The Debate Summit series exists as a forum designed to explain, test and defend various aspects of the Christian worldview by interacting with qualified representatives of non-Christian worldviews in moderated public debates. Our goal is to create and maintain an atmosphere of civility, mutual respect and the open exchange of ideas.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Debate Summit 2010 was held on March 12th and 13th, and it was a success on many levels. All of the debaters had a great time getting to know each other, and at the risk of sounding too sappy, genuine friendships were built. However, the civility and mutual respect did not stand in the way of rigorous debate. Each debate was attended by several hundred people, and the audience was treated to top rate scholarship and thought-provoking arguments.

To my opponent, Dr. Ed Buckner, I can only say that I marvel you talked Diane into marrying you! Thank-you for your participation and I especially want to thank you for the kind letter you sent to me. I hope our paths will cross again and that we will continue our friendly combat. I realize that we both recognize the seriousness of the matters about which we debated. I know I speak for the entire Grace Community congregation when I convey to you and to Diane our very best wishes. I also want to say to the many members of American Atheists that you should be gratified to have a person like Ed Buckner serving as your president. He is a credit to your entire organization.

And then there is Will Provine. Will was a personal delight to me, to his debate opponents (Andy McIntosh and Dennis Sullivan) and to Grace Community Church. Will was candid and passionate and although most of us disagreed with much of what he said, but we can’t help but love the man. I have no doubt that thousands of Cornell graduates would heartily agree that Will Provine is never boring. Will, thank-you for everything and I know that you are not offended when I tell you that the Grace Community family is praying for you. I hope to see you again, especially if it means I get to travel to my beloved Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York.

The two Christian debaters who were Will’s opponents represented the very best of Christian scholarship and Christian kindness. Andy McIntosh continues to believe that the wrong side won the American War for Independence. Come to think of it, didn’t we win the War of 1812 as well? Andy’s British wit was hilarious and his mastery of the data was impressive. We look forward to renewing fellowship with him in the future. Andy, many members of the Grace Community family obviously would rather hear you speak than to listen to me preach, but I will not hold that against you. Thank-you for your faithful service to our Lord and Creator.

Dennis Sullivan was not my first choice to debate Will Provine on free will. But that is not a slight against Dennis; it simply reflects the fact that when planning for Debate Summit 2010 began I did not know who Dennis was. All these months later I now have the privilege of knowing Dennis as a personal friend and I have learned he is a first class scholar. Cedarville University’s Center for Bioethics may have had a humble beginning and it is still a very young (and under-funded!) venture, but a great foundation is being put in place thanks to Dennis Sullivan and his very capable assistant, Jessica Zehring. Dennis is one of those rare individuals who can take complex subjects and master them, yet then turn around and explain them to the rest of us in ways that are interesting and easy to understand. Dennis, thank-you for your defense of the Christian worldview and for manifesting the love of Jesus Christ at the same time. I know you join me in wishing your worthy opponent, Will Provine, the very best.

Not to be overlooked is the world class service provided by our moderator, Fayette County Prosecutor David Bender. Knowing that David was “running the show” set my mind at ease. I can only hope that when David is the Attorney General for the State of Ohio he will still be available to moderate our debates.

Finally, to the staff, the tech crew and the congregation of Grace Community Church, I say thank-you. No pastor ever had a more wonderful group of people with whom to work. Ed Buckner and Will Provine were both impressed and appreciative of your kind hospitality and your desire to hear what they had to say. Andy and Dennis felt the same way. And in a way which glorifies God and not man, I want to tell you that I am very proud to be part of such a special community of believers. Donova, Vickie, Sean, Thom, Sarah and Teresa, you are the best staff any pastor could ever hope for. Josh Wurzelbacher, may God grant you ever expanding opportunities to use your giftedness in graphic design.

To everyone who attended the debates or will watch/listen to them via the recordings, I hope you will experience the full import of Jesus’ words recorded in John 8:32, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free”.


What is next? I do not know. I am just one part of the Grace Community leadership team and as a team we will evaluate Debate Summit 2010 and give prayerful consideration to future plans. I know of two gifted scholars/debaters (one Christian, the other non-Christian) who are ready to commit right now. A couple of others are wanting to be included in tentative conversations. To the readers of this blog, I invite you to recruit potential debaters from various worldviews and topics. We are open to debates that cover a wide range of subjects. The Christian worldview intersects with every conceivable topic humanity engages. If you want to contact me directly, please use



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Would you like to see the debates again?

DVD's and CD's of the debates are now available for order!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Jay Lucas Article... Part 2

The following article was written by Pastor Jay Lucas as a guest Religion columnist for The Record Herald newspaper. This is Part two of a three part series.

Fayette County Supports Animal Abuse

There is a great moral evil that is rampant in Fayette County. It can be found in our grocery stores, on many of our farms and certainly in groups like 4H. What is this great evil? It is the chronic violation of the rights of animals. It is immoral to use animals for food, selective breeding, clothing and for entertainment. All of these activities are considered immoral if done to humans, so why would we consider it acceptable to treat animals this way?

