Academic Apologetics Theology
R. L. Solberg  

Debate with Tovia Singer (Nashville)

Rabbi Singer and R. L. Solberg backstage, moments before the debate.

EDITED 7/24/22
The debate is now live and you can watch it here.

Many of you have been asking for me take on how it went. Based on the feedback I have been getting, the consensus from both sides seems to be that it was a lively, fair debate in which both sides were engaging, respectful, and personable. There were strong ideas and claims, and a bit of spirited sparring, but no rancor or hostility. The most important thing for me is that I was able to represent Christ well in my ideas and my demeanor. (At least that’s how I felt when it ended, and thankfully my wife confirmed it!)   

As far as who “won” the debate, that is in the eye of the beholder. On the issues, I think I had a slight advantage because I put several big questions to Rabbi Singer that he noticeably ducked. He had the clear advantage on delivery, rhetoric, and emotional appeal. He’s a masterful speaker!

I’ll be honest. I felt like I brought a winning argument and was able to make some strong points, but did not execute as well as I had intended. I started strong but failed to maintain “mission discipline” and ended up chasing some of Rabbi Singer’s points more than I should have. But, in the end, I was able to share some things I think many had not heard before—ideas that hopefully planted some seeds in the minds of the listeners. And I trust the Holy Spirit will do what He will with them.


An Event of Biblical Proportions!

A Scholarly Debate: “Is Jesus the Promised Jewish Messiah?”

Sunday, July 17, 2022
6:00PM – 9:00PM

Embassy Suites by Hilton – Nashville Airport
Southern Grand Ballroom
10 Century Blvd, Nashville, TN 37214

*Special rates available at the hotel for event attendees (coupon code is on your ticket)

13 thoughts on “Debate with Tovia Singer (Nashville)

  1. Barry Jones

    What should spiritually dead skeptics think when spiritually alive people disagree with each other about how to interpret the OT? We should think that spiritually DEAD people like us don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of figuring the “correct” interpretation. The commentary called “WORD biblical commentary” is written by evangelical Christians, and yet the authors do not push “messianic prophecy” at all when they get to stuff like Micah 5:2 or Isaiah 53. In other words, forget the Jews, the Christians themselves cannot even agree on whether the OT “predicts” Jesus in a way any stronger than “typology”.

    In other words, it is reasonable for skeptics to ignore this whole business of “messianic prophecy”. We are reasonable to delay conversion until god makes the message clear, because we read in Matthew 7:22-23 that even those deeming themselves to be Christians will get a nasty surprise on Judgment Day. Best not to make any decision until these interpretative disputes cease. And that’s just one way that skeptics can reasonably justify putting off “accepting Jesus”.

    1. R. L. Solberg

      Hi, Barry. Good to hear from you again! You seem to be struggling with an acute case of “analysis paralysis.” It brings to mind the salient words of the rock band, Rush, “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.” Respectfully, I’d be curious to know if you “crowd source” all of your positions in life, or if that approach is only applied to Christianity? Are you waiting for everyone to come to a census on the best form of government, or when to get married, or if God exists before you take a position on those issues? Skepticism taken too far becomes a self-defeating premise. What does the skeptic do once he has become skeptical of skepticism? Blessings, Rob

      1. Yitz

        Will this event be recorded and put up on YouTube later?

        1. R. L. Solberg

          Yep, that’s the plan! ~Rob

      2. FayRoe

        J, I mean, G-zus came to fulfill & do everything for us and most of all to let us know that the word REMEMBER in that 4th yoke of heavy burdensome bondage commandment means FORGET. We now observe the DAY OF THE WEEK aka SUNDAY as it is not a yoke of heavy burdensome bondage. GLORY GLORY GLORY WE R FREE!! J, I mean G-zus did it ALL for us. All we gotta do IS BELIEVE THAT!!! GLORY B 2 Gadriel, aka Gad, aka, God!!

        1. Jason

          @FayRoe, Ἰησοῦ or Ἰησοῦς is a transliteration of Yeshua from Hebrew to Greek. There is no “Y” sound in Greek, so the “Ἰη” which are equivalent to a “ee” and “ay” sound are blended together to create the equivalent. Next comes the sigma σ which is our the “s”. Greek also has no “sh” sound for the shin in Hebrew so the sigma is used. The οῦ sound gives us the “oo” or “uu” sound for the “vav” vowel. As you might have noticed, there is no diphthong for the “ua” sound in Greek. Then finally Koine Greek will sometimes add the end sigma to decline the noun as masculine and other times it won’t. That is why you see that extra “s” at the end. When the Greek word Ἰησοῦς is then moved over to English, we get Jesus. The hard “j” sound instead of the “y” sound is because English actually used to pronounce the “j” as a “y” just as German does. However, it changed over time and became the “j” we have today. Nevertheless, English speakers used to say Jesus as “yeh-soos” instead of “gee-zuhs”.

