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Tim Staples vs James White

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April 25, 2013 by mattfradd


Tim Staples & James White

Tim Staples & James White

Is this debate, Tim Staples of Catholic Answers debates James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries on the topic:

Is the Bible the only infallible rule of faith? 

This debate took place way back in 1996. Tim Staples gave me permission to publish it.

James White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization based in Phoenix, Arizona.  He is the author of more than twenty books, a professor, an accomplished debater, and an elder of the Phoenix Reformed Baptist Church.

Tim Staples is the Director of Apologetics and Evangelization at Catholic Answers, but he was not always Catholic. Tim was raised a Southern Baptist and later, as an adult, enrolled in Jimmy Swaggart Bible College and became a youth minister in an Assembly of God community. He converted to Catholicism in 1988.

Enjoy the debate!

23 thoughts on “Tim Staples vs James White

  1. Gavin Muscat says:

    thanks Matt

  2. Dora Kramer says:

    Thank you for your Excellency!

  3. Francis says:

    Because, only with faith one does accept the truth and the truth are in His only one true Church which is the Catholic Church. Blessed be God forever!

  4. Chris says:

    Great debate. Mr. Staples revealed how solid biblically and historically the Catholic position is and also revealed how Mr. White takes Fathers of the Church way out of context. Loved it!

  5. Bernard Baba says:

    I did not know that there is such thing as Staples Vs. White debate. Good job defending our Catholic faith Tim! Thanks for posting this Mr. Fradd.

    PS:

    Is there a free downloadable version of this?

  6. Frank says:

    Thanks for posting this Matt. It was funny to hear Tim get so animated back then. He has grown so much in the last 17 years. It’s sad that Dr. White is still to this day just as stubborn about his anti-catholicism, despite all the former protestant pastors who have converted to the Catholic Church including Dr. White’s own sister! He still travels the country, debating anyone willing to give him a pulpit. Again thanks for posting. I really enjoyed it.

  7. aidan says:

    Never heard of either men before listening to this and personally i believe each individual must “work out his salvation with fear and trembling” to Quote; phil 2:12. Both are very good debaters, but Tim slipped up admitting some impatience with his opponent. His closing was inspired though Quoting St Augustine, Mr White could debate all night long his position so rehearsed and repetitive it was infuriating at times, but that doesn’t make him right!

  8. White has utterly destroyed all the straw-man arguments.
    He’s good.
    Solas

  9. Rick says:

    I urge people to at least read James White’s follow up letter to Staples on the debate and asking him for proof of some of the statements he made agains white such as claiming he was “misquoting” Augustine for instance.

    http://vintage.aomin.org/OpenLetter.html

    • We read it, Rick, with open mind. Now I hope you read Matt’s response to James White letter as well. We urge you if you haven’t read it yet.

      James White’s defeat on the debate must have hurt his ego that he had to write that letter to attack Tim Staples.

      Thank you, Matt, in response to James White’s letter.

      • Rick says:

        I did read it… and I have a lot to say on it, but I’d like to take the time to write up something more formal and structured (and I’m still taking notes on debate itself.) Quickly though, it’s odd to me that both Staples (and the author of the follow-up posted) hinge so much on the fact that in the Bible we see cases of “oral binding doctrine” being established. Staples spends a bunch of time referencing the OT to prove this as well. Or course during the revelatory period of the laying down of scripture there was the use of prophets and apostles who spoke authoritatively before anything was written down. The question is does this type of special revelation continue today? (From my understanding, even Roman Catholics deny that we have special revelation today.) Do we know of any binding tradition that the apostles taught that was not recorded in Scripture? Indulgences? Papal infallibility? Purgatory? Marian dogmas? If they were taught by the apostles, why didn’t anyone believe them during the first three centuries? My point would be that we have no oral tradition that we know to be apostolic and binding apart from what’s revealed in Scripture.

        And in regard to that author making this comment “because I affirm with Paul (1 Cor 9:27, 1 Cor 10:12, Romans 11:22, etc.) that one can lose his salvation.” Come on now,he doesn’t see the context of fall as in “fall into sin?” No one denies that we don’t sin. In regard to Romans 11 what has been the whole context leading up to 11? The jews no longer have special privilege by simple national lineage, Christianity is now open to the gentiles… but (paraphrasing) ‘don’t think you can just keep on acting as you were.. without proof of a changed heart (works) or you prove yourself “cut off” (not in the sense that you had salvation and lost it.) Anyway, I’m digressing.