According to Ingrid Newkirk of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, “There is no rational basis for saying that a human being has special rights. A rat is a pig is a boy. They’re all mammals”. (I believe she said this is in the Washington Times, August 29, 1999). Considering the fact that our grocery stores are filled with meat products, many of our farmers breed and raise livestock for human consumption and many of our residents hunt and fish for sport, Fayette County is guilty of gross violations of the rights of animals.

As a Christian who has a worldview shaped by the Bible, I know the above statements are filled with errors and faulty conclusions. The radical animal rights movement is just one of the many false philosophies that results from a rejection of the Bible and what the Bible reveals about God, about man and about nature. All kinds of special interest groups talk about rights and speak of rights as something to which they are entitled, but from where do rights come? What are they? How do we know? No philosophy, lifestyle or advocacy group which rejects the Bible can give sound answers to these questions. That does not keep people from insisting they have special rights, but they have no true foundation for the claims they make.

On March 12th – 13th, Grace Community Church will be hosting Debate Summit 2010 (see Of the three debates scheduled, none is specifically dedicated to debating the nature of human rights. However, each of the debates covers ground that has many implications for human rights. I invite you to consider that although the debates will cover some technical issues, they have practical applications for questions such as, “Is it unethical for Fayette County farmers to breed and raise animals that will be used for human consumption?”. When considered in that light, it is easier to see and understand the importance of these debates.

I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

For those of you traveling to the debate...

Here are a few local hotels to help you in planning your trip to the area.

810 Victoria Street
Washington Court House, OH 43160
740-333-4478 or toll free 877-809-6241
.04 miles from Grace Community Church

10160 Carr Road NW
Jeffersonville, OH 43128
12.1 miles from Grace Community Church

11484 Allen Road NW
Jeffersonville, OH 43128
13.7 miles from Grace Community Church

123 Gano Road
Wilmington, OH 45177
28.4 miles from Grace Community Church (exit #50 off of I-71)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jay Lucas Article...

The following article was written by Pastor Jay Lucas as a guest Religion columnist for The Record Herald newspaper. This is Part one of a three part series.

The world has gotten very small in recent years. The advances made in technology have revolutionized communication. Do you remember the original Star Trek television series? The hand-held communicators the characters used reflected the technology envisioned for the twenty- third century. Back in the 1960s, when the original Star Trek was made, it took real imagination to conceive of talking to someone on the other side of the planet with nothing more than a small, mobile device that fits in the palm of the hand. We are nowhere near the twenty-third century, but our current technology already surpasses in capability what seemed to be fanciful science fiction just a few decades ago.

Advances in communication technology means that new ideas (or new versions of old ideas) reach all parts of the world almost as soon as they are first spoken. I can sit in front of my computer in my home in New Holland and listen to and watch live lectures being delivered in universities, legislative bodies and think tanks around the world. I don’t have to wait six months for them to come out in book form. I can read an editorial in the London Times before a person who actually lives in London can purchase it at his or her local newsstand.

If lectures or editorials seem boring, one can turn on the television and watch entertaining programs offered on hundreds of channels. I can purchase the newest movies on my television, computer or phone! And make no mistake about it, new ideas (or new versions of old ideas) are continuously being spread through entertainment. Morals, values, attitudes and beliefs are constantly being shaped and influenced by the saturation of information and entertainment that technology makes so accessible. Add to this, things such as YouTube, Facebook, My Space, twitter and other methods of communication and it becomes obvious that Fayette County is directly connected to New York, Paris, Athens, Moscow, Tokyo and Sydney. In some ways we truly do live in a small world.

The Debate Summit to be held March 12th-13th at Grace Community Church is a deliberate response to the days in which we are living. Philosophies, beliefs and values that are non-Christian permeate our culture. While I love the sense of community that comes with living in a largely agricultural county like Fayette County, I recognize that technology has put the rest of the world right at our doorsteps. To insulate or isolate ourselves is not really an option. Those days are behind us.

The ministry model we are using for Debate Summit 2010 is drawn from the Bible. More specifically, it is drawn from the Apostle Paul’s visit to Athens, an event recorded in Acts 17:16-34. As a Jewish Christian who had been steeped in Scripture since a child, Paul was on foreign soil when he spoke to the Athenians about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many of the highly educated and philosophically minded Athenians thought that Paul was a fool for believing in the possibility of a resurrection from the dead. Nevertheless, Paul was willing to engage the Athenians. Paul could not change their hearts any more than we can change the hearts of non-Christians today. Only God can do that. But to be silent and say nothing, or to retreat into a self-imposed isolation, is not an option the Bible gives us. And if we were to succumb to pressure to be silent, our children would have reason to wonder if Christianity is worth believing.

In I Peter 3:15 the Apostle wrote this: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have”. Regarding Debate Summit 2010 it could be said that we are bringing Athens to Fayette County. But in this fast paced modern world of ours an argument could be made that Athens is already here. Besides, since technology works in both directions we intend to use Fayette County as a base of operation to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to other parts of the world.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Quick Note From Dr. Ed Buckner

I'm really looking forward to this debate, especially since pastor Jay Lucas has promised me that the weather in Washington Court House is always balmy and pleasant in mid-March and that nearly everyone in the audience will be firmly on my side right from the start. Should be fun--and easy!"

Regards to all,

Ed B.