Friday, February 02, 2007

Frank Turk on the Bible Answer Man Show

I saw that I made the headlines over on Frank Turk’s (aka CenturiOn) blog. Now, I haven’t read Frank’s blog for a long time- about a month ago I started again. On dial-up, Frank’s blog took about 14 hours to load due to the pictures and layout. Now on high speed, I’ve been visiting regularly. Great blog! If you haven’t visited, you will enjoy Frank’s world. I’ve known this guy for a few years now- I use to watch him pummel people over on the CARM boards. His posts were incredible. I never saw him lose an argument. I’ve kinda lost touch with him since he’s become a blogging superstar. But, I still treasure the candy rosary beads he sent me. You think I’m kidding?

Some of you might not know this, but a few years ago, Frank was a guest on the Bible Answer Man show. He was part of a roundtable discussion. Hank invited him to dialog with anti-Calvinist George Bryson. Some other guy was there as well. Anyway, the entire show can be heard here:

Frank Turk on The Bible Answer Man Show

Frank, a Christian marketing entrepreneur, Superhero, blogging mogul, all-around-decent guy, also made some comments on the aesthetic nature of blogs. Now, I can appreciate a well- constructed slick website or blog. But I’m a guy more interested in content. One will note, my blog here uses the simplest of all blogger templates. I don’t have a lot of fancy pictures or graphics. I just use a bunch of words and a picture here and there. I realize though, people like being entertained. They enjoy being bedazzled by images. That’s probably why I won’t spend the time to add a lot of images. Now, there’s nothing wrong with what Frank does on his blog. He has like 10 million readers or something like that. He says “boo” and get 68 comments. His content is also very good. He can make a good point and entertain at the same time.

Frank also commented on my recent review of Roman Catholic "conversions":

At any rate, James the New Jersian, AKA TQuid, is roiling the Catholics this week for their new superhero ex-Calvinist convert, and I have to admit something. The whole discussion left a bad taste in my mouth.

My thoughts on this will have to wait for another day. Stay tuned.

Hey Frank- send me more candy!


centuri0n said...

I'd just like to note that James Swan has always ranked, in my book, as the smartest internet apologist on the planet. I know that's sort of a left-handed complement, but I'm a fan of James.

I had no idea the Bryson audio still existed. For me, the funny thing about that call is that Bryson and Hank don't want to apply their accusation against Calvinism against their own claims. You know: Calvinists don't think God does evil, either. But Calvinism admits, at the ontological level, that God made the men who go to hell knowing that they would go there -- that's what "exhaustive foreknowledge" means.

Anyway, before I start ranting about that, I'm going to go find James another candy rosary to celebrate the recent conversion he has been discussing here at his blog.

James White said...

Notice how Frank is doing his best to keep James from joining Team Apologian. See, he knows that despite the aged nature of A&O's template (its age, I assure you, is significantly less than Frank's age) that all of Team Pyro's great graphics could not compete with the combined output what would flow from Team Apologian! So, note the brash gesture of trinket-pandering! But what is worse, A&O has been making that audio available on CD all along, and Frank pretends ignorance of its existence! What, are we going to be told next that Frank predicted the divorce of Sonny and Cher?

centuri0n said...

I did, in fact, predict the divorce of Sonny and Cher in a prescriptive way.

However, I encourage James Swan publicly and urgently to join TeamPros -- whether or not he wants another candy rosary.

And I'll let either James have the last word on this topic. It is not driving any traffic to my blog (who knew that nobody ever followed outbound links from, and it took me 15 minutes to write this tiny comment because I had to keep editing out all the really good come-backs to DrO's joke (singular) about my age.

James White said...

You are still smarting over my finding that picture of you. I can tell. It's OK. The fake muscles looked good on you, really.

centuri0n said...

I won a prize for that costume.

I know that breaks my word to let you have the last word, but it had to be said.

... cursed MyFamily ...

Gojira said...

James Swan,

You have been ROARED!

johnMark said...

That audio brings back memories. I am glad I can still interact with you guys since our CARM days are long gone. I enjoyed posting with you guys. It was cool being on the side of the two smartest guys on CARM while I got to put my sentence or two in between.

Okay, you win, TQ, I owe you two blog posts this month.


FM483 said...

I listened to Frank Turk on "The Bible Answer Man" and understand this involves the usual arguments regarding CLVINIST DOCTRINES OF God,Wherein the doctrines of DOUBLE-PREDESTINATION result.The Lutheran Confessions address such issues, as in the articles dealing with the cause of sin and Original Sin in particular. For example, Article XIX of the Augsburg Confession states that the blame for sin rests solely with the devil and with man, not with God, and that apart from Christ there is no hope for the wicked. In the Frank Turk interview I see there is a tendency on his part to speak about God apart from Jesus Christ, using the appeal of human logic and reasoning. The orthodox Christian viewpoint is to never consider God independent of His masterpiece in revelation: the Son of God , the Lord Jesus Christ. Always thinking of God in terms of Christ will ensure that the believer stays focused on what God has revealed as Truth. God loves all men and wishes all to be saved.Unfortunately many resist His Grace and mercy and their condemnation is a result of their sinful and disobedient nature. When we get to heaven ALL credit will go to Jesus. Those that go to hell have no one tonlame but themselves, not God.Always considering God in terms of the Grace of Christ ensures that the believer has assurance and the comfort of the Gospel and is not tossed to and fro by any human logic and reason.

Frank Marron

Antonio said...

Mr. Swan.

I thought I would appreciate Frank Turk's lively dialogue as well. You see, we were having an informal back and forth, recently, on the book of James but he has decided to quit our discussion. He claimed victory by the mere citing of a lexicon and an error-filled, brief, and careless objection to my work by Dr. Daniel Wallace. He furthermore banned me from his blog for giving a simple hyper-link to a post on mine that continued to respond to his criticism. He did this even though the comment I put the link in was one where I relayed to him that I contributed money to a mission organization that he was advocating in the OP.

In an email correspondence, he told me that he was banning me from his blog because of the link. He told me that if I had any more links to give him, that I should do it in an email. Well, I did send him one more link, to a post on my blog where I was responding to the objections of his expert, and he told me he was banning me from emailing him as well.

I don't understand this guy.

To see my points about Frank, I will give you the scoop on our debate.

Here is an original few posts about my take on james 1:21 in particular:

Study of the Phrase "sozo" with the object "psyche" in the LXX

The Possiblilty and Probabilty of the Free Grace Position on James 1:21

Frank Turk sent these posts to Dr. Daniel Wallace to review. Here is Daniel Wallace's response to my posts:

Frank Turk's Dead Horse Post-Mortem

and the following are three responses to Dr. Wallace, of which Frank decided not to respond to:

I thought it wasn't Frank Turk's style to brush off a good discussion with an theological opponent.

Antonio da Rosa
Free Grace Blog

johnMark said...


Can you gives us a proof as to your assertion that:

"In the Frank Turk interview I see there is a tendency on his part to speak about God apart from Jesus Christ, using the appeal of human logic and reasoning."

Much to my suprise you've certainly assumed much about Frank's Calvinistic position given the time you've spent on this blog.

Paul Helm has written a piece on the "Classical Calvinist Concept of God".


L P Cruz said...


Frank is a fellow Lutheran like me and I think as a general observation, I too have noticed that in Calvinistic expositions like that of Piper's Future Grace, you hear about this independent concept apart from Christ. Thus to a Lutheran mind, that is rather strange to their ears - John 1:17.

Jesus is our hermeneutic (so to speak).


FM483 said...

L P Cruz stated in response to my post:


Can you gives us a proof as to your assertion that:

"In the Frank Turk interview I see there is a tendency on his part to speak about God apart from Jesus Christ, using the appeal of human logic and reasoning."

Much to my suprise you've certainly assumed much about Frank's Calvinistic position given the time you've spent on this blog. "


I went back and listened to the short discussion with Frank Turk and Bryson on "The Bible Answer Man" again. The duscussion jumps head first into God's foreknowledge of everything, including future sin and evil. Bryson made a good point that God's foreknowledge is not identical with prescription. That is to say, the fact that God may know the future does not mean He prescribes it is inevitable and within His will. This is important to understand. We are the pots and God is the Potter. We must be careful how we approach the infinite,omniscient God. The only way I know how to do so is through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. To attempt to understand God's unrevealed or hiddenness can lead to doctrines which do not have Jesus Christ at the center. Attempting to understand God's foreknowledge and will apart from Jesus is dangerous. The Frank Turk discussion illustrates in what direction people can easily go once human logic and reasoning is placed dead center in human discussions. For example, as the Frank Turk interview showed, it seems humanly logical to conclude that since many people reject Christ and are condemned and the fact of the presence of evil in the qorld implies that since God knew all this would occur,in a human logical way God is responsible. Hank Hanegraff attempted to thwart this direction of the conversation but that is exactly where Calvinism takes you. By keeping Christ in the center and the plain Scriptures that tell us He wishes no man to be condemned to hell and has sacrificed His Son for the sins of the entire world, we stay on target. As I pointed out earlier, the Lutheran Confessions delve into such subjects by attributing all evil to the devil and those under his dominion. Jesus Christ came precisely for this purpose: to destroy the works of the devil and set the captives free. Jesus is referred to as the "Lamb of God Who was slain before the foundation of the world"(1Peter 1:20). Jesus is the focal point of all of God's creation,not our human ability to rationalize philosophical concepts in a vacuum. As Colossians 1 states, by Jesus were all things created, by Him and for Him, and all things hold together because of Him. Jesus is the center of everything. Jesus is the center of time/space/eternity. To attempt to deal with philosophical questions about God apart from Jesus will lead to heresy quite quickly. If I think about it, many world religions make more commonsense than Christianity. All world religigions are good works oriented, and function similar tomy experiences in the world. But Christianity is Jesus centered: Jesus has already done everything perfectly in our stead. The Grace of God in Christ is the missing element in all other religions. Take your focus off Jesus for one minute and you could be persuaded to believe almost anything theologically.Why God permitted evil and sin to exist I don't know. This goes into the backside of God, His hiddenness which He hasn't plainly revealed to men.But I do know what He has revealed to me in His Word and this is what I cleave to. There are allsorts of human man-made religions and philosophies I could adhere to. But to do so would force me to take my eyes off of Jesus, the suthor and perfecter of my faith.

