Archive for the ‘Centuri0n’ Category

Open Letter to Frank Turk

February 23, 2011

Dear Centuri0n,

What’s the deal with all the open letters? (such as this one)(and this one)(and this one)(and this one)(and this one)(and this one)(and this one) Have you forgotten how to write regular letters?

Yours truly,


Second Incarnational Defense of Idols Rebutted

July 30, 2010

Subsequent to my last post, Frank Turk (aka Centuri0n) has submitted a new argument into the comment box of his his own post (link to post). Frank Turk argues:

One of the pillars of Tom’s argumentation is that any image of Jesus is necessarily, by definition, a “false image” of Jesus. And the reason for this is that the Law in Israel says explicitly that Israel was [a] not to make graven images to worship, and [b] not to seek to represent the invisible YHVH with visible objects.

Tom’s view relies heavily on continuity between Israel and the Church, and between Old Covenant and New Covenant. The problem is that, becuase of Christ as incarnation, there is a significant discontinuity between OT and NT.

There is some discontinuity and some continuity between the old and new administrations of God’s grace. There is not discontinuity on this point. We see that a few ways.

I. Old Testament Prophecy

Micah 5:13 Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands.

Micah points forward to the coming time, and specifically identifies the issue of idols as one of the points of continuity/reform to God’s word.

II. End-Times Prophecy

Revelation 9:20-21
And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

The use of idols is listed among the things that the wicked do, among the serious crimes like murder, sorcery, fornication, and theft.

III. Paul’s Ministry

Acts 17:24-31
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

This is part of Paul’s famous sermon on Mar’s hill. Notice that there is a discontinuity – the Gentiles are now called to serve God, whereas before only the Jews were called. All men every where are commanded to repent. But Paul does not say “Jesus doesn’t look like that, he looks like this (holding up a little icon or statue).” No, Paul specifically teaches the Greeks that God is not worshiped with the works of man’s hands, nor is he properly represented even by such elevated metals as gold and silver.

IV. Paul’s Epistles

1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Notice that while Paul acknowledges Jesus as Lord, without a doubt, he still refers to his King as invisible. Paul did not have a flannel-graph Jesus that he carried around with him. He preached Jesus, not pictures. Before I get too much more into Paul’s epistles, let me provide some more of Frank Turk’s argument. He writes:

Consider it:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. [NASB]

Right? Heb 1:1-4, with a special emphasis on this phrase: “He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature”. That Greek word under “exact representation” (“χαρακτήρ”), ironically, is a word used to describe the engraving in a coin — it is specifically an engraving term.

This speaks to us about the nature of the incarnation, doesn’t it? Somehow, because Jesus was exactly like God, there’s a discontinuity between the OT demand that there are no created images which can represent God and the NT fact that Jesus, conceived in Mary’s womb as a man in the form of a servant, is actually God.

Let me provide the KJV for the passage that Frank Turk quoted:

Hebrews 1:1-4
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

What does it mean that Jesus is “the express image of his person” (χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ) It means that Jesus is God. It means that Jesus and the Father are of one and the same divine being. It does not mean that Jesus is a picture of what God looks like. Jesus flesh and blood, his humanity, is not a representation of God, nor was that the intent. Jesus took on flesh, not to represent God, but – as a man – to represent men!

Yes, there was a discontinuity, God became flesh and dwelt among us. But there was not a discontinuity with respect to make representations of God.

Thus, for example, we see Paul use a similar expression in Colossians.

Colossians 1:12-17 … giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Notice that here it calls Jesus the “image of the invisible God” (εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου) that first word in the Greek is the root for our word “icon.” It would be absurd to read that literally, as though Jesus were a literal icon of something that is invisible. What it means instead is that Jesus is God. He is of the same substance with the Father.

Notice how in both the Colossians passage and the Hebrews passage, this likeness to the Father is contextually connected with power: “upholding all things by the word of his power” and “by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

Going back to Hebrews, we see that the author of Hebrews recognizes the invisibility of God, but provides this interesting metaphorical language:

Hebrews 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

How is it that we see our invisible God? It’s not by painting pictures – it’s by faith. It’s trusting in the promises of God like Moses and the other witnesses of Hebrews 11.

Furthermore, in what should be a very interesting twist for Frank Turk, we see that the Scriptures teach that we can see the invisible things of God through the visible creation.

Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Of course, we are not seeing the power and Godhead of God itself, we’re seeing their effects in the Creation. We’re seeing what God made, and consequently seeing Him through that – not a purported similitude, but an illustration and demonstration of His power.

– TurretinFan

Response to the Manhattan Declaration

November 23, 2009

Frank Turk has an interesting response to the Manhattan Declaration (link)(link to declaration). Unfortunately, for a few reasons, there a few points where I’d take a somewhat different tack. His biggest point is correct:

The declaration should be opposed because it obscures the gospel. The wording of the document is ecumenical. It uses expressions like “We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians …” and “It was Christians who combated the evil of slavery: Papal edicts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries decried the practice of slavery and first excommunicated anyone involved in the slave trade … .”

I should point out that the section on Religious Liberty is remarkably less objectionable than one might expect. The statement, “No one should be compelled to embrace any religion against his will, nor should persons of faith be forbidden to worship God according to the dictates of conscience or to express freely and publicly their deeply held religious convictions,” for example, arguably does not leave room for Muslims, Jews, Oneness Pentecostals, or pagans to be covered.

In fact, however, I suspect that the understanding of the document by the other is broader and more relativistic than a strict reading of the document might suggest. As I’ve pointed out before, I’m not a pluralist.

But that’s a minor objection. Much of the “main point” of the declaration is not objectionable:

1) Abortion, Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia are evils

2) Marriage between Man and Man or Woman and Woman is a perversion

3) Atheist Attempts to Persecute Christians for holding (1) and (2) are improper.

It is sad to see that a few prominent “evangelical” names have been attached to this gospel-obscuring document:

Dr. Wayne Grudem Research Professor of Theological and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary (Phoenix, AZ)

Rev. Tim Keller Senior Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church (New York, NY)

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Louisville, KY)

Ravi Zacharias Founder and Chairman of the board, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (Norcross, GA)

Dr. Daniel Akin President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Wake Forest, NC)

Dr. Bryan Chapell President, Covenant Theological Seminary (St. Louis, MO)

Jim Daly President and CEO, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO)

Dr. James Dobson Founder, Focus on the Family (Colorado Springs, CO)

Dr. Michael Easley President Emeritus, Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, IL)

Rev. Jonathan Falwell Senior Pastor, Thomas Road Baptist Church (Lynchburg, VA)


Frank Turk and the Concession Speech

November 6, 2009

This article by Frank Turk on the gospel is worth the 2-3 minutes it takes to read it (link). I’m not saying I agree with every last jot and tittle of what he writes, but the main points he makes are the main points that need to be made, especially to the folks with whom he’s dealing. He’s responding to some extent both to Broad Path Evangelicalism and to Roman Catholicism in the same post.

Important Clarification

June 29, 2009

No: I am not Frank Turk. This is Frank Turk.
He’s a famous blogger. I’m just a blogger.
No: I am not Frank Turek. This is Frank Turek.
He’s a reputable person; published author. I’m just a blogger.
No: I am not Francis Turretin (read about his life here).
He’s a famous theologian. I’m just a blogger and a fan of his.


Frank Turk on Apologetics with Romanism

March 26, 2009

Apparently Frank Turk, aka Centuri0n, thinks that engaging in apologetics with those of the Roman Catholic Church is a waste of time (link) and (thinks he) he’s got the statistical data to prove it.

With all due respect to the wise Turk, I’m not persuaded by his argument from web traffic. I’ll keep on giving an answer for the hope that is within me, trusting in God to bring the increase.


Centuri0n is an Anti-Catholic? (I am not!)

July 25, 2008

In a recent post, Centuri0n (Frank Turk) has declared that he is an “anti-Catholic” (link) or at least why he’s ok with being called that. While I appreciate his basic rationale (which could be paraphrased as: “they’ve anathematized me, so – yeah – we are anti-one-another”), I am certainly not interested in adopting the title.

Why is that? Because the term is usually associated with nutcases like the college professor discussed here (link), who go out of their way to offend other people for the point of offending them. That’s not me.

I realize that some of things I say are going to offend, and there’s just no way around that:

1) Telling people that their religion is based on a false gospel that will not save them, is not something most people like to hear, even if it is the truth.

2) Telling people that the church they were raised in is not a pure church of Christ is something that bothers people who have been taught (and have believed) that it is such a church.

3) As we have discovered, even using a word other than their preferred title (e.g. not using “Catholic”) to describe them (even when done to avoid theological and historical confusion) is something that can upset people (see here for example).

