Saturday, May 12, 2007

...when debating atheists, first know what you are talking about

(updated - sections)

Clint Eastwood, in his famous “Dirty Harry” detective series, makes this profound statement: ”a man’s got to know his limitations.” Such wisdom would also apply in the field of apologetics when actor Kirk Cameron and evangelist Ray Comfort said they could prove the existence of God (100% scientifically guaranteed) as fact, without using the Bible or appealing to faith. It went downhill from there.

One writer expressed their views this way: "We do not prove the existence of the God of Christianity by first giving up Christianity. For Comfort and Cameron to declare that they intended to employ this type of apologetic method is irreverent, dishonoring to Christ and is downright sinful."

Another blogger voiced their disappointment this way: "With all due respect to these Christian brothers, Cameron and Comfort would have done well to defer their assumed debate responsibilities to another who has the philosophical and academic ability/awareness to interact with hardened infidels who spend their entire time ranting and raving about the non-existence of the Triune God. As much as I appreciate these brothers, it is time for them to step up the study time so as to be ready to give an account for the hope that is within them with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15)."

I do appreciate and thank the Lord for both Kirk and Ray (though I have never met them in person) and what they are trying to accomplish through their Way of the Master program. They have brought back a right emphasis on the Law of God in presenting the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Though their approach and methods come off as a bit prepackaged and pedestrian, they do garner some vigorous responses and have had opportunities to proclaim Christ (it is obvious they are dear brothers in the Lord with a burden for lost people.)

But personal feelings aside, one must take the time to know the Word of God and the subject being addressed if one is going to step out on national TV and try and debate two atheists on "the existence of God." Contrary to what was expressed during the debate, we must remember beloved that the gospel is not an offer to unsaved people, it is a call to follow Jesus Christ, a command to repent of your sins, and a compelling to be reconciled to God (Matt. 16:24; Acts 17:16ff; 2 Cor. 5:16-21).

In case you didn’t see this debate on "ABCNews Face Off" this past Thursday evening—the premise was this: Ray comfort contacted ABC and said that he wanted to debate two atheists on the existence of God that he had seen on an ABC Nightline show some months before that featured a “Blasphemy Challenge.” He went on to say that he could 100% scientifically prove God’s existence without appealing to faith or Scripture - that is was a matter of fact and didn't require faith to be convinced of its truthfulness.

This was a recipe for disaster from the get go:

First of all,
no biblical text ever asserts or affirms this kind of tactic. It might play well on ABC for a bit of evening controversy, but little if anything profitable for the kingdom came of this disappointing display of inept, unprepared, and unbiblical apologetics. Secondly, to add insult to injury, neither Kirk nor Ray proved "100% scientifically the existence of God" by using science; they never presented one shred of scientific evidence to support their dogmatic claim. Thirdly, I didn’t think it was possible for a Christian to lose a debate on "the existence of God" to two atheists—but that is exactly what happened.

BTW, these two atheists were not intellectual elites or gifted apologists for their views. They were two uptight, ticked off academic lightweights with an obvious agenda who came off as if they took a trip to the National Museum of Science and Industry to "study" fossils in order to bone-up on their views before that evening's debate using very stunted, sophmoric, and handicaped logic. Any prepared Christian apologist should have swept the floor with them... (in a loving Christian way of course calling them to repentance.) FYI, both of them claimed to be Christians before becoming atheists.

This debate took place at Calvary Baptist Church in downtown New York. I have ministered there before in word and song; and it was pastored for several years by my dear late friend, Dr. Stephen Olford. I can only imagine what he would be saying today if he was here to witness this weak and ill-prepared exchange from two men representing the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel? He would be ashamed.

"Let us suppose that Kirk and Ray
actually persuaded the atheists
on live TV that God does exist.
What would that have proven?
It would not have proven the
Biblical triune God who has
revealed Himself in Holy Scripture.

In other words, the atheists would have been
as much unregenerate as they were before.

[as James White has said]
'What you win them with is what you win them to.'"

-Alan Kurschner

This debate proved a few things though
: 1. "religious talking points" in the real world of unbridled ideas and seasoned news professionals is an effort in futility and doesn’t serve well the cause of the gospel. 2. the gospel, beloved, IS the power of God unto salvation--not some foolish, silly around the barn approach to proving God's existence scientifically to "lure in the audience." And 3. that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is not an offer of salvation, but a call and command to follow Jesus and be reconciled unto God (2 Cor. 5:16-21; Acts 17:19-31).

On a personal note: my brothers in the Lord - Kirk and Ray:please, I beg you, stay out of mainstream media until you know your subject; stop running your Way Of The Master infomercials on TBN - it is unwise to be aligned with a network that promotes (most of the time) an unbiblical view of God, the gospel and the person of the Lord Jesus Christ; receive more training biblically in the essentials of the faith and apologetics; don’t do any more public televised debates until you are really prepared; invite some others to carry the lionshare of a debate like this for you (i.e., Dr. James White, Ravi Zacharias, etc.); learn how to communicate the gospel of sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus to nonbelievers when real questions are being asked; listen carefully to what people are actually asking you and saying to you (1 Peter 3:15); and finally, if you ever have the courage to enter an exchange of ideas like this again on national TV representing the gospel, the Lord, and His people, please be prepared and really know the subject you are talking about.

Your motives seem well intentioned, but your lack of knowledge (both biblically and scientifically) on this issue and your failure to communicate clearly to those you were debating, IMHO, has lost you real credibility not only among nonbelievers, but also among believers in the Lord Jesus Christ as well.

By popular off forum demand,
a "Mulligan" has been given to Ray and Kirk


Denise said...

I didn't catch the show, but hope to online.

I have seen many Christians try to engage with atheists to the point of treating them as theologians, and quite frankly, its sickening. (I don't think I have come across any "Atheist" (there is really no such thing according to Romans 1) that doesn't say they "were Christians" at one time---this is a huge factor).

I couldn't agree with you more, Steve, that the Gospel IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION.

Its the height of foolishness to omit Scripture when proclaiming God and the Gospel and dealing with unbelievers. And to do so DELIBERATLY is asinine. Was there some sort of offense of the Scripture that was being avoided?

Why is it that Christians think they must play to the God-hater's standards of such a game? Don't be fooled, to the atheist, all this is a game. They aren't sincerely wanting to hear Truth. And for the Christian to give up before they even started,assuming the same God-hating standards as the Atheist (no Bible, please, and use "Science" to PROVE God) is unbelievable.

Who are the God-haters that they should determine the rules and what is acceptable as truth? And who are they to whom God must give an account and prove HIMSELF??

1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called "knowledge," 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.

2 Tim. 2: 14 Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen

2Ti 2:23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

2 Cor. 10: 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

1Co 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,

1Co 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1Co 1:27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

1Co 2:1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1Co 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

Scripture IS enough!!!!

Denise said...

What is the reason for debating atheists on tv?

What is the reason for debating atheists without Scripture on t.v.?

Isn't the Word of God the only God-breathed, infallable thing we have? The only Truth that can divide a heart and its motives; rebuke; teach; give eternal life?

Is God now relagated (sp) to a mere philosophical football for the heathens' entertainment?

Did not Paul refuse to use philosophy when speaking to the Stoics and others, but rather proclaim Christ and HIM crucified, without lofty, fancy, academic words?

Do we not trust in God and HIS way of saving (through the preaching of the gospel)?

Aren't these eternal souls at stake here?

Turn off the cameras, give up the surfboards and wetsuits, and go one on one with these atheists, declaring to them their awful plight of hell-earning sin and death before a Holy God who is wrathful toward them... and their absolute, desperate, and immediate need of the Only Savior: the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, who is God over all.

Michele Rayburn said...

Hi Steve,

The link that you posted for this debate is not working. Please repair!

By the way, having not yet seen this debate, the Scripture verses came to mind that men know that God exists but suppress the truth, and that God has revealed Himself to them in the very creation that surrounds them. But man "does not like to retain God in their knowledge".

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrigteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools..." (Romans 1:18-32)

To paraphrase, these verses are saying, in essence, "Look around you. Look at this great creation. You know that God exists without Him even saying a Word."

Without even using Scripture, ask an unbeliever how this glorious creation exists and it could cause him (or her) to realize that it is impossible for it to exist without a Creator. Maybe they did this in the video. But, without Scripture being the final authority, one person's word is as good as another's.

There is no reason for Christians to lower themselves by acting like we do not need Scripture to back up what we believe because the world might not accept it. That gives them the authority, and in turn, will destroy our credibility, as apparently you said has already happened in this debate.

In His Love,

ann_in_grace said...

The former commenters said it all.
It was a painful thing to watch, verily, exactly as you put it.
Apologetics is not something to be treated lightly or by routine. We may never cease to get knowledge of the things so important to us, and we may never underestimate the cunning cleverness of the enemies of God.
I had a chance to listen to WOM's way of preaching, and was very surprised when they announced this enterprise, because my thoughts were: what OTHER than usual they could say that would support their claims in this debate. Unfortunately, there was nothing OTHER.
What makes me sad is that they never reached out to those better equipped, for advice and support. And there is no lack of brothers who know how to debate atheists. To your examples let me add Gene Cook of The Narrow Mind.

A very good and balanced post. As always.

Michele Rayburn said...

With all due respect to James White, having met him, listened to him teach and debate, and having enjoyed doing so, we do not necessarily need professional debaters to make our case for the existence of God.

Every true believer has the Word of God in them and should be equipped to contend for the faith (Jude 3) and to “give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). The Apostle Paul exhorts us to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)

Ray and Kirk apparently decided to not put on their spiritual armor of God as we are told to do in Ephesians 6:10-19. This is what has left them vulnerable, and harms not only them but the cause of Christ. The sword of the Spirit *is* the Word of God, and they apparently chose not to take up their sword!

Hello, Ann! It's good to hear from you again.


gigantor1231 said...

Just for the record, I don't know Kirk or Ray but I do know this, God is faithful and He is sovreign, his stregth is most often displayed through our weakness! You gave vile mouth Driscoll a mulligan, perhaps you should give these guys a mulligan too! Steve, you are a very knowlegable fellow when it comes to the word but remember this;

1Cor 8:1b

Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.

New American Standard Bible : 1995

The context of this scripture not only was speaking to the knowledge of meat sacrificed to idols but it was speaking to how we use what we know as a opportunity to cause someone to stumble. I hate to say it but sounds like this passage could be applied to some of the comments here.

Steve, you said;
"please, I beg you, stay out of mainstream media until you know your subject;stop running your Way Of The Master infomercials on TBN - it is foolish to be aligned with a network that promotes most of the time an unbiblical view of God, the gospel and the person of Jesus Christ; get trained biblically in the essentials of the faith and apologetics; don’t do any more debates until you are really prepared; invite some others to carry the lionshare of the debate for you (i.e., Dr. James White, Ravi Zacharias, etc.); learn how to communicate the gospel of sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus to nonbelievers when real questions are being asked; listen to what people are actually asking you and saying to you (1 Peter 3:15); and finally, if you ever have the courage to enter an exchange of ideas like this again on national TV representing the gospel, the Lord, and His people, please be prepared and really know what you are talking about."

I have to honest with you my brother your ways are not always the right ways either! In my personal opinion you ought to drop the calvinist monicer and be happy with being a follower of Christ, also get rid of some of the secular news fools you promote here, their ungodly assesment of things does not belong here. Perhaps God was schooling them by allowing them to do this. I would not say that they fell flat on their faces here but I am certain they could have done better, I hope they learned. They sure do not need to be Ravi or James to do what they did though, and it would sure be nice if they had gracious brothers and sisters to fall back on when they take a header. I would say the worst thing they did was cast some pearls before swine!

gigantor1231 said...

oops, my comment was sent before I could clean it up and make it more presentable, oh well.
Point is, these guys deserve the benefit of the doubt, they deserve a mulligan, as a matter a fact they need our encouragement, a pat on the back, some bandages, some good words and then send em out to learn some more. I too would hope that they are doctrinally correct on the points they make and that the word of God is what supports what they say, in context and with its full truth, it is the authority for all we do and say. Maybe you should give them a cookie too!!!
By the way Steve, any time you need a mulligan I'd be glad to give you one, I know your heart is for Christ and that is the most important thing to me.

SJ Camp said...

Thank you as always for your comments. Mulligan given :-).

You said: "I have to honest with you my brother your ways are not always the right ways either!"

The issue is not "ways" as you suggest - the issue is content; knowing it; and coming prepared with the information that you promised unbelievers you said you would have.

If they (Kirk and Ray) really didn't mean to prove the existence of God 100% scientifically, then they were lying and should apologize for misleading the audience, ABCNews, and the two atheists.

If they did have the undeniable 100% scientific proof, why didn't they share it?

Adding insult to injury, they violated their own rules of the debate by appealing to the Ten Commandments (they have a routine they do in their videos that is identical every time in how they share the 10 C's with a nonbeliever). If this debate was under strict rules (pointed out by the male atheist Brian) the debate would be over and the evening closed down immediately.

That is not integrity brother and a poor witness to the very ones they issued the challenge against. "Pride comes before a fall..." I truly think they thought they were going to prove to the world their claims on the existence of God, but miserably failed. Instead, the Lord used two atheists to humble them.

So tell me, what benefit of the doubt should we give to them? Good motives?--I said that. A loving heart for the lost?--I said that too.

But "G", this was a disaster by anyones assessment. I would hope next time they want some national media attention that they come under different rules; proclaiming the gospel; without any scientific claims that they can't deliver; and calling the atheists to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ the Lord.

This did harm for the cause of Christ that evening--it is serious work - the gospel.

For all their good intentions, good intentions aren't enough and they need to take some time to seriously reevaluate, come away from the media, and be discipled in the Word of God on the gospel and the biblical tactics of proclaiming it before they go on national TV again.

That is a loving response to their unfortunate evening. If I did the same thing in a similar forum, you better come at me hard, in love, with the Word of God and a strong rebuke--for this is God's work, His glory, and His gospel at stake... not ours.

Remember John Mark?

gigantor1231 said...

I agree with the assesment, no doubt they could have done things better. And with regards to integrity, I do not think that they were using the ten commandments to prove the existence of God rather to make a point with regards to the condition of individuals hearts. If they said we will not use scripture at all, then I missed that and obviously they should hold to their word if that is what they said.
With respect to the "atheists" they sounded like talking point puppets. Kirk and Ray may have been amaturish and they certainly could have been better prepared, but the atheist were just so much canned garbage. I suppose I would have to say Kurt and Ray were somewhat canned too, see Bahey's "Darwin's Black Box", at least there is logic to these types of proofs, while the atheists just spewed rhetoric and offered little substance.
Perhaps what you should do is contact Kurt and Ray and do a interview with them, voice blog interview. Find out what they learned, give them some encouragement and some pointers. I think that would be a great thing! I also think it would be a great thing if you could get Driscoll on a voice blog interview, He is one who truly needs some schooling, he is a pastor and he needs to be called to account.
In close, the mulligan is a good thing, if you get the interview though make sure they each get a cookie, you can decide if you want to give Mr. Driscoll one.

Remember Barnabas

gigantor1231 said...

As a side note Steve, each year the men of my church and I get together to go to a conservative baptist men's camp, MaCarthur here at one time. This year I am very disheartened to say that they are going the way of the world, or should I say the "emergent"! Since we are in Oregon they are going local with the speaker, Blue Like Jazz author Don Miller, the theme is 'follow the story', what a great disappointment. What ever happened to good expository teaching? Wheres the meat.
Because of their choice of speaker we will probably opt. out this year, what a pity, the fellowship is so great.
Hey, what are you doing in September, perhaps we can do our own and you can be the lead speaker and bring us some tunes too, you can use my Korg Triton, let you play my Lucille too.

Alan Kurschner said...


Thanks for the post.

Let us suppose that Kirk and Ray actually persuaded the atheists on live TV that God does exist. What would that have proven? It would not have proven the Biblical triune God who has revealed himself in Holy Scripture.

In other words, the atheists would have been as much unregenerate as they were before.

"What you win them with is what you win them to."


SJ Camp said...

So well said I added your comment to the main article... Blessings, Campi

Donald Miller? Oh my. Do I need to give three mulligans in one weekend? It never ends.

You organize the alternative, I will be there.

Take Heaven by Storm...
Luke 14

SJ Camp said...

...remember Barnabas
My point exactly.

Nathan White said...


Excellent point. I cringed in my seat when the moderate said the same. Even he realized that Kirk and Ray's view led to a simple theist view, with an assortment of gods to choose from, depending on what 'culture' you were raised in.

Remember the Rich man and Lazarus: if they won't hear Moses and the prophets...

Nathan (agrees with the presuppositional apologetic approach)

Nathan White said...

BTW, Steve,

Bold post. Needed to be said and said with love; I would assert you did just that. These guys often do great in their respective fields (challenging people to think about God's holiness and His law), let's encourage them to stick with that.

Nathan (would consider myself not near as bold as Ray and Kirk, to my shame)

Terry Rayburn said...

Much as I agree with Steve that it's the Gospel that converts, and not science/logic, I was amused by Ms. Logic's logical breakdown in the debate.

