Last night, while I was doing some mindless homework (don’t ask), I listened to a debate between pastor and apologist Gene Cook and a Jehovah’s Witness named Andrew Lara. Initially I had listened to a ten minute sound-byte of Cook discussing Christianity with a “JW at the door” which I found very useful. It whetted my appetite so I thought I would check out the debate.
Now, before I continue, I will reiterate some relevant beliefs that I hold. I am a trinitarian Christian – I believe that God is one, and is yet three. The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons and are all one God. I fully hold to Nicene and Chalcedonian Christology and Pneumatology. I believe that Jesus is the Theanthropos, the God-man. As well, I am a Reformed Baptist and Van Tilian presuppositionalist, just like Gene Cook. So, when I say the following, keep all that in mind.
When I listened to the debate, I came to the conclusion very quickly the Gene Cook was getting slaughtered, and sadly, my opinion has not changed. It was a travesty. He began very strongly, but was quickly side-tracked and eventually he lost the debate (formally). Of course, the Gospel of Jesus Christ was proclaimed, so in a sense he won. But when it actually comes to the canons of debate, he was destroyed.
This debate is worth listening to as a Christian for a couple of reasons. First, we must remember that being proud is surely the first step towards falling. We may approach an unbeliever thinking that we have all the answers, only to get owned. Second, we must remember that our arguments must be “our arguments” and not merely second-handers from others. To invoke translation errors in the New World Translation, we must be able to demonstrate that fully and convincingly. To bring in translation problems, as Cook did, and know nothing of even basic grammar (not merely Greek grammar, but English!) is terrible. Third, the Gospel is not merely about winning a debate, but about glorifying the triune God. It’s not a save-face event, but a life and death confrontation against powers and principalities.
So listen and learn – I know I did.