

No, it is not Dr. White and Dr. Ascol that need to be held accountable, it is the Caners and Dr. O'Donnel. These men have wrecked havoc on this process after every aspect of the format was decided upon previously. I truly stand amazed that you are not demanding that they live up to their documented agreements.

WorshipLeader said...

Mr. Rogers,
Dr white's emails are both sides of the issue. he posted his email and theirs, with the exception of his final posting yesterday. What makes you think that after all of the prior debating and agreement that there is an unwillingness from White to discuss this debate openly. Go back to the emails...this has happened repeatedly REPEATEDLY! White asks to sit down, and asks to sit down, and seeks compromise, and seeks compromise and there's silence from the other camp ending in a loud "DO IT OUR WAY"
The evidence of the past interactions in this tumultuous relationship is visible for all to see. (At least from White and Ascol-The caners have never been transparent throughout these negotiations)
You can read the emails and see for yourself.

tim rogers said...

Brother Walton,

You have stated exactly what I asked and you appear, by your selected parsing of my comments, to have placed me in a realm of one sided thinking.

Allow me to try again. I am saying by Dr. White placing an ultimatum on the table that if he does not hear back from the Dr.'s Caner by a certain time, the debate is off. According to his statement they were still in the process of reconciling their disagreements. However, when a line in the sand is drawn, negotiation has ceased.


a simple bloggtrotter said...

Dr. Ascol,

I know almost nothing about a scholarly debate, however, is it possible that the changes in format betray an attempt to “level the playing field?” Are the changes, in your opinion, a reflection of the moderators lack of confidence in the Drs. Caner to express their side of the argument against Dr. White and yourself without some modification?

Chessmann said...


If I have read everything correctly, James and Rich tried vociferously to contact the Caners over a period of time measured in days, not hours or minutes. So it would seem that there were no negotiations going on, only Dr. O'Donnell's change of format.

Emir and James finally connected, and Emir supported Dr. O'Donnell, in effect throwing out what had already been negotiated in good faith.

Sometimes a line does need to be drawn in the sand - especially when the other side has given no indication whatsoever that negotiation means very little, and that the results of any negotiation can be thrown out in the manner in which it has in this case.

You wrote:

"According to his statement they were still in the process of reconciling their disagreements."

How can this be if Jame's repeated attempts to contact the Caners had been met with silence?

Walton said...

Tim stated:

You have stated exactly what I asked and you appear, by your selected parsing of my comments, to have placed me in a realm of one sided thinking.

Walton replies:

Tim, I am just answering your own assertions and statements. Your line of thinking is only evident from your own statements.

Tim stated:

Allow me to try again. I am saying by Dr. White placing an ultimatum on the table that if he does not hear back from the Dr.'s Caner by a certain time, the debate is off. According to his statement they were still in the process of reconciling their disagreements.

Walton replies:

Holy cow Tim...

No. They were not in the process of reconciling their differences. The "differences" were supposed to have been reconciled months ago between all four parties. O'Donnell had come by broken the agreement and said "you'll take it and you'll like it". Apparently, no response to this matter had been offered from the Caner side over a couple of days. Obviously there was an attempt to contact the Caners. No response was forthcoming. Dr. White had to provide a deadline to get an answer.

Tim said:

However, when a line in the sand is drawn, negotiation has ceased.

Walton replies:

Once again, the negotiations had already taken place months ago and were agreed upon. This is a case of not making your "yes mean yes and your no mean no" and breaking your word. Again, I am stunned that you are supporting this sort of behavior.

I for one am quite glad that the entire affair has been made public. If this were not so, there would be no way that the church could accurately see the behavoir of Caner over the past 10 months. It is documented: and what is documented is shameful.

Tom said...

I have just arrived back home and am sitting in yet another airport, though this one is only 40 miles from the best place on earth to me. I can't answer all the questions raised, but will attempt to give some clarifying comments in the very near future. For now, let me reiterate, we had an agreement--an agreement on format, time, schedule, procedure, that was worked out by negotiations and compromise. The final details of this agreement were agreed upon by all 4 debaters two weeks ago. Dr. O'Donnell, on Wednesday of last week, arbitrarily changed them, stating that his changes were "non-negotiable." He has effectively sabatoged the debate that was agreed upon and only James and I are unwilling for that to happen. Thus my choice of words. Sad.

Chessmann said...


If I have read everything correctly, James and Rich tried vociferously to contact the Caners over a period of time measured in days, not hours or minutes. So it would seem that there were no negotiations going on, only Dr. O'Donnell's change of format.

Emir and James finally connected, and Emir supported Dr. O'Donnell, in effect throwing out what had already been negotiated in good faith.