When Comfort pointed out that the atheist is exercising *blind* faith, that is, faith that goes against all evidence, she had the opportunity to logically argue that it wasn't blind faith.

Instead, she whined something like, "Faith is OK for *you*, why is it not OK for us?" She was thereby 1) admitting "faith" of a sort, and 2) neglecting Comfort's point that it is BLIND faith.

Or to put it another way, if God is real (and He is, of course), then everything in the Universe is evidence of that, and the so-called "logical" atheist is illogically denying that universe of evidence, using a *blind" faith to hold to their belief.

Whereas the Christian has a faith which is truly logical, since it is in tune with all the evidence. Not that we arrived at it by logic, but by revelation, the gift of faith.

Revelation trancends logic, but never violates it.

gigantor1231 said...

The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes! Romans 1:16 is at The heart of apologetics, we defend the faith that the Gospel might be proclaimed, we defend the faith and the Gospel is claimed! I would hope that the chief purpose to a event such as this is that God gets the glory and the Gospel is proclaimed!

If I build it you will come? Sounds like a offer to good to refuse! I am going to start to plan now, between classes, work and my girls of course, and not in that order.

john said...

First - It's impossible to prove the existence of God. Period. That's what faith is all about. If it could be proven, then faith would not be necessary.

Second - At the end of the day, science helps us know God more and Christians should support pure science. We should resists those who try to skew the facts to their own point of view - whether it be wacky literal creationists or subversive humanists. The facts are the facts. You do the work and take them for what they are.

Third - Just out of curiosity Steve, have YOU ever gotten a mulligan? You hand them out so readily, I guess you're scorecard is unblemished. I'm just wondering who else you're going to prove yourself superior to this week...

Douglas said...

Atheists' Mockery at ABC's 'Face Off' on God's Existence

Another encouragement, Comfort added, was that both mothers of the two atheists in the debate are Christians--one of whom was in the front row of the audience. Comfort stated, "Both sincerely thanked us for our stand, and said that they were earnestly praying for us."

Christian Worldview Network Reporter Attends Big Debate on Existence of God

The Atheist -vs- Christian Debate Provided Clear Evidence God Exists.

"Let us suppose that Kirk and Ray actually persuaded the atheists on live TV that God does exist. What would that have proven? It would not have proven the Biblical triune God who has revealed himself in Holy Scripture."

Let us suppose if any of us as Christians actually persuaded an atheist on live TV or on the street or in the safety and comfort of our homes that God does exist. What would that prove? It would not prove the biblical triune God who has revealed himself in Holy Scripture. Only the Holy Spirit of God can prove the Biblical triune God who has revealed himself in Holy Scripture. In other words, unless the Holy Spirit causes the seeds that we sow and/or water to grow, that atheist will be as much unregenerate as they were before. No doubt seeds were sown and watered by Ray and Kirk. One day, we will all see the growth.

ann_in_grace said...

"Only the Holy Spirit of God can prove the Biblical triune God who has revealed himself in Holy Scripture. In other words, unless the Holy Spirit causes the seeds that we sow and/or water to grow, that atheist will be as much unregenerate as they were before. No doubt seeds were sown and watered by Ray and Kirk. One day, we will all see the growth."

Hm. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, not a word about a god.
TRRS-people are no novices either to Christian truth nor to evidential apologetics. Brian was shown the Truth many times before, and could not hold his position while speaking to Gene Cook.
But let us hope against hope....

SJ Camp said...

You said, "Just out of curiosity Steve, have YOU ever gotten a mulligan? You hand them out so readily, I guess you're scorecard is unblemished. I'm just wondering who else you're going to prove yourself superior to this week..."

I am not superior John to anyone else... and I never write to "prove" that as you say. This blog has one basic premise:" instruct in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict" (Titus 1:9). Under Paul's admonition we are to "test everything and cling to what is good (1 Thess. 5:21) and to examine everything in light of God's Word (Acts 17:9-11). That is all I and others do here day in and day out.

People that frequent this blog hold me accountable weekly. My own ministry board made up almost entirely of pastors does as well; as well as pastors from my church. People give me mulligans all the time and I am delighted to be challenged and corrected by them.

For the record, these are the first mulligans that have been handed out since September of 2005. I don't think that would qualify as handing them out so readily. Most of the articles on this blog fall into the category of instructing in sound doctrine (well over 85%).

Also, the mulligan is not a "gotcha" kind of thing; it is a benevolent gesture toward those that we recognize as being orthodox Christians but yet misspoke on something or misrepresented something. I fit into that category too brother.

I hope you were not needlessly offended by this post.

A couple of quick questions for you.

You said, "We should resists those who try to skew the facts to their own point of view - whether it be wacky literal creationists or subversive humanists."

I'm one of those whacky literal creationists who believe the Genesis account in Scripture. What biblical evidence do you have to support the contrary? What scientific evidence do you have to support the contrary? AND lastly, by logically accepting a literal creationist view, what facts am I skewing?

I don't allow drive-by comments here John. Say whatever you want to about me or anything written here, BUT you have to make your case - not just spew out generalities that may or may not have any merit to them. Agreed?

Thank you in advance for helping me further understand your thoughts expressed here.

In His grace,

gigantor1231 said...

On the existence of God

John, you said;

"First - It's impossible to prove the existence of God. Period. That's what faith is all about. If it could be proven, then faith would not be necessary."

Forensic Science takes all of the small bits of evidence that it discovers and it paints a picture of that wich could not be seen, unless all the bits and pieces are put together! Since this field works with what is initially unseen does that make it a field of faith?

Ps. 14:1;

The fool says in his heart there is no God. They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that do good!

this is what God says of those that deny his existence, He also says;

Rom. 1:20

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Ro 1:20). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Obviously we do not have God here in a tangible form but he did come and walk among us and I am certain that none of you will deny this since it has been recorded in the word of God and historically it can be proven that Christ existed in history and was crucified, being witnessed by many to have risen from the dead, the ultimate proof that He is God!

Lets forgo that for a moment though and look at a couple of things.
1. Science has DISPROVEN spontaneous generation aka abiogenesis (the spontaneous generation of life from non living sources.) See Francesco Redi, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Louis Pastuer.
Inspite of this fact atheists deny that there is a God, a author and architect of all that is.
2. Lets just look at one field for one of those missing bits of the existence of God. Genetics, the science of heredity and variation in living organisms, also one of the main keys to the origin of life and a absolute proof that there is order in life not random chaos! Why a absolute proof? In a nut shell, as energy is put into any system the second law of thermodynamics states that "There is no process that, operating in a cycle, produces no other effect than the subtraction of a positive amount of heat from a reservoir and the production of an equal amount of work." In other words in a system that relies on a input of energy to survive it is impossible to maintain a equilibrium between outflow and input, especially the more complex the system. This means that we are in a constant state of break down, or decay, and that instead of a evolution to the more complex we become less complex until a state of equilibrium exists. If we did not have a creator none of this would exists because there would be no outside controlling factor to maintain order. Random energy put into any system causes at least some chaos if not catastrophic chaos. To deny the existence of God simply denies this the law of entropy all together!!!!
Hence genetics flys in the face of the denial of the existence of God because of its order and structure, without a higher order and intervening in the composition of the genetic structure there would be no structure, kind of like tossing a bunch of steel together and expecting to get a sky scraper, it is impossible!

I will let you digest this and add more later given the time. These are just two pieces of evidence pointing to the proof of the existence of God. Lest we leave out the most important truth of all and that is Christ, Immanuel, God with us. Apart from him nothing exists and by him all things were made, to deny him is to choose death, to deny him is to be a fool!

gigantor1231 said...

PS John

If I did not know better I would think that you have mulligan envy!?

John said...

Steve, you were right. The debate was painful to watch. Bahnsen-Stein it was not. I don't doubt the sincerity or desire to serve the Lord of brothers Kirk and Ray. That said, Ray and Kirk allowed the question to be very poorly framed. Perhaps we can all learn from this.

Randy Williams said...

I actually think they did okay primarily because the two atheists were pretty minor league also. Comfort bumbled early as Steve pointed out by immediately going to the 10 commandments. It was basically the WAY OF THE MASTER Evangelism program. I think many Bloggers have been too hard on them however.

Denying the historical existence of Jesus was one of the big blunders of the atheists.I think it was a draw. Both sides were mediocre at best. To be honest I am not a big fan of religion debates in that debates rely more on personality and presentation than actually substance at times.

Puritan Lad said...

Very painful to watch. Aside from the poor claim by the Christians that put them on defense all night, they also let Brian redefine atheism as "a lack of belief in God". (This is agnosticism, not atheism). By defining their worldview as a "lack of belief", the atheists never had to account for their worldview.

So while the Christians were expected to prove "100%" scientifically that God existed, the atheists did not have to prove "100%" scientifically that God didn't exist.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing is all to common. Perhaps the good that can come out of this is that Ray, Kirk, and those who would follow in their footsteps would indeed study and become more grounded in good theology and apologetics. Doctrine does matter.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

I see it in a different way, I am glad that they (Kirk and Ray) are willing to be fools for Christ no matter what it may look like. I know a 19 year old who was very affected by just seeing the highly edited version of the debate on Night Line that night.

Do you know why they were affected? Because of how angry the athiests were toward God...This young person decided they needed to spend their summer finding out what they believe about God.

Do you remember what Keith Green said to you the night you were beaten very severely?

Did you witness to them Steve???

2 Chronicles 16:9 Steve...Remember?

Grace and Peace Steve,
Mike Albright in Connecticut

The Evangelical Debate Society said...

Steve, Steve, Steve! Whoa dude, you are a great guy but you have went way too far on this Kirk Cameron Ray Comfort thing brother. I remember hearing you speak at the Bridge and later the Grace Bridge at Grace Community Church when you were a pastor there (loved the evening when you had Fernando Ortega there my brother!) and I was attending Seminary at the Master's and Phil Johnson's Grace Life class, and I remember greatly respecting your zeal for truth and the Gospel.

However, I have to call you to task on this slam on Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort blog Steve, you are way out of line and have communicated things that are out of character brother. I have many friends who work for Ray and Kirk and Ray's son in law is a long time personal friend of mine and I think your rebuke of them is very much wrong and uncalled for. Frankly Steve, it borders on being vicious and maybe even slanderous.

Did you speak with Kirk and Ray before you unleashed this attack on your fellow brothers in the cause of Christ? Did you know that Kirk Cameron is actually attending Grace Community Church now and respects MacArthur greatly? Did you know that Grace to You recently purchased several thousand copies of Ray Comfort's Famous Sermon, "Hell's best Kept Secret for his radio ministry? So if the John MacArthur and Phil Johnson you respect so much, appreciates the ministry of Way of the Master, why not give them the benefit of the doubt Steve?

In your blog you have communicated that Ray and Kirk need to be able to share the Gospel right...uh, Steve, what part of Ray and Kirk's Gospel presentation which has equipped millions of believers in being able to share their faith effectively, is unbiblical Steve?

Also, you have likened their television show to being an infomercial and that is uncalled, for. I have sudied theology at Biola, Moody Bible Institute and was a full time student at the Master's Seminary which you cherish with such zeal, and I find absolutely nothing wrong with the show Ray and Kirk are doing on TBN. In fact be very cafeful, not to impugn their intergrity for being on TBN Steve, for, the very John MacArthur you love so much was actually on Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron's TBN television show a few years ago.

Steve, I agree with much of what you have written about Ray and Kirk's presentation on ABC against the atheists, you are right they did not do a very good job at all. In fact, it was terrible, but brother, I think, I know you can do better than this man. You are such an awesome brother dude, why do you have to slam your fellow brothers who believe in the same Jesus you do with such force. Your blog has hurt a lot of people brother, and I think you owe Ray and Kirk an apology man.

I remember a long time ago, how during a Grace Bridge evening meeting at Grace Church, how you told us how you got beat up by some homosexuals or something during one of your concerts, I bet that was not to pleasant, and I bet you took strength in the fellowship of fellow believers in Jesus. You should have shared your reservations with Ray and Kirk in private man, not by burning your brothers by silly cartoons and calling their very helpful ministry, whose resourses have been used by the Master's Seminary in their Evangelism class and by Grace to You in equipping the saints.

You are right, they did terrible in their debate, but they did preach the gospel to millions of people and God is already using the preaching of the Gospel to fulfill His sovereign plan. As one Calvinist and Biblical Christian to another, a brother that loves you and appreciates your zeal, music and friendship with the late Keith Green, I call you to reconsider this course of action and remove this blog, cartoon and mean spirited words that crush brethren that love and are loved by the same Jesus Christ who died for you my man and brother.

I love you Steve Camp, you are a great singer song writer and your Call for Reformation in the music industry is much needed and I look back at all the times I heard you speak or play brother Keith Green's "Asleep in the Light" at Grace Community Church one Sunday evening as a highlight of my life. Go to you brothers Ray and Kirk and do this behind closed doors my man and great brother Steve Camp, mighty warrior for Christ Jesus.

I write these things, because I love you. I remember being in a small group prayer meeting with you and your family years ago at Grace Community Church in Phil Johnson's Grace Life class before it was in the GYM in 1998-1999, I think and I remember thinking how much it must have been rough on you to go back and forth from Tennesee and all. Anyways, I love you man, brother, consider my words, or more importantly your words in print and go to your brothers who are not as far off as you think.

My three and an a half years at TMS was very, very hard on me one of the hardnest times of my life and I did not at all relate to the culture there, but I loved Steve Camp and you were among the bright lights during a bleak and dark time for me, you and Phil Johnson that is...and I appreciated your "Jesus people" style before I dropped out of there near finishing my Degree.

I write these things as your friend, with no one compelling me to do so but love for Steve Camp and love for Ray and Kirk, three men of God who are being used by Christ to stir up the body of Christ in the latter days.

I love you Steve Camp, know that I write these things with your best interest in heart.

With much love, in the one true Faith,

Sincerely in Jesus,

Ed Enochs

Former TMS student

And Grace Bridge Attendee.

The Evangelical Debate Society said...

oh yeah, one last thing...

It was Ray Comfort's Son in Law EZ, that took precious time out of his ministry at Living Waters after I left Master's Seminary abruptly, it was EZ above anyone, that showed me the error of my ways and led me to repentance and restoration, so I can speak personally to the effectiveness of Living Water's Ministry. EZ came after me and rescued me from the filth of my rebellion when everyone gave up on me.

SJ Camp said...

Dear Ed
Thank you brother for your comments and thoughts you took the time to write to me. I appreciate the passion by which you expressed your ideas. It was also good to remember some wonderful days of ministry at Grace Bridge as well. I so appreciate the ministry of Grace Community Church, Grace to You and John MacArthur. What a blessing his ministry has been in my life personally and to millions around the world.

A few thoughts to consider per your comments:

1. Here is what Ray and Kirk said about this debate before it took place: "Perhaps you think that anyone who says he can prove the existence of God is a dreamer . . . we can prove that God exists, scientifically, absolutely, without mentioning faith or even the Bible,” said Comfort and Cameron. “Do you find that hard to believe? Then watch the debate.”

2. Notice here that they were the ones who wanted to debate this issue without appealing to the use of faith or the Bible. Certainly you do not agree with their unfortunate statement. As another blogger said much better than I could: "We do not prove the existence of the God of Christianity by first giving up Christianity.

For Comfort and Cameron to declare that they intended to employ this type of apologetic method is irreverent, dishonoring to Christ and is downright sinful."

Another blogger voiced their disappointment this way: "With all due respect to these Christian brothers, Cameron and Comfort would have done well to defer their assumed debate responsibilities to another who has the philosophical and academic ability/awareness to interact with hardened infidels who spend their entire time ranting and raving about the non-existence of the Triune God. As much as I appreciate these brothers, it is time for them to step up the study time so as to be ready to give an account for the hope that is within them with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15)." (source).

3. I mentioned my appreciation for both Kirk and Ray at the very beginning of my article and was sincere in doing so. I don't deny the Lord is using them in some very good ways as He is with all of us, by His grace, who proclaim His gospel of sola fide.

4. But, my personal feelings of appreciation for them aside; or even Grace to You's purchasing of several thousand copies of Ray's passionate message on Hell... the issue at hand is how they handled this debate--and as even you have said, "they did so terribly."

5.I pray that the Lord would use my article to encourage them in their ministry and that they would sincerely and carefully think hard and long before stepping into that kind of arena again so unprepared and under the same premise. If I had laid down the existence of God gauntlet as they did absent of faith and the Word of God; boasting that I could 100% scientifically prove God's existence--and then fail to produce one shred of scientific evidence to support my own claims; then you better be writing about me on your blogs too trusting that the Lord would use your words to further challenge me in my feeble attempt.

As the gentlemen above so powerfully said, "We do not prove the existence of the God of Christianity by first giving up Christianity.

6.They did this publicly, therefore, we should and must comment on it publicly. Did they consult John MacArthur or the many gifted men at TMS before going on ABC? Did they meet with the top scientists who know the Lord in the country before entering this debate? Why didn't they honor and follow the rules that they put into place for this debate?

7. I do have a question for you brother: have you contacted them and voiced your displeasure at their poor handling of the gospel and this issue in this debate with the same conviction that you have commented here to me?

