I had read about this and was interested in listening if they recorded it, but James White and Bart Ehrman debated on January 21 this year on the resolution, "Did the New Testament Misquote Jesus?" This is a take-off of Ehrman's NY Times bestseller, Misquoting Jesus, which is essentially textual criticism for dummies. Ehrman's a former skeptic, now agnostic, and his new life's mission is to help everyone get there with him. Because he's not a believer, he gets to be the head of the religion department at UNC, Chapel Hill. James White hasn't done much to defend the Bible against the skeptic. He's mainly attempted to give more uncertainty to people without a doubt in Scripture. However, White would profess Jesus Christ and defend Christianity. Ehrman would attempt to tear it down. Ehrman is so popular, I'm sure, because he attacks Scripture and does so on a fifth grade level. He understands his audience. Ehrman studied under Metzger to get his position. White reads Metzger to get his position.
I've downloaded the audio for $6 over at White's Alpha-Omega ministry site and I listened to the introduction and Ehrman's opening statement. I'm interested in listening to all of it as I make the time. And I will write about it here. You'll read an interesting review of the debate at The American Vision by Joel McDurmon. He would be friendly to James White, but his review calls it a draw---neither of them won the debate. And that despite evidence that Ehrman did nothing to prepare for it, but White spent a large amount of time.
What will further spur anyone's interest is what White goes about saying after the debate. McDurmon has some kind, yet harsh words about a few things that White says and writes. White says that it is ironic that McDurmon labels him an evidentialist, when clearly he is a "presuppositionalist." Whenever I listen to White talk on this subject, and I haven't listened to the debate all the way through yet, he sounds like an evidentialist to me too. I say that if he is a presuppositionalist, he should debate like it. I believe I know why he doesn't on this subject at least. He isn't a presuppositionalist on this issue. He didn't prepare for a presuppositional presentation on his side of the debate, so he didn't present one.
What White does, according to McDurmon, and I've yet to hear it (but will), is argue the exact same way that Ehrman does. Ironic, huh? McDurmon comes across as very objective. White goes to his speculation about the text to say that there's enough evidence in the manuscripts to support Christian beliefs and enough confidence in Scripture. Ehrman goes to his speculation about the text to say that there's enough evidence in the manuscripts to support a denial of the inspiration of Scripture and, therefore, a rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
That's all I have to say for now, but I'm planning, Lord-willing, on breaking it down for you in the near future, so stay tuned. Read the McDurmon article and see how familiar his conclusion sounds. White says that the best thing that comes out of this debate is that Ehrman is exposed as the skeptic that he is. Well, did anyone really doubt the skepticism of Ehrman? That wasn't much of a goal reached if I put the effort White did for this debate. I'm thinking that the best material that I'll get out of this debate will be the content in opposition to White. I already knew that Ehrman was a fraud, having read two of his books. Now we'll see about White.