Last night's debate was nothing if not long and grueling. In total, it ran for nearly 3 hours when you include a rather contentious question and answer session. Technical glitches dominated the opening minutes, causing me to abandon the use of Skype and the simulcast feed to Brenda's show. I will gladly, at her request, make available the MP3 download.
The debate itself.
This was the debate that never happened. As she indicated on our show, she had listened to our other Sola Scriptura debates and this clearly altered her strategy. Having heard us utterly obliterate the cases made by Sister Judy and George Lujack, She apparently realized the futility of supporting Sola Scriptura affirmatively and abandoned any empirical case to do so.
Her entire opening statement consisted of two strategies. The first relied on anecdotal evidence of her own adolescence when, according to her, between the ages of 10 and 13, she came to read and understand Scripture in it's entirety. She continued to hold to this Scripture is easy canard and never even attempted to counter practical and Biblical arguments to the contrary.
The second part of her opening salvo was to rely liberally on the arguments of James White who defends Sola Scriptura with semantic equivocations (Sola/Solo) that directly countered Brenda's own words and the clear historical doctrine of Sola Scriptura as defined by the reformers and, frankly, insulted the intelligence of the audience.
Brenda was hoisted by her own words, in her own opening statement, that Scripture was "the only infallible source of truth" available to us. To attempt to call that characterization anything but exclusionary stretches her credibility well beyond the breaking point.
If the intention of her opening statement was merely to catch me by surprise, it succeeded. I was surprised by how effectively she pinned herself to the mat and never really attempted to get free. In her rebuttal, she created a long and interesting revisionist narrative about apostolic succession that had obviously been prescript-ed.
Rather than prepare to even attempt to counter my arguments, she simply used her rebuttal as a second opening statement. Unfortunately for her, her second opening statement, like her first, did absolutely nothing to build an affirmative case for Sola Scriptura. To compound her problem, the opening case I built against it was thorough and utterly devastating.
If there was anything that she succeeded in, it was in causing me not to present all the counter arguments I was prepared to make, simply because I couldn't mount a counter against the attack that never came. Those arguments are in our show notes.
To her credit, Brenda showed up and acted with Grace. I do not doubt that she will be far more formidable on doctrines where she is not at such a clear and overwhelming disadvantage. Last night, she lost huge but we are determined to be graceful winners and not rub salt in. We thank her for debating with us and wish her good luck in future debates.
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