I appreciate your thoughts you shared with me here and I will consider them.

Grace and peace to you my brother,
Col. 1:9-14

PS - BTW: I am glad you commented to me publicly in the same forum I posted. You didn't have to come to me personally "behind closed doors" as you suggested I do with Kirk and Ray. This kind of interaction is good and necessary between brothers in the Lord and I do thank you for your words.

The Evangelical Debate Society said...

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends."

(John 15:13)

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things..."

(1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 13)

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:7-8).

"Dilecti, diligamus nos mutuo, quia dilectio ex Deo est; et omnis qui diligit ex Deo genitus est, et cognoscit Deum"

Latin for: "Beloved let us love one another"

"Ihr Lieben, lasset uns untereinander liebhaben; denn die Liebe ist von Gott, und wer liebhat, der ist von Gott geboren und kennt Gott"

Martin Luther
on 1 John 4:7

"There is no knowledge of God where there is no love"

John Calvin
Commentary on 1 John

Brother Steve Camp,

Recently I saw Master's Seminary Graduate Francis Chan on Kirk Cameron's television show as well as Steven Curtis Chapman and I have seen the tremendous heart of love and zeal for Christ and His truth Kirk Cameron has, and I think you could have done this better brother Steve.

I am asking you as a brother in Jesus, to pray and maybe fast about going to Kirk and Ray, perhaps at lunch and show them a more excellent way.

You, for one are an excellent Reformed man of God and you are stirring up God's Church dude.

You are absolutely, 100% right that in a Postmodern and Anti-Christian World, Evangelical Christians Need to Reject Using Naturalistic Arguments in Defending the Faith Against Oppostion and Employ the Biblically Based Apologetics Approach Known as Van Tillian presuppostionalism to Refute the Errors of the Wicked and Uphold the Truth Revealed in the Word of God.

I have intensively studied apologetics, apologetical methodology and the history of Apologetics at the Moody Biola Institute, Biola University, Master's Seminary (Received an A -plus in Professor James Stitzinger's course) taken classes in theology at Westminister Seminary and several upper division philosophy and logic courses at near by secular colleges.

When an M.Div student at the Master's Seminary, Professor Stitz, and I took Greg Bahnsen's long time Assistant Michael Butler (MA, philosophy) out to lunch twice, just to get a better grasp on Presuppostional arguments) I have spent the last twenty years in intensive theological studies on Apologetical methodology and 100% agree with the Van Tillian -Greg Bahnsen approach (See Bahnsen's Debate with Gordon Stein on "Does God Exist" on or Covenant Media Foundation) it is the best defense of the existence of God in a public debate in the 20th century.

As the organizer of a new Calvinist and 100% Presuppostional and Monergistic "Evangelical Debate Society", I have debated Muslims, Mormons, Unitarians, Wiccians and other heretics in a public setting and am organizing a public three on three debate this Saturday on the Existence of God, at our all day "Worldviews 2007 Apologetics"Conference, sponsered by Sovereign Grace Community Church and held at Oasis Community Church this Saturday June 2nd (Our Apologetics Conference commericals will be on 107.9 FM and 95.9 FM all next week,

so I agree with your Bibliocentric, Theo-centric and Christo-Centric emphasis in apologetical methodology and I agree with your take on how badly Ray and Kirk did on ABC, and I am pleading with that ministry to grasp Van Til's Apologetics.

After hearing John MacArthur defend the faith on Larry King Live on CNN in 2001, I personally gave Dr. MacArthur a copy of Greg Bahnsen's excellent scholarly book
"Van Til's Apologetic" which I had professor Stit's sign as well, so brother, I feel you man, Presuppostionalism is the way to go.

Kirk and Ray royally tanked because their epistemological methodology was flawed from the start and their foundation was centered on Natural theology and not the inerrant, infallible, inspired, self-authenticating, only authority driven, self attesting and majestic Word of God which is our only guide in a dark world and only sure Rock and foundation in all matters of faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

We live in an era of Western Civilization that is awash is subjectivity and relativism, thus attempting to determine the objective truth and evidence for Christianity seems odd and irrelevant to most non-Christians today. Even in the Evangelical Church throughout America, it has been my personal experience, after ministering and studying in some of Evangelicalism's largest churches and institutions of higher learning, that very few Evangelical Christians can give reasons why they believe the Christian faith is true or can defend the essential truths that make up the body of doctrine of Historic Evangelical Christianity.

Many of the Evangelical apologetics ministries now functioning throughout the North American hemisphere are not dedicated to giving Biblical and exegetical answers and evidences for that demonstrate the truthfulness of the Christian faith, rather they are committed to giving Aristotelian and Thomistic based philosophical lines of argumentation to defend the faith instead of offering compelling Scriptural/exegetical evidences that substantiate the Christian.

This dearth and great void of Biblical Apologetics that help equip Evangelicals with Scriptural reasons for the historic Protestant and Evangelical Christian faith is why we started the new ministry called the Evangelical Debate Society, to equip and educate the Evangelical Christian faith with answers that demonstrate why Christianity is true and to attempt to give the non- Evangelical Christian reasons why Christianity is true.

In organizing and participating in debates where the claims of Evangelical Christianity are discussed and scrutinized in a careful and analytical manner, we have found that this stimulates a tremendous interest in Christians to learn how to defend the faith and gives impetus and motivation for unbelievers in Evangelical Christianity to look into the claims of the Bible and the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We see the aims of Biblical Evangelical Apologetics as being four fold:

1) To give Biblical reasons why Evangelical Christianity is true.

2) To refute non-Evangelical Christian arguments against Biblical Evangelicalism.

3) To equip the Christian Church for the work of the ministry.

4) To evangelize the world for the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

This is why we started the Evangelical Debate Society, to give a Biblical defense of Historic Evangelical Christianity, to equip the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:10-16) and to fulfill Christ's great commission to preach the Gospel and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16-15, Luke 24:44, John 20:21, Acts 1:8, Romans 10:9-17, 1 Corinthians 9:13-16 and 2 Timothy 4:1-5).

In an exceedingly hostile postmodern and post-Christian era of American Civilization wherein the insidious and irreligious forces of godless secularism threaten to eviscerate and castigate the cultural viability of Evangelicalism in contemporary society, the historic Evangelical Christian Church currently residing within the North American Hemisphere, must resist, at all costs, the tendency towards assimilation, apostasy, synergistic compromise and gallantly arise to the challenge of boldly proclaiming and defending the glorious saving Gospel of Jesus Christ is a rapidly declining culture slouching towards Gomorrah and teetering near the brink of catastrophic destruction.

Despite this seemingly insurmountable challenge and the atheistic forces of unbelief that threaten to destroy the Christian Church in America, we, Bible believing Evangelical Christians, have been given a Scriptural mandate by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, to preach and teach His Gospel to all humanity irrespective of hardship and the possibility of perceived detrimental consequences by the secular state.

Ominous dark clouds of rancor and hostility presently loom on the cultural horizon for contemporary Evangelicalism, as ethical and religious relativists, with a blinding hatred towards Biblical Christianity, are working overtime at concocting local and national legislation that would force Evangelical Christians to legitimize false, perilous and inherently anti-democratic religions such as militant Islam and embrace without question, sinful "alternative lifestyles" such as homosexuality, transgenderism and other grotesque paradigms of promiscuity.

Instead of disengaging from contemporary society and amusing ourselves to death via the ever increasing onslaught of technology driven entertainment, being desensitized to the state of the Church in America by burying our heads in the sand like the proverbial oblivious ostrich, contemporary American Evangelicals must at once take notice of the current climate of hostility towards us and arise to meet the enemy in the realm of ideas and public discourse. The Evangelical Christian Church in America needs coherent, Biblically based defenders of the faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). This is where the discipline of Christian Apologetics comes in.

In our exceedingly hostile secular world, it is of paramount importance, the we Evangelical Christians equip ourselves for the task of defending the Christian faith in a coherent, culturally relevant and Biblical manner. The science and discipline of defending the Christian faith is known as Apologetics, the field of Christian study concerned with the systematic defense of a position. Someone who engages in apologetics is called an apologist or an "apologete". According to the seminal Oxford English Dictionary, "The term comes from the Greek word apologia, meaning defense of a position against an attack."

The Apostle Peter summed up our mandate to defend the Christian faith in secular society when he wrote,

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense for the hope that lies within you, yet with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15).

The Apostle Jude also exhorted us to engage in the practice of defending the Christian faith when he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,

"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).

Repeatedly throughout the ministry of the Apostle Paul he had to engage in the task of defending the legitimacy of his ministry and the veracity of the Christian faith as the following verses clearly illustrate,

"Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now" (Acts 22:2).

"Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself" (Acts 24:10).

"Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!(Acts 26:24).

"My defense to those who examine me is this" (1 Corinthians 9:3).

"Just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace" (Philippians 1:7).

"But the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel" (Philippians 1:17).

"At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them" (2 Timothy 4:16).

Thus, we find in the infallible Scriptures, a Biblical mandate given by God to defend the Christian faith against the false charges and false doctrines of non-Christians and to present a positive case for the truthfulness of the Christian faith in order that the lost might come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Hence, Christian Apologetics, like Missions, is ultimately an extension of the Great Commission the Lord Jesus Christ Himself gave to all Christians to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:44-47, John 20:21 and Acts 1:8).

The Apostle Paul also stressed the importance of Evangelism when he wrote,

"That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:9-15).

" For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16).

"But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5).

This mandate to reach the world with God's self-revelation of Himself and His saving message is not limited only to the pages of the New Testament Canon of Scripture, but we see God's passion for the glory and fame of His great name replete throughout the Old Testament record as well, as the following Scriptures clearly indicate,

"that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other" (1 Kings 8:60).

"Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; And let them say among the nations, The LORD reigns" (1 Chronicles 16:31).

"Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You" (Psalm 51: 12-13).

"The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising" (Isaiah 60:3).

Thus, we see in Scripture that Apologetics, the task of defending the Christian faith is directly related to the Biblical mandate of global evangelization. Apologetics is seen in Scripture in direct correlation with evangelism and world missions. The ultimate goal in defending the Christian faith is to testify to the veracity of Christianity in order that all the peoples of the earth might repent of their sins and come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Thus, just as "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:20), any attempt to engage in defending and upholding the truthfulness of Christianity that is detached and unrelated to spreading the fame of God's great name here and abroad, is utterly deficient and meaningless. The Christian task of apologetics is not an esoteric activity meant only for "Christian intellectuals", but defending the faith is meant for all Christians, irrespective of their sociological framework, for the explicit purpose of reaching this lost world with the saving message of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross and rose again from the dead in order to give eternal life to all those who sincerely repent of their sins and believe in His great name.

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:31).

Throughout the annals of Christian history, the Lord has raised up godly Apologists, to defend and proclaim the truthfulness of Biblical Christianity as evidenced by the defense of the faith given by Christ's Apostles and early disciples in the first century, New Testament period, the Ante and Post Nicean Patristic Church Fathers such as Tertullian

However, throughout the annals of Church history some Christians have unfortunately utilized

When Almighty God spoke His divine Word from heaven, it was complete and lacking nothing. The Bible, God's exclusively authoritative, inspired, infallible and inerrant Word, is entirely self-sufficient and self- authenticating in every respect and needs no external and autonomous man-made verification. The veracity of the Christian faith and the methodology of demonstrating Christianity's inherent truthfulness is self-contained within the Scriptures themselves and God's inspired Word absolutely needs no historical, archealogical, scientific attestation and confirmation by mere mortal, blinded and fallen men. The Word of God is absolutely perfect and entirely truthful in every respect and will efficaciously peform without exception or fail, percisely the intended means by which God sovereignly ordained it. As the Scriptures majestically declare,

"So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11).

Evangelicals need not employ natural theology in their defense of Christianity, since the Bible is self-sufficent and needs no rational defense. The Bible is true because God has spoken from heaven and revealed the knowledge of Himself through the wonder of creation and human conscience.

In a Postmodern and Anti-Christian World, Evangelical Christians Need to Reject Using Naturalistic Arguments in Defending the Faith Against Oppostion and Employ the Biblically Based Apologetics Approach Known as Presuppostionalism to Refute the Errors of the Wicked and Uphold the Truth Revealed in the Word of God. It is inherently more Biblical than the Thomistic and Natural Theology Apologetical approach postulated by JP Moreland, William Lane Craig, that is essentially a Evangelical spin on the thought of the Greek Philosopher Aristotle that came into the Evangelical Church through the backdoor via the mass embracing of the teachings of Thomas Aquinas. Natural Theology proponents within American Evangelicalism such as Frank Beckwith, Moreland, William Lane Craig and Norman Geisler, have in adopting a Thomistic view of epistemology have subsequently appropriated a Thomistic and Roman Catholic view of the Noetic effects of sin on the fallen will of humanity which is utterly incongruent with the Protestant Reformation's view of the "Bondage of the Will" Thomistic Apologetics often leads to an adoption of Roman Catholic views of the Fall, Orginal Sin, Human Depravity, the Grace of God and Justification.

If the will is not utterly fallen via the Fall and mankind has not been plunged into absolute epistemological and volitional darkness as Calvin and Luther postulated, then the Catholic position known as "Synergism" naturally (no pun intended) follows. Many Evangelical and Calvinistic Protestants throughout America were not a bit suprised, for example, that one from the Thomistic Club of Natural Law and Molinist Natural Theology proponents whould go over to Rome, since they have essentially been espousing Roman Catholic views of theology for a long time now anyways. The worst thing about Frank Beckwith's so called "conversion" to Roman Catholicism (he was already there in his theological and philosophical system) is the timing. One would expect that Beckwith would have more integrity than renounce his Evangelicalism mid-way through his tenure of the Evangelical Theological Society.

However, having said all this brother Steve Camp, dude, you could have done this a more excellent way and just went to the brothers over at Way of the Master and Living Waters, who from what I understand, had James White on their television show and were going to have Ravi Zacharias on that ABC debte until something unexpected occurred from what I understand and Kirk and Ray had to go it alone.

All I am saying man is that you are right and Kirk and Ray should not have debated those Atheists, but brother, it comes accross as kicking the wounded and adding salt into their wound.

The reason why I left the Master's Seminary is because I felt a lack of love there, despite Phil Johnson's repeated assurances to the contrary, I have over 80 units completed there, so I know the culture in which you are coming from, but my dear brother Steve Camp there is a more excellent way.

As an excellent popular music buff you could have taken the example of Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" You could have helped Ray and Kirk Cameron by taking them aside, you could have,

"just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don't need to be coy, Roy,
tell them to listen to a Bahnsen CD, Just get yourself free.

Steve, you could haved Hopped on the bus, Gus, You don't need to publically discuss much
Just drop off the Van Til key, Lee , tel them to pop in a Bahnsen CD and tell them to get yourself free"

(My Apologies to Paul Simon, who needs to get saved anways).

Lastly Steve, from my perpective, you didn't need to do what you did man, you could have eaten lunch with them, you are a big enough Christian celebrity to hob nob with Kirk Cameron at lunch or use your MacArthur, Phil Johnson connection to get with these two brothers to help show them an excellent way my man.

Anyways, I have written far too much, had my peace, gave my take and had my word, please go and do wright brother Steve, I think there is a more excellent way, a loving approach of correction that Jesus or Francis Schaeffer would have taken my man. Dude, Kirk and Ray are your true brothers in Jesus, as I am, I would be utterly crushed to have read that blog and saw that cartoon.

From one Reformed brother to another, under the banner of Jesus, the internet and blogging is often so impersonal and can be hurtful, would you please, go the extra mile as Jesus did get ahold of Ray and Kirk, take them out to lunch and show them a more excellent way.

I love you and Phil Johnson as my own soul, I wish I could have left Grace Community Church and the Master's Seminary in a better way, maybe we can each lunch together some day too brother.

You are a Reformed Keith Green, brother Steve, fight the good fight, run the race, keep the faith.

Sincerely in Jesus,

Brother Ed Enochs

The Evangelical Debate Society said...

Oh yeah, to answer your question Steve, I did contact Living Waters before and after their debate on ABC. I am very close to their ministry and spoke in depth to Mark Spence, Ray and Kirk's right hand man over there.

I also contacted EZ, Ray Comfort's Son-in law, a close personal friend of mine, who I have known for 14 years, who was a founding pastor of Calvary Chapel Saving Grace, the church I attended before and after my time at Master's Seminary and started my debate ministry there.

You bet your best Jesus people blue jeanies, I immediately called EZ after Ray and Kirk Cameron tanked on national TV brother.

I have been encouraging them to study the thought of Greg Bahnsen and Van Til and the biblical Presuppostionalism those two titans of Westminster Theological Seminary championed throughout the 20th Century.

I also think, the apologetical thought of the Calvinist Philosopher who taught at Wheaton for four years then Butler University for 27 years has something to say here too.

Bahnsen, Van Til and Gordon Clark are perhaps the best Reformed Apologists in the history of America.

My apologies to Charles Hodge, B.B. Warfield and RC Sproul, but even though they are correct in their Reformed soteriological perspective, they espouse a Thomistic Natural Theology apologetical method that is ultimately based on the unbiblical presuppostions of Aristotle.

