A WRITTEN DEBATE APPROACH CAN BE HELPFUL


I can remember my Grandfather talking about hoeing many acres of corn in his lifetime. That was the norm for their day. However, if a farmer today said he was going to hoe his cornfields, that simply would not make it. A single farmer today grows far more corn than probably 50 farms did in the '20's. Hoe 2,000 acres of corn???? Impossible.


In the same way, in theology the right tools for the job are required. Many churches have produced fine, biblical reports over the centuries. And they have been very productive. At the same time I can recall times when quite involved theological issues were being discussed. Reports consisting of hundreds of pages were written just in the agenda for one synod. The pages contained the Majority Report and the Minority Report. One report would cover the relevance of a given passage of Scripture on page 263. The other report would then counter that interpretation on page 341. But then, did the second report respond to the same point made in the first report, or did it branch off in somewhat of a different direction with respect to that passage? How can one ever properly weigh all the pros and cons of a complex matter????



   The right tools are needed here as well. A written debate is one possibility. Consider the following benefits that a written debate as used by papers on this website can offer:


  • the written debate gives the response to a given argument right with that argument
  • the structure emphasizes the main points of a given theological issue 
  • this format clearly identifies which arguments are, for example, for same-sex marriage and which arguments are against heterosexual marriages only (this may appear trite but upon close examination of examples, often it is not),
  • it provides a format which helps the reader evaluate which arguments are biblical and which ones are not
  • this format invites pastors/professors/all students of the Word to respond to certain arguments, it provides a ready forum for dialogue
  • this format can easily be distilled down to a relatively short paper that includes all the main points and filters out the arguments of lesser significance - an executive summary 
  • by means of this approach then, the many hours of studying that scholars like Dr. Brownson, Dr. Gagnon, Dr. Wolterstorff, Dr. Tuininga etc. etc. have poured into this topic can be made accessible to the members of the church
  • this format readily provides a structured table of contents which helps the reader quickly comprehend the general direction a given line of thinking is going.


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Thank You! 


Note: the summary document on Dr. Brownson's book has been revised. See it at Summary.