The Saare-Turner Debate
  1. “The New Testament Scriptures teach that, for the penitent believer, water baptism is for, unto, or in order to the remission of sins.” Allan Turner affirms; Keith Saare denies.

    Turner’s First Affirmative

    Saare’s First Negative

    Turner’s Second Affirmative

    Saare’s Second Negative

    Turner’s Third Affirmative

    Saare’s Third Negative

    Turner’s Addendum

    Saare’s Addendum

  2. “The New Testament Scriptures teach that unregenerated sinners are saved by grace through faith alone, before and without water baptism.” Keith Saare affirms; Allan Turner denies.

    Saare’s First Affirmative

    Turner’s First Negative

    Saare’s Second Affirmative

    Turner’s Second Negative

    Saare’s Third Affirmative

    Turner’s Third Negative

  3. “The New Testament Scriptures teach that a child of God, having received the remission of sins, can then fall from grace and, without repentance, be eternally lost.” Allan Turner affirms; Keith Saare denies.

    Turner’s First Affirmative

  4. “The Scriptures teach that, since the fall of Adam, man is born totally depraved and is, therefore, incapable of responding, by faith, to the gospel of Jesus Christ without God's enabling power.” Keith Saare affirms; Allan Turner denies.


This notice was posted on February 5, 2007
: At Keith Saare’s request, I held off on starting the Third Proposition of this debate until after the holidays. I posted my First Affirmative on January 1 and notified him that I had done so. This meant that Keith’s First Negative was due on January 15. On January 16 I received an email from him saying: “It just dawned on me that I’m due for a response. I’m terribly sorry, I’ve been out of town most of the last two weeks and then sick when I was actually home. I’m working on it now and will try to have it for you by Friday.” Then on the 25th, responding to an inquiry from me, he wrote: “Just working on it right now. Would you like to see my progress?” I replied: “No, I’ll wait for the finished product. Just wanted to make sure you were still on board, as I understood you were going to try and have it in by last Friday.” He quickly responded by saying: “I know, and I’m sorry. I was sick and out of town. But then I also just needed a break from academics and scholarly stuff like this debate. I just finished 4 ½ years of seminary, and feel pretty beat up from the rigors. I am trying to whip myself back into shape.”

Since then I’ve heard absolutely nothing from Keith. Thus, I assume he has just given up. I am disappointed, of course, but there is nothing I can do about Keith’s failure to honor the commitment he made while negotiating this debate. I have found such to be typical of those who boldly challenge for debate, as did Keith, and then, when they begin to have problems answering legitimate questions concerning their doctrine, find some excuse to just fade away.

Thus, in addition to failing in his attempt to defend his theological point of view, Keith has also demonstrated himself to be untrustworthy. Now, for “once saved, always saved” Calvinists, perhaps such actions just aren’t all that big of a deal. Nevertheless, and as this kind of behavior so tellingly illustrates, ideas—whether they be theological or otherwise—have consequences.

It is my prayer that Keith will, in his own pigsty moment (cf. Luke 15:11-19), come to his senses and repent. If he does, I’ll be happy to make that known here. In the meantime, I pray that what there is of this debate will serve to demonstrate to those who have carefully read it that Calvinism is simply not sustainable from a Scriptural point of view. —Allan Turner

To which Keith responded on the same day by writing: Hi Allen. What in your opinion will constitute repentance? Would turning in my response indicate so?

Please remember that I originally aimed for a debate to take place during the summer when I informed you that was when I was free to focus on it. Unlike you, I am not retired so I can focus all of my time on writing.

BTW—your announcement below is misleading to your audience. You were the one who challenged propositions 3 & 4 so that you could have enough material to turn into a book format—this was not my challenge to you.

Anyway, I will still turn in my response. If you post it, great. If not, it will make a fine piece to add to my own collection of works to draw from at a later time for a sermon, article, etc.


To which I responded the same day by saying: Keith, an indication that you have failed to do what you said you would, the immediate submission of your late material, along with the affirmation that you do not intend to let it happen again, would be sufficient, at least for me.

You, Keith, challenged me to debate, did you not? In accepting, the fact that I negotiated with you the scope of the subject to be discussed does not make me the challenger, and you must know this. Therefore, your baseless charge that I am somehow “misleading” my audience is just more of that make-it-up-as-you-go nonsense you are are now infamous for spouting.

Retired? What in the world are you talking about? What I am no longer doing at the moment is being fully supported to preach on a regular basis, as I was for many years. I have taken this time off to research, write, and publish. Last year, I completed and published two books. My intention is to do the same this year, and for as many years as I’m able. Consequently, I have very little free time on my hands.

Even so, I agreed to take the time to have this discussion with you. This is what you agreed to as well. So, the difference between us is not that you are pressed for time and I’m not. The difference, as I see it, is that you are young and inexperienced. Consequently, you probably didn’t stop to consider the necessary cost (in the time that would need to be spent and the effort that would have to be made) of participating in a structured debate. Thus, I believe the admonition found in Luke 14:28-30 to be appropriate: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’”

So, if you are, indeed, serious about continuing this debate, and will comply with the conditions laid out in the first sentence of this email, then I am committed to seeing this discussion with you out to the end. However, be advised that any further delay for which you have no reasonable excuse, now or in the future, will immediately terminate our debate.


Posted January 4, 2012: I suppose one could call this, "The Debate That Never Was." I had really hoped to publish it as a book and was disappointed Saare bowed out like he did. It was eventually removed from the website, and I can't now recall why. However, I recently received an email from a Christian in Mexico who told me he and others had translated it into Spanish and had profited by it and other materials on this site. So, I went back and reviewed what there is of this debate and have decided there is good material contained therein. Consequently, I have decided to post it once again for the consideration of those who did not have the opportunity to read it the first time around.


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