Debating…

For preparation and educational purposes, I want to bring the topics of debates to the table. The main reason for bringing this up, is because it seems to be the main reaction of people here in the US to anything Scriptural, spiritual, or in any other way controversial, and thus evangelism. Not only this, but that apologetics and dealing with objections has always been around.

I have a few intentions in mind for starting this forum. I would like to be clear on whether or not debating is in fact Scriptural, how it is to be done, with whom (if specific) do we engage, as well as things like examples throughout Scripture or within our own experiences, alternatives, and anything else that is possible to find.

I do not intend to distract anybody or give someone any further reason to not be doing what we are commanded, it is more that I would like us to be able to learn from our doing of the Word and maybe even warnings and convictions of the Spirit.

As we travel farther from the time of Jesus’ ministry and the first apostles/disciples, it is harder and harder to distinguish what the true and complete standard and example is that we are to follow from all of the denominational and other-wise divisional teachings/examples that we have before us today. Therefore, I think the main intention for this is that I am preparing to disciple inner-city youth this fall as part of the ministry God has given me and for my sake and their sakes, this could be a huge lesson to learn.

Lastly, it is my intention to see this from a “full-gospel” point of view, rather than from the typical, cessationalist-evangelical point of view. With this, I would like to point out that I have a hard time finding examples of this, today, within Spirit-filled evangelism, although I see it everywhere. So it is also to help clarify a few things to me in regards of Spirit-filled evangelism.

As I began thinking about this, there was a Scripture that came to mind from

1 Peter 3:15-16 “…and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

I have looked into many different things over the past few years and the most common reoccurring things are pertaining to evolution/creationism, science, logic, rationality, history, etc. Every debate that I know of is centered on these, in fact, the very rules of most, if not all, debates require the use of some of these things in presenting your argument.

As I continue to read the pages, websites, and watch the videos, I see that it is very rare that Scripture is used as an authority, or even worse that the Christian/Biblical view prevails by much (or at all.) Why is this?

The constant thought I have is that of Elijah and the prophets of Baal.

1 Kings 18:19-40 19Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.
20So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.
21And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
22Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
23Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:
24And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
25And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under.
26And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.
27And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.
28And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.
29And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
30And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.
31And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:
32And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.
33And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.
34And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.
35And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
36And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
37Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
38Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
39And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.
40And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

That is the closest example I can think of in Scripture to that of a debate.

As for today I think of people like Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens and how they prevail time after time in these areas with people from every religion, spirituality, and even Christianity. There are even many people who fear these people because of the vast resources, publications, and such they’ve written as well as their experiences in the field of debates. I also see how prevalent other religions are, and how many people have actually converted from Christianity. (I understand not every “Christian” is a true follower of Christ, “little Christ.” This also is part of this issue, I think, of how Christianity has reverted to just another religion when it was once in a whole other league.)

What are your thoughts? What Scripture comes to mind? Have you experienced any of this? If so, what came from it, or what have you learned? Does anyone have a challenge that could possibly bring this outside the realm of theory, opinion, knowledge, etc. and into our lives, evangelism, ministry, etc.?

What do YOU think?

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Comments

  1. jesseedavis says:

  2. jesseedavis says:

    a passage in 2 Corinthians 12-13.

    2 Corinthians 12:20-13:2 20For I fear, lest, when I come, I should not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults:
    21And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.
    1This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:

    There are debates that are wrong and are condemned. If I’m thinking right, there are places elsewhere that talk about these kinds of debates, describing them as useless arguments over doctrine and Scripture or something. I will look further into this.

  3. jesseedavis says:

    It seems to me that this passage is a missing key that could possibly prevent all debates when evangelizing:

    Mark 16:17-20 17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
    18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
    19So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
    20And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

    The reason for my believing this, is that when people questioned the events of Jesus and those at Pentecost, Peter says this:

    Acts 2:14-40 14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
    15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
    16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
    17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
    18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
    19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
    20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:
    21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    22Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
    23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
    24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

    25For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
    26Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
    27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
    28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

    29Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
    30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
    31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
    32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
    33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

    34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
    35Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
    36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

    37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
    38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
    40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

    He preached the Word as an authority and testified of the miracles, signs, and wonders as confirmation of these things. What do you guys think?

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