On June 29, 1999, we posted an
open challenge to Karl Keating and Catholic Answers to debate in San Diego,
California, their main base of operations. We
did so because Catholic Answers was continuing to claim, in their literature, to be
out front taking on anti-Catholics at seminars and publicly giving the
Catholic answer. We find it
hypocritical that Catholic Answers will tell their supporters about how daring they
are to take on Bart Brewer or Dave Hunt, but, they will not engage in giving the
Catholic Answer in their own backyard in a moderated, public debate. For details on this, see the original challenge by
Recently we discovered that
someone, upon reading our challenge, asked Karl Keating about it on the EWTN website. Keating hosts an apologetics forum
February 26, 2000, he responded to the question as follows:
It seems that anti-Catholic James White is one of, if not the
leading, arguer against the Roman Catholic Church. At his ministry's website, he charges
that you will not debate him, even if it is in your town (San Diego) and at absolutely no
cost to you.
Why won't you debate him?
|Answer by Karl Keating on 02-26-2000:
Lets point out a few of the inconsistencies in
Mr. Keatings reply:
|I hardly would say that James White is "the leading arguer against the
Roman Catholic Church" (he would appreciate the label, I guess, but I don't think
it's accurate), but one must admit that he is persistent in his attacks on the Church and
in his challenges to debate.
He seems to be a debate junkie--it would be difficulty to
think of anyone who issues more challenges to debate--and seems to want to draw attention
to himself. I see no reason to assist him in that or to lend him a level of legitimacy he
does not deserve.
1) With reference
to the first paragraph, we are unconcerned about how Catholic Answers describes me. Former CA Vice-President Patrick Madrid did use
very similar terminology at a Catholic Answers sponsored seminar in Phoenix in
1991, but that was a long time ago.
2) Karl Keating
seemed more than happy to allow Gerry Matatics, then staff apologist of Catholic
Answers, to debate me in Long Beach in 1990, and in Phoenix (twice) in 1991. At that time I had written two small books on
Catholicism, nothing more. Since then I have
done more than 20 moderated debates against the likes of Mitchell
Pacwa, Robert Sungenis,
Timothy Staples, and even Patrick Madrid (Mr. Keating and Mr. Akin attended this debate in
San Diego in 1993). I have likewise published
a number of books with Bethany House Publishers, one of the largest Christian
publishing houses in the world, two of which are specifically relevant to Catholicism (The
Roman Catholic Controversy and Mary--Another Redeemer?). I have been teaching on the graduate level since
1995, work as a critical consultant on a major Bible translation, and host two radio
programs on a regular basis. I would like to ask: how am I less deserving of
legitimacy now than I was in 1990? Or
is it just possible that Mr. Keating is exercising choice in who he will debate based upon
their inexperience or lack of training?
What made me legitimate in 1990 but illegitimate in 2000?
3) It seems I had
sufficient legitimacy for James Akin to appear on the Bible Answer Man Show with me
a few years ago, and for Catholic Answers to make that tape available through the
ministry. What has happened since then to
remove the legitimacy I must have had then?
4) The February,
2000 edition of This Rock Magazine contained two articles about me: one a short
attempt to respond to a section from The Roman Catholic Controversy (click here for my reply) and the other
(amazingly) an incredibly poor review of Mary--Another Redeemer? that was
originally posted on the Amazon.com website! For
some reason, This Rock magazine has tried (and failed) a number of times to provide
responses to my published materials. Is it
Mr. Keatings position that it is legitimate to attempt to respond to my works, yet I
lack sufficient legitimacy to debate?
5) It seems that if
one follows the logic of Mr. Keatings position to its conclusion, Dave Hunt, Bart
Brewer, Bill Jackson, Peter Ruckman, and Vinney Lewis (men Keating has debated in the
past), all have more legitimacy as well-studied, fair critics of Roman Catholicism
than I do. That would mean that Hunts The
Woman Rides the Beast is considered, by Mr. Keating, as having more legitimacy than The
Roman Catholic Controversy. Is this the
position Mr. Keating wishes to promote?
The fact of the matter is, Mr.
Keating will not debate me because, as Patrick Madrid admitted in 1991, he cannot do so. Scholarly debate involves going beyond a written
presentation and being able to engage in direct, one-on-one interaction. Keating feels he can do this with those who are
not professionally trained in the biblical languages, history, or theology. He evidently wishes his supporters to believe that
no one with such training is opposing the work of Catholic Answers and providing
replies. Our work is beyond Keatings
capacity for response. This is evident in the
fact that we have provided numerous examples of the errors of Catholic Answers in
the past without the first attempt on their part to recover from their mistakes (see, for
example, the following articles: Is Roman Catholic History
Reliable-, The Believer's Security, The Bereans Rejected Sola Scriptura, Mirror Mirror- The Decline of Catholic Answers, "Catholic Answers- Myth or Reality-"); and secondly, from
Keatings steadfast refusal to engage in debate on the important issues that are part
and parcel of Catholic Answers teaching.
He well knows we have offered him a standing challenge since 1990. A full decade has gone by. Saying I lack the legitimacy to debate him is, to
anyone familiar with the field, completely fallacious.
Mr. Keating needs to come clean: either tell his supporters he is unable and
unwilling to do so, or, accept the challenge and schedule the debate. We await his response.
February 28, 2000
Quick Update as of 3/9/00:
As the reader can see, Keating
continues to refuse to face the fact of his selective choice of opponents, as the