Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Drew's Drive-Time Debate

Rumor has it that Drew Mariani from Relevant Radio will be hosting some sort of debate featuring Baptist “Evangelist” Mike Gendron from Proclaiming the Gospel Ministries, and a Catholic Apologist tomorrow on the Drew Mariani Show.

Oh, and here’s a wonderful little blurb from Mr. Gendron’s website:

As a Roman Catholic for over 30 years, I was taught from the Catechism that salvation was by faith plus baptism, the sacraments, good works, law keeping, the sacrifice of the Mass, indulgences, purgatory and penance. According to God's word this is another gospel that leaves Catholics with a false hope. Only when Catholics trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their all-sufficient savior will they know they are saved completely and forever!

The Purpose Of Proclaiming The Gospel Ministries
1. To urge Roman Catholics to renounce their faith in anything that opposes or nullifies the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. To persuade Roman Catholics to personally place their complete trust in Jesus Christ, His word, His grace, His redemption, His perfect sacrifice, His substitutionary atonement, and His finished work, so they can be saved from the power and penalty of sin and become children of God.
3. To expose the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church that oppose or nullify the true Gospel, so people can know truth from error and not be deceived.
4. To awaken Christians and evangelical churches to the reality that Catholics who adhere to the official dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church need to hear the gospel and repent from their dead works. (Hebrews 6:1)

Thanks Mike, wonderful work you're doing. Please, don’t hold back, tell us how you really feel about the Catholic Church. How does the line go, “5 minutes before leaving the Church they knew nothing about Her teaching, 5 minutes after they’re an expert.”

So, does anyone know who the “Catholic Apologist” is? Not sure if it’s been mentioned on the radio show (I don’t listen to it), but I can’t seem to find it online anywhere.

Here are the agreed upon terms of the debate (from Mr. Gendron’s camp):
1. “What must I do to be saved?” is the only topic.
2. Only the Bible will be used as a source for truth.
3. The debate will be in a Catholic medium or a neutral place. (Mike will not perpetuate their false doctrine in evangelical churches)

This is such a bad idea. Why would Relevant Radio give this guy a platform? What’s the point? The way I see it you have three possible outcomes of such a debate:

1. They both duke it out to a perceived draw. In this case, each side (protestant and Catholic) walk away feeling that their gladiator did a good job.

2. The Catholic apologist does a better job than the protestant. All of the Catholic listeners (98% of those listening that day) will feel better about what they already believe. Come on, it's a Catholic radio station after all! Humbleness still being a virtue in the Church, the debate become a fond memory. The 2% of the protestant listeners will feel as though their warrior was stymied by the Catholic host.

3. The protestant “evangelist” Mike “I was a Roman Catholic for over 30 years” Gendron does a better job than the mystery Catholic apologist. Catholics in the listening crowd feel uncomfortable, and a small few may even have their faith shook. The 2% of protestant listeners are pumped. Humbleness, no longer part of Mr. Gendron’s belief system (hey, just check out his website), the audio recording and broadcast it over the Internet like the spoils of war.

Being a little facetious here, but I have to question if the risk is worth the possible gain.

Not to sure how many in the Catholic world were aware of the big “Atheist Debate” that went on about a month ago. It featured Christians (from the Way of the Master) Kirk Cameron (remember Growing pains?) and Ray Comfort (another evangelist) facing off against atheists (from the Rational Response Squad) Kelly (never gave her last name) and Brian Sapien (creator of the despicable Blasphemy Challenge website) to debate the existence of God. The debate was hosted by ABC news. Yout can still watch the debate here if you're interested.

So, what happened when the self appointed defenders of Theism and Atheism clashed? It was at best a draw. The atheists’ arguments were old, tired, and weak. They conducted themselves in an immature almost “oh yeah, …, well you’re stupid” manner. The Christians on the other hand were unable to really answer the arguments the atheists put forth, or to deal with the predictable rebuttals from the atheists. The Christians seemed unable to sustain any solid argument and came across as just, well, unprepared.

The result was a boost to the atheist crowd's moral, and a lot of head shaking and disappointment from the Christian realm. The number of people visiting the Blasphemy Challenge website went through the roof. After a couple of millennia of feeling the ideals of atheism could not be defended in the light of Christian logic, they now had a confidence to be bold - and obnoxious.

People put way too much weight behind debates. The argument can easily turn from what concept is correct, to who is the better debater. The truth found in a concept is in no way dependant on a person’s ability to defend it, or even their ability to persuade others to hold it. Truth is truth by the very virtue of what it is. The whole world could believe it false, and it would still be true.

So I do hope that the debate goes well tomorrow. I hope that the unknown Catholic apologist (I hope they’re from the Catholic Answers world) makes quick work of Mr. Gendron, and the show moves on to something a little more “relevant”.

No comments: