DeMar Declines Debate

In a letter published in the May 15, 1999 issue of the Standard Bearer, Christian Reconstruction postmillennialist Gary DeMar challenged me to a debate.

This was not the first challenge thrown out to me by this leading advocate of postmillennialism. In a letter published in the March 15, 1995 issue of the Standard Bearer, Mr. DeMar wrote:

Why not open the campus of the seminary of the Protestant Reformed Church (sic) to a debate on the topics of "the last days" and "postmillennialism"? I would be willing to pay my own way to participate in such a debate. How about it, Prof. Engelsma?

I accepted the challenge subject to three perfectly reasonable conditions: the topic of the debate will be amillennialism vs. postmillennialism; the basis of the debate will be Holy Scripture as summarized in the Reformed confessions; and the debate in Grand Rapids will be followed by a debate in Atlanta (see "Acceptance of the Challenge to Debate," in the Standard Bearer, June, 1999).

We notified Mr. DeMar of this acceptance of his challenge by certified mail.

Now Mr. DeMar informs us that he declines to debate after all.

What follows is his "bedankje" in full without any editorial comment.

July 28, 1999

David Engelsma

Protestant Reformed Seminary

4949 Ivanrest Avenue

Grandville, MI 49418

Dear David,

Since I do not get the Standard Bearer in subscription form, I do not always know what you write. Friends periodically send me portions of your articles or e-mail me telling me things you have written. You write: "I expected that Mr. DeMar would get in touch with me, to arrange a time for the debate. But I heard nothing more from him." How would I know to get in touch with you? The polite and official thing to do would have been to send me a letter.

And why do you get to set the conditions? You state "Everything depends upon the right understanding of Matthew 24." If there is a debate, then it will be on this passage. Hours can be spent on this very significant portion of Scripture. I don't want to go hop-scotching through the Bible until this large portion of prophetic material is nailed down. Since the majority of Last Days Madness deals with the Olivet Discourse, then this will be the topic of the debate.

I am not interested in having you come to Atlanta. My initial challenge to you was to come to your seminary and present my case before your students. Your circle of influence is too small for me to spend too much time on this matter. Please don't take offense at this. I'm considered small potatoes in dispensational circles. It's a matter of the proper allocation of limited resources.

Since I do not have a subscription to the Standard Bearer, please send me all the articles that you have written on the topic and any book that represents your views. While I am extremely busy, I will take time to read them.


Gary DeMar


Atlanta, GA