Frank Marron

johnMark said...


In light of your somewhat of an explaination, I would say that you are more guilty of seperating the Father and Son. Unless, that is, you are saying they are not one in mind? If all was created by, through and for Christ and the Father gives His own to the Son then Turk's observation in fully intact.

What Turk was trying to show is that there is a purpose for evil in the world. And that everyone has the same "problem" in that the Father as well as the Son knew that there would be those who would not believe and live a full life only to end up in hell.

Can you show me from Scripture that God doesn't know who will or won't believe prior to their being born? Or would you posit that God doesn't know such information until a person is actually formed in the womb and/or born?


centuri0n said...

Oh brother.

TQ: This is what you get when you bring me into it.

Everyone else:

One of the things that is problematic with this clip is that it doesn't actually exist in a vacuum. Bryson and Hanagraaf are the ones who posited the idea that God's knowledge is exhaustive without being causative, and they barely gave DrO a word in edgewise on that topic in the previous hour. I sat on hold while they did that ans waited them out.

In that, their counter-argument is this: God is a doer of evil if he makes men for the purpose of sending them to hell. That is, if God knows a person, and knows exhaustively and conclusively that this person will go to hell, if God makes this person, and this person factually does go to hell, God is a bad guy.

This argument is only slightly nuanced against Calvinism -- because the Calvinist view is that God makes the person -intending- to end him to hell. In the Bryson/BAM view, God maks this person knowing he will go to hell, but somehow -doesn't intend- this person to go to hell.

Yes. Let that sink in: God can make someone He exhaustively foreknows will go to hell, but in making that person, God doesn't -intend- for that person to go to hell.

The flaw is in the way Bryson/BAM portray exhaustive foreknowledge. As far as I can tell from listening to Hank and the Cav Chapel crowd, they have some kind of William Lane Craig influenced view of Foreknowledge as some kind of middle knowledge, but they don't have the sophistication to express it that way. That said, their view is a counter-reformational view because it is inherently a Molinist view. Craig expressly states that his view is derivative of Molina -- and in examining the position, we have to come to terms with that.

Before I wrap up, if I were to posit an affirmative defense of exhaustive foreknowlegde, it would be a decretal and as necessary in the fact that God is both creator and sustainer. But since I'm not doing that here, that's enough for those of you going at this to think about.

Last, who is this Antonio daRosa? Is he the guy who can make 23 exegetical mistakes in the NT and not have time to correct himself? If he is, how can we trust him to be honest about anything he does? My opinion is that he's not good company, and he's banned from my blog. You people treat him as you see fit.

FM483 said...

Mark wrote me:

"Can you show me from Scripture that God doesn't know who will or won't believe prior to their being born? Or would you posit that God doesn't know such information until a person is actually formed in the womb and/or born?


MY RESPONSE: Here we go again, engaging in philosophical reasoning and postulating with our finite human brains. It apparently isn't sufficient to many people to confess their beliefs, but they feel compelled to explain such belief in terms that human reason reason and logic can fully grasp. All I know about God is what He has chosen to reveal to me. I see this in His Word, the Scriptures. Jesus Christ and the redemption of all mankind is the central theme of God's communication in His Word, and it is not God's foreknowledge and predestination. The apostles didn't dream up the concept of the Trinity, but it was revealed to them. They could not ignore the Second Person of the Godhead since the had lived with Him as true man for several years and were witnessesof His suffering, death, and resurrection from the dead. There is no way a person can even consider God independent of Jesus Christ, unless of course that person is a Mormon or member of some other sect. The Christian always views creation, sin, evil, redemption, heaven, and other such subjects based upon God as revealed in Christ. Even the concept of predestination is viewed as such: we were predestined to election and adoption as sons of God IN CHRIST. The redemption of the world through Christ becomes the central message to believers, and not independent philosophizing about God's foreknowledge, etc...

