I am traveling again and posting here will be light this week. I’m just back from traveling, too, and I’m still catching up on various pieces of Christian media. Oh and comment moderation; I’ve got a couple of items in the queue I need to follow up on, where people have called me on things (where I am probably in the wrong) and I need to figure out how to respond, etc.
But let me direct your attention to a three-week-old episode of The Dividing Line [link], where host James White calls in from Alaska, where he’s hanging out with Phil Johnson of Grace To You and Pyromaniacs [link].
Someone with judgment as poor and a heart as dark as mine should take great care before accusing someone else of sins, especially a sin as slippery as gossip, but I am not sure I can tell the difference between the story White tells about his long-time adversary Norm Geisler in the first half of this episode. It’s a pretty unpleasant portrayal of Geisler; it’s rather personal; and it involves appeals to sources unavailable. I suppose the thing to do is to call the person he quotes and ask them whether the story as White relates it is literally true.
Because of course nothing true is gossip. Right?
I have to admit I had completely missed the fact that Phil Johnson, executive director of John MacArthur’s radio show Grace to You, is not only much more than a radio-friendly voice. He’s an ordained minister, a book editor, and a grandfather. And just before the 33:00 mark White mentions that he founded the Pyromaniacs blog. Which I guess goes to show that I can miss even the most obvious of connections.
He (Johnson) says he picked Frank Turk for the Pyromaniacs blog because he admired Turk’s “wit.” I can’t imagine what this is. And I don’t know what it says about Johnson that he thinks Turk is “clever and cute” full of “grace and good humor.” Perhaps I just keep catching Turk on a bad day.
And finally, it turns out Pyromaniacs was started as a response to Johnson being “pilloried” on Michael Spencer’s iMonk blog, and got his comment deleted. He also says that the Internet Monk blog hasn’t allow comments since. Is this the same blog I visited today [link]? Hmm. That blog seems to allow comments, so there must be a different one.
Regardless, I’d love to see the original article; Johnson says it was (wait for it) his response to Spencer’s take on his take on an article by N. T. Wright on the New Perspective on Paul. I’d love to see what that was all about.
I’m not a fan of Frank Turk; I think he’s condescending and occasionally mean-spirited, and I generally find the tone of the Pyromaniacs blog to be self-congratulatory and sarcastic (yeah yeah: pot/kettle/black), and his ongoing “open letters” series to be beyond the pale.
So intellectual honesty requires that I own up to this: I think he’s on to something in his open letter to Michael Horton of the White Horse Inn and other outlets [link]. Turk’s post really could have been edited for brevity and clarity; if I had to do it I might just have pulled this quote:
There is much to be gained from the Law/Gospel, imperative/indicative distinction in Scripture, but not everything is resolved by it. And one of the things which is not resolved by it is what manner of people the Gospel makes us – which is actually part and parcel of the Good News.
This could partly be summarized as “there’s not just Law and Gospel; there’s also sanctification.” Or words to that effect. I’d recommend reading the whole article and the comments at the link above; it’s a mix of “good Frank Turk” and “bad Frank Turk” and is worthwhile even for those of us who read him rarely and as such are tempted to scorn.