Anyone interested in further study on Presuppostionalism should listen to the Greg Bahnsen vs. RC Sprould Debate Tape sold by Covenant Media Foundation, and the following books.

1. Always Ready by Greg Bahnsen.

See's Book Store at:

2. The Defense of the Faith by Cornelius Van Til (P nd R Publishers)

3. Van Til's Apologetic by Greg Bahnsen.

4. Pushing the Antithesis (The Apologetical Methodology by Gary Demar)

See: James White's excellent comments on Gary Demar's important new book on Bahnsen's thought on the very excellent Alpha and Omega Ministry website at:

4. The Bahnsen vs. Stein Debate on the proposition: "Does God Exist" (A Live Debate at the University of California, Irvine, 1995. ( To orfer tape: contact Covenant Media Foundation at:

gigantor1231 said...

All of this knowledge is wonderful to have, and great for the defense of the Gospel, but what of the man that is simply prepared and stands upon the simplisity of his or her relationship with God in Christ, armed with the simple word of God. After all, is not this how all these men you call giants of apologetics really received their knowledge.
I have for many years struggled with learning much stuff, thinking that would make me the better and the more prepared christian, but I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing stronger than my personal relationship with Him and my time spent in his pure word, which gives me all I need for life and Godliness!
I do read others materials for resource but I have to be honest with you, they all, in general come from one source, and that is the word of God. So I would recommend above all that if one wants the power of the truth for the defense of the Gospel then go to the Gospel alone and let God lead you, just as He has lead all great men of God in this way!!!

The Evangelical Debate Society said...

"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of God endures forever" (Isaiah 40:8).


Brother, much what you have to say is dead on and I agree with you that the Bible alone is our only authority, but presuppostionalism merely attempts to defend the epistemological basis for the Reformational conceptional framework known as "Sola Scriptura" postulated my the magisterial Reformers Calvin, Luther, Knox and Zwingly and us, their Evangelical heirs of the majestic Word of Life.

Steve Camp and the other Bible based beleivers on this excellent blog are substantially correct about the overall methodological and presuppostional bankruptcy of Evidentialism, Thomism and Natural Theology based Apologetical approaches that leave out the authority of Scripture and Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, unfortunately utilized in their debate with those prideful and disrespectful atheists on ABC last week.

Evidentialist and Thomistic apologetics approaches such as the defense Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron weakly used against the two atheists are not only unwise and unbiblical,

there are also unwittingly Arminian and Pelagian at worst or Semi-Pelagian at best, since such apologetical methodologies have intrinsically built within their epistemological structure the humanistic presupposition, following in the theological trend of St. Thomas Aquinas, that men and women, in their natural, unconverted state,

have the ability within themselves and through unaided creation to discover the existence of God without the aid of Biblical revelation, this in inherently Pelagian or semi-Pelagianism in its most quintessential form.

By using the terms “Pelagian” and “Semi Pelagian” I am referring to those who follow or moderately follow the soteriological and anthropological teachings of the British Monk and Theologian Pelagius (354-440 A.D.) who, against the theological positions of Augustine of Hippo (354-430) on “free will”, “Original Sin” and “Predestination.” Pelagius believed and taught that Adam’s sin in no way is passed to his subsequent descendants or progeny and thus are not born inherently sinful or “totally depraved”,

rather they are born in state of spiritual neutrality before God with the capability within their own power to choose God. Consequently, those who follow after Pelagius and his theological views on soteriology have been called “Pelagian” and those who follow a modified and moderate view of Pelagius; teachings especially against Original Sin and Free Will” have historically been called “Semi-Pelagian.” Arminians have been called “Semi-Pelagian” since they deny Original Sin, total depravity, unconditional election and the perseverance of the saints as did Pelagius.

Over the last decade, first as a student at Biola University and then as a member of a Calvary Chapel here in Southern California, I have been involved in a debate with several former Evangelical Christians who have converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, may were influenced toward Roman Catholicsim and Eastern Orthodoxy through Thomistic and Natural Law / Natural Theology proponents such as John Mark Reynolds, JP Moreland, William Lane Craig and Douglas Geivett of Talbot School of Theology's Philosophy Grad school at Biola University, whose philosophy department theology has by far, more in common with Roman Catholicism via Thomas Aquinas, and Ultimately the Pagan Greek Philosopher Aristotle than with Bible based, Evangelical and Reformational Christianity that teaches that men and women are born dead in tresspasses and sin and completely incapable of responding to the light of creation and human conscience, outside of the sovereign work of illumination carried out exclusively by the power of the Holy Spirit via the instrumentality and exclusive authority of God's infallible, inerrant, inspired, self-attesting, self-authenticating and incomprehensible Word.

Without the presuppotional foundation of the Bible and the overall veracity of the historic Christian faith as the precondition of all rational intelligibilty and cognitive discourse, the meaning of life would then, be left instantaneously meaningless and relative.

The pupose of Presuppositional and Bibliocentric Apologetics is the spread the fame of God's great glory and name through the fact that all non Christian world views as Corneilus Van Til, Bahnsen, Gordon Clark and Francis Schaeffer eruditely postulated in their apologetics books, all these non-chistian world views will ultimately breakdown and be rendered, falsifiable nonsensical,
relativistic and nonsensical since there is no espistemological certitude rendered as the criterion of attestation, all make claims to being true, but are rendered false do to the fact that they contradict God's inspired revelation the Bible, the Word of Almighty God which is the propostional, epistemological and ethical foundation of reality itself, without of which there is no meaning, pupose and direction in life. Without the authority and foundation of the Bible, there would be and cannot be any objective reality and concrete meaning in life. With the Bible and the Christ of Redemption, who has demonstrated the self attestation and intrinsic veracity of Himself in Sacred Scripture via fulfilled in Scripture and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, mankind, mired in the darkness of depravity have the hope of eternal life through the electing, predestinating sovereign grace of God which He benovelantly bestows upon His precious and chosen elect.

Evidentialism is Biblically and epistemological flawed at its very core foundation since it's apologetical criterion of substantiation is based on the arbitrary and autonomous will and ideas of man and not the sovereign work and majestic Word of God, which endures forever (Isaiah 40:8 and Matthew 24:35).

Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron failed in their task, not only because they poorly communicagted their materials, but because their apologetical and epistemological presuppostions and starting point was rooted in autonomous man and not in the unchanging revelation of Holy Scripture. In this respect, Steven Camp is correct, even if he was too forceful and a tad harsh in his public criticism of Ray and Kirk, utltimately Steve is correct and that Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron failed in their apologetical and debating task because, in a gun fight they brought unloaded and weak guns of man centered, epistemological uncertainity and did not rest as out Evangelical and Reformational forefathers, Luther and Calvin did on the authority of Scripture alone (2 Timothy 3:15-17 and 2 Peter 1:18-21).

As I have attempted to understand the doctrinal distinctiveness of the Eastern Orthodox Church, I have grown exceedingly concerned over Eastern Orthodoxy’s denial of the Evangelical Doctrine of Justification by Grace through Faith in Christ Alone that teaches that men and women are justified or declared righteous by God once and of all, via the sovereign grace of God alone, whereby God graciously imputes the righteousness of Christ to an unregenerate person apart from human merit or cooperation or any kind.

The Importance of Justification by Grace Alone

In the forensic and soteriological judicial act of God in justifying a person, God permanently accepts and adopts a person into His kingdom and views that person via the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, as positionally or declaratively righteous and thereby absolved from the impending wrath of God (Romans 3:20, Galatians 2:16, Ephesians 2:8-10 and Titus 3:5-6). The late Evangelical scholar Louis Berkhof wrote, “Justification is a judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner” (Systematic Theology, page 513).

The Westminster Confession of Faith states that Justification, “ is a judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner” (Chapter 11).

Dr. James Buchanan, in the eighth chapter of his monumental book entitled, Justification states that, “Justification is a legal or forensic term, and is used in Scripture to denote the acceptance of any one as righteous in the sight of God.”

The famous American Puritan Pastor Jonathan Edwards in his 1734 sermon and essay entitled, Justification by Faith Alone, wrote that, “We are justified by faith in Christ and not by any virtue of our own.”

The historic Evangelical Protestant doctrine of Justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone based on the authority of the exclusively self authenticating, infallible, inerrant and exclusively authoritative standard of the Bible alone for God’s supreme glory alone was the cardinal theological tenet of the Protestant Reformation and is the bedrock foundation of authentic Biblical Christianity today. The doctrine of Justification teaches us how we can obtain eternal life with God, to deny that men and women are justified by any means but by God’s sovereign grace alone is to preach
“Another Gospel” and to merit the eternal anathema and wrath of God (Galatians 1:6-8).
However in diametrical counter distinction to the Biblical and Evangelical doctrine of justification by grace through faith in Christ alone, the Eastern Orthodox Church has rejected the Monergistic notion of Justification by grace alone delineated by Evangelical Protestants and has maintained that men and women obtain salvation by God through a synergistic combination of human effort and cooperation working along side God’s grace. Like Roman Catholicism, the Eastern Orthodox Church has always rejected the Evangelical notion of once and for all Forensic Justification and has taught that salvation is an ongoing process where a person is working with God towards obtaining salvation.

Eastern Orthodoxy Denies Justification by Grace Alone

Eastern Orthodox Theologian and Greek Orthodox Priest Kallistos Ware writes in his section called “Grace and Free Will” his book entitled, The Orthodox Church,

As we have seen, the fact that man is in God’s image means among other things that he possesses free will. God wanted a son, not a slave. The Orthodox Church rejects any doctrine of grace which might seem to infringe upon man’s freedom. To describe the relation between the grace of God and free will of man, Orthodoxy uses the term cooperation or synergy (synergeia); in Paul’s words: "We are fellow-workers (synergoi) with God" (1 Cor. 3:9). If man is to achieve full fellowship with God, he cannot do so without God’s help, yet he must also play his own part: man as well as God must make his contribution to the common work, although what God does is of immeasurably greater importance than what man does. ‘The incorporation of man into Christ and his union with God require the cooperation of two unequal, but equally necessary forces: divine grace and human will (A Monk of the Eastern Church, Orthodox Spirituality, p. 23). The supreme example of synergy is the Mother of God (See p. 263).

It is clear that the official doctrinal position of the Eastern Orthodox Church is one a outright denial of the Protestant Evangelical doctrine of Justification by grace alone, Ware goes on to say,
The west, since the time of Augustine and the Pelagian controversy, has discussed this question of grace and free will in somewhat different terms; and many brought up in the Augustinian tradition — particularly Calvinists — have viewed the Orthodox idea of ‘synergy’ with some suspicion. Does it not ascribe too much to man’s free will, and too little to God? Yet in reality the Orthodox teaching is very straightforward. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in" (Revelation 3:20). God knocks, but waits for man to open the door — He does not break it down. The grace of God invites all but compels none. In the words of John Chrysostom: ‘God never draws anyone to Himself by force and violence. He wishes all men to be saved, but forces no one’ (Sermon on the words ‘Saul, Saul…’ 6 (P.G. 51, 144)). ‘It is for God to grant His grace,’ said Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (died 386); ‘your task is to accept that grace and to guard it (Catehetical Orations, 1, 4). But it must not be imagined that because a man accepts and guards God’s grace, he thereby earns ‘merit.’ God’s gifts are always free gifts, and man can never have any claims upon his Maker. But man, while he cannot ‘merit’ salvation, must certainly work for it, since "faith without works is dead" (James 2:17).
. God gave Adam free will — the power to choose between good and evil — and it therefore rested With Adam either to accept the vocation set before him or to refuse it. He refused it. Instead of continuing along the path marked out for him by God, he turned aside and disobeyed God. Adam’s fall consisted essentially in his disobedience of the will of God; he set up his own will against the divine will, and so by his own act he separated himself from God. As a result, a new form of existence appeared on earth — that of disease and death. By turning away from God, who is immortality and life, man put himself in a state that was contrary to nature, and this unnatural condition led to an inevitable disintegration of his being and eventually to physical death. The consequences of Adam’s disobedience extended to all his descendants. We are members one of another, as Saint Paul never ceased to insist, and if one member suffers the whole body suffers. In virtue of this mysterious unity of the human race, not only Adam but all mankind became subject to mortality. Nor was the disintegration which followed from the fall merely physical. Cut off from God, Adam and his descendants passed under the domination of sin and of the devil. Each new human being is born into a world where sin prevails everywhere, a world in which it is easy to do evil and hard to do good. Man’s will is weakened and enfeebled by what the Greeks call ‘desire’ and the Latin’s ‘concupiscence.’ We are all subject to these, the spiritual effects of original sin.
Thus far there is fairly close agreement between Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, and classic Protestantism; but beyond this point east and west do not entirely concur. Orthodoxy, holding as it does a less exalted idea of man’s state before he fell, is also less severe than the west in its view of the consequences of the fall. Adam fell, not from a great height of knowledge and perfection, but from a state of undeveloped simplicity; hence he is not to be judged too harshly for his error. Certainly, as a result of the fall man’s mind became so darkened, and his will-power was so impaired, that he could no longer hope to attain to the likeness of God. Orthodox, however, do not hold that the fall deprived man entirely of God’s grace, though they would say that after the fall grace acts on man from the outside, not from within. Orthodox do not say, as Calvin said, that man after the fall was utterly depraved and incapable of good desires. They cannot agree with Augustine, when he writes that man is under ‘a harsh necessity’ of committing sin, and that ‘man’s nature was overcome by the fault into which it fell, and so came to lack freedom’ (On the perfection of man’s righteousness, 4 (9)). The image of God is distorted by sin, but never destroyed; in the words of s hymn sung by Orthodox at the Funeral Service for the laity: ‘I am the image of Thine inexpressible glory, even though I bear the wounds of sin.’ And because he still retains the image of God, man still retains free will, although sin restricts its scope. Even after the fall, God ‘takes not away from man the power to will — to will to obey or not to obey Him’ (Dositheus, Confession, Decree 3. Compare Decree 14). Faithful to the idea of synergy, Orthodoxy repudiates any interpretation of the fall which allows no room for human freedom.
Most orthodox theologians reject the idea of ‘original guilt,’ put forward by Augustine and still accepted (albeit in a mitigated form) by the Roman Catholic Church. Men (Orthodox usually teach) automatically inherit Adam’s corruption and mortality, but not his guilt: they are only guilty in so far as by their own free choice they imitate Adam. Many western Christians believe that whatever a man does in his fallen and unredeemed state, since it is tainted by original guilt, cannot possibly be pleasing to God: ‘Works before Justification,’ says the thirteenth of the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, ‘...are not pleasant to God ... but have the nature of sin.’ Orthodox would hesitate to say this. And Orthodox have never held (as Augustine and many others in the west have done) that unbaptized babies, because tainted with original guilt, are consigned by the just God to the everlasting games of Hell (Thomas Aquinas, in his discussion of the fall, on the whole followed Augustine, and in particular retained the idea of original guilt; but as regards unbaptized babies, he maintained that they go not to Hell but to Limbo — a view now generally accepted by Roman theologians. So far as I can discover, Orthodox writers do not make use of the idea of Limbo. It should be noted that an Augustinian view of the fall is found from time to time in Orthodox theological literature; but this is usually the result of western influence. The Orthodox Confession by Peter of Moghila is, as one might expect, strongly Augustinian; on the other hand the Confession of Dositheus is free from Augustinianism). The Orthodox picture of fallen humanity is far less sombre than the Augustinian or Calvinist view.
But although Orthodox maintain that man after the fall still possessed free will and was still capable of good actions, yet they certainly agree with the west in believing that man’s sin had set up between him and God a barrier, which man by his own efforts could never break down. Sin blocked the path to union with God. Since man could not come to God, God came to man” (Orthodox Church by Timothy “Kallistos” Ware, Penguin Books, 1979).

For Further Reading on the Doctrines of the Eastern Orthodox Church please consult,

A. Schmemann, The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy, New York , 1963 (deals also with more recent Orthodox history).

· J. M. Hussey, The Byzantine World, London , 1957.

· J. M. Hussey (ed.), The Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 4, parts 1 and 2, The Byzantine Empire, Cambridge , 1966-1967.

· G. Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State, Oxford , 1968.

· D. Obolensky, The Byzantine Commonwealth: Eastern Europe, 500-1453, London , 1971.

· G. Every, The Byzantine Patriarchate, 2nd ed., London , 1962.

· J. Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes, New York , 1974 (also gives a general survey of Orthodox doctrine).

· J. Pelikan, The Christian Tradition, vol. 2, The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700), Chicago/London, 1974.

Are There Soteriological Similarities Between Eastern Orthodoxy and Calvary Chapel?

This doctrinal study of the Eastern Orthodox Church has caused me to reexamine my own doctrinal position and ecclesiastical affiliation. As I stated earlier, I have attended an Evidentialist and Thomistic university here in Southern California and have greatly appreciated the ministry of Evidentialist apologists, but as I have studied the soteriological teachings of the Evidentialist movement, I have seen many similarities between what Evidentialist apologetics teaches about the fall of man, his spiritual blindness and the Eastern Orthodox Church on the subjects of Original Sin and Free Will.