4) In fact, telling people generally that they are in sin offends them. People don’t like to hear: “Repent and believe.”

That message is offensive, but it is offensive incidentally, just as calling one’s church “the universal church” is offensive to other churches that are part of the true universal church. Moreover, the message is truly “Catholic” in the original and proper sense of the word: it is the message of the universal Christian church. All who come to Christ do so in repentance and faith in Christ. This, of course, makes the whole “anti-Catholic” slur that much more inapplicable to folks like Centuri0n who in fact hold to what is properly (though not popularly today) designated the Catholic faith, though not to the doctrines of Rome.

The nutcase above, in contrast, aims to offend (and particularly to offend those who are transubstantionists – although he also has tried to offend many other groups). Others who would be properly labeled “anti-Catholic” hate people who call themselves “Catholics” (the KKK comes to mind). These are the folks that can properly be labeled for what they are.

We need to remember not to be like those groups. The Vatican has set itself against us and against the gospel. In past ages, it openly persecuted and had put to death many of our spiritual forefathers. Today, it opposes the gospel in other ways. It is not a good institution, and it is especially evil in arrogantly claiming to be “the Church.”

That said, Scriptures tell us to love those who persecute us (and frankly, while modern Rome doesn’t like what we have to say, “persecute” is a rather strong word for what they do in most English-speaking parts of the world today).

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Thus, to associate ourselves with the likes of vicious, godless mockers and haters simply because we oppose the doctrines and practices of the Vatican is wrong. That’s one reason I object to being mislabeled by certain hostile Vatican-friendly apologists as an “anti-Catholic,” and why I think Frank Turk should do the same.

I don’t think Centuri0n should be considered an “anti-Catholic,” because I am quite sure he doesn’t hate “Catholics,” because I am fairly confident that he doesn’t do things especially to offend them, and because the main source of offense between him and them is the Gospel. In fact, I think if you asked Frank if he loves “Catholics,” his sincere answer (like mine) would be, “yes” – as well it ought to be.

To those of you who happen to read this blog and who happen to consider yourselves “Catholics.” As strongly as I am opposed to the doctrines and practices of your church, I do care for you as a person. In fact, one reason I spend time trying to demonstrate the errors of the Vatican is for your benefit.


P.S. This is an issue that comes up from time to time. Accordingly, I may end up date bumping this post either to the top of the blog in the event that it needs to be said again, or to the back of the blog, if it needs to go to a reference post status.

I read it on the Internet

February 17, 2008

I put in Disney’s website (link) and got this result:
blog readability test

I put in Centuri0n’s blog (link) and got this result:
blog readability test

I put in Dr. James White’s blog (link) and got this result:

blog readability test

I put in the present blog (link) and got this result:

blog readability test

So, anyways, since I (and now you) read it on the internet, it must be true.

Or, more likely, it just goes to show the weakness of computer-based techniques.


Federal Vision – Heresy not anti-Paedo-Baptistic Reductio

January 19, 2008

In this recent post from GreenBaggins, one can almost see froth on the fingertips of James B. Jordan, a profane pastor some have started calling the “godfather” of the Federal Vision movement (link) (update, apparently Jordan has apologized in part). Meanwhile, well-meaning but misinformed Reformed Baptists over in the comment thread of Centuri0n’s blog have the gumption to view the Federal Vision problem as a reductio ad aburdum of Presbyterianism! (link) (hosting page) (yikes!)

Frankly, while I appreciate the need for the PCA to act in an orderly manner, the sooner the matter of closing this open scandal of Federal Vision within the PCA is concluded, the better.


Part V of my Response of my Response to Centuri0n on Christmas

January 3, 2008

This is the fifth, and final, post in my series of posts to Centuri0n. As I’ve pointed out in each of the last three posts, one should really start with the first post and read sequentially.

(part 1)
(part 2)
(part 3)
(part 4)

In this part, I’ll be tackling Centuri0n’s conclusion:
*** Centuri0n’s Conclusion, including embedded quotations ***
It is your answer to that question, and the ones above it, which leads me to accuse you of mopery. So when you say this:

Your assertion, sir, that: “You are, in fact, wanting mopery in order to avoid popery. You want no sign that we smile, and no opportunity by which we can show people something they can taste and see as goodness — especially if it’s a time when they would have been enjoying themselves.”

is false. I repudiate that sentiment, and if you continue to repeat your assertