This post is to clarify the debate procedures, in response to questions posed in the comment section of the main debate post, which you can find here.
A debate can begin as soon as two people agree on a thesis that one party will argue for and the other argue against.
This is how I picture it (unless someone has a better idea). One person proposes a thesis he would like to argue for. A second person who wishes to argue against the same thesis accepts the challenge. Once the thesis is agreed upon, both parties submit their opening statements to me and then I post them simultaneously. Then we do likewise for the rebuttal and concluding rounds. Then we all vote and comment.
So, if you are thinking of offering a thesis, remember that it must be clear and narrow in focus, and one that someone else is likely to be able to have a clear position against.
Some examples might be:
* The Scriptures teach that drinking alcoholic beverages is forbidden.
* God created the world in six approximately 24 hour days.
* Christ died for the sins of every person.
* No woman is Scripturally qualified to hold the office of elder.
* The second commandment forbids creating any likeness of any of the three persons of the Trinity.
* The obligation for Sabbath-keeping was abrogated in the New Covenant.
* The infants of believers should be baptized.
So, using my first example above--the one about alcohol--let's say
Bob wants to argue that Christians ought to abstain. He would write the
thesis and post it as a challenge in the comment section. Then let's
say Peter reads the challenge and wants to argue against the thesis,
that is, he wants to argue that Christians may drink alcohol if they
choose to. Peter would accept Bob's challenge in the comment section.
I would then contact each debater via email and make sure we are
agreed on the thesis. Then each debater will write an opening argument
and email it to me. Once I receive both arguments, I will post them
both at the same time. Then, in the second round, each will write a
rebuttal. That is, they will attempt to answer or refute the points
his opponent made in his opening statement. The last round will be a
concluding round in which each debater will summarize his points, and
summarize his answers to his opponents points.
In effect, this should work much like a live formal debate. The main difference will be that the advantage of going second in any round will be eliminated by the simultaneous posting of each person's submissions.
So far we have Adrian offering to debate in favor of the classical understanding of the doctrine of penal substitution. (We can define that carefully before we begin.) Also we have Brad offering the topics of politics and also discipleship programs in the church. We can narrow those down into a single statement to defend or oppose. (See the comment section of the original post for details.)
Is there anyone interested in one of those ideas? Also, my example thesis statements could be used if we find folks for each side of one of those.