The Reformed Doctrine of Original Sin Explained

The historic Augustinian and Reformed doctrine of Original Sin or “Total Hereditary Depravity” states that Adam, acting as the Federal head of humanity chose to rebel against God, thus causing his and all his subsequent descendants to inherit separation and enmity from God. Thus, all men and women through the initial sin and disobedience of Adam have inherited a sin nature from him and are thus rendered in a state of total depravity and hostility towards God. Due to humanities state of depravity via Original Sin, human beings are rendered incapacitated from the ability to earn their salvation or cooperate with God in obtaining justification and salvation by God.

The Reformed Scholar Charles Hodge who taught for five decades at Princeton Theological Seminary in the 1800’s wrote in his Systematic Theology,

“The Effects of Adam's Sin upon his Posterity, That the sin of Adam injured not himself only but also all descending from him by ordinary generation, is part of the faith of the whole Christian world."..."As to the ground of these evils, we are taught that 'the covenant being made with Adam not only for himself, but for his posterity, all mankind descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression.' Or, as is expressed in the Confession, 'Our first parents, being the root of all mankind, the guilt of their sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature were conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation’(Vol. II, Part II-Anthropology).

Reformed Doctrine of Total Depravity Explained

The Augustinian and Reformed Doctrine of Original Sin have a direct correlation with the Doctrine of “Total Depravity” espoused by Calvinists. By total depravity, Calvinists are stating that they believe the Bible teaches that human beings via the imputation and inheritance of Original Sin through Adam have been left in a ruined and helpless spiritual condition wherein they cannot cooperate with God in obtaining the grace of God. By “Total Depravity” Calvinists are saying that they believe human beings are born via Original Sin, spiritually blind, dead in trespasses and sin, inherently corrupt and totally incapable of pleasing God, meriting salvation or cooperating with God’s grace in the obtaining of salvation. Consequently Calvinists believe that in order to procure justification by God one must realize their depraved sinful condition before God and rely on the person and redemptive work of Jesus Christ via the sovereign grace of Almighty alone.

Reformed Theological Seminary Professor John Frame states, “Although fallen persons are capable of externally good acts (acts that are good for society), they cannot do anything really good, i.e., pleasing to God (Rom. 8:8). God, however, looks on the heart. And from his ultimate standpoint, fallen man has no goodness, in thought, word, or deed. He is therefore incapable of contributing anything to his salvation” (From

Dr. John Piper states the following about mankind’s depraved state before God,

When we speak of man's depravity we mean man's natural condition apart from any grace exerted by God to restrain or transform man.
There is no doubt that man could perform more evil acts toward his fellow man than he does. But if he is restrained from performing more evil acts by motives that are not owing to his glad submission to God, then even his "virtue" is evil in the sight of God.
Romans 14:23 says, "Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." This is a radical indictment of all natural "virtue" that does not flow from a heart humbly relying on God's grace.
The terrible condition of man's heart will never be recognized by people who assess it only in relation to other men. Romans 14:23 makes plain that depravity is our condition in relation to God primarily and only secondarily in relation to man. Unless we start here we will never grasp the totality of our natural depravity.
Man's depravity is total in at least four senses.
(1) Our rebellion against God is total. Apart from the grace of God there is no delight in the holiness of God, and there is no glad submission to the sovereign authority of God.
Of course totally depraved men can be very religious and very philanthropic. They can pray and give alms and fast, as Jesus said (Matthew 6:1-18). But their very religion is rebellion against the rights of their Creator, if it does not come from a childlike heart of trust in the free grace of God. Religion is one of the chief ways that man conceals his unwillingness to forsake self-reliance and bank all his hopes on the unmerited mercy of God (Luke 18:9-14; Colossians 2:20-23).
The totality of our rebellion is seen in Romans 3:9-10 and 18. "I have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks, are under the power of sin, as it is written: None is righteous, no not one; no one seeks for God....There is no fear of God before their eyes."

It is a myth that man in his natural state is genuinely seeking God. Men do seek God. But they do not seek him for who he is. They seek him in a pinch as one who might preserve them from death or enhance their worldly enjoyments. Apart from conversion, no one comes to the light of God.

Some do come to the light. But listen to what John 3:20-21 says about them. "Every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God."
Yes there are those who come to the light -- namely those whose deeds are the work of God. "Wrought in God" means worked by God. Apart from this gracious work of God all men hate the light of God and will not come to him lest their evil be exposed -- this is total rebellion. "No one seeks for God...There is no fear of God before their eyes!"
(2) In his total rebellion everything man does is sin.
In Romans 14:23 Paul says, "Whatever is not from faith is sin." Therefore, if all men are in total rebellion, everything they do is the product of rebellion and cannot be an honor to God, but only part of their sinful rebellion. If a king teaches his subjects how to fight well and then those subjects rebel against their king and use the very skill he taught them to resist him, then even those skills become evil.
Thus man does many things which he can only do because he is created in the image of God and which in the service of God could be praised. But in the service of man's self-justifying rebellion, these very things are sinful, In Romans 7:18 Paul says, "I know that no good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh." This is a radical confession of the truth that in our rebellion nothing we think or feel is good. It is all part of our rebellion. The fact that Paul qualifies his depravity with the words, "that is, in my flesh," shows that he is willing to affirm the good of anything that the Spirit of God produces in him (Romans 15:18). "Flesh" refers to man in his natural state apart from the work of God's Spirit. So what Paul is saying in Romans 7:18 is that apart from the work of God's Spirit all we think and feel and do is not good.

NOTE: We recognize that the word "good" has a broad range of meanings. We will have to use it in a restricted sense to refer to many actions of fallen people which in relation are in fact not good.

For example we will have to say that it is good that most unbelievers do not kill and that some unbelievers perform acts of benevolence. What we mean when we call such actions good is that they more or less conform to the external pattern of life that God has commanded in Scripture.
However, such outward conformity to the revealed will of God is not righteousness in relation to God. It is not done out of reliance on him or for his glory. He is not trusted for the resources, though he gives them all. Nor is his honor exalted, even though that's his will in all things (1 Corinthians 10:31). Therefore even these "good" acts are part of our rebellion and are not "good" in the sense that really counts in the end -- in relation to God.
(3) Man's inability to submit to God and do good is total.
Picking up on the term "flesh" above (man apart from the grace of God) we find Paul declaring it to be totally enslaved to rebellion. Romans 8:7-8 says, "For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
The "mind of the flesh" is the mind of man apart from the indwelling Spirit of God ("You are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really dwells in you," Romans 8:9). So natural man has a mindset that does not and cannot submit to God. Man cannot reform himself.
Ephesians 2:1 says that we Christians were all once "dead in trespasses and sins." The point of deadness is that we were incapable of any life with God. Our hearts were like a stone toward God (Ephesians 4:18; Ezekiel 36:26). Our hearts were blind and incapable of seeing the glory of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4-6). We were totally unable to reform ourselves.
(4) Our rebellion is totally deserving of eternal punishment.
Ephesians 2:3 goes on to say that in our deadness we were "children of wrath." That is, we were under God's wrath because of the corruption of our hearts that made us as good as dead before God.
The reality of hell is God's clear indictment of the infiniteness of our guilt. If our corruption were not deserving of an eternal punishment God would be unjust to threaten us with a punishment so severe as eternal torment. But the Scriptures teach that God is just in condemning unbelievers to eternal hell (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9; Matthew 5:29f; 10:28; 13:49f; 18:8f; 25:46; Revelation 14:9-11; 20:10). Therefore, to the extent that hell is a total sentence of condemnation, to that extent must we think of ourselves as totally blameworthy apart from the saving grace of God.
In summary, total depravity means that our rebellion against God is total, everything we do in this rebellion is sin, our inability to submit to God or reform ourselves is total, and we are therefore totally deserving of eternal punishment.
It is hard to exaggerate the importance of admitting our condition to be this bad. If we think of ourselves as basically good or even less than totally at odds with God, our grasp of the work of God in redemption will be defective. But if we humble ourselves under this terrible truth of our total depravity, we will be in a position to see and appreciate the glory and wonder of the work of God discussed in the next four points.” (John Piper & Bethlehem Baptist Church Staff, 1998, taken from

Does Mankind Have a Free Will?

When we ask the question of whether or not men and woman have a “Free will”, we first must ask the question what is a “will”? And what is “free will”?
In philosophy a “will” is any internally motivated action” (Nietzsche, The Will to Power”
In Theology, the term “will” refers to the capability of a person to freely make a decision one way or another. In specific soteriological context, a “will” is the ability or inability within a person to choose to follow Christ or reject Christ. Consequently, “Free Will” refers to the alleged ability of a person to autonomously choose or reject Christ completely freely apart from any predetermined external causation. A person that believes in soteriological “free will” believes that a person has the ability within themselves inherently free, in their initial unredeemed state to somehow cooperate with God or reject God without any predetermination or external coercion.
In contrast, Augustinians and Calvinists believe that because of “Original Sin” and their “totally depraved state, men and women do not have the capacity within themselves to cooperate with God or choose to follow God on their own. They believe one needs special divine grace from God to override ones inherent total depravity imputed to them through Adam.

Throughout the annals of human history a tremendous debate has transpired in the disciplines of Christian theology and philosophical inquiry over the seemingly diametrically antithetical conceptions of free will and determinism. The question of whether or not sentient human beings have autonomous control over their own actions and decisions or whether or not human activities and choices have external theistic or naturalistic mechanistic causation has been a paradoxical ideological dilemma that has plagued humanity since time memorial”

Whether or not one accepts the historic Christian theistic paradigm that postulates that there exists a singular transcendent and self- contained omnipotent God whom controls and directs all things after the counsel of His sovereign will, the question of whether or not men and women are truly free is apparent antimony that must be answered by even the most entrenched opponents of historic Christianity.

For if the atheist is correct and there exists no such omnipotent God, who providentially controls all things, he or she must give a coherent explanation of why there is form and order in nature. If the atheist postulates that reality and nature has a definite form and order via its operating according to the laws of an evolutionary mechanistic determinism, then, the atheist must also concede that there is no such thing as objective good and evil since all actions in the universe are dictated by a strict physicality and predetermined schema that renders all human endeavors, irrespective of their apparent benevolence or malfeasance, inherently ethically relative.

A purely atheistic evolutionary worldview cannot allow for the existence of an ethical standard of inherent virtue or evil consequently, since human beings operate mechanistically by the laws of evolution and are strictly biological machines within an exclusively physical material world without souls or spirits or anything of a purely non-material nature. A standing definition of this ideological framework according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, is “Physicalism”, which postulates,

The thesis that everything is physical, or as contemporary philosophers sometimes put it, that everything supervenes on the physical. Thus, Physicalism argues that the universe operates via certain unalterable mechanistic laws that govern the movement of the actions of all things and the existence of immaterial entities and notions such as God, spirits, love, good, evil, ascetic beauty are merely illusionary and not real. All things within the universe are purely material and operate by strict mechanistic laws of nature including the human will.

According to the Physicalist postulate, men and women are strictly biological machines without souls or spirits and perform all their actions because their mechanistic nature compels them to. Thus, Physicalism adheres to a purely naturalistic determinism that states that every event including human cognition and action is causally determined by an inviolable sequential chain of prior occurrences.

Thus, within the Physicalist framework, there exists no such thing as random or miraculous events; every thing exists, without fail or exception by purely naturalistic laws of physics. In the realm of Philosophy, this Physicalist notion of human will is called Determinism and any view that postulates that men and women have a free will to operate outside of these naturalistic laws is called Indeterminism, that there are occurrences within nature and reality which run counter intuitively and in diametrical counter distinction to Determinism and that there are events in the universe that are uncaused. According to philosophers there are generally three types of Indeterminism, one view maintains that some events are uncaused, another view that there are purely non determined caused events and thirdly there are agent-caused events. Philosophically speaking, there are different outlooks on the human will: Incompatibilism, and Compatbilism. Incompatibilists, consisting of those who believe there is no free will and those who believe only in free will, have one thing in common, that they are Incompatible with each others philosophical position on free will. Compatiblists believe that both the non free will and the free will position can be compatible with each other and hence reconciled.

On the Bondage of the Will (Latin De Servo Arbitrio, literally, "Concerning Bound Choice"), by Martin Luther, was published in December 1525. It was his reply to Desiderius Erasmus's De Libero Arbitrio or On Free Will, which had appeared in September 1524 as Erasmus's first public attack on Luther, after being wary about the methods of the reformer for many years. At issue was whether human beings, after the Fall of Man are free to choose good or evil. The debate between Luther and Erasmus is one of the earliest of the Reformation over the issue of free will
Luther maintained that sin incapacitates human beings from working out their own salvation, that they are completely unable to bring themselves to God. In this treatise, he begins by examining Erasmus's argument. He then discusses the power and complete sovereignty of God and lays out his own argument. His conclusions are that unredeemed human beings are dominated by Satan: Satan as the prince of this world never lets go of what he considers his own unless he is overpowered by a stronger power, i.e. God. When God redeems a person, he redeems the entire person, including the will, which then is liberated to serve God.
Those who would deny “Original sin”, “Total Depravity” and the “Bondage of the Will” must ask the question, if they believe Adam’s sin had any resultant effect on his descendants? If mankind is not born totally depraved as many Evidentialists affirms, what are the effects of Adam’s sin on human beings after him? In our initial, unregenerate state, is our “will” left with the ability within itself to choose Christ and cooperate with God? What then, is the substantial difference between Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and Evidentialist and Thomistic Apologetics such as what Kirk Cameron and Ray used in their ABC debate.

Sincerely in the Sovereign Christ and Authority of Scripture alone, Your Brother in Jesus the Christ of Glory,

Ed Enochs

The Evangelical
Debate Society

gigantor1231 said...

I will make this brief;

claiming to be wise they became fools, they traded that which was real for that which is false. They worshipped the created instead of the creator.
In other words, in spite of all their great knowledge, at least knowledge by their worldly definition, they missed it.
Also, it is not only that without the knowledge of the word of God can anyone not know who God is, apart from the spirit of God if anyone reads the Bible it might as well be in chicken scratch, they can not understand it;

1Cor. 2:14-16;

14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

The New King James Version. 1982 (1 Co 2:14-16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

I would take any man that is humble and contrite of heart, armed only with the scriptures and the support of God in Christ via the Holy Spirit, over all of the book knowledge in the world. God will and does trump it all and his word is more than sufficient. As a matter of fact, all of the scholars that you mention and the books that they have written get all truth, and I mean all truth, from the scriptures. It is safe to say that apart from the scriptures there is no truth in that the word of God frames all of it.
I know that at least one of the apologetic scholars that you mention has basicly deviated from the fundamentals of the word of God, he has been bewitched. At a recent IFCA regional conference he spoke and in essence he said that the Bible is no longer sufficient or relevant for today. He stated that extrabiblical prophecy is needed and thoes that simply trust the bible are simply a dieing breed, seperated from the progress of God. I would have to say that he is treading the walk of fools.

The Evangelical Debate Society said...

"Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses."

(1 Timothy 5:19)

"κατα πρεσβυτερου κατηγοριαν μη παραδεχου εκτος ει μη επι δυο η τριων μαρτυρων"

(ΠΡΟΣ ΤΙΜΟΘΕΟΝ Α΄ 5:19 (1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament)

"Adversus presbyterum accusationem ne admittas, nisi sub duobus aut tribus testibus" (Latin Vulgate).

Mr. " Gigantor",

Dear Sir,

I must now address a very important issue you have raised. You have made a serious and grave accusation against an elder in God's Church, You said and I quote,

"I know that at least one of the apologetic scholars that you mention has basicly deviated from the fundamentals of the word of God, he has been bewitched. At a recent IFCA regional conference he spoke and in essence he said that the Bible is no longer sufficient or relevant for today. He stated that extrabiblical prophecy is needed and thoes that simply trust the bible are simply a dieing breed, seperated from the progress of God. I would have to say that he is treading the walk of fools"

" Gigantor", this is a very serious charge that must be collaborated by the testimony of two or three witnesses and if confirmed, must be raised before the fellow elders of this particular elder’s home assembly and before an ecclesiastical court of his peers as Mathew 18:15-20

If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector”

Conversely, you may have to publicly rebuke him before his congregation if you have Biblical warrant as Paul goes on the say in 1 Timothy 5:20,

“As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear”

Also see the following uncontestable collaborating exegetical evidence about rebuking an individual with Scriptural justification, Lev_19:1 Gal_2:11-14; 2Ti_4:2; Tit_1:13 , 1Ti_1:20; Deu_13:11, Deu_17:13, Deu_19:20, Deu_21:21; Act_5:5, Act_5:11, Act_19:17

Gigantor, there is an old legal axiom that postulates on argumentation, “He who asserts must prove, Latin Case Law and the accepted Canons of Logic, “Is quisnam affirmo must probo”

In logic, Any proposition must either be true or false, it cannot be both; this is known as the law of contradiction. One cannot prove a negative, thus, as the legal maxim will have it, semper praesumitur pro negante, the presumption is always in the negative. In the absence of the acceptance of a proposition being true, the propounder, the person who advances the proposition as being true, has the obligation to proving it to be true. The position from which one must always start is that the proposition (the theory or the hypothesis) is, to start with, false and must be proven to be true, please see:

Thus, mere assertion and accusation of an individuals actions and motivations does not necessarily substantiate your claims, if an elder and Biblical Evangelical apologist that I mentioned said the unbiblical things you allege, please send me an exact, unedited transcript of the before mentioned quotation and state who said the comment, stake your entire reputation as a Christian on it, or please refrain from making unsubstantiated accusations against an elder of God’s Church, the Body of Christ and pillar and ground of the truth.