Sometimes a line does need to be drawn in the sand - especially when the other side has shown that the results of any negotiation can be thrown out in the manner in which this one has, and that prompt communication is to be kept to a minimum.

You wrote:

"According to his statement they were still in the process of reconciling their disagreements."

How can this be if Jame's repeated attempts to contact the Caners had been met with silence?

Yes, they could have pressed forward, despite these problems. But in light of what has already occurred, I am in full agreement with James and Tom, despite my strong desire to have seen this debate.

Ray said...

I am very cynical about why the Liberty side suddenly tried to change the debate format (etc). I believe it has more to do with Falwell and Ergun Caner than anyone else. Falwell does not want his "star", "former Muslim", "Dean", and "president" to be embarrassed. I have seen Caner speak in person. He is a powerful preacher however he does not strike me as a scholar. He would have been out matched in this debate and there would have been a good chance he would have been made to look less than great. Falwell, indeed Liberty, cannot allow that to happen. So, they try to control the debate in order to avoid Ergun Caner being put on the spot (so to speak).

I would love to see Emir Caner team up with another person and debate Ascol and White at a different location. I think that would be very interesting.

My advice to Tom Ascol and James White is simple, stay on your guard. Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty Seminary have been advertising this debate. Now that it is cancelled, according to White's blog, they will have to explain "why" it was cancelled. O, and guess what, they are "not" going to say it was cancelled because they tried to play fast and loose with the format (etc) at the last moment. O, no. That would make them look bad. They will try to blame it on White and Ascol. Mark my word on that. Everyone on this blog needs to be dedicated to keeping the Caner's, and Falwell, honest. Sadly in this situation that may be a very hard thing to do.

irreverend fox said...

I was more shocked 2-3 weeks ago, or whenever it was announced that things were finalized, than I am now. It seemed to good to be true, it was amazing, fantastic and refreshing. I honestly was just shocked that the Caner duo all of a sudden forgot about being bombastic, inflamatory and immature. I was like, "wow, how were they able to flip the switch like that?"

I was more surprised a month ago then I am now. What a joke.

pastorleap said...

For all of you who are trying to defend the Caners/ Liberty camp and blame the "backing out" on Drs. Ascol/ White, I just want to say that your logic is about as unsound and ridiculous as the Caners would have proven to be in this debate!

Simple facts would reveal to you that Dr. James White is a virtual PROFESSIONAL at public debate and he DOES IT ALL THE TIME!!! Usually in much more challenging settings than he would have faced at Liberty! He will continue in his ministry to do these debates, and he certainly has a record of being gracious and being able to work out details about his debates ...even with UNBELIEVERS!! To suggest that he somehow "backed down" or "was afraid" of the PitBull's overpowering intellect is absurd. I can also assure you that Dr. Ascol, though not as experienced in debate as Dr. White, was not "afraid" of this event, but welcomed the challenge.

Compare Dr. White's debating experience with the thorough debating experience (NOT!) of Ergun Caner... my knowledge, and according to what I have read, has no real experience in serious academic debate. (I admit, I could be wrong here, so I will not be dogmatic about that statement, but it is what I have read.) It is my opinion that the Caners (mostly Ergun) wanted the opportunity to do what he does best...out-shout his opponent, regurgitate straw-men, pepper his opponent with mis-characterizations, and then back it all up with his "pitbull-like" sarcasm and crude humor. Having done this, he would claim victory no matter what. Once it became apparent that this debate was not going to go that way, the "rules were changed," which precipitated this whole cancellation. Just MHO.

What an embarrasment this should be to Liberty and Dr Falwell, IF THE TRUTH ABOUT THE AFFAIR REALLY GETS OUT!! (doubtful it will will be spun in true "O'Reilly-like" fashion to make Ascol/White look bad). Wonder how this fits into his "BHAG" vision for Liberty?!#$

How embarrasing that Dr White receives better treatment and more courtesy from Mormons than brothers in Christ.

Only people really out of touch with reality will call this a "victory" for the Liberty crowd.

And for "P" and his comments, I say disregard them. I am not willing to listen to the rants of cynics unwilling to stand behind their comments by revealing their identity. Ignore them. They are completely of an ad-hominem nature, and do not deserve intelligent response.

Byroniac said...

I suppose I am simple-minded enough to have believed that this matter had been resolved weeks ago and would become a certain event. However, perhaps this is for the best. Even back then, I thought a neutral location with an unbiased moderator would be preferable. And I think that should still be a goal.

Samuel J Bell III said...

