Monday, February 4, 2008

Email Debate with Fundamentalist Pastor

In March 2007, a local pastor in the small town in Virginia where we were living, was involved in a mass distribution of an anti-Mormon DVD entitled "Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith." It was nothing less than a load of lies, mischaracterizations and rubbish. There was a wonderful response put out immediately by some LDS apologists that you can see at www.JosephSmithDVD.org. The distribution of the DVD was 100% anonymous and distributed to LDS and their neighbors and friends while the LDS members were in Church. The DVD was simply placed in the mailbox, on the door step, on car windshields, or some other location. Unfortunately, I didn't get one. So, I took the opportunity of calling each pastor in town to try to locate who was responsible and to get a copy for myself to review.

I eventually was successful. Pastor Ramsey was mostly courteous and polite and even gave me an audience in his office after I saw the video. I expressed my concern that he, as a good Christian, would never wish to intentionally bare false witness against his neighbor and left him with a printed-out copy of the material found on www.JosephSmithDVD.org. We discussed some of the issues involved, we exchanged information and I left.

I thought that this Pastor surely was an honest albeit misinformed man. I was surprised to find out a few weeks later that he was publicly showing the video in his church and that he announced it in the local newspapers. At this point a friend and I decided it was best to respond. We typed up a short response to the attack with information on where to get answers to the lies in the video, took it to his church and placed it on each car while the people were inside watching the video. We figured that was the least confrontational way we could respond. In the short response we questioned the integrity of the pastor by pointing out that he had the information found on www.josephsmithdvd.org and yet continues to show the video which misrepresents LDS belief and history.

That night I received an email from Pastor Ramsey in response. It was amazingly calm and careful. Admittedly, I was surprised by the way he presented himself. This email blossomed into a long debate over the next week or two which I have saved. It is here attached as a word document for you to download. I admittedly would respond differently to some of his questions today if given the opportunity. I think I would have tried to tone down my sarcasm a bit as well, but sometimes I can't help myself. Either way, I think you'll find the document insightful.

Click here to download:Pastor Ramsey and Andrew Miller Email Debate

4 comments:

chad said...

Andrew

I am truly impressed with your apologetic ability - the e-mail correspondence was a good read before heading off to work.

I am going to reread this debate tonight and see what other insights I might receive - thanks for posting this

Andrew Miller said...

Sure! I'm glad you read it. Like I said, I would refine some of my arguments if I were to do it again. I think there's a thing or two I got completely wrong as well, but overall it was a good experience

Anonymous said...

Awesome to read this experience! Adding the feed to my reader account, thanks.

GB said...

Great Job!!

And you kept him on topic which he obviously didn't like.

I am afraid I would have been much more sarcastic than you were. So again great job.

here is something you might find interesting.

http://www.netbloghost.com/mouw/?p=48

I did.