Saturday, February 04, 2012

Recent Tim Staples Debate

I was recently sent a Catholic Answers support e-mail which highlighted a debate between Tim Staples and someone named Dr. Peter Barnes, which they refer to as Australia's "premier Protestant debater" "a pastor and an author of many books." Well, I've never heard of him... then again, he's in Australia.

This debate was on the Eucharist... because Catholic Answers explains,
Worse yet, there has been a crisis in the Catholic Church that has left many of its members with only the shakiest grasp on their faith. After decades of “Catholic-lite” religious education programs, countless Catholics have basically no understanding of the faith—including what the Church teaches about the Real Presence. Opinion polls show this. A frighteningly high number of Catholics do not believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist. They have bought into the “just a symbol” viewpoint. Think about that. What it means is that these Catholics simply have no understanding of “the source and summit” of their faith lives. Bad catechesis and doctrine-free homilies have left them clueless about the very core of the Catholic life.They are also ripe pickings for Fundamentalists and others who deny the Real Presence.
Who needs a magisterium to protect and instruct? The world now has.... Catholic Answers! Might as well stay home or just miss that there doctrine-free homily causing so much confusion.

Well anyway. Here's the good news. You don't have to send any money to Catholic Answers to hear this debate. Dr. Peter Brown makes it available for.... free:

Part one (Brown opening statement)
Part two (the rest of the debate, not including questions from the floor)

What strikes me about this is that as far as I know, Catholic Answers has yet to offer the last debate Tim Staples did with Dr. White on purgatory. What's up with that? Catholic Answers says of Staples (in the Barnes debate):
This time someone stood up and fought back.This time that person was an expert in answering just these kind of charges, a well-trained apologist able to make the Catholic case and show precisely why the Church’s teaching on this issue is—literally—the gospel truth from the lips of the Savior himself.
I haven't had a chance to listen to Staples vs. Barnes (not sure when I will), but Mr. Staples is usually very entertaining. If any one gets a chance to listen to this, please drop me a note and let me know how it went. Also if you're interested, write Catholic Answers and ask them where the White vs. Staples Purgatory debate is.


Algo said...

In the meantime, the Debate that C.A has not promoted can be found here:

1 Corinthians 3 and Tim Staples on Today's Dividing Line

01/28/2010 - James White
Don't hold your breath for the invitation for me to be on Catholic Answers Live to discuss, oh, "Does John 6 Teach the Roman Catholic Doctrine of the Eucharist," (I'd do it in a heartbeat), but today we had Tim Staples on the program for 90 minutes to debate 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 and the doctrine of purgatory. You are invited to take your Bible and listen carefully to our presentations and interaction, and ask yourself a simple question: who handled the text consistently, and who gave evidence of engaging in eisegesis? We took a number of calls in the last 20 minutes as well, with (mainly) good questions. I encourage Catholic Answers to make the debate mp3 available to their audience, I truly, truly do. Tim got enough "ra-ra" shots in at the end (Mr. White teaches silly myths, the constant teaching of the church for 2000 years, etc.) to keep their regular donors happy, but I am not concerned about them. I debate for those who will honestly consider the arguments carefully, not emotionally.

steelikat said...

I listened to it! It's been a long time since I've seen or heard a "formal" debate except for the debates of political candidates (I don't think it followed the American rules of forensics but it was formal insofar as that goes, I guess). This is my reaction.

I think some parts of the debate are missing from those two recordings. Once you can figure out what the proposition being debated is (I'm still not sure since I don't remember either debater clearly telling us), it seems obvious that Staples won. The title of the debate (I had to use google to find this) was something like "The Eucharist: Real or Symbolic," which I assume must tell us something about what the question was.

Why do I say that Staples won? He tackled the question directly, argued from scripture, and mostly stuck to the topic. Barnes did not, though he made good arguments in regards to an obliquely related question that apparently was not the topic of the debate.

Here's my brief summary of what I heard and remember:

1. After an introduction from Barnes where he basically proposed to change the question to "Physical vs. Spiritual Presence," Staples seemingly accepted the change in the question and proceeded to make a good scriptural argument for the Real and Physical presence. In this argument, he briefly discussed the distinctively Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass as sacrifice, but did not base his argument on that tangential question.

2. Barnes unexpected response was to mostly ignore Staple's main argument and basically rebut the "Mass as Sacrifice" doctrine. By bringing it up in the first place, Staples invited him to deal with the question, though I don't believe Staples was so crafty as to offer the tangent as bait to derail Barnes--He probably just "lucked out" insofar as debate is a competition. Basically, after having already changed the question of the debate, Barnes attempted to change it a second time, after Staples had already presented his arguments.

3. Staples very briefly responded to Barnes with "but Catholics don't teach that Christ's is resacrificed over and over at each mass" which would be a pretty lame response if that question was the topic of the debate but since it was off-topic diversion anyway was just fine and about all the rebuttal Barnes deserved. At this point, I think Staples had every reason to triumphantly announce that he'd won the debate by default, but I suppose it was wise not to since that would probably have been negatively received by his audience.

In short, the two debaters were talking about two related topics but weren't really engaging with each other. Both monologues were interesting and well done, and both debaters chose the "easy argument," since the Real Presence is far easier to argue for than "mass as sacrifice" and "mass as sacrifice" is far easer to argue against than Real Presence. Staples won hands down since he was the only one to actually engage the question, whether that question is phrased "Real vs. Symbolic" like in the title of the debate or Barnes's slightly altered version "Physical vs. Purely Spiritual."

James Swan said...

Thanks for taking a listen. I'll keep your comments in mind when I eventually get to it.

