February 20, 2019
Yesterday, on the February 19, 2019 episode of his webcast The Dividing Line, apologist James White issued a public challenge for us to debate him at a proposed pre-conference meeting before the upcoming Text and Canon Conference to be held at Christ Reformed Church outside Atlanta, Georgia on Friday-Saturday, October 25-26, 2019.
Here is our response to James White’s challenge:
First, we do not believe that a pre-conference debate would serve the purposes or goals of this conference, which will be to offer a positive presentation of what we respectively refer to as the Canonical Text (Robert Truelove) or Confessional Text (Jeff Riddle) position.
Furthermore, if James White had a sincere, collegial interest in participating, it would have been more appropriate to have contacted either of us privately, so that we could have explained to him the goals and purposes of this conference.
Second, Alpha and Omega Ministries and Jeff Riddle have already been contacted earlier this year by a church in Roanoke, Virginia asking about interest in an academic dialogue or debate with James White and Jeff Riddle on the topic of text criticism, to be hosted at a local theological institute. Jeff Riddle expressed openness to the possibility of participation, but Alpha and Omega Ministries reportedly questioned whether there would be significant enough interest in such an event to warrant James White’s participation. If James White is still interested in a public academic discussion with Jeff Riddle in the Spring of 2020 on the topic of text criticism, we encourage Alpha and Omega Ministries to consult with the church that has already contacted them to work out the details.
Third, although we do not believe that it would be worthwhile to change our conference plans to accommodate James White’s proposal, we are open to sincere and forthright conversation with James White about the important issues related to the text of Scripture. We believe that such a conversation might well be addressed through a thoughtful written dialogue.
Therefore, we invite James White to join with us in a written exchange on the topic of “Text Criticism and the Providential Preservation of Scripture.”
We suggest that this exchange might follow the following format: Robert Truelove, Jeff Riddle, and James White would each write a 5-6,000 word essay on the topic. These essays would then be shared among the three, and each would write a 2,000-3,000 word response to the other two participants. These responses would also be shared among the three, and then each would write a final 1,000 word conclusion. The result would be a 25-30,000 word booklet that would address this topic in what we believe would be a more thorough and meaningful manner.
We invite James White to contact us at his convenience to work out the details on this proposed written exchange.
Grace and peace,
Jeffrey T. Riddle, Pastor, Christ Reformed Baptist Church, Louisa, Virginia
Robert Truelove, Pastor, Christ Reformed Church, Lawrenceville, Georgia
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