In this apology, he stated a reason why some refuse to debate any longer. It is the opinion of some that debates have declined in frequency because there is no interest in them. Perhaps this true, but is there another reason why debates have waned over the years? In accordance with the sentiments of the apology, there is another reason; maybe we can call this the real reason. Some potential participants in the debate setting do not want what is considered true to be put through critical examination alongside an opposite view. When the truth is held up for discussion and an opposite view is the opponent, the opponent will be shown to hold a position not true. When such occurs, it is not long before the error loses influence with people interested in truth.
Preachers who proclaim error, especially after it has been exposed, care little for debates any longer. Their congregants, after the hearing of truth, become more interested in truth and the influence of the preacher wanes. The Baptist preacher, apparently, did not want to take his conviction into this environment and allow it to be critically examined. He did not want another to have an opportunity to show him to be mistaken in his view. In the apology he offered for his withdrawal, he actually paid a compliment to the process and those who support the process. Since truth holds firm when attacked, those who hold positions contrary to truth decide it is in their best interest to no longer enter controversial engagements. The Baptist preacher who withdrew from the debate actually concedes that our debates are doing much good in that many are converted to the truth of the Bible by these discussions. “As I said, I had reservations after considering that putting my name to this debate would draw people to the CoC [church of Christ] organization’s doctrine. Most up north do not know of your group, and I do not want to introduce them to it.” This, in effect, says that the position he once held to could not hold up when scrutiny came from biblical examination. Again, this compliment (although backhanded) given to the Lord’s people is worthy of note. Some may think that discussions of this sort hold the interest of few people anymore; in truth, however, there is another reason why these types of discussion no longer continue as they once did, and the remarks of the Baptist preacher makes this clearer.
The last in the series will be tomorrow.