Gigantor, lastly, via the logical principle of deductive reasoning , a method by which one might prove a theory, - the process of deriving consequences from admitted or established premises, I would conlude that your accusation has been made against Alpha and Omega Ministries Dr. James White.

By reason of deduction, I make this assumption based on the fact that the only Apologist living of the handful of Evangelical defenders of the faith (Including the deceased Cornelius Van Til, Greg L. Bahnsen and Walter Martin and Gordon H. Clark) I mentioned in my prior post, James White is the only sentient being possessing the intrinsic character of life (vita, spiritus, anima, aevum), and the rest being now past expiration and are in fact declared dead (mortuus) by qualified medical professionals, Dr. James White can logically be the soul individual you could have seen make this serious breech of Evangelical Doctrine.

If James White is in fact the individual you are charging with such heresy, if behooves you to go at once to Professor White and confront him with Biblical evidence of the alleged theological misstep.

However, if you cannot substantiate your serious claim to James White or another godly apologist has wandered down the path of heterodoxy, teetering on the brink of no return.

Now there is a difference between “unorthodox teachings” that do not touch upon the essentials of the faith, the post-Reformation Lutheran Scholastics called “Adiaphora”, a belief or idea not essential to salvation, and heterodox teachings known as heresies. The word "heresy" comes from the Greek αἵρεσις, hairesis (from αἱρέομαι, haireomai, "choose"), which means either a choice of beliefs or a faction of believers. It was given wide currency by Irenaeus in his tract Contra Haereses (Against Heresies) to describe and discredit his opponents in the early Christian Church. He described his own position as orthodox (from ortho- "right" + doxa "belief") and his position eventually evolved into the position of the early Christian Church. The following languages, possess a eytemological derrivative of the Greek αἵρεσις:
Latin: unorthodox
Dutch: onorthodox
French: peu orthodoxe
German: unorthodox
Italian: poco ortodosso
Spanish: poco ortodoxo

Definition of such unorthodoxy,

Not conforming with established opinions, especially in religion or morals
Thesaurus: different, unconventional, alternative, unusual, novel, nonconformist, radical, innovative, eccentric, abnormal, fringe, irregular; Antonym: standard, traditional.

See: Romans 16: 17 which stipulates,

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them”

Please also see the following passages on heresy in God’s Church,

Phi_3:17; 2Th_3:14, 2Th_3:15 , Act_15:1-5, Act_15:24; 1Co_1:10-13, 1Co_3:3, 1Co_11:18; Gal_1:7-9, Gal_2:4; Phi_3:2, Phi_3:3; Col_2:8; 2Pe_2:1, 2Pe_2:2; 1Jo_2:19; 2Jo_1:7-10; Jud_1:19 Mat_18:7; Luk_17:1 Mat_18:17; 1Co_5:9-11; 2Th_3:6, 2Th_3:14; 1Ti_6:3-5; 2Ti_3:5; Tit_3:10; 2Jo_1:10,2Jo_1:11

Not conforming with established opinions, especially in religion or morals
Thesaurus: different, unconventional, alternative, unusual, novel, nonconformist, radical, innovative, eccentric, abnormal, fringe, irregular; Antonym: standard, traditional.

Has James White truly made a heretical or unorthodox Scriptural infraction or are you simply misinformed to the specific details of Mr. White’s argumentation (if it is indeed James White you accuse, if it is another than please state his name and specific date, time and even of heretical teaching for the purposes of an ecclessastical court or Church disciplinary action.

But if this individual has not made such a breech of the faith, Please, please, be wary of making false accusations against God’s flock and go unrepentant as the following injunctions from the Patristic Fathers eloquently delineated,

“Corrupters of families will not inherit the kingdom of God. And if they who do these things according to the flesh suffer death, how much more if a man corrupt by evil reaching the faith of God for the sake of which Jesus Christ was crucified? A man become so foul will depart into unquenchable fire, and so will anyone who listens to him.”
Clement of Alexandria, Letter to the Ephesians 16:1-2
“Then he will clothe the worthy in immortality; but the wicked, clothed in eternal sensibility, he will commit to the eternal fire, along with the evil demons.”
Justin Martyr (151 A.D.) First Apology 12

“The penalty increases for those who do not believe the Word of God and despise his coming. It is not merely temporal, but eternal. To whomsoever the Lord shall say, "Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire," they will be damned forever
Irenaeus (189 A.D.) Against Heresies 4:28:2

And as Proverbs 6:19 says,
“A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren”

Most Sincerely in Christ,

Brother Ed Enochs
The Evangelical Debate Society

gigantor1231 said...

Wow so much for the simplicity of the Gospel. Sorry to say your deductive reasoning and non linear logic have brought you to a wrong conclusion, and I do not name James White as the orator of the afformentioned heretical teaching! As for witnessed proof, we should be able to find no less than 100 witnesses and perhaps now it numbers in the thousands since the statement I mentioned along with others were recorded via audio and video.
As far as confrontation, I am not in the place nor in the condition to carry out such action at this time. I would hope the the said individual has been confronted by the other professors that teach with the individual at all of the institutions that he holds a chair at.

The Evangelical Debate Society said...

Gigantor, you said, I mentioned an apologist, unless you are referring to one of the Natural Theology professors that I said were unbiblical than there is only one Apologist living on that list that is still alive.

I think it is very cowardly to say that an Evangelical Apologist is essentially a heretic and you won't name names.

Name your nemesis or stop making such accusations, it's unbiblical and foolish.

You said that you specifically heard an apologist that I supported on my list of great apologists, make a heretical statement. James White is the only living apologist left on the list for you to have been able to hear recently speak in public.

If it was not James White, as you have said, then, it was not an apologist that I support, and you are in error anyways for making a false statement.

If you are referring to Ray or Kirk, one is a former teen television idol become evangelist the other is an open air preacher and neither is deemed to be an apologist by anyone in Evangelical scholarship.

Who then is your accused? Who made this comment then? If I am wrong about James White, and you are not accusing him, stop wasting my time and just name names or stop accusing people in the Body of Christ. Please stop this foolishness. I don't have the time to waste chasing imaginary ghosts and figments of your imagination that you accuse of heresy but won't name names as the Apostles did in confronting false teachers.

gigantor1231 said...


When you resort to the insinuation of cowardice you expose the pride of your heart! But if you desire to title me as such, then so be it.
The only reason that I have not mentioned the name of the individual I refer is to maintain some form of neutrality and to stay on topic. Also exposing such a individual I do not take lightly. I will leave a expose for now on what he said and perhaps I will give the name, I exercise caution in that I do not want to malign one's name unjustly!

"He dropped his philosophy and went into experiential mode and spent the entire time proclaiming how the church today needs more power as seen in signs and wonders. If the churches do not see healings on a regular basis, something is wrong. He basically presented a third wave view of the church and the Holy Spirit. But along the way he managed to offend most everyone in the room by saying that cessationism is dying out because it cannot be defended biblically (although he himself never opened the text the entire day). He then said that the leadership of the Bible church movement is white male with type A personalities who are all anal-retentive and hence don't want the church to get messy with the Spirit. Obviously, this is not going to go over very well with a group that has cessationism as a central value. He claimed that he did not know our theology, which means that, if he was speaking the truth, that he was stupidly ignorant. If it was not true, then he either was trying to convince us of something in a very insenstive and ineffective way or he didn't want to convince us and just wanted to stick it to us. "

I will say more later.

The Evangelical Debate Society said...

That was definitely not James White my friend and not some one I support if he said all that.

gigantor1231 said...

I never insinuated that it was James White, and I never said this individual was supported by you! All I said was;

"I know that at least one of the apologetic scholars that you mention has basicly deviated from the fundamentals of the word of God, he has been bewitched."

I can tell you that he has a seat at Talbot and Biola, perhaps you even sat under him. JP Moreland!

The Evangelical Debate Society said...

I think that is the problem with on line blogging, one can't always tell from a blog, a person's tone and inflection, what he is implying. It seemed like you were saying that a Reformed Elder was making such a claim. Now, I see that there was a misunderstanding. Thanks for clearing that up brother! James White is one of the very best Evangelical Apologists going right now, and I just knew he did't say that.

As for JP Moreland, that is en entirely different story. While he is a very bright man, and noted intellectual scholar, much of his apologetics and theology is Arminian and semi-pelagian and I think approach is very unbiblical and has more in common with Natural Theology, Thomism, Middle Knowledge and other questionable epistemological ideas, than that of the authority of the Bible. I had him as a professor in college and he taught a lot of unbiblical things. No wonder friends of his at Biola are converting to Eastern Orthodoxy and in the case of his fellow Evangelical philospher, Frank Beckwith, converting to Roman Catholism, since their philosophical and theological system had more in common with Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism than that of the Bible.

The Evangelical Debate Society said...

"But examine everything carefully,
hold fast to the good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

For Brother Steve Camp,

Please read Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron's Blog on your and other people's criticism of their ABC debate, you unfortunately entitled,
"The Way of Disastre" Ray and Kirk's blog on this matter can be found by cutting and pasting the following link into your seach engine or clicking on to:

or simply go on to their Way of the Master and Living Waters website

Brother Steve Camp, I love you very, very much but, after a lot of reflection on this Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron controversy, I can't let you off the hook so easily and I am going to ask you to consider to meeting with Kirk and Ray personally and I am asking you to consider taking your blog, "The Way of the Disaster" off the net.

Ray Comfort has done more for the positive training of Evangelical Christians Evangelism than any other Evangelist in America the last 25 years and his Message "Hell's Best Kept Secret" is biblically orthodox in the same line of antinominan free teaching as that of John MacArthur's "Gospel According to Jesus" or Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship" that

American Evangelicals of the last quarter century, will see similarities between Bonhoeffer’s “Cost of Discipleship” view of Christian obedience and that of John MacArthur’s famous book entitles, “The Gospel According to Jesus” and Ray Comfort’s popular sermon, “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” teaching, which both ultimately postulate the theological thesis that while true salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone based on the exclusive authority of the Bible alone, this salvation is never left alone, meaning that true saving faith, according the infallible witness and testimony of inerrant and inspired Scripture, is never left alone and will, without fail of exception, produce good fruit, gospel obedience and newness of life in the heart and daily activities of a true Christian. MacArthur and Comfort essentially argue against an insidious form of Antinomianism that has reared its ugly head in contemporary American Evangelicalism, and contradict this heretical and destructive teaching, by articulating the Biblical premise that true saving faith, while accomplished monergistically by God’s sovereign grace alone, will result in good works in the life of a believer. In the Cost of Discipleship, Bonhoeffer essentially argues the same,

Bonhoeffer despite his Neo-orthodoxy argues essentially the same as MacArthur and Ray Comfort, that the resultant sanctifying effect of costly grace leads to newness of life and obedience to Christ’s commands, “cheap grace” on the other hand, leads to nothing but lip service, or mere, non-committal verbal acquiescence of the elementary credal formulations of Christendom without effecting true change and obedience to Christ’s ethical commands. Ultimately,

in Bonhoeffer’s discipleship paradigm, “Cheap Grace”, known in American Evangelical circles as “Easy Believism”, or Antinomianism, wherein no change of life or life of obedience and consecration is necessary to be declared right in God’s sight. Bonhoeffer argues, that just as Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5-7 and James 2 declares about good works being the authenticate response of true saving faith, in light of the incomprehensible self-sacrifice of Jesus at the Cross of Calvary, such a non-committal response to the central act of salvation history is ultimately hypocrisy and dead works.

skywriter said...

Dear Brother Steve,

I am more than a little taken aback with the content and tone of your article posted here.

I would submit for your thoughtful and prayerful consideration that perhaps you now have something to settle with the Lord --

In that you have subjected our family members to your criticism, taken them to public task, and perhaps a touch of mockery (way of Disaster?)

Has not the Lord counseled us to take our issues with our brothers to them privately?

Even before the ministry of two or three witnesses, or making our case before the church??

How more then.... before subjecting them to open, if subtle mockery (Way of Disaster?!?)?

Matthew 18 is germane here.

Are we not to bring any words of encouragement or correction to our loved ones with a servant's heart after much prayerful consideration of the words we intend to share with them? To wash their feet as we bring the Lord's words to them?

Ray & Kirk are submitted to the Body of Christ -- and have pastors and leaders to whom they are cheerfully submitted.

In light of that fact -- I do not believe that either of us has the privilege or duty to publicly submit them to our critical comments or personal opinions.

You are not their pastor -- yet you presume the right to tell them what/how to do or not do things?

AND With whom they should or should not do business??

Are you not at the risk of being critical of the Lord's OWN GOOD GRACES in their lives and through their very productive ministry?/

I invite you to pray fervently about this matter and your own conduct therein -- and consider taking this article down, as the firstfruits of repentance.

I further encourage you to personally contact Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron -- and offer them your friendship and brotherly love.

It is clear that their participation and performance in this TV event did not please you...

But please remember, they only have to please the Audience of One.

If they are doing the best they can with the resources God has given them -- who are we to judge?


SJ Camp said...

Please only post here in brief from now on... I do not allow "book size" entries here. Please be brief.

While I appreciate your comments, I do not allow anonymous posting here. You may say what you would like to, but I do want to know with whom I am speaking. Please fill out the bio portion on the blogger sign up fully.

Until then, you will not be allowed to comment.

Grace and peace,
Col. 1:9-14

Joe Graves said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SJ Camp said...

You said, "You might not think Ray & Kirk are worthy to debate anyone but why do you have a cartoon mocking them on your blog?"

1. As to the first part of your statement - let's stay on topic here. I have never said that they should not debate anyone. What I have said (along with many others) is that they should really know their subject before debating AND honor the parameters or claims of the debate that they drafted (i.e., we can 100% prove scientifically that God exists without mentioning faith or the Bible).

2. I get people all the time emailing me photographs and cartoons for blog entries. I very seldom use any of them because they don't apply to the rich biblical/theological content of this blog.

In this case, I took the cartoon at face value and there was nothing offensive about it. I also didn't know that a non-Christian group that produced this cartoon also produces other offensive material about our faith. I am taking you at face value concerning this and have pulled the cartoon.

Thank you for the heads up on this.

Now to the issue at hand and the actual theme of this post:

1. Did you watch this debate in it entirety (meaning ALL of the video clips at ABCNEWS website)?

2. What is your opinion of what actually took place and what was actually said?

3. Did you think that Ray and Kirk offered 100% indisputable scientific proof for the existence of God per their pre-debate claim?

I would be interested in your thoughts...

Grace and peace to you Joe,
Col. 1:9-14

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SJ Camp said...

Kirk and Ray have responded to the varied reactions about their debate (mine included).
Here is the link.

I found their comments interesting on two points:

1. They never addressed in specific their claims to prove the existence of God 100% scientifically and their failure to produce such indisputable evidence to that claim without mentioning faith or the Bible. Ray in this article says that they would prove the existence of God through creation (creation means there is a Creator). But that is not 100% scientific proof--

2. Here is what is attitude is concerning the atheists: "We must have reasonable answers, for reasonable people; however, these atheists were not reasonable -- they were angry and hostile."

"Reasonable answers for reasonable people." That does not demonstrate a loving heart for lost people in biblical evangelism. Evangelism is about taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people (Roms. 15:20) calling all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:16ff). And that also includes the unreasonable, the angry, the hostile, etc. Read 2 Cor. 11 and see if Paul ever encountered some "unreasonable people" in spreading the gospel.

In many instances when I have been proclaiming the gospel, I have had many angry crowds, hostile too. I have been beat up before for telling others about the gospel. But what a great opportunity to proclaim Jesus Christ in the midst of it all.

I say, bring on all the hecklers, the unreasonable, the hostile, the angry, etc. and let us bring to them the good news of the gospel.

I find it very sad indeed that any Christian would fault a nonbeliever for how they act toward us when we are presenting to them the truth claims of Christ. Jesus said it well, "the world hated me... they will hate you."

Grace and peace,
2 Cor. 4:5-7

SJ Camp said...

"Call me naive, but I think the argument, "If there is a building, there must be a builder argument" is 100% indisputable scientific proof."

That is an argument from logic; not from science.

Ray and Kirk didn't provide 100% scientific proof which they claimed... they provided discussion.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gigantor1231 said...


