The theological debate: Its value and significance With negotiation and debate being the buzz-words of our day, it is of some value to explore, even if only superficially, the structure and tendency of the theological debate in the history of the church. In the theological debate the cardinal issue is the Word of God which determines the word of man. In this light the theological debate can be distinguished as both an internal debate within the church arid an external debate with those outside the church. The substance of the debate is determined largely by the question of the content and significance of the Word of God Since the Word of God is an absolute norm, the theological debate tends to become a statement and, in many cases, does not develop iruo an exchange of ideas or points of view. The theological debate, with its apologetic, explanatory and didactic elements, is however a necessary element in church life. Within its limits it can be a stimulating expression of the faith of the church.