Who are some reasonable Protestant debaters?


After listening to the video in the other recent thread between Karl Keating and the guy, Ruckman I think, from the so-called Church of Christ…I wondered if anyone knew of any “reasonable” debaters on the Protestant side of which MP3s are available.

Ruckman’s illogic actually bored me.


Are you after specifically Catholic vs Protestant debate? If so, what do you hope to gain? Is there anything more specific that you are interested in, since I guess you are saying you want good quality? We are converting to Catholicism, and as such are enamoured by Catholic Apologists and teachers at the moment, but I am sure I can find something for you if you be a liitle more specific about which issues you want addressed :slight_smile:


There is an excellent debate on salvation between John Martignoni and Dr. James Saxon right here


Dr Saxon does a GREAT job of stating his case. Almost had me convinced…almost. :wink:

Enjoy and God Bless.


My favorite is the Patrick Madrid / James White debate over sola scriptura found here.


Really? I thought he was kind of weak. But, he seems like a really nice guy. It was a very civil debate.


Saxon is indeed an exceedingly nice guy–he’s on the staff at mine & my wife’s church. (We even debated civilly over predestination once.) If he seemed weak, you must have caught him on a bad day–the man knows his stuff, even if I don’t agree with much of it.

As for other choices: I don’t know if debate is strictly his thing, or even if he cares to get into polemics with Catholics, but Ravi Zacharias is pretty good.


Well, essentially, the debates I’ve heard have protestant representatives who just toss around fallacies of argument, amateurish logic, and the “absolutization” of single passages, and I feel like I’m not getting the best of what non-Catholics have to offer. If a non-Catholic wants to hear the Catholic position, I would want them to hear the best of Catholics who can explain the faith. Ruckman and others are just wastes of time. I’d like to hear from honest protestants. He’s just an anti-Catholic, and I’ve heard too many like him. Not too many of them get into the Greek, or actually address passages that Catholics cite regarding Catholic teaching. I might consider James White as was suggested in this thread, but I read Pat Madrid’s article here and was hesitant because he sounded like an anti-Catholic, waste of time.

The non-Catholics I have heard have all strengthened my faith as a Catholic. So I’m not looking for someone who can sway me. But there has to be someone who can do a better job than the Protestant debaters I’ve heard. Perhaps there is part of me that can’t believe my own Catholic position can dominate the public debate in this lopsided a manner.

I heard this and I have to agree with leonie that Dr. Saxon was quite poor in his debate. He doesn’t address the Catholic “passages” on works, and when he finally tackled the one on “what good is faith without works”, he went on a personal feelings soliloquy of sorts. And his final thought on sola fide was a personal testimony of his own feelings. I learn nothing from this kind of “exegesis” except that it’s irrational. As for John Martignoni in that debate, he was at his best.


Instead of debating protestants if I understand this is what your after, why dont you take on athiests? You wanna strenthen your faith try them. I’ll warn you it gets depressing so take a break.

At least protestants (im one) actually believe in God and the only debate is finer details. Athiests dont even believe God exists period. And alot of them are only backslidden or lost faith christians so think of it as lost sheep.



Yeah, I agree with Kitty Chan, debate atheists then. Here’s a great site for it:


Many are ex-pastors, etc, know the Hebrew and Greek ,all that sort of stuff. Some will be arguing the Christian side, and some the atheistic side. Often times both will be trained in theolgy, hermeneutics, exegesis, church history, higher criticism, etc. Beware you will be personally attacked. Give out as little about yourself as possible, and keep it about the argument, because when they get frustrated they will attack you personally. I actually found it quite addictive and learned a lot.

Most Prots that I know tend to be preachers rather than debaters, and if you don’t want to be swayed, then there is no point me searching evangelical sites for you, although I’d tend maybe towards Anglican scholars. In fact, one of the reasons that Catholics have it so good is that the theology, exegesis and tradition has developed over 2,000 years. You can’t expect a 100 year old church like the AOG to compete with that. It is one of the reasons we are converting.

However, at the forum listed above you will not be bored, I can assure you!:slight_smile:

Kitty, Satanists are even better (more fun), they already believe in God too. Although I think it is considered rude to invade their sites now though.:stuck_out_tongue:


Generally speaking reasonable and moderate Protestants don’t go around debating Catholics. They have better things to do with your time.

I’m afraid James White is probably as good as you’re going to get.



Then do you know of any of these reasonable Protestants who, not in a debate format, can give better explanations of Protestant doctrines or why they don’t accept Catholic doctrines in the way I’ve described? I’d like to think there are some Protestant leaders who can do so in a charitable way.