I agree that Ray and Kirk did something here with respect to the Gospel, unfortunately, though, they did not do what they said they were going to do and for that Steve's criticism is valid. You say it is mean spirited. Why? The comic? OK, maybe the comic was over the line, but the criticism was on point.
After having looked at what Ray and Kirk did I would have to say that their main mistake was in that they did not do what they said they would do, ie. prove the existence of God scientifically, apart from the word of God. I believe that they could have shown many evidences that would produce a preponderance towards that end but of course there would be no habeus corpus, no body to prove God's existence. That being said, I would just clarify that although the evidence itself would not be the complete truth the weight of it is such that only fools deny the existence of God.
In conclusion with regards to what Ray and Kirk did I would have to say that they get a A for effort but the more troubling issue is the F I would give them for pragmatism, I would hope that they did not do this intentionally! Telling a un truth in order to gain the trust of someone to produce a positive outcome is all bad, it is not wisdom. If they said they would prove God's existence apart from the bible, which is exactly what Kirk said they could do, and he said it unequivocally, then that is exactly what they should have done. The second thing they should have done was present all of their evidence in a scientific manner, true they are not scientist but any minor league scientist would look at how they presented what they had and tell you that what they did was not even scientific, yes it did provoke thought and discussion but it should have been done in a orderly and scientific manner. If they would have taken the time they could have done this.
As for your comments with regards to Steve being mean spirited, I just do not see it, perhaps what you need to do is develop a more leathery exterior.

SJ Camp said...

You said, "Ray and Kirk were in a debate with ground rules, not open air preaching. See the difference?"

Yes I do... and the unfortunate thing is, they broke the very rules and the purpose they claimed that this debate was about - scientifically proving the existence of God without mentioning faith nor the Bible.

Here are their own words: Perhaps you think that anyone who says that he can prove the existence of God is a dreamer. Maybe, like most people, you believe that the issue is a matter of "faith." Then we must be dreamers, because we can prove that God exists, scientifically, absolutely, without mentioning faith or even the Bible. Do you find that hard to believe? Then watch the debate." -Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron

This was the purpose of the debate. For Ray and Kirk in their newsletter article that I read today spin this unfortunate situation by not owning their own words, saying that we must have misunderstood them, and then saying that their number reason for this all along was to share the gospel to millions of people, is being deceitful AND false in their advertising for this debate.

THAT is the issue brother; and while I love Ray and Kirk as my brothers in the Lord and pray for them in their ministry often, I will not apologize for what I have written here and neither should any other blogger as well.

Grace and peace,
Col. 1:9-14

SJ Camp said...

If anyone here wants to read or listen to The Great Debate on this issue go here.

Ray and Kirk would do well to listen/read this wonderful and powerful apologetic on The Existence of God.

This is how it should be done beloved.
2 Cor. 4:5-7

tntragan said...

I would agree that perhaps Ray and Kirk should have been more clear as to their intentions on how they would present their case, but if they did as you suggest and lay out a long discourse on all of the appolegetic evidence, where would the time have been for the gospel.

Your not getting the point. They were there to present the Gospel message to the millions of viewers, not to win a debate.

The discussion with the athiests was only the bait to lure the audience. The hook is the Gospel.

I hope they continue in the boldness that none of the monday morning quarterbacks of the forum have. They are doing the work that all of us should be doing.

How many who have posted have shared their faith with someone this week, this month, this year?

Lets get busy. Souls are going to hell and argueing about techniques are not pulling anyone out.

gigantor1231 said...


So what you are saying is that it is ok to deceive them to get them in? This means you do not trust the power of the Holy Spirit or the fact that the Gospel is the power of God to salvation. This is pure pragmatism and pure sewage!!!
Of course if you mix some buddhism with your Christianity this works out just great, the end justifies the means and it does not matter that the word of God commands us not to lie and or deceive. What a foolish and shameful thing.

SJ Camp said...

Gigantor said it well.

FYI: I am in full-time ministry - have been for 29 years. Most weekends I am out ministering in song and Word doing the work of an evangelist. There is no Monday morning quarterbacking going on here.

Ray and Kirk were not as bold as you might think at the debate. Have you actually seen all of the video clips? I have been in much worse situations than this. They dropped the ball both biblically and pragmatically and were deceitful in the process. As you even said, "to lure them..." That is not honoring to Christ nor His gospel.

BTW: I don't allow anonymous posting here (read the rules of this blog). Please fill out all of the bio information that blogger has provided and then you may comment again. I want to know who I am speaking to. Until then, all future comments will be deleted.

Say what you will here, but be man or woman enough to let us know who you are. That would be honorable in the Lord to do so.

Grace and peace,
2 Cor. 4;5-7

tntragan said...


I signed up on a new google account. If there is something else I must do please let me know. I tried to fill out the info that was required. I had not responded yet to the email that they sent me so perhaps it had not yet given you the information you needed. I was not hiding as you suggest, another accusation which it seems you are good a leveling.

Bait does not necessarily imply deception. It was meant to get the platform to share the Gospel. Not all people are going to line up to hear someone preach, but perhaps they would come if they thought some Christians were going to be put to shame.

I am glad Kirk and Ray were willing to be fools for Christ. I saw some thing I might have done differently but I am not going to blast them for their efforts to evangelize the lost.


nick said...

Whats more important winning a debate or preaching the gospel to millions?

After the deabate, some of us had some good conversations, you see Ray and Kirk's intentions as you know from Ray's reponse to you steve is to get the gospel out to the mass. They planted to seed.
The debate is on youtube, so imagine people get to hear the Full Gospel, not a water down version, just pray this prayer.

I say Amen to Ray and Kirk,and professing Christians could say all they want, but when it comes down to it, when was the last time you shared your faith.

cyd said...

No one is dismissing the importance and urgency of preaching the Gospel.

The issue here is the claim that was made and not delivered upon:

"we can prove that God exists, scientifically, absolutely, without mentioning faith or even the Bible."

What on earth for?

Hebrews 4:12 says that
"the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Why fight a battle with the Q-tips of logic and human reason when the Word of God is a Powerful and Active Sword, which, when wielded by the Holy Spirit, can slay anything?!

The atheists, who BTW, said they used to be christians, offered valid questions that required solid, BIBLICAL answers. Nothing less will ever suffice.

Great Post. Thanks Steve.

gigantor1231 said...

Nick and Tom

So what you are saying is; as long as we get the gospel to them it does not matter what form it comes in, even if it means telling some little fib or inaccuracy, I mean as long as they get the Gospel, right? The end justifies the means?
You will find that this is true, those that are won to Christ by the truth alone are those that are truly saved. Those that come to Christ under partial truth are only partly saved and that usually leads to no salvation at all or false conversion. Also, I would have to say that most, if not all those that do not know God hate it when they are lied to and or deceived in order that someone might preach to them and justly so. What you do when you draw people with inaccuracy is just foster more of a envioronment of loathing.
Bottom line is, if you can not rely on 100% truth and accuracy then you should not be preaching the word at all, and I am not talking about a innocent mistake causing error of confusion. The intent to lie to draw someone in is dispicable. We are children of light and all that we do should be in the light, there is no darkness or deceit in Christ and neither should we have any, that is for the world. Becoming all things to all people does not mean becoming a liar to see liars saved! Become all things means sacrificing to reach the lost, that is agape, sacrificial love.
Jesus loves us so much that He always ministered to thos following him with the full truth, even if it meant they would leave off following him if they heard it, read John 6, especially 6:26 onward. He told all of the truth even though some of his disciples left him. Shouldn't we do the same thing when ever we preach the Gospel?

SJ Camp said...

"but when it comes down to it, when was the last time you shared your faith."

This past Sunday with a Muslim whom i met that afternoon. I had the privilege of talking with him about the claims of the Koran vs. the Scriptures; salvation by works vs. justification by faith alone through the Lord Jesus Christ alone. IOW, a religion of human achievement vs. a faith of divine accomplishment.

You can pray for him; his name is Ahmat.

In His grace,
Phil. 1:27

tntragan said...

Gigantor and Steve:

It amazes me that you would assume that Ray intentionally deceived or lied. Ray is a brother in Christ and I would assume first of all that his intentions were not to deceive and perhaps he either did not state his intentions clearly enough or he was misunderstood or both

If you read Ray's response to the peanut gallery you would have heard that he gave a complete outline of everything he was going to say. They knew for sure that he was going to bring up the bible and the Gospel.

He also stated that he did exactly what he said he would. He proved the existence of God by not using the bible but rather "logic" (since you don't want to call it science) first. After that he proved Gods existence he went into other reasons to believe in God and the reason we need a Savior.

This is where the scriptures came in Cyd. He never had any intention of trying to win anyone over without the scriptures.

I say instead of jumping to the conclusion that Ray and Kirk purposefully mislead or lied to anyone we give them the benefit of the doubt. Isn't that what brothers and sisters in Christ do?


tntragan said...

You know I think I have had a change of heart.

You people on this blog have convinced me.

I let Ray and the way of the master get the better of me. I got all excited that I finally had the tools and knowledge of how to witness to someone in a clear and concise way. I have been witnessing to relatives and total strangers to share the hope that lies within me. I was planning to get with other brothers and sisters in Christ and go to a local fair in Cocquille, Oregon and do some one on one witnessing and handing out tracts.

But now I realize, thanks to your encouragement that I really should not be doing this.

I mean maybe I might not have all the answers to their questions. Or maybe I might have the wrong answer. I might even say something that would offend them and cause them to turn away from God completely. I don't want this on my shoulders. I think I will give up on witnessing to others and just sit on the couch at home and let them figure out God on their own. I'm sure they would be better off for my lack of effort.


gigantor1231 said...


When in doubt go to the facts! Here is what was and still is written on Ray and Kirks web site word for word;

"When ABC ran a story in January about hundreds of atheists video-taping themselves blaspheming the Holy Spirit, Ray contacted the network and told them he could prove God’s existence, absolutely, scientifically, without mentioning the Bible or faith."

OK, now this is exactly what they said "no mention of the Bible or faith." Steve has been fair in that he has been more than willing to give the benefit of the doubt and if you will read my commentaries on here you will note that I was one of the first to get on him for being to hard on Ray and Kirk. But the fact still remains that Ray and Kirk said one thing and did another, you can not deny that unless you choose to avoid the truth yourself! The point to this whole blog here is that we have been discussing the issue of honesty and the appearance of and fact of impropriety with regards to the way Ray and Kirk handled this whole event. Bottom line is Ray and Kirk should have done exactly what they said from the start and that is not mention the Bible and faith, if they would have done that this would not have been a issue, also, if they would atleast admit what they did was wrong it would be a step in the right direction.
As for you Tom, I am curious. Do you think that lieing and deceiving in order to get to preach the gospel is acceptable? Do you think this is how Christ or any of the apostles did things or taught us to do things in the word? Try to answer from the facts available and don't get all emotional and sarcastic like you did on your last post.
Lastly, I have to be honest with you, after visiting the Way of the Master web site it looks like pragmatism and gimmick cetral to me. Seems to me that when we have to resort to gimmicks and marketing to preach the Gospel we overshadow the work of the Holy Spirit and the power of the simple Gospel, the power of the pure unadulterated truth.

tntragan said...


In answer to your question I say no, it is not ok to lie to present the Gospel. But you are avoiding my comments about your presupposition that Ray purposefully misled and lied to those people. Like I said, He fulfilled his claim to prove God without the Bible and then moved on from there.

Everyone participating in the debate knew that he would use the bible.

You want to assume the worst, I assume the best until proven otherwise.

Did you read Ray's response to the criticism?

I think the real issue is that you thought they did a poor job of presenting the appologetic arguements and you are looking for any excuse to dismiss them and their efforts.

Also what part of "way of the master" do you find pragmatic and gimmicky?

The part where they confront people with the law of God?

Or perhaps the part where they warn people of their destiny with God on judgement day?

Or maybe that they will Go to hell without Jesus?

Is it the full Gospel presented that makes you uneasy?

Maybe you should talk to some of the 8000 students that have gone through their on-line training course and see if it has made any difference in their approach to evangelism.

I think that the efforts Ray and Kirk put forth in that debate will not burn up on the day of reward.

I do think, however, that the un-chistian like back stabbing on this blog will get a little crispy though.


Anonymous said...

Hey everybody, i read this whole thing, comments and links and all. Having said that, i think everyone posting here will enjoy my response to this here:

You can also check my blog out at

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to send 3 times. Sorry. Hope you can delete the 2 redundant ones.

tntragan said...

Hey Tom:

Can't get to that site as it is set to private. Let us know how we can view this blog please.

another Tom

gigantor1231 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gigantor1231 said...


You said

'you are avoiding my comments about your presupposition that Ray purposefully misled and lied to those people. Like I said, He fulfilled his claim to prove God without the Bible and then moved on from there.'

Please show me where I made this presupposition Tom! I said that I hoped that he did not intentionally do this but if he did that it was not a proper way to present the Gospel.
As for what I have read regarding this issue, I have read everything that I could find related to the topic on their sight. If you have something else to read leave a link to it. Also instead of making rhetorical knee jerk statements please try to present some facts that can be verified.

As I said before, and I used verifiable quotes in what I said, Ray and Kirk said that they would prove the existence of God scientifically, they made certain statements that pointed to the existence of God but they delivered no scientific proof. Here is a synopsis of the scientific method, Ray and Kirk did not come close to following this elementary pattern, if they want those they address to take them seriously at all, either now or in the future, they need to follow this in some form.

The scientific method involves the following basic facets:

Observation. A constant feature of scientific inquiry.
Description. Information must be reliable, i.e., replicable (repeatable) as well as valid (relevant to the inquiry).

Prediction. Information must be valid for observations past, present, and future of given phenomena, i.e., purported "one shot" phenomena do not give rise to the capability to predict, nor to the ability to repeat an experiment.

Control. Actively and fairly sampling the range of possible occurrences, whenever possible and proper, as opposed to the passive acceptance of opportunistic data, is the best way to control or counterbalance the risk of empirical bias.

Falsifiability, or the elimination of plausible alternatives. This is a gradual process that requires repeated experiments by multiple researchers who must be able to replicate results in order to corroborate them.
This requirement, one of the most frequently contended, leads to the following: All hypotheses and theories are in principle subject to disproof. Thus, there is a point at which there might be a consensus about a particular hypothesis or theory, yet it must in principle remain tentative. As a body of knowledge grows and a particular hypothesis or theory repeatedly brings predictable results, confidence in the hypothesis or theory increases. (See also Lakatos.)

Causal explanation. Many scientists and theorists on scientific method[attribution needed] argue that concepts of causality are not obligatory to science, but are in fact well-defined only under particular, admittedly widespread conditions. Under these conditions the following requirements are generally regarded as important to scientific understanding:
Identification of causes. Identification of the causes of a particular phenomenon to the best achievable extent.

Covariation of events. The hypothesized causes must correlate with observed effects.
Time-order relationship. The hypothesized causes must precede the observed effects in time.

It is important as Christians that we are precise about our intentions, and that we leave no room for accusation, the scriptures teach us regarding the word that we need to cut it straight, in other words we need to present it as clear as possible, we should keep this in mind when making any public declaration or speech.

2 Tim 2:14-15

14 Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The New King James Version. 1982 (2 Ti 2:14-15). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Honesty and integrity should be our hallmark in any public setting or situation. Having read and heard what Ray and Kirk have said, to this point, they did not do what they said they were going to do. I would hope that in the future they be more precise in what they say they are going to do, they are the ones that generated the expectation of not using the word in their proof as well as they should have done it in a scientific manner.

2 Cor. 6:3

We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.

The New King James Version. 1982 (2 Co 6:3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

The problem is simple to solve, acknowledge the error and learn from it, move on to higher ground next time and make a better presentation.

tntragan said...

I would like to change my tone and humble myself and share my personal testimony to explain why I am so passionate about this whole thing.

I have been a Christian for 22 years. I was saved at the age of 17 and I immediately got involved in the youth group of my church. I later became very involved in adult ministries.

I was involved in worship team ministies. I led small groups. I was involved in mens ministies.

I was and am today very involved in the operation of the church and that is and was a good thing. I was, however, complacent in my thinking. I felt that I was doing my part to evangelize my community by "workng" in the church.

It was not until I came under the teaching of some of Ray Comforts material that I became convicted of not doing enough to see the Gospel preached. I was caught up in the "modern gospel" that says just be a friend and meet everyones needs and tell people God loves them and has great plans for them.

I did not actively share my faith mostly because I was fearful due to my lack of knowledge on how to effectively share the Gospel. I used that fear and hid behind my ministies at the church.

Through Ray's ministry I have gained confidence and boldness to proclaim the truth. I have been witnessing to relatives, acquaintances, and complete strangers. I have new desires to see the lost saved.

This change of heart has brought about a complete change in my Christian walk. I have more purpose in reading God's Word. I have more meaningful prayer time. I have a zeal to know God like never before.

I don't see people as annoyances but as someone who needs God's grace and mercy. Someone who needs to be convicted of their sins and presented with the Good news of Salvation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I'm not trying to advertize for "way of the master", but Ray's ministry has had a big impact on my life and I finally feel like I have purpose in my every day life instead of just on my Sunday ministies at the church.

I'm not holding Ray and Kirk above reproach. I do understand the concern for our need to be completely honest in our dealings with the lost. I also feel they could have perhaps done a better job in presenting their case. I do, however, maintain that I don't think they were intentionally trying to deceive or mislead anyone. I also maintain that according to Ray's testimony that all of the participants knew in advance how Ray was going to present his case (bible included).

When I approach someone with the intention of sharing the Gospel I come in fear and trembling. I know that I might not make my presentation clear enough. I might leave something important out. I might say something that is completely wrong. But I go anyway knowing that If I go with a desire to bring glory to God through His beautiful Gospel, God will do the rest.

I honestly feel that Ray and Kirk went with the right motives. They might not have pulled off a grand slam out of the park home run, in our minds, but I believe that they gave God their best. I hope God blesses them for their efforts. They had more courage than 99% of the rest of us to do something for the cause of spreading the Gospel.

I agree with you in that I hope they take this experience and learn from it and try to do better next time. Just like I try to do with every witness encounter I have. These men are not perfect and neither are we.

I appologize for the length of this post but my heart has been leading me on. I sincerely hope and pray that everyone reading this will develop a heart for the lost.

Again I am not trying to be a spokesman for Ray's ministry but they have some wonderful resources at "". I would encourage everyone to listen to the free audio "Hell's best kept secret" and "True and false conversion". These teachings are what started me on my path to becoming active in evangelism.

I hope God blesses you in your efforts to serve our God. And I am sorry for the length of this post.


tntragan said...

Here are Ray Comforts comments on peoples accusations of not keeping his word.


Not Keeping my Word

There seems to be some confusion about the structure of the debate. A press release headline was changed, stating this would be a "Bible-less debate." That was never the case. In fact, I provided Brian (the atheist) with a copy of my outline some time before the debate. He knew that I would begin by demonstrating God's existence without using the Bible or faith (ie. creation proves there is a Creator). He then knew that I would then open up the Ten Commandments (ie. conscience proves there is a moral law and thus a Law Giver). Finally, he also knew that I would end with the gospel. He knew I planned to move from a presentation of the general evidence of God to specific proof about Jesus Christ. So it greatly puzzled us that Brian feigned "shock" when he heard it.

Despite these accusations, I am deeply thankful to God that the full gospel was preached on ABC's Home Page (they get 19 million visitors each month), and it is still going out all over the Internet, and will do for years to come. What an incredible opportunity we were given. Only eternity will tell what took place.


Further up on this blog is a link to the whole article by Ray.


gigantor1231 said...


Apology accepted and no offense taken!

I too have been a Christian for over 20 plus years. I have never really been involved in the hierarchy of church leadership but I have been involved in evangelism for pretty much all of the time that I have been a Christian. In high school it was D James Kennedies 'Evangelism Explosion', then it was Bill Bright's four spiritual laws, next I was then involved in YWAM's discipleship training school in Tacoma Washington and traveled throughout the western united states sharing the gospel via skits, plays, street witnessing, met up with Nicky Cruz and David Wilkerson on the streets of Hollywood in LA for inner city evangelism, hooked up with Keith Green and last days ministries at Jesus West Coast at a place called Devonshire Downs, I got to meet and speak to Keith here, it was about three weeks later that he and his two children went home, I also have had the opportunity to work with Winkie Pratney and Lauren Cunningham. Then in college it was Francis Anfuso's 'Two Question Test' along with open air preaching on campus at Oregon State University with AC Green, went to church and lived with AC for a time, we were involved in a very evangelistic church called Maranatha Campus Ministries together, to be honest with you Maranatha was the most legalistic group I have ever been involved with and I would have to say that it was so overboard that it was almost cult like in it's beliefs and evangelistic tactics. I only say all of this to say that the one thing that has impacted me more than anything else with regards to evangelism is that I do not need to do it! I am not under any legal mandate or am I forced in any way to share Christ! Although the organizations that I have served with and the leaders and men of God that I have been under have been a great blessing and I have learned and experienced much. All of this is rubbish compared with the surpassing greatness of God's love for me in that He has chosen me according to his good pleasure and He chooses to love me. I was as a infant left in the wilderness to die, wallowing in my own blood but He saw me and had compassion on me. He picked me up and raised me as a son with his only begotten son and He has assured my salvation and no one or nothing can remove me from that, I am his and there is nothing more I can do or need to do, He has done it all!!!
I do not have to evangelize anyone but I love Him so much for what He has done for me that I want to bring others to him, I get to sew seed and or water, I get to become less and less that He might become more and more. Of all the Evangelistic programs, gimmicks and methods I can tell you this, the pure un adulterated truth of the Gospel is the most powerful tool that I have, my presentation of it is not forced because it is so simple and it is out of pure love alone that I give it to others. To be honest with you it is a natural thing for me to share because I know that it is all Christ who causes it to bring increase and it is not of me or of any man made program, He alone brings the increase and draws all men to him.

Eph. 2:4-10;

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

The New King James Version. 1982 (Eph 2:4-10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

It is not only that it is not of our own works that we earn any part in our salvation, he chose to show kindness to us while we were dead in our tresspasses. It is just as true that we have no part in anyone elses salvation via evangelism it is all him. As the apostle Paul said;

1 Cor. 3:5-9;

5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (1 Co 3:5-9). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

So in this great process of evangelism we are nothing, we present and God does the rest. Ultimately we are not responsible for nor do we get credit for the salvation of any man, we simply sow or water and we are rewarded for our work. What a great thing, there is no pressure in the sense that Christ does it all, I just present the pure and simple gospel. That being said, I understand that the method of presentation may be different for each one that we are presenting to but we should keep it as simple and un cluttered as possible for it is the Gospel that is the power of God to salvation and apart from it, apart from Him of whom it proclaims, there are none that are saved.

Romans 1:16-17

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

The New King James Version. 1982 (Ro 1:16-17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

tntragan said...

AMEN and AMEN!!!!!

I think we have found common ground. I appreciate your response. I agree 100% that salvation is completely of God.

It does, however, benefit us to be prepared. And that is all I am saying about Ray's ministry. That is it's purpose, to prepare people to share the Gospel in an effective way.

It sounds like you have had many mentors in your journey. I have not in regards to evangelism. Unfortunately most churches do not teach biblical evangelism.

Your right in that we do not legally have to evangelize to be saved. But what a priveleage to get to share the hope that is within us!

For some reason (I can't figure out why), God chose me to be his messenger. WOW! He chose each of us that call upon His name to do His good purpose.

Isaiah 6:5
"Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts"

If only people would repent and believe on Jesus. Lord please let me be a workman unashamed. I hope God blesses you in your service to our Lord and King.

BTW do you live in Oregon?

I live in Reesport on the Oregon Coast.

God Bless,


gigantor1231 said...

I am in Scappoose, about 20 miles North of Portland.

SJ Camp said...

While I appreciate your heartfelt emotional response on this issue, I do not allow anonymous posting on this blog.

Anyone can say whatever they would like as long as they follow the rules of engagement listed here. I do, however, want to know with whom I am speaking.

Please fill out the profile information that blogger makes available. Upon doing so, you may repost here anytime you wish and are welcome on this blog.

Until then, you may not post here and all posts will be deleted.

Thank you...

Lynn said...

Sorry, Steve. New to blogging, I don't know the rules of engagement and thought my first name was sufficient so I'm not "anonymous." I hope I filled out enough details now. (I work all the time and pretty much have no hobbies, so I hope I provided all the info that's relevent for posting here.) Thanks!

Lynn said...


I've greatly appreciated your ministry throughout the years, and I admire your heart for the Lord and your desire to promote the truth. So I was shocked to hear your critical comments about Ray and Kirk and their performance at the debate.

Perhaps by the "scientific proof" that was promised, some were expecting God to be produced in a petrie dish. But "scientific" just means "producing knowledge." Ray stated this at the beginning of the debate, and said he would be using simple proofs to "produce knowledge" of God. I'm sorry if you missed that crucial statement. But the fact is, he did exactly as he claimed, using three clear evidences for the existence of God:

Creation: Produces intellectual knowledge of God (Rom. 1:20).

Conscience: Produces knowledge of sin and the need of God's forgiveness (Rom. 3:19,20).
Conversion: Produces knowledge of God experientially (John 14:21).

Are these "100% scientific" (knowledge-producing) proof of God? According to the Scriptures, breathed by God Himself, they are. No one will be able to stand before God on Judgment Day and claim he just didn't know. Romans 1 tells us that the evidence of creation alone is sufficient to prove God's existence, so that men are without excuse. Psalm 19:1-3 confirms that creation declares the glory of our Creator, and gives proof of His existence throughout all the earth. (In Rom. 10:18, Paul quotes this passage to emphasize that all men everywhere have heard this word of God, who is evidenced by His creation.) These are all the proofs necessary to know there is a God--according to our God, who cannot lie.

While a highly skilled apologist such as James White might have been able to "win" the debate with his intellectual arguments, he would not have won the atheists to the Lord. It is the GOSPEL that is the power of God to salvation, not intellectual arguments--a truth that Paul confirms: "My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God" (1 Cor. 2:4,5).

I praise God that the glorious gospel was proclaimed to millions of unsaved souls around the world! The biblical gospel, that brings knowledge of sin and the need for repentance. Is that not cause for rejoicing? It is irrelevant what answers Ray and Kirk did or didn't give, and what anyone else would have done differently. God used their faithfulness to boldly preach His gospel, and through their words the Holy Spirit is able to bring conviction and draw sinners to the Savior. Do we not trust God to work?

Also, Ray did not say they would never reference the Bible during the debate, just that he could "prove God's existence" by not requiring the Bible. This he did, using the proofs that God's Word says are sufficient evidence for all mankind.

The bottom line is, Ray and Kirk did exactly what they promised to do, and with complete integrity. You are mistaken in claiming that Ray and Kirk were "dishonest," engaged in deception, and failed to meet their stated goals. Steve, I believe your heart's desire is to promote what is true, so I pray that you will apologize publicly (as well as privately) to Ray and Kirk for maligning their character and ministry. May we all be about the Father's business and use our energies seeking to reach souls for our Savior.

cyd said...

Regarding the concerns and subsequent conversations over the 'tone' of this article, I just want to offer my two cents:

The tone is just fine.
No apologies necessary.

SJ Camp said...

Good to see you posting here--thank you.

You said, "Are these "100% scientific" (knowledge-producing) proof of God? According to the Scriptures, breathed by God Himself, they are."

Your statement really says it all--the debate according to Ray's own premise was to prove "the existence of God scientifically, absolutely, without mentioning faith or the Bible."

You have to mention the Bible and refer to it to even draw the principles you mentioned above. I agree with you that those things are found in the Bible--but he made the claim that he could prove God's existence without mentioning the Bible (that includes its principles as well).

He could not and more importantly--cannot.

Again, you don't give up Christianity to prove the existence of the God of Christianity. He and Kirk were not equipped Lynn for this debate and it was painful to watch.

I appreciate your thoughts...
Grace and peace,
Col. 1:9-14

SJ Camp said...

Thank you for your encouraging words...

I do appreciate Ray and Kirk as my brothers in the Lord, but one of the reasons I will not apologize for this post can be illustrated in one segment of this debate.

It was the segment where the ABC moderator asks Ray if he would like to answer Brian Sapient's comment that "God does not exist and the universe has always existed" - and Ray surpisingly says "no." I was taken back by his obvious avoidance of this question. Even the moderator seemed suprised as well. During this time, Kirk was staring at the ceiling for several seconds like a young man in class who didn't know the answer to the question and was hoping the teacher didn't call on him. Ray then asked Kirk, "do you want to respond?" Kirk hemmed a bit and then said this amazing thing, "No, I think they can figure it out."

What? That's it? That's the response from two believers in the Lord Jesus Christ on the issue of the self-existeing state of the universe to an athiest in a public debate? Unbelievable!

Again, if any of us pursued an audience with ABCNEWS to debate two athiests on this issue, set the premise for the debate, failed at meeting our own premise, and then gave those kinds of responses on basic questions, then anyone in the body of Christ would have the right and duty to publicly admonish us on such a weak performance. We in turn should be humble enough to receive the loving rebuke; own it; apologize to the body of Christ; learn from our mistakes; study hard, and then move on.

This is part and parcel as to why I won't apologize for this post.

Thanks again Cyd...
2 Cor. 4:5-7

BlackBaron said...

I am stuck somewhere between Lynn and Steve. I really appreciate Ray and Kirk's ministry and believe that Ray's plan worked from his perspective.

I listened to another debate between Ray and an atheist and he basically did exactly what he did in this debate. He does not try for the most part to respond to the atheistic arguments, but rather simply presents the gospel to a crowd which he assumes hasn't heard it before. Ray attempts to use the atheist in his debates as he would normally use a heckler while open air preaching, to captivate the audience. So, in part I agree with Lynn.

However, I felt your pain as well Steve. As you said, the segment when Ray and Kirk wouldn't answer was rough to watch, especially since there are some great responses to such an argument.

So, in the eyes of some, these no name atheists "won" the debate using weak arguments against two very visible representatives of evangelical Christianity.

So, now that the dust has settled, why not help these guys (Ray and Kirk) out Steve? Maybe you could go on the air to be interviewed by the 2 atheists? They have started a little radio show and have invited any believers to come on live and debate with them. Be an example of how it should be done.

Also, for a great 6 part written debate between Christopher Hitchens (smug atheist) and Douglas Wilson (humble, puppy loving theologian), go to Christianity Today's web site.

HeartMan said...

Steve, you were unkind and unreasonably critical towards your brethren. I didn't watch it until after I read your comments because I was unaware of it. Both Ray and Kirk had very good and well spoken points that they made and the only really bad remark was that Kirk credited evolution for the high degree of unbelief rather than the love of sin.
God's Word says only by pride comes contention. You obviously think you could do much better than Ray and Kirk. Maybe you could, but their effort wasn't nearly as bad as you made it out to be.

gettyman said...

"when debating atheists, first know what you are talking about" This is a must, here are a few facts for you Denise.

1. We atheists have for the most part read the bible cover to cover.
2. We have studied the facts of evolution and no what it does and doesn't say.
3. Most of us have done this with many theists, Christian and others, so we know most of your arguments before you start.
4. You're right it is only a game for us, we do it for fun not to be converted.
5. We do not accept you bible as valid proof of anything, in short it means nothing to us. Using it to prove your point is useless.
6. Personal testimony ditto as the bible, useless, we consider them lies for the most part.
7. Your ignorance of how nature and science work, although a source of amusement, is in no way valid proof of anything.
8. I am one of those atheists you claim do not exist, I have never been a believer of any religion. I, like you, was born an atheist. I was never indoctrinated into any religion. Like it or not we exist and FYI we don't hate your god, we just don't believe it exists.gumball1

gettyman said...

"when debating atheists, first know what you are talking about" This is a must, here are a few facts for you Denise.

1. We atheists have for the most part read the bible cover to cover.
2. We have studied the facts of evolution and no what it does and doesn't say.
3. Most of us have done this with many theists, Christian and others, so we know most of your arguments before you start.
4. You're right it is only a game for us, we do it for fun not to be converted.
5. We do not accept you bible as valid proof of anything, in short it means nothing to us. Using it to prove your point is useless.
6. Personal testimony ditto as the bible, useless, we consider them lies for the most part.
7. Your ignorance of how nature and science work, although a source of amusement, is in no way valid proof of anything.
8. I am one of those atheists you claim do not exist, I have never been a believer of any religion. I, like you, was born an atheist. I was never indoctrinated into any religion. Like it or not we exist and FYI we don't hate your god, we just don't believe it exists.gumball1

hannielebed said...

I hope I'm following the proper protocol here. tntragan's comments inspired me because like him, I want to share my witness to the gospel but struggle because I wasn't taught how. One thing that I rely on that has bearing on this discussion, I know I can always speak about what I know and I know that I should never claim to speak about what I do not know.

I cannot argue apologetics with atheists. I don't really know enough about either subject to debate anyone and that is why what Kirk did bothers me. I've seen and heard other Christians get in way over their heads talking like experts about subjects they know nothing about and I've seen for myself the damage caused by such debates.

On the other hand, that doesn't mean I have to be silent. I can talk about how I was suicidal and I prayed "God, please change me or put me out of my misery." I can talk about how God has healed me of physical problems that the doctors could not cure. I can talk about how God has been helping me recover financially. I can tell people why homosexuality is a sin and how God can transform lives. I can tell people how the welfare system does not line up with scripture. And I am learning to be even better at evangelism. But I can tell you from personal experience and what I've seen in the lives of others, my way of sharing the gospel is better than and less damaging than what Cameron and Comfort did.

hannielebed said...

Gettyman, I have a 136 IQ and a college degree in psychology by the way, I'm glad my lack of knowledge amuses you. Your pedantic grandiloquence reminds me of the historical figure of Duns Scotus and it means nothing to me. Great book knowledge may make for great debates in your ivory tower but it doesn't solve the problems of the world. This is no game to me.

Rick Warden said...

If you look up the word proof in the dictionary, you'll see it's a relative term which simply depends on when a person feels convinced. The fact is, people are drawn to the word proof.

Recently, I've been scanning some atheist blogs and haven't found any of the wonderfully trained Christian debaters doing any debating.

Though a layman, I am inspired to challenge atheist philosophers with extensive vocabularies because I have one very important thing, the truth.

I've challenged them to disprove my article in layman's terms:

"How Identity, Logic and Physics Prove God's Existence"

BTW - I'm interested in contributing blog authors if anyone is open to this.