        Obviously a lot more to be said and I apologize for being so short at this time.

        Since I’m assuming most on this site are Roman Catholics, how about someone recommend one book that I should read that presents the clearest case for the authority of the Roman Catholic church? I do want to understand “the other side” better. Thanks.

  10. Nicholas Gulda says:

    Rick,

    You seem to presuppose that there is no evidence of Indulgences, Papal infallibility, Purgatory ,Marian, or whatever other Catholic teaching you disagree with in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. I disagree.

    But, if one were to turn that back around on you, please show us in the writings of the Early Church Fathers that one was unable to forfeit their own salvation.

    • Rick says:

      @Nicholas Gulda I’m not sure what you mean by “turn [it] back around on you” – I’m not trying to justify the position of assurance of salvation based on ‘early church fathers.’ This just goes to show again where protestants differ in their approach to what we are relying on as authority.

      • Nicholas Gulda says:

        Hi Rick, I meant use the standard you were using to judge our Dogmas on your own teaching. But since that you are not holding your teachings to that standard, I don’t know; at the very least it should be a way for you to check your beliefs and interpretations of Scripture with those of early Christians. I know that as a former Protestant, reading the Early Church Fathers eventually got me to question the way I was interpreting certain verses (I used to believe in the eternal security of the believer.)

      • Nicholas Gulda says:

        St. Augustine is an Early Church Father, and one of the Doctors of the Catholic Church. But, if you were trying to tell me that he believed that a Christian couldn’t forfeit their own salvation then you would be mistaken. He certainly believed that those who were once regenerated could end up in Hell through their own free will. Here is a citation from his work, “The Gift of Perseverance”:

        “‘”[O]f two pious men, why to the one should be given perseverance unto the end, and to the other it should not be given, God’s judgments are even more unsearchable. . . . had not both been called and followed him that called them? And had not both become, from wicked men, justified men, and both been renewed by the laver of regeneration?” (The Gift of Perseverance 9:21 [A.D. 428]).'”

        (Source: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/mortal-sin)

        Notice here 2 pious men “both…called and followed him that called them” (i.e. they are Christians.) They had “both become, from wicked men, justified men, and both been renewed by the laver of regeneration.” Now, if you are familiar with the teaching of the Fathers and Catholic doctrine (as well as Orthodox Christian and many Protestants), you will know that “the laver of regeneration”, is a reference to the Sacrament of Baptism, where one is born again. (cf. John 3:5). Seeing how the Early Church Fathers *all* interpreted John 3:5 really was a bit of a shocker for me.

        You can see here:

        http://www.catholic.com/tracts/born-again-in-baptism

        Anyway, you can see St. Augustine talks of 2 Christians, “both been called and followed him that called them”, both justified, both born again “by the laver of regeneration”, but only “one should be given perseverance unto the end” and be saved. (Just to note, St. Augustine did not teach a double predestination as if some are predestined to Hell while others are predestined to Heaven.)

  11. Godwin kwami says:

    Tank you for defending the catholic faith.protestants feel they are all knowing

    • davidkline says:

      James white is so funny guy, Early protestants reformers they followed a man name Martin Luther was so crazy he rewrote the latin vulgate to german language, Martin luther was wrestling with hes own Demons and devils and rewrite on faith alone and sole Scriptura. The Early father’s never never teach that it was always grace of faith and charities of works help the poor and caring for dead. Helping people’s needs both faiths Eastern and wastern Orthodoxs christianity and Roman Catholics on both sides 1.2 billion christians all round the world. First off the Protestant’s reject the Church. Started more wars with the Roman Catholics church’s on both sides shed more blood in name jesus. But But Both sides where where wrong!!! Can’t we all be be forgive. GOD IS Not Mad at us. Jesus is love

  12. davidkline says:

    James white is so funny guy, Early protestants reformers they followed a man name Martin Luther was so crazy he rewrote the latin vulgate to german language, Martin luther was wrestling with hes own Demons and devils and rewrite on faith alone and sole Scriptura. The Early father’s never never teach that it was always grace of faith and charities of works help the poor and caring for dead. Helping people’s needs both faiths Eastern and wastern Orthodoxs christianity and Roman Catholics on both sides 1.2 billion christians all round the world. First off the Protestant’s reject the Church. Started more wars with the Roman Catholics church’s on both sides shed more blood in name jesus. But But Both sides where where wrong!!! Can’t we all be be forgive. GOD IS Not Mad at us. Jesus is love

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