Now that Wittenberg Gate has been around long enough to have some regular readers, I'm going to start something I've wanted to do since, "before the foundations of this blog were laid." Introducing: (drum roll, please), The Great Wittenberg Gate Debate!
When Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the gate at Wittenberg Church, he wasn't trying to start a Reformation; he was trying to start a debate. He was offering to argue any one of his theses with any debater who would accept his invitation. Nobody took him up on it, but we're hoping for better results here.
This is my invitation for you to nail your thesis to the gate. If you have a topic you would like to offer for debate, leave your thesis as a comment to this post. If any interested debater accepts your invitation in a following comment, I will moderate the debate.
Update: Students (age 19 or under) who wish to debate other students may specify an age range when posting a thesis. So, home schoolers, get out those logic and rhetoric books and put them to good use!
Please read the following guidelines before submitting a thesis:
1. A hopeful debater will post a thesis for debate. The thesis should be a precise statement that the debater is prepared to defend. A good thesis statement is not too broad. For example, "God created the world." is too broad. "Microevolution cannot explain the present scope of speciation," is better. "Arminianism is superior to Calvinism," is too broad. The Scriptures teach that any person can be saved," is better.
2. The topic can be anything related broadly to Christianity, including theology, Christianity vs. other religions, politics with a Christian worldview, philosophy, apologetics, education, ethics, etc.
3. If someone chooses to accept a debate, he or she will leave a comment stating which debate is being accepted. Both parties will be notified by the moderator, and be asked to submit opening statements via email within a seven day deadline.
4. When both opening statements have been received, they will be posted, with the debater defending the thesis appearing first.
5. Within seven days of the posting of the opening statements, both sides will submit a rebuttal statement, which, when both are received, will be posted with the debater opposing the thesis appearing first.
6. Within seven days of the posting of the rebuttal statements, each side will submit concluding statements, which, when both are received, will be posted with the debater defending the thesis appearing first.
7. Concluding statements may summarize points previously made or answer objections raised in rebuttal statements, but they may not present arguments which, in the opinion of the moderator, are wholly new, since your opponent will have no opportunity to answer them.
8. Concise writing is a virtue. I will edit, (with deletions clearly marked), any opening or rebuttal statements over one thousand words, and any concluding statements over seven hundred words. Please don't feel obligated to use all of your allotted words;-) The word count feature of Microsoft Word will be used to determine word count. (Available in the "Tools" pull-down menu.)
9. Comments to these postings will be closed until the debate is complete. Once a debate is concluded, readers are encouraged to weigh in.
10. Once the debate is complete, readers may vote (once) for the winner of the debate via email. Please vote for the person who best defended his or her position, and not necessarily for the person with whom you most agree. After seven days, the votes will be tallied and the winner announced. Please be on your honor not to artificially inflate votes for one side or another.
11. Debaters must avoid personal attacks and offensive language. The moderator will be the judge of what is appropriate, and in some cases, she may give a debater the opportunity to edit his or her submission. Respectful debate glorifies Christ.
12. The seven day deadlines will be adhered to rather strictly unless the sympathy of the moderator is sufficiently aroused by a very, very sad story. Sycophantic links to this website from yours may boost your case in this regard. Otherwise, debaters not meeting deadlines will be considered to have forfeited the debate, and the opposing debater's submission will be posted unopposed.
13. Students (age 19 or under) who wish to debate other students may specify an age range when offering a thesis for debate.
So let iron sharpen iron; let the games begin, and may God be glorified!