Donny, the head of Standing for Truth Ministries, invited me to debate Catholic scholar Robert Sungenis on justification by faith alone. Sungenis is the author of a nearly 800-page book entitled Not by Faith Alone.
The debate was lively. Though it lasted for over two hours, it was chopped up so that no one message was over 5 minutes long. And there was plenty of cross examination between Robert and me.
You can watch it here on YouTube.
In the first 24 hours after the debate, over 2,000 people worldwide had viewed it.
A few highlights: Robert admitted that he believes that anyone who believes in justification by faith alone, apart from works, is going to hell unless he repents of that heresy before he dies. He said that one drink will not forever quench one’s thirst for everlasting life, that we have to keep on drinking of the living water over and over again to keep our salvation (contra John 4:10-15; 6:35). In an oddly Calvinistic-sounding twist, he kept stressing that while works are required to be and stay justified, they are works produced by God’s grace and that our works do not obligate God to save us.
You may not have a chance to take part in a formal debate on the subject.
But you will have plenty of chances to debate this issue with your Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, and other friends who believe that it takes faith plus works in order to gain what they call final salvation.
During the debate we had times of cross examination. I’d ask Robert a question, and he had one minute to answer. And vice versa. You can watch those exchanges to get some ideas.
I can’t say that I kept my composure at all times. A few times I raised my voice, and my hands were shaking. I had to remind myself that how I speak, including my body language, also communicates. I believe the Lord helped me because most of the time I was fairly composed.
Talking with family and friends is a lot like my short opening statement followed by short questions and answers back and forth.
You don’t need to have all the answers. I sure didn’t in this debate. But if you show love and if you quote Scripture like John 3:16, you sow the seed that whoever believes in Jesus will never perish but has everlasting life.
My prayer is that the people who watch this debate online will be drawn to pray about and study this issue in the Word of God.