Here are seven observations on the James White vs. Peter Van Kleeck, Jr. Debate on the TR, held on September 24, 2022 (Watch it here).
First, I felt there were many aspects of the debate that were not handled in a fair or evenhanded manner.
Second, PVK began his opening statement with a very generous and charitable overture toward JW and those who hold to the modern text.
Third, simply on technical, forensic grounds, PVK clearly won this debate, as he rightly pointed out in his closing statement.
Fourth, even though PVK was not attempting to make an empirical defense of the TR but a more philosophical and theological defense of it, he did offer some meaningful rejoinders to JW’s evidential-based arguments.
Fifth, one of the highlights of the debate was in PVK’s cross-examination of JW, where he effectively showed (again) that, in the end, JW cannot point to a single verse in the Bible that might not be subject to change based on new manuscripts discoveries or the development of new manuscript discoveries.
Sixth, it was striking how JW in his cross-examination of PVK mocked the distinct spiritual aspects of the Protestant approach to Scripture (even comparing it to Mormonism).
Correction: The quotation from John Calvin's Institutes is from 1.7.5 (not 1.6.5, as mistakenly written on the PPT shared in the video).
Seventh, finally, PVK took his own unique approach to this debate and chose to argue on more philosophical grounds than evidential grounds. I think he could have pushed back with some evidential arguments at points.
All in all, again, PVK did prevail. It is a shame that JW did not respond, especially to the first two arguments. We are waiting for modern evangelicals to provide a Biblical based justification for their Bibliology. We are also waiting for those who are confessionally Reformed to respond to our suggestion that confessional Bibliology is a retrieval of the Reformed and Protestant Orthodox method.
We did not get these responses in this debate.