I Just dont understand! You have all the evadince of the interaction the key word here is interaction between White/Ascrol& The Caners. Yet you refuse to research them. Allo you have to do is go to and look. James maticuoulsly made sure that both sides of the issue was stated. The emails as far as I know are unedited. James had enough forsight to see that if what happend, happend made sure to document the INTERACTION. Opps theres that word agian. I quess If you do not have the will to investigate the issues you should bow out of the converstion until you educate yourself on this issue. Also you should always put your personal feelings about both parties aside, and only base your thoughts on the Facts. Tim, I do see that you are a wonderful brother in Christ and I feel that you are just uninformed or missinformed on this issue. I trust that the spirit of truth will lead you to find out all you can until you speek on this issue agian. In Christian love.

GUNNY said...

To have the game changed less than two weeks before the event is just ... unprofessional.

As a former "debater" I can only say that format is not irrelevant and part of preparation is knowing how the game is played.

I don't know any of the ins and/or outs of the game, but how sad to pull such shenanigans ... especially on the verge of the event, and not just for the participants.

There's a greater than zero chance many people had made plans to be in attendance.

I don't know Dr. O'Donnell or his reasons, but I hope he realizes the magnitude of his "non-negotiables" as they relate to others.

Tom Bryant said...

It's too bad. I was looking forward to a debate between brothers in Christ dealing with an important issue. I guess that was too much to expect.

Tom said...


You are correct. James has referred to the private negotiations between Emir and me that led to the agreement that all four debaters signed off on several weeks ago. That was a negotiated agreement that involved compromise by both sides. It was also the basis on which I agreed to get back into the debate. After our public declaration that the debate was indeed on and would involve all four of us, weeks went by with no progress on the specific details of the schedule and format to which we had agreed. Because of a heavy travel and outside speaking schedule in late September and October, I initiated dialog on the details by taking taking an earlier proposal from Ergun and simply adjusting it t fit the newly agreed upon length and modifiication of format. This was sent out to all the debaters with the request that if it was not acceptable, then other suggestions be offered. James immediately responded that he was ok with it. When I heard no response from the other two debaters after two weeks, and as I was approaching an overseas trip, I made a private phone call and made an appeal that we settle these details so I could know how to prepare during and around my travels. Within 48 hours I received an email from Emir Caner acknowledging that he and Ergun were also in agreement with my proposal for the details of the schedule and time allotments for the debate. That was September 27, two days before I left for Brazil. While minstering in Brazil, and preparing for the debate with the agreed upon format, I received a copy of an email response from Rich Pierce of Alpha and Omega to Brett O'Donnell, stating that O'Donnell's demands for a complete change in format and schedule were unacceptable. That was the first I had heard of O'Donnell's "non-negotiable" email sent Wednesday, October 5, demanding that the agreed-upon terms of the debate be changed to suit his liking. Since then numeous phone calls and over 30 emails have been exchanged, trying to resolve this completely unexpected and improper derailing of our settled, agreed-upon arrangements.

I plan to take some time in the next week or so to explain all of this more carefully in hopes of clarifying for all who care to understand, just what has transpired over the last two week. I have no desire to speculate on motives--motives belong to God. As far as I know everyone involved has acted with the purest of motives. I have no desire to justify myself or my actions in this. I certainly have no interest in avoiding being charged with "losing" the debate by forfeit. Winning and losing were never categories that entered my mind in agreeing to debate in the first place. My concern is to let the facts be known in the interest of truth. Many people, including some friends and church members, have gone to great expense in making plans to be in Lynchburg on October 16. They, as well as others, deserve to know how the announced debate has been derailed.

GeneMBridges said...

While I truly understand the disappointment the good Dr.'s White and Ascol feel, I cannot understand why this is a deal breaker. If, as we all believe, these men are Christian why can they not all sit down somewhere in a room and work out the details?

I think the point, Brother Tim, is that they had done all of that already. It's just 12 days before the debate. So, a change in time and structure is a change to the overall presentation itself. Consider too that Dr. O'Donnell is in a position to be in closer contact with the Caners. He only returned what, one email to A.O. Min before Dr. Ascol and Emir forged a reproachment that has been in place ever since. For him to suddenly say that "he's in charge" strikes me as disingenuous. If he thinks he's "in charge," of the format, then he should have returned the emails sent to him several months ago, and he should have had a hand in the reproachment rendered by Drs. Ascol and Caner. He abdicated his right to claim he was "in charge" long ago.

As you say, "Allow me to try again. I am saying by Dr. White placing an ultimatum on the table that if he does not hear back from the Dr.'s Caner by a certain time, the debate is off." We understand that, but the point is that just twelve days out now the time for "negotiation" has long since passed. They've had since February to do that, and that was completed weeks ago. When you sign the contract, as it were, you do not get to renegotiate the terms twelve days before it takes effect. You may either terminate it or not. Those are your options. What's more, this is happening because a third party chose to intervene and the Caners went along with it.

According to his statement they were still in the process of reconciling their disagreements.

A. According to that statement, they tried to negoiate for a number of days once Dr. O'Donnell acted the way he did. They were denied this option, so it is not AO Min that is a fault for the lack of negotiation. They made mulitple attempts and were rebuffed.

B. According to that same statement, those disagreements had been resolved already, so Dr. O'Donnell's actions were not expected.

C. A change in format at this point results in a change in presentation. (i) to give the "home team" first and last position in the debate is a tactic that slants the debate in favor of that team given the nature of the topic. Typically, you give the affirmative the first salvo, the negative the last one. (ii) This is also slanted the wrong way. The opening salvo is typically for the affirmative position, so, based on the topic "Baptists and Calvinism" that confuses the presentation: Are the Caners going to argue "Baptists and Calvinism" in the affirmatiive? I think not. Ergo, there is now even more confusion in the topic. (iii) The selected format is one often used so that a "winner" can be determined, so this makes it at least appear that the home team was trying to slant the results in their favor. (iv) It makes preparation difficult for everybody involved, because their preparation was predicated on a different format, time limitation, schedule, etc. The topic is already exceptionally broad; to cover it would have taken a least 3 hours, and, what's more, the format precluded most if not all cross-examination. I, for one, was hoping to get to ask a question from the floor: "Dr. Ergun Caner, will you please explain your assertion that Moses Amyrault believed in election by way of foreseen faith, as demonstrated by your closing comment: For Amyralt, Ergun Caner: Elected because I selected."

PhotoJoeAZ said...

Yeah, I'm in the camp with the disappointed folks who were optimistic and encouraged that the four men had reached an agreement and the debate was going forward. I was maybe even going to have some brothers over to watch via webcast if that was possible.

I'm just bummed. I would have really loved to see God's glory proclaimed through His Truth. I think that White and Ascol would make a great team-- Dr. White with the focus on the arguments and the facts, and Dr. Ascol with his obvious shepherd's heart. I don't mean to demean either man there; I realize Dr. Ascol is no slouch when it comes to scholarship, and I know Dr. White cares for the sheep as an elder, but if their respective blogs are any indication, each has his own Spirit-given gifts and foci.

I still hope that there can be a high-profile debate on the Doctries of Grace within the SBC, and one with more depth and cross-examination than the Patterson/Mohler point-counterpoint.


Forest A said...

Thank you for your gracious tone in your latest post. I look forward to hearing how this unfortunate event unfolded from your words.

irreverend fox said...

I'm glad that James asked so many of us to NOT make plans to drive down to TRBC for the debate. Who knows why he stressed that so much, but, I actually canceled a trip me and three of my church planting buddies were gonna make (from Akron Ohio) for the debate. I was frustrated that James insisted on his blog, several times. I'm glad I went along with what he asked now that this happened 2 weeks out.

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Matthew said...

So... the question I am wondering about at this point is: does Dr. White press this issue any further (especially considering the blog controversy that precipitated this debate in the first place) or does he simply let it die? ;)

Also, I am wondering what some of you might feel that the implications of this mess might be - especially those of you whom (like myself) are striving for reform within the SBC?

If this is indicative of anything, it surely helps illustrate the desperate need for conversation amongst Baptists on these matters.

Timmy said...

I just came over from AOMIN where James White mentioned that he is reading the comments on this post. So I just wanted to say to you, Tom, and to James, thank you. You two have subjected yourselves to a lot of public scrutiny and have been put to the test regarding the demonstration of God's grace to others. If anything I have learned from these events is how to graciously and humbly handle very difficult situations in a God-honoring way that doesn't apologize the truth but neither does harm to it either. While I am saddened to see the culmination of countless correspondence end like this, I would rather like to think of what God has taught me through you two and thank God for the way he has use the two of you through patience, kindness, and courtesy to our brothers who have not extended the same grace. While there is little to no hope that a debate like this would or could take place in the future, there are a number of reasons to be optimistic about the future of Reformed theology in the SBC, in our seminaries, our churches, and yes, even at Liberty University. May God use these events to sow seeds of passion for the glory of God in His great salvation - a salvation that belongs to the Lord in whom we make our boast.

James White said...


Thank you very much. While there is much I could say about this entire saga (some would say I've said too much already!), in the end, you simply cannot have debates when you cannot trust those putting it on. If they are willing to unilaterally throw out our agreement less than two weeks out, there is no way to guarantee that this entire effort will be available to anyone outside of the immediate audience that evening. And despite what anyone says about me, I debate for the edification of the saints, and the majority of that edification takes place via recording, audio or video. In any case, I do have an even more important debate, to be honest, on the 19th of October on Long Island with Bill Shishko, pastor of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Franklin Square, where I will be defending credobaptism. I believe it will have significantly longer-lasting benefit than any encounter with Ergun and Emir Caner, to be honest, since Bill will present his case without ad-hominem, yet without compromise, as will I. I know his position inside and out, and I expect he will know mine. Result? Great debate with long lasting usefulness.
Then, two weeks later, John Shelby Spong on homosexuality.


Carla said...

While this certainly does come as a disappointment to many - for many reasons (not to mention the amount of work that went into planning it, and the ongoing troubles that came along with that), it really shouldn't surprise anyone that's been following this from the beginning.

For me personally, I would have been more surprised had it actually come to pass as agreed upon, than I am that it's turned out the way it has. The Caners (and now Mr. O'Donnel) have conducted themselves in such a way over the last many months that many people have wondered if they never really intended to go through with this from the beginning. Like others have said here, we do have to be careful about assigning motives to people, but at the same time our actions generally do speak louder than words, and in this instance, those actions have spoken quite a bit.

Carla Rolfe

kradzo said...

So Dr. O'Donnel unilaterally changed the rules. Apparently Dr. O'Donnel believes he is sovereign.

By the way, this change may have been unilateral, but I think time will show that it was a unilateral decision of one side, not one person. How will one tell, by the response of Caner & Caner to Dr.s White and Ascol pulling out after the change.

Samuel_J said...

Drs Ascol and White,
I'm a sophomore at Liberty University studying philosophy, and, despite some significant concerns, I was very much looking forward to the debate.

As a Reformed student, I am grieved every time I have the opportunity to gently explain to someone that what they are referring to by "Calvinism" or "Reformed Theology" is not what I, or any orthodox Reformed person, believe. How can I blame them when they get their information from a charismatic professor and Dean of our seminary?

Hence the reason I was eager for the debate to take place, despite the fact that it would have been, to some extent, a debacle: Two godly, knowledgeable, men who believe in the truthfulness and beauty of Reformed theology would have been able to present their position and defend it. Students at LU would have had the chance, for once, in public, to hear "our" side fairly represented.

I and some of my reformed friends also wanted ask both of you out to dinner on behalf of the Reformed students at Liberty. I suppose that opportunity is gone as well (if you ever come, it's a standing offer!).

Thank you both for your ministries and the way this situation is being handled. In an environment like LU, characterized largely by ignorance of, and therefore to some extent hostility towards, Reformed theology, it is crucial that Reformed students be loving, kind and gracious when they present their views (if they are granted an opportunity). So I am very grateful that both of you men have honored the qualifications of your office and modeled a proper response to a very difficult situation.

I greatly looked forward to at least meeting both of you men personally and hope that, somehow, I may eventually have that opportunity.

Sempre Reformanda,
Samuel J. Loncar
(I can be reached at:

Robert Owen said...

I join the rest of you who are disappointed that the debate is not going as planned. As a reformed Southern Baptist, I was hoping for an open discussion on the issue of Calvinism in the SBC. I hope a debate of this nature can happen in the near future. I guess until then, we will have to settle for the blog debates. I just started my own blog at
I hope to have some good theological discussions there with anyone who wants to leave comments.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Lynchburger said...

Very sad for us here at Liberty. I think some momentum for a very good reformed turnout was underway, despite Dr. White's prescient warning not to come. Our family was looking forward to this in ways most of you cannot imagine. The oppression here has caused some tender souls to crack under the stress of isolation and peer pressure. It brings grief to my soul that our administration has committed itself to a theology that is a Frankensteinian hybrid of Calvinism and Arminianism. How I wish we could speak as brothers concerning the profound mysteries of God's grace, in humility. Instead, Open Theism and new age psychosurgery are "infecting" the classrooms by way of textbooks. You might say our theology has no immunity to such an attack, lacking as it does the antibodies of the attributes of a truly sovereign God. Could I propose, Dr. White, that you emulate Billy Graham, just this one time, by coming to our modern theological equivalent of "Laugh-In," and just trust God that He will make His own case despite the irreverence of our "show?" No? I didn’t think so. But I had to ask.

Limited (Definite) Atonement is the big problem here. The administration is only too happy to invoke the sovereignty of God occasionally as appropriate, but in recent months it has been impressed on us that staying true to the General Atonement is a key mission of the school, literally a part of our identity, to be projected far into the future. Were the debate to go badly for Liberty, it would tend to undermine that perceived mission, which is viewed as critical to the larger mission of world evangelism. Hence, a solid move to Reformed theology would detract from the effort to save the world through the therapy of Open Theism, Feel Good Theism, what have you.

Yet just the other day our chancellor referred to the substitutionary atonement of Christ, apparently disregarding the Calvinistic history of that term, not to mention the direct inference that assertion has, that any sin paid for in Christ is a closed account, and cannot be reopened by some theoretical act of human will. There are good intentions here. And I know even now, God will do as he pleases among the inhabitants of Lynchburg.

Therefore, we will march on. But know that we are very sad not to have y'all as our guests a week from Monday. The good news is, at least now I won't have to cut class to attend the most famous debate that never happened. Unless ...

"...the greatest of these is charity."

Jim from said...

Dr. Ascol:

Thank you (and Dr. White also) for your willingness to discuss these very important doctrines and defend the truth. I am very sorry that this debate seems to have lost the cooperation of one side. I'm confident that many in the SBC have watched what has just transpired, and recognize that it speaks volumes. Thank you again.

Elias said...

I wasn't going to say anything but I must. For the many (and I mean many) folks who were making plans (or in my case already made plans) to attend, for this debate to be cancelled less than 2 weeks over issues other than illness or family crisis is unbelievable to me. My wife and I still cannot believe this happened. I know Dr. White, you said not to make plans but let me tell you this, after the agreed upon statement by you and the others, many did. I'm not concerned at this point who agrees with me or not, but this is absolutely unacceptable for an event this big, that has been marketed for over 6 months now, to have been cancelled in less than 2 weeks!

Elias from California

Timmy said...


With the assumption that you are not working under a pseudonym, I want to thank you for your courage to speak out on this issue as a LU student. Those of us who are not associated with LU will be interested to know how the administration and faculty treats this debate and more importantly the students who hold to Reformed doctrine. There is a strong anti-Reformed strand of folks in the SBC who, if they can't get rid of you, want to at best demonize you to the rest of the watching crowd. I wish this were not the case, but reality reminds us that there have been and will be witch hunts and straw men throughout the theological and ecclesiological landscape of the SBC.

Let me just encourage you, Samuel, and the rest of the Reformed community at LU, to humbly live the doctrines of grace in your lives, never apologizing for God's sovereingty in salvation and prayerfully never having to apologize for any actions or attitudes that would present itself contrary to such doctrines of grace. May your tribe increase, and may God's glory be the central focus of your studies and lives as you live, not as pleasing men, but God to whom we must give an account. Press on, brother, for the sake of the gospel . . .

Scott said...

Step Right Up Folks,

Yes, here we go again with Dr. Johnny Hunt. By attending his Bonfire Conference you can win a Hummer, I Pod, and many other prizes. Check out and click on Bonfire and register so you can possibly win the Hummer. The cancellation of the debate and now this. Where does it stop Guys? The event will be held at the church. A former member and member brought this to my attention !

Troy Hurdle said...

Granted, I would have loved for this debate to have taken place in a fair, thoughtful, and humble manner. But now, since the debate has been cancelled, I believe the Lord can and still will use what has transpired to draw others to thoughtfully consider what we call Calvinism. Why? Because there are many humble Southern Baptists out there, who look just as much, if not more so, to behavior as they do arguments (so long as they don't personally have a dog in the fight). Will they see a difference in the way thes two sides have behaved? I believe they will. Will they then give a fair hearing to the side they believe was mistreated? In many cases, yes.

Jlbrightbill said...

As a junior at Liberty University who has heard Dr. Caner speak on many occasions, it's a shame to see the chain of events that culminated in the debate being called off, but I can't say I'm surprised. Admittedly I have cynical tendencies, but when I first learned about the debate from Pastor Ascol back in May, my immediate mental response was "Caner? He doesn't debate, he rants."

I'm going to be careful in my choice of words here, but in 3 years spent here, my personal opinion of Dr. Caner has been steadily declining. I don't claim to know him personally or speak to his character, I'm only speaking to what I have observed. He displays a great level of arrogance and pride; are they outward evidences of an internal disposition or simply his speaking style, I don't know, but I can see the person he presents. Beginning this year he has delivered the message in our Wednesday night campus church services. Just about every message includes some form of slam on Calvinists, beginning with the first message of the year where he addressed the freshman about the types of people they will encounter in college. One of these types was "Calvinist Kyle" who will go out of his way to debate you any chance he gets. On several recent occasions he mentioned the debate with "hyper-calvinists". Most recently in SuperConference in the context of trends in the church and God's unchanging nature among other points. I couldn't hear all of what he said due to applause, but he mentioned something "those hyper-calvinist boys", trends, and John Piper. I haven't found a video to verify the exact quote so I won't say anything further about that particular service. It would be impossible for many reasons, memory not the least, to list three years worth of examples. Every time he gets up to speak I say to myself "Maybe this time will be different", and I have yet to be right.