          Also, the σοῦς of Ee-ay-s-oo-s has nothing to do with Zeus, because they are different characters and the sound is different in Greek. It is a common misunderstanding by English speakers to equate the way things sound in English with the way they sound in Greek. No one during Jesus’ time would have any idea what you are talking about with your invented ways of saying the Greek name as though it were similar to Zeus.

  2. Juanita Winters

    I was once asked why God makes it so hard to get to the truth. It would be great if He gave us all a “road to Damascus moment” but such is not the case. I believe that God highly respects and loves the honest and diligent seeker of truth. It is not that truth comes all tied up in a pretty little box or that truth is what the majority believes (good grief) but that truth is revealed to each of us as we search scripture, as if we were searching for treasure. God blesses a true seeker of truth.

    1. yitzgoldberg123

      No, I don’t think a “road to Damascus moment” would do it. If Gd wrote His Name on the clouds for all the see, the second it was over, people would just say, “So what? That wasn’t really Gd. There must be a natural explanation for it.”

      Hence, Gd could give direct miracles every day. . . it wouldn’t help.

      Just MHO.

    2. Jason

      You really have to understand the principle of “lo bashamayim hi”, to understand why miracles mean nothing to Judaism. Rabbi Tovia Singer covered this during the debate when he discussed Deuteronomy and prophets/signs/wonders. “It is not in heaven” for us to understand the truths of scripture, but before us in our very midst hear on earth. You don’t need a miracle, all you need is to rightly interpret and discern the truth of scripture. Tovia’s entire point is that Christians fail to do so. Christians rely on miracles where the Hebrew Bible already speaks clearly as to what is to happen and what is to be expected. Miracles don’t override G-d’s word or replace it. A “road to Damascus moment” means nothing at all and is pure vanity if it is inconsistent with Torah. This is the Jewish belief, and the Christian belief is to abolish Scripture in favor of Paul’s teachings because Jesus rose from the dead. It isn’t just that Jesus as the messiah is unexpected or a different interpretation of messianic prophecy, but that it is seen by Jews as contradicting and abolishing G-d’s word. This is why Tovia uses that Mormon joke. It clearly illustrates how beyond the pale Christian teaching is from the Hebrew Bible to a Jewish perspective.

  3. James

    The New Testament makes the point that “signs and wonders”, the means miracles are for the “unbeliever. If you look it up you will find these scriptures. I’m not writing them all here because I’m old and it takes me forever to text. Have a wonderful and blessed day.

    1. Juanita Winters

      I agree James, the many miracles, signs and wonders that have been recorded for us in scripture have been for various reasons. One of them being for the unbeliever. The whole saga of Moses, from beginning to end, is replete with examples of the power, majesty, love and protection of God for his people. We should embrace miracles.
      However, if a miracle should contradict the truth of scripture, then red flags should fly up all over the place; or if believers should rely on miracles for their faith, then they are sadly misled. Scripture should always be the benchmark with which to measure truth.
      And the truth is, James, that scripture proves that satan is alive and well. There are many perversions in the New Testament from a theological standpoint, all of satanic origin. I say this as a believer in Jesus as the Christ.
      The perversions exclusively present themselves as propagating the trinity doctrine; the chief and most deceptive lie in scripture. Jesus is not God, nor did he ever claim to be.
      P.S. did you ever try using the little microphone on your cell to dictate text messages??

      1. Brady

        Juanita, Jesus claimed to ride the clouds of heaven … that’s a clear claim to deity, and why the high priest tore his robes. Jesus also said he was one with God. He also said he was greater than the temple, another claim to deity. He also said he existed before Abraham, saying “I am.” That is a claim that no created being can make. Shalom

        1. Juanita Winters

          Brady, I truly appreciate and respect your thoughts and I am always open for dialogue on the crucial issue of the trinity and how we should view the person of Jesus. The question of who Jesus is, and where he came from, is one that needs to be approached slowly and methodically so as not to be deceived. It is way too of an important subject to just throw a barrage of scripture against a wall in the hopes that something might stick Each proposition, on both sides of the issue, needs to be examined thoughtfully. If we teach that Jesus is deity, and it turns out to be, indeed, a lie, then we have opened up ourselves, and all generations down to the end times, to the horror of the “son of perdition” and the unfolding of 2 Thessalonians 2. For the sake of not being deceived, let us carefully examine the topics that you reference “one with God,” “before Abraham,” and “created being,” Which one would you like to start with? Respectfully, Juanita

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