January 16, 2016. Dr. Sam Waldron, Ph.D, dean of Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary and professor of Systematic Theology argued against the continuation of the gifts. Mr. Matt Slick of Christian Apologetic Resource Ministries argued that they have continued. This was a debate between two Christians who agree on much theologically and both seek to bring Christ to the world. But on the issue of the continuation of the gifts of the Spirit, they differ. Why? And what are the consequences of this belief? You can download the audio here or view it on YouTube here.
November 14, 2015. The 2015-2016 season kicked off with a spirited debate on whether or not the soul exists. This debate featured Eric Hernandez and Matt Dillahunty and asked if there is anything beyond the material world, and if we are anything more than our bodies. Held on Saturday, November 14, this unique debate will surely be of interest to those who are looking for debates that are rarely hosted. The topic provided for fascinating fodder and a lot of passion on both sides. You can download the audio here or view it on YouTube here.
We continue to work hard to arrange radio debates when possible. As radio debates do not involve travel, they are a wonderful addition to this debate series and a feed you will want to follow if you like these events. They will be available live via KPFT's streaming service the day of the show or via the Sin Boldly podcast feed.
All First Word debates - and radio debates - seek to be scholarly and fair. The speakers will have equal time to present their arguments and to offer rebuttals. There is always time for guided conversation and/or Q&A from the audience. Most in-house debates are about two hours in length to allow for as full a case as possible to be made.
On November 7, 2018, we held a debate that featured Houston philosophers Evan Friske and Travis Ross on the origin of morality. Professor Friske defends an Aristotelean view that the "telos" of a thing or person helps to define the good. Professor Ross defends intersubjectivity. The format is as follows: 15 minute opening remarks, 2 8-minute cross examination sections each, 20 minute open conversation and 20 minutes for Q and A. View it here on YouTube.
On Saturday, April 26, we will host a debate on contemporary and traditional worship practices. The question is: "Should worship change with the times?" This debate will feature me, Evan McClanahan of First Lutheran, and Clinton Wilcox, a contemporary worship leader at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fresno, California. It should be fun!
The 2019 season is ready to roll! In March, exact date TBD, we will host a debate between two philosophers on a very basic question: "What is Man's Purpose?" Depending on one's presuppositions, there are many different ways to answer that question, both within Christianity and between a believer and a nonbeliever.
On Saturday, November 10, 2018, we held a fascinating debate featuring two scholars with diametrically opposed worldviews. Both believe, of course, the worldview they hold benefits society while the other harms it. Dr. McDurmon defends a biblical worldview while Dr. Carrier defends secular humanism.
This debate is different from past debates in that it is decidedly not a merely philosophical debate, but a debate that seeks to "cash out" theological convictions and assumptions. It also places an equal burden of proof on each speaker. You can view the debate here.
The 2019 Season
Finally, on Thursday, October 24, 2019, we will host a debate on the Biblical View of Social Justice. It will feature the American Vision's Dr. Joel McDurmon and Sojourner's Adam Taylor. More details to come soon...
On Thursday, April 19 at 7:00 pm, First Word presented a debate on "God and the Problem of Evil". Local philosophers Evan Friske, a Christian believer, and Brian Deer, an agnostic, answered this age-old question from a philosophical point-of-view. Watch it here on YouTube!
On Saturday, June 3, 2017 we hosted a debate between apologist Dr. Sonny Hernandez and one of America's best-known atheists Dan Barker on God's existence. This was a bit of deja vu as the very first debate we held was between Dan Barker and John Mark Reynolds on the question, "Does God Exist?" As Dr. Hernandez is Reformed and holds to a presuppositional apologetic method, this debate lived up to its promise to offer a different way of answer the question than some other debates. You can view this debate on YouTube here.
Our debates to date have had audiences of about half believers and half skeptics, so all are welcome to hear what the speakers have to say. To be informed about future events, please fill out the form below.
In November of 2017, we hosted debate on the Biblical View of Free Will. That debate featured Dr. Sonny Hernandez and Dr. Theodore Zacharides from the Reformed camp and Dr. Leighton Flowers and Dr. Johnathan Pritchett from the Traditional Southern Baptist camp. The debate has already gained significant attention as it has been reviewed by Dr. James White, Pr. Jordan Hall, the Bible Thumping Wingnut Podcast and more. You can view it online here.
April 18, 2015. First Lutheran presented a debate on the resurrection of Jesus. The two debaters addressed the statement, “Jesus did not rise from the dead”. Christian apologist Tom Peeler and trial attorney Geoffrey Berg were on the dais. Tom is the president of the local chapter of a different apologetics group, Reasons to Believe. Geoff is a well-known attorney and activist in Houston and host of Partisan Gridlock on KPFT, 90.1 FM Friday afternoons. If you are a subscriber to the Houston Chronicle, you can read a great preview of the arguments here. You can watch the debate on Youtube here.
March 21, 2015: Scott Swiggard of Reasonable Faith Houston presented a lecture on the Shroud of Turin.
November, 8, 2014: With only a little help from us, HBU hosted a lively debate between Jewish Rabbi Tovia Singer and Christian Scholar Craig Evans on whether Jesus is the Jewish messiah. It can be seen here.
September 20, 2014: An Evening with Dr. James Tour. Dr. Tour of Rice University presented a lecture called "Science, Faith, Chemical Mechanisms and Reflections on Darwinian Evolution." To those unable to attend, you can download it through the Podcast feed here. You can listen to the lecture on YouTube here. Many thanks to Dr. Tour for sharing his insights and gifts with Houston and beyond!
April 26, 2014: Our second debate was between Christian apologist Eric Hernandez and HCC Philosophy Professor Dan Flores on the question, "Is God Necessary?" You can view this debate here.
November 8, 2013: Our first debate was held at HBU in November, 2013. That debate was between John Mark Reynolds and Dan Barker on "Does God Exist?"
The Best of the Tradition With a Heart for Evangelism and Discipleship