Hahn, White, Madrid, Sippo

This is an off-shoot of the Scott Hahn thread. (It’s already gotten a bit off-topic with the Hahn-vs-White discussion, and I didn’t want to take it even further afield. Hence the new thread.)

I quite agree. It’s silly to not be (somewhat) selective about whom you’re willing to debate.

This is something that seemed a little funny to me about James White, back when he was first mentioned in the “Scott Hahn” thread …

[quote=James White]We’d like to set the record straight. There are exactly two Roman Catholic apologists who need not contact us about doing a public debate: Vinney Lewis and Dr. Art Sippo. The reason that we would have no interest in doing debates with these folks is quite simple: we have concluded they are not capable of acting in a sufficiently gentlemanly manner for a meaningful debate to take place. James White did two radio debates with Vinney Lewis in 1996 (see our catalog for the tapes), and we believe these debates fully exemplify what we mean. James likewise debated Dr. Art Sippo in 1991 in Toledo, Ohio, on the subject of justification. A brief discussion of that debate will be found in another article on this page regarding Catholic Answers .* See also the partial recording of the debate with Art Sippo by clicking here .

That struck me as a bit too open and unselective, in terms of whom White is willing to debate.

As far as the two RC apologists that he says he would not be willing to debate, I had never heard of either of them and didn’t think much more about them at the time.

A couple days later, however, I just so happened to come across something written by Patrick Madrid (quoted below) that called into question White’s unwillingness to debate Dr. Art Sippo. I was intrigued. Did this mean that White, who I’d thought too unselective terms of whom he is willing to debate, was in reality too selective after all? Perhaps the real story isn’t that Sippo is not a worthy debate opponent, but rather that Sippo is such a worthy debate opponent that White is afraid to take him on.

Anyway, I plan to investigate further, but I thought I’d also see if anyone here is able to shed light on all this.

[quote=Patrick Madrid]A man barely out of his twenties, he has already garnered a reputation as a debate junkie. I don’t mean that he’s been in lots of debates — that’s fine, of course; I’ve been in plenty myself — I mean he *craves *debates. He chases after Catholic apologists, issuing challenges to debate, appearing almost frantic to goad someone, anyone, into a fight. [Well, perhaps not *anyone . In May 1991 White traveled to Toledo, Ohio and was beaten in a debate on justification by lay-Catholic apologist Dr. Art Sippo — a debate which I moderated. (Regrettably, the audio tapes of the debate were defective and so are not available.) Since then White has repeatedly declined Sippo’s invitations to engage in further debates, complaining that Sippo was “not a gentleman.”

At the conclusion of the debate, White refused to shake hands with Sippo and snarled, “Do you realize that you are under the wrath of God?” He accused Sippo of misrepresenting him — a curious complaint, given that White had ample opportunity to rectify any misconceptions, that being, after all, the purpose of a debate. He claimed Sippo “didn’t understand” the Protestant position. This is a common response from Evangelical apologists when their arguments are refuted and they have nothing else to say]. Most telling is his penchant for crowing that so-and-so is “afraid” to debate him. He does this in letters and on computer bulletin boards, and he implies it in the pages of his sporadically-published newsletter, *Pros Apologian . [A Greek phrase meaning “toward a defense.”

I believe in one video James White accused Sippo of making sarcastic comments and rude gestures towards him throughout the debate. He also hinted that the audio being lost is a kind of conspiracy to hide how bad Sippo did.

Can any one who was there or involved in the debate verify this, or offer any feedback?

Yes, I think I saw that same video-clip. I don’t recall if he said anything about a “conspiracy”; but I did note that both White and Madrid said that it’s unfortunate the recording didn’t come out, each claiming that the tapes would prove their respective takes on the debate.

Well he didn’t actually use the word “conspiracy,” but the way he worded it made it sound as if the Roman Catholics were so embarrassed that they decided to “lose” the audio. Course to me, that’s like the King James-Only advocates James White fights against who claim that the video of the guy losing his voice on TV got “erased over.”

Well … we’ve already got Madrid’s account of it and White’s account of it (and I think it’s safe to say that Sippo would concur with what Madrid said) … I’m not sure if hearing from additional eyewitnesses would really help all that much. I would be more interested in watching (or at least listening to) a Sippo debate (even if it was with somebody else). But so far I haven’t come across any online.

True, and I guess you’d have people taking sides any way - Baptists would agree with White, Roman Catholics would agree with Sippo.

Good point – although of course I’m a Roman Catholic myself, and I’m not necessarily assuming that Mr. Madrid’s account of the event is accurate.

I’ve purchased(and listened to) several CDs of Dr.White debating Catholic Apologists. My observation is that he will never concede that any Catholic knows Jesus as his Lord and Savior. Further, White will tell you that he is the only person capable of understanding and expositing the Scriture. He claims to be a successful missionary, although I don’t see how anyone as self centered as he appears to be could successfully preach the Good News.
Swam the Tiber in '05, now climbing Carmel to stay alive.

Can you back this claim up?

So basically you like him?

***Unless one desires to debate simply for an opportunity to express ones personal thoughts and beliefs, it seems prudent and necessary to began any and all discusssions with a common foundation of acceptable thought.

***First one shoud never argue

Second we will use only the Catholic Bible for all of the following reasons****

  1. The bible is a “Catholic book”
  2. The Catholic Bible was thee only bible for about the 1st. 1,600 years of Christanity
  3. The entire New testament was written by men we would now call “Catholics”
  4. The Catholic bible is the only bible that reflects the entire “WORD OF GOD” [2 Thess. 3:16]**
    ***5. The Catholic Bible is the only Bible guaranteed personally by Christ and the Holy Spirit to be thee TRUTH [Jn.15:16; 2 Cor. 13:8; 2 Tim. 1:14; Jn. 16: 12-15 and Jn.5: 6-12]
  5. The Catholic Church ALONE has the MANDATE and authority to translate and explain the bible Mt. 16: 18-19 ] ONLY the Catholic Church has been given the “keys to the kingdom of heaven.”

Third, if unable to agree on these points, debate is useless:shrug:

Love and prayers,***

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