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!