Sorry, meant to include that I’m most interested in MP3s of these folks in post #11. But a web link would help too, if you know of any. Thx!


He’s independent Baptist, KJV-only, and most independent Baptists think he’s way off in left field (or right field, if you prefer).


yep youve been there. sometimes I wanna pull my hair out and its a very good thing Im not God (Bruce Almighty) all I can say is its strengthened God to me, Im surprised He doesnt have a headache THIS BIG putting up daily with all our little minds.

I will say one thing the questions you get asked challenge you to not be lazy and look up and read your bible. Myself I just like to be able to stand accountable for my faith.


If that’s true, it bodes poor for the non-Catholic debaters. Beyond the article by Patrick I cited earlier, I’ve browsed James White’s site. Karl’s description of him (as quoted by White) as someone who wants “to draw attention to himself” seems quite plausible. He has a strange, victimhood-esque tendency to highlight when someone won’t debate him (example 1 and example 2)…the implication, I suppose, is that those who won’t debate him won’t do so because they know James White is right and they are wrong. What kind of nonsense is this? No wonder some people won’t debate him.


I would second what Edwin says; reasonable Protestants see no reason to debate fellow Christians in the faith, especially in a high school debate-type (i.e.,“forensics”) format. Nothing wrong with apologetics, but it has its place.

Considering that in the U.S. Christianity is losing ground, Christians debating Christians seems a horrible use of time that would be better spent in going forth and making disciples, instead of disciples debating against each other. A bit incestuous, if you ask me.

Pax vobiscim,



The best is R.C. Sproul.

Pastor Sproul is a Reformed pastor. He has several tape series out and my husband owns many of them.

What makes him unique is that he ALWAYS presents Catholicism correctly. We have listened to him speak (on tape and on the radio) and he will CORRECT Protestants who teach incorrect things about the Catholic Church. It’s wonderful to hear a Protestant give correct information. He doesn’t need to lie, present half-truths, or twist the Catechism around to make his points.

His major disagreement with Catholicism is Merit. We believe that this is the one area in which he has an incomplete understanding of the Catholic Church. We pray that he will eventually come to understand this teaching in the light of Scripture.

And of course, he is an advocate of sola Scriptura as most Protestants are. BUT–he makes it clear that the Scriptures are to be interpreted by the CHURCH, not individuals. That’s absolutely unique among major popular Protestant teachers, most of whom insist that the Holy Spirit can and does reveal interpretation of Scripture to every individual Christian.

I would not call him a media personality like Dr. Dobson or Franklin Graham. He’s kind of hidden. But lots of people besides Reformed Christians listen to him.

Other than that, he agrees with much of Catholic doctrine (the Reformed Church is one of the early churches of the Reformation, and therefore still retains a lot of the CatholicChurch practices, including a liturgy that is almost identical to a Catholic mass.). Obviously Calvinism is not Catholicism and never the two shall meet–or will they? Pastor Sproul is a very loving, well-spoken example of a Protestant pastor who can discuss Catholicism without getting red in the face and using the word “whore.”

He has NOT signed the Evangelicals and Catholics Together Doctrine, BTW.

His website is ligonier.org/

Listen to him if you get a chance. He has wonderful messages about other Protestant issues; I especially like his approach to the “seeker church” movement that is sweeping Protestantism today.


I tend to be quite suspicious of writers/speakers who are more interested in defining what they’re not, rather than what they are. Positive Christianity, I increasingly believe, is expressed positively - that says ‘this is what I hold to be true’ rather than ‘this is why other people are wrong’.

So, in terms of good writers, who give good defences of their position, some of the best Protestant writers I’ve come across are:
NT (Tom) Wright
John Stott (I’m not in agreement, always, but he writes well)
Eugene Peterson (also famous for the translation ‘The Message’, but a competent theologian too)
C.S. Lewis
Alistair McGrath
John Piper
A Tozer

Stott, Lewis and Tozer are the closest to being apologists, but I’d encourage any thinking Christian to read NT Wright and Eugene Peterson. There’s an interesting in-house debate within evangelicalism at the moment, between those supporting penal substitution and those beginning to question it (Steve Chalke, among others, being criticised for their position).


After some time listening to a variety of Protestant debaters, I have to say tthat the most reasonable I’ve encountered so far is Steve Gregg who debated Tim Staples in December. His Scripture analysis isn’t too good, but he’s quite charitable and tries to make sure the Catholic side is presented accurately.

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