The one thing I'd like everyone to know is that the conduct and views of Dr. Caner do not necessarily and rarely do represent the entire student body. There will always be students who don't think for themselves (I refer to them as the Liberty Lemmings, and their number is far too high) and take Dr. Caner's words as gospel truth, but there are others who attempt to spread truth. At least one professor that I am aware of teaches Theology from a balanced perspective (Being a Presbyterian himself), and I recommend him to everybody who takes the class.

With all that said, despite my dislikes about many things that go at Liberty, I still love it here. As a Prayer Leader on my hall last year and a Spiritual Life Director in my dorm this year, ( if you really want to know that those titles actually mean) my ministry in individual lives remains just as important, and I can't let my opinions of the administration dampen my fervor for the hearts and lives of those placed in my care.

If anyone is desirous of further information or a summary of the Caner response which we will no doubt receive fairly soon, my email is Jlbrightbill2 (at)

Jedidiah Brightbill

Aaron L. Turner said...

Now that this debate is off, I wonder if it might be time to consider having this kind of debate in a written form, in the format that has been used so much to discuss it. What I mean by can be seen by visiting.

Dr.s Ascol and White, we are thankful for your attitude and integrtity that you have demonstrated in all of this. I for one am glad that you are representing our side.

PaleoHuguenot said...

As an LBTS alum and an admiring student of Geneva Jean, I am quite disappointed with my alma mater in how this was handled.

BTW, as of 6:39 PM EDT, the LU home page still lists the debate announcement.

vox reformata said...

C'mon guys!! Did you actually think the Caner's were gonna debate?? Gullibles we are. I can't even imagine how it would go! A free for all? Well, another one bites the dust. Hunt, Geisler and Caner Bros. just can't deliver the goods.


luke geraty said...

[quote]How can I blame them when they get their information from a charismatic professor and Dean of our seminary?[/quote]

Mr. Loncar,

Thank you for your insightful post regarding the situation at LU. However, I must respond to the above statement as I found it to include a bit of the same 'ignorance' that you were complaining about:)

Firstly, there are quite a few people who are what you would consider 'charismatics' who are reformed. One of the strongest advocates that comes to mind is Wayne Grudem, whose Systematic Theology has become a standard for many bible universities and seminaries.

Furthermore, I must make the comment that reformed theology does not necessitate doctrines regarding the cessationist/ continuationist position nor does it require one to be amillennial.

There have been virtually thousands of charismatics who have strong ties to reformed theology and Charles Spurgeon most certainly shows that one can be thoroughly reformed and not be an amillennialist.

Anyway, that was the only thing I absolutely had to respond too. Everything else you stated I am in 100% agreement with.

It is a shame this debate couldn't have gone through. I was looking forward to it.

I pray your continued studies go well at LU.



Jlbrightbill said...

I'm fairly sure he used charismatic to describe the engaging and motivational speaking style of Dr. Caner, not in relation to any system of beliefs. I could be wrong but that's the way I took it.

James White said...


I have posted on this topic here:

Unless I see documentable falsehoods being promoted by anyone on the other side, I hope to avoid having to post all of the over two dozen e-mails that I was involved in writing over the past few days. I just don't have time for it, and I am personally very tired of the entire situation. However, if push comes to shove, I will most assuredly do so.

Let me say a word to the LU students who have posted. I am sorry. I truly wanted to encourage you. I still do. I have invited Michael O'Brien to join me on the DL on Tuesday, so I hope you will be listening. But may I please ask you to pass the word around all those students who have seen the glorious light of God's grace in the gospel and who refuse to mix in man's will and man's actions? Spread the words, my brothers and sisters: do not respond in kind to any of those who will seek to harangue or mock or deride in light of these events. God's grace is not promoted by man's wrath, and though we have stood firmly in the defense of truth, sometimes the best response in the face of mockery is a smile and a gentle word from Scripture. I am not counselling compromise; no, I am counselling grace. Many of us once mocked what we now hold dear, and it was the behavior of grace that stopped us in our tracks and eventually gave us reason to reconsider our man-made traditions. Only God can bring the heart to its knees in adoring wonder of His sovereignty. Please, leave the situation at Liberty in God's hands, pray, work, be the best students you can be, show respect to those in authority, learn from the many good teachers there, and demonstrate by your focus upon Christ and His gospel that you are the ones consistently seeking to bring Him honor by believing all that He has revealed in His Word.

