Absolutely Despicable…

Last evening my wife and I and a few students drove to downtown Orlando to hear Dr. James White debate bishop John Shelby Spong. By the way, Spong also debated the late Walter Martin some years ago. It appears that his arguments have not changed since the last time, except he has published a few more books since then. Debates like last night prove why it is inconceivable to avoid presuppositionalism. In fact, even the bishop (as opposed to an Orthodox BISHOP) himself admitted that both of them were starting from different perspectives/worldviews. This was evident from beginning to end. White’s worldview accounted for a direct revelation of God to man, whereby man can KNOW the will of God and what is right and wrong. On the other hand, Spong assumed from the beginning that the Word of God is not the word from God nor His divine special revelation. With this assumption, Paul was a homosexual who struggled deeply with his flesh and all accounts that condemned homsexuality were written by oppressive Christians.

As for the debate itself, Spong was unable to keep to the format which was rather frustrating for those who were interested in hearing an intellectual exchange. However, Spong was unaware that when you are asked to ask questions you are supposed to cross-examine your opponent. Rather, he took his time to elaborate on absurd scientific theories as to why the Bible cannot be trusted.

I have little to say about Dr. White. He portrayed himself well and made salient points throughout the debate. He defended unashamedly the Biblical perspective and affirmed the authority of God’s Word. If God has spoken, he argued, we can know what He says and expects from His creatures. At other times James was visibly perturbed by Spong’s unbelievable inability to affirm the simplest of truths. He stressed several times that the church is accepting of all those who would repent. Of course, to this Spong repeated ad nauseum that he should avoid being so judgmental.

What is our response? Heretics like Spong are far from the truth; so far in fact that there is no return (Hebrews 6). His blasphemies and absolute denial of the God of Holy Writ and the true apostolic and catholic Church condemns him. His condemnation in fact is greater, because knowing the truth he has denied it. And to him God says, CURSED!

About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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6 Responses to Absolutely Despicable…

  1. C Hayes says:

    Good summary and right on- presuppositionally opposing worldviews seldom result in meaningful debate because the premise of true communication is severely compromised if not disabled. At the same time, one wonders if it would have made significant difference in the outcome of the debate had Dr. White addressed that reality within the opening moments of the debate. All the same, though Spong will not, indeed cannot change until God so works in his heart redemptively, we can still trust that God will not allow the truth of His Word presented before the hearers gathered, to return empty.

  2. Uri Brito says:

    Hi Chris,
    You said: At the same time, one wonders if it would have made significant difference in the outcome of the debate had Dr. White addressed that reality within the opening moments of the debate.
    I think James actually brought that to our attention at the beginning, I just don’t think he expected it to be so obvious. As you mentioned the Word does not return void.

  3. David Rogers says:

    The debate left me with a few questions… White adequately demonstrated homosexuality to be out of step with Biblical Christianity. (a straightforward task)

    But now what?

    How do we address homosexuality in our culture while demonstrating both love and righteousness? Spong recounted some illustrations that were painful to listen to. The woman who attacked him at his wife’s funeral. Unbelievable.

    When a man in crisis teeters on the brink of apostacy, his brothers can pull him back from the edge… or shove him over.

  4. apologus says:

    Hi david, ya know as I mentioned Spong has fallen away from Orthodoxy many, many years ago. I think even in the 1970’s his orthodoxy was already questionable. Nevertheless, I think you are right concerning the: What Now question? Of course, homosexuality is a deviou sin. Though it is possible to see a recovery, the Scriptures are clear in its condemnation. There are several groups here in Orlando that deal with that area.

  5. Jonathan says:

    Good review of the debate. I knew it wouldn’t get anywhere when Spong stood up for the rebuttal and said “I don’t like to give rebuttals”. I do wish that the moderate had made Spong stick to format (and time allotments), listening to Spongs autobiography during cross-examination was almost unbearable.

  6. Uri says:

    I agree Jonathan. Mike O’Fallon wasn’t very firm in his standards though he gave that impression in the beginning. I am sure White said a few things to Mike after the debate.

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