***EDIT*** The audio of the debate is available here.
Gary DeMar is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. He has authored countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 books over the years with AmericanVision.org, including Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church, and his latest, A Beginner’s Guide to Interpreting Bible Prophecy (which will be available for the first time at the debate). He has been featured by several major media outlets. Gary has lived in the Atlanta area since 1979 with his wife Carol. They have two married sons and are enjoying their seven grandchildren. Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).
Michael L. Brown is the founer and president of FIRE School of Ministry in Concord, North Carolina, Director of the Coalition of Conscience. He hosts the daily, nationally-syndicated talk radio show, Line of Fire, as well as the apologetics TV show, Answering Your Toughest Questions, which airs on the NRB TV. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from NYU and has served as a visiting or adjunct professor at multiple seminaries. Dr. Brown has authored around 25 books, including the one most relevant to this debate, Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story of the “Church” and the Jewish People, which has been translated into more than twelve languages. He is a national and international speaker on themes of spiritual renewal and cultural reformation, and has debated Jewish rabbis, agnostic professors, and gay activists on radio, TV, and college campuses. He is widely considered to be the world’s foremost Messianic Jewish apologist. He and his wife Nancy, who is also a Jewish believer in Jesus, have been married since 1976. They have two daughters and four grandchildren.
The stated topic of debate is “Has the Church replaced Israel?” While some have expressed dissatisfaction with the word “replaced” or the concept “replacement theology” in this debate, I can assure you that these labels are used only as generally-accepted terminology. The topic is simply a springboard for discussion of the dispute between two general modern positions: one which sees important Old Testament promises as pertaining specially and only to ethnic Israel, and another in which those promises to all believers—i.e. “the church.”
We could just as easily ask related important questions such as “What is the relationship between the ‘church’ and ‘Israel’?” or “What does the Bible say about the future for ethnic Israelites?” We could probably find a dozen ways to start this discussion. And certainly there are many more nuances, definitions, and points of contrast and discussion that will, we hope and expect, come out in the debate.
The key will be to have the right men and the right format. And I think we’ve got both.
It was important to us to have a substantial part of the debate involve direct engagement and interaction. After “opening statements,” both men will engage in direct questioning and discussion-style debate, essentially making much of the debate an open, informal cross-examination period.
In order for this format to work, of course, not only do both men need to be broadly fluent on the topic, but they must be a high character and demeanor. This is why I said we need the right men, and with Gary, and from what I’ve seen from Dr. Brown, I have very high expectations. I think we will see two men who can deliver on the topic, get to the real heart of the issue, stick to it, and yet show patience and grace in receiving the best arguments and rebuttals the other has to offer.
For those unable to attend, the debate will be recorded in video and audio, but it will not be live-streamed.
Please make your plans to join us today, and pray for both men as they engage in an important topic with deep implications for our lives. I hope to see you there!