I do hope and pray to have the ability to someday speak there in Lynchburg and get to meet, and encourage, many of you. My heart truly goes out to you, but I know our heavenly Father can and will keep you, encourage you, and use you to His glory.

In Him,

James White

Scott said...

Dr. White,

Go to and listen to this evening's message by Dr. Jerry Vines( Former SBC President on Calvinism). He was asked to preach it this evening by Dr. Johnny Hunt( Pastor of FBC Woodstock). Click on webcast on the homepage and find the PM service. I watched it live so it might be on it already.

Jamin Hubner said...

All in all, pride is slipping into the Caner's lives.

Uncialman said...


While we are all terribly dissapointed that this debate will not take place, it is also incredibly unfair to insist that Dr. Ascol and Dr. White proceed with the debate under these circumstances.

Dr. White had been both saying and writing for months to *NOT* make plans to attend this debate for several reasons. In fact, one could even state that Dr. White has "pleaded" for those interested in the debate to stay home and buy the DVD. Those stated reasons were:

1. There was absolutely no gaurantee that anyone other than Liberty Students would actually be able to get into see the debate. As no tickets were actually sold, attendance could not be gauranteed. If all of the staff and faculty of Liberty University were to crowd into the place of venue, there would be *0* seats left available for outside attendance (and this isn't even counting Liberty Seminary and TRBC attendence).

2. No formal contract with statements of liability, harm or force majeure in force was made for this event.

Also, this debate has not been marketed for 6 months. Some very basic principals were offered in March of this past year but true formal agreements were not made until June. Don't you remember Dr. Ascol pulling out of this event prior to June?

Sorry Elias, but I think that after Dr. White warned folks for months to NOT come to the event to level a charge of "unacceptable" to Dr. White and Dr. Ascol is, in fact, unacceptable.

I, for one, had made plans to attend the conference in Orlando, where Dr. White and Dr. Ascol would have been reviewing the Caner debate if it took place. I will enjoy hearing the debate with the Rev. Spong: just as Dr. White advised us to do months ago.

Shamgar said...

I just want to say an Amen to Dr White's words in terms of the actions of the students at liberty, and share with you the words that Thomas Watson wrote:

God sometimes afflicts with reproach. Such as have the light of grace shining in them may be eclipsed in their name. The primitive Christians were reproached as if they were guilty of incest, says Tertullian. Luther was called a trumpeter of rebellion. David calls reproach heart-breaking. Psa 69: 20. God often lets his dear saints be exercised with this. Dirt may be cast upon a pearl, and those names may be blotted which are written in the book of life. Sincerity shields from hell, but not from slander.

So if you bear ridicule, you are not the first, and will certainly not be the last. :-)

David Morrow said...

I think that Dr. White and Tom Ascol should do what Greg Bahnsen did when Michael Martin backed out of his debate at the last moment, and that is have the debate anyway (Bahnsen called it "The Debate That Never Was"). All they would have to do is quote what their opponents have written against Calvinism and respond with a Biblical and exegetical response.

I am sure the body of Christ would greatly benefit from it as I am sure many Christians did with Bahnsen's debate with an absent Michael Martin.

Tartanarmy said...

David. There might just be a method to your madness with that idea.


farmboy said...

1) chessman offers the following: "As much as I hate to say this, I truly feel that Ergun Caner was always well aware of what he was doing.

- he knows the difference between a Calvinist and a hyper-Calvinist.

- he knows that Tom and James are Calvinists."

2) chessman is taken to task by tim rogers as follows: "Those are some pretty hard thoughts concerning the motivation behind another. I can tell you that I personally was with Dr. Ergun Caner within the last two weeks and we spoke about upcoming debate. He was looking forward to it and even stated so much. He gave very nice acolades about Dr's Ascol and White. Never did I hear him one time speak a disparaging word toward either of them."

3) Mr. Caner posts the following on his website

"Calvinist Debate Cancelled by Hyper-calvinist

James White backs out of the debate. Refused to submit to moderator rules. Details will follow tonight.

Posted: October 9th, 2006 under Debate."

4) So, either referring to a Calvinist as "hyper-Calvinist" now passes for a "very nice ac[c]olade," certainly not a "disparaging word" or Mr. Caner's knowledge of Reformed theology doesn't allow him to distinguish between Calvinsim and hyper-Calvinism.

Shining and Burning Light said...

A more accurate posting by Ergun Caner would have been:

James White backs out of the debate. Refused to submit to moderator rules. My spin will follow tonight.