Frank Marron

centuri0n said...

Hey Frank:

That's fine. Are you saying that God has not told us how much of or whether He knows the future, or it is that everything God has told us about His knowledge is culminated but truncated in Christ?

I don't think there's any philosophy necessary to understand what the Bible teaches us about what Gods knows, whether He knows it, and by what means He knows it. All that is plainly stated in the Bible. The question is whether we will let that be a stumbling block to our dscipleship or to other who have not received the Gospel.

However, you may have a different view of this. Tell me: does the Bible tell us anything about what God knows in terms of scope? That is, is there something God doesn't know?

FM483 said...

Centurion wrote:

“Tell me: does the Bible tell us anything about what God knows in terms of scope? That is, is there something God doesn't know?”


Why do you persist asking me questions about aspects of God which have not been clearly revealed in Scripture? Why don’t you instead concentrate on Christ and this masterpiece of revelation by God? That God wishes all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of Him? That God does not delight in the plight of those who resist His Grace? That all those who believe in Jesus Christ were elected before the foundation of the earth? Why not concentrate on those biblical aspects instead of other questions dealing with the hiddenness of God?
I can also engage in asking you questions, such as what is the difference between a cherubim and seraphim? Or please explain simply how the infinite God can be present in the womb of the finite virgin Mary. Or how can there be 3 persons and yet one God? These are examples of truths which permeate Scripture as paradoxes. I would highly recommend the book by Peter Kurowski “The Seduction of Extremes: Swallowing Camels and Straining Knats”. This book is rich and challenges the reader to better appreciate how God’s Word is permeated with paradox. The entire issue of Frank Turk’s interview on BAM illustrates how biblical paradoxes challenge our human minds and cannot be fully settled based upon our human reason and logic. The fact that the discussion always tends to preclude Jesus Christ as the Truth and revelation of Who God is and His disposition towards humanity illustrates this fact. Apart from Christ there is absolutely no way a person could determine how God thinks about humanity and creation in general. All the religions of the world illustrate this confusion: they are based upon man placating a wrathful God through various systems of good deeds and certain lifestyles(theology of glory). Only Christianity clearly presents God and His disposition towards mankind, which is focused and based totally on the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Son of God Jesus the Christ. Man cannot even begin to understand the one true God apart from Jesus Christ.When Philipp wished Jesus to show him the Father, Jesus responded that to know Him is to know the Father. You cannot analytically separate the Godhead.They are totally united and yet are 3 separate persons. That is why the Holy Spirit always testifies of Jesus, not Himself. God is love and before the creation the 3 Persons loved each other, each one being the object of their love.Love never existed in a vacuum the way our human logic and reason imagines. We cannot comprehend anything true about God separate from what He has revealed to us in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, any questions about sin, evil,condemnation,etc… must always begin and end with God’s revelation to mankind: Jesus Christ crucified for the sins of the world. When the issue of evil, sin, and election are addressed independent of Christ, human logic stumbles in the face of Scripture, leading one to conclude that God is the author of evil because He knows everything and nothing comes to pass without His foreknowledge, As I stated earlier, the Lutheran Confessions address the issue of sin and evil by pointing to the biblical author of this tragedy-the devil and those he holds dominion over,not God. To explain such concepts in detail which our human minds are fully satisfied is nearly impossible since we deal in biblical paradoxes. Why some are saved and not others is not explained in the bible to the total satisfaction of our human minds. What we do know, based upon His Word, is that God wishes all to be saved. Once again, asking me deep theological questions will never biblically answer such questions to the total satisfaction of human reason. Can you explain how 1+1+1 equals 1, as in the Triune God?

Your question about the infinite omniscient God is addressed by you, a finite creature, to me,another finite creature. How can I possibly know anything about God independent of what He has revealed to me?All the cults go into the area of the hiddenness of God in order to substantiate their unbiblical doctrines, referred to as a theology of glory . The Christian embraces the Theology of the Cross. It is Christ centered and cross focussed. There is much I do not understand to the satisfaction of my human reason, but as long as I concentrate on God’s masterpiece of revelation to me in His Son, I am content and assured with the comfort that God’s Elect willnever be snatched out of His hand and were predestined In Christ before the foundation of the world. I an reluctant to entertain thoughts about predestination, free will, evil, and other theological matters, independent of the cross of Christ. Jesus ties everything together in an understandable fashion. I am content to walk the tightrope of paradox in Holy Scripture, realizing that it is easy to fall off to one side or the other without focussing on Christ. A remarkable Lutheran theologian once remarked that if one were to substitute the nameof “Jesus” for the word “faith” in the bible, every verse and thought made perfect sense.

Frank Marron