Based on Keating's e-mail support letter highlighting this debate, I assumed Staples did fairly well.

steelikat said...

Barnes's main argument and Staples's main argument can be regarded as complimentary. Lutherans, for example, will argue against the doctrine of "Mass as Sacrifice" in much the same way as Barnes did, while arguing for the doctrine of the Real Presence in much the same was as Staples did.

Pete Holter said...

Hey guys!

Dr. White used to offer the 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 debate for free. Does he eventually charge for all of his Dividing Line shows, or just the really good ones? I thought that this was a pretty good debate. Is my free copy still legal? Could I type out a transcript of the debate, or would that be some kind of copyright infringement, now that it’s for sale?

I’ll contact Catholic Answers and see if they’ll disclose why they never drew any attention to it. I know that James White has been wondering about this too.

Have a blessed day!

In Christ,
Pete Holter

James Swan said...

All the DL's are free for a number of months, then there's a small charge to download.

As to transcriptions, you'd have to contact

Andrew said...

Caller: Yes I was wondering when you were going to make the most recent Staples V. White debate available.

Karl Keating: *gulp* Which one was that?

C: You know, the one on purgatory? It was on the Dividing Line.

KK: You're breaking up...I can't hear cell phone is dying...I think my wife is on the other line...

C: Hello? Mr. Keating? Yoo-hoo....
Oh well.

steelikat said...

I listened again and I'm revising my review. Barnes did a better job than I originally thought. He did not completely ignore the topic of the debate and had a couple of good points in regards to the topic.

If the topic of the debate were "The RC Mass vs. the Protestant Lord's Supper" I'd call it roughly a tie.

James Swan said...

Dr. White used to offer the 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 debate for free. Does he eventually charge for all of his Dividing Line shows, or just the really good ones?

One other thing- keep in mind the Dividing Line plays 24 / 7 now, playing all the archive shows... for free.

If you do find the need to purchase an audio product from, you'll notice more often than not the prices are usually less than many other websites offering the same product. For instance, if you buy any of the debates between Dr. White and Patrick Madrid, last time I checked Mr. Madrid charges a bit more...

...and of course, Catholic Answers doesn't really make anything a bargain, but that's what happens when you are "one of the nation’s largest lay-run apostolates of Catholic apologetics and evangelization." When you get too big, you need more "food" to keep going, so to speak.

James Swan said...

Caller: Yes I was wondering when you were going to make the most recent Staples V. White debate available.

I'm convinced that had Mr. Keating been pleased with this debate, they would make it readily available (for probably triple the price or more) that aomin offers it for. One can't read minds, but in this case, their silence speaks loudly as to how they feel about Tim's performance in that debate.

When CA thinks they trounce somebody in the name of their version of Romanism, you can rest assured the product will be front and center.

James Swan said...

I listened again and I'm revising my review. Barnes did a better job than I originally thought.

I'm not sure when I'll actually get to this debate, but thanks for your comments.

Some comments in general on this same subject-

Tim Staples doesn't always lose. He tied Matt Slick up in knots if I recall, and he also beat up Steve Gregg pretty bad.

Phil Porvaznick has number of obscure Roman Catholic debates on his website. Some of them are from early on, before the strong resurgence of Roman apologetics. In a number of cases, the Roman Catholic beat the Protestant. Porvaznick has a few old Bible Answer Man shows (those from the years between Martin and Hank) and the hosts were fairly clueless on how to answer Scott Hahn and Mitch Pacwa.

One very odd debate on Porvaznick's website is between Dave Hunt and some clueless Roman Catholic (whose name I forget). Now I'm no fan of Dave Hunt (He's quite ill now, so I've heard), but Hunt trounced this guy. I point it out because I'm not sure why any Roman Catholic website would want to post the audio of someone actually losing to Dave Hunt... that's just embarrassing.

Algo said...

Literally it is "according to what is owed" (Kara 646?,rlga), a term often used to refer to that which is given in payment of a debt. The pay is not "reckoned" or "imputed" according to grace but according to debt-this is the literal idea. Part of the meaning of "working" is that it results in a debt being incurred. This will become very important. It should also be noted that just as Paul uses the theologically rich term "grace" in this rather mundane, daily example of working and receiving pay, he also uses another of his favorite terms, "reckon" or "impute" (Xoyiceiat). The reason for this usage is close at hand: he intends to contrast this kind of working-for-reward with the means of justification in verse 5.

James R. White. God Who Justifies, The (Kindle Locations 2186-2190). Kindle Edition.

Andrew said...

I'm right in the middle of that book. It's very good. I find that I quite like the way James White writes.

CathApol said...

White states that CA won't respond to his challenge to debate one of their apologists on the matter of John 6 and the Eucharist. Back in 2001 White and I had a "debate" of sorts, which I had assumed that was the topic we would be discussing. Instead, it was on Calvin's belief in predestination and John 6. So I have renewed the challenge to White, will he accept?


James Swan said...

Why don't you call the DL and ask him?

If you need the phone number and broadcast times, I can provide that for you.

CathApol said...

Thanks for the invite James, I may do that. I cannot call on Tuesday mornings due to being at work, but Thursday sometimes work with my schedule. I know the times and the numbers. I'm not sure what this Thursday looks like just yet, and not sure if there will even be a show that day (the website says "most Thursday afternoons), is there any way to know for sure if there will be a show on a given Thursday?


James Swan said...

That's probably the best thing to do Scott. Call him up on the DL. I know he's super-busy, so getting written responses isn't always possible.

As to show times, the times are posted. Sometimes there's a change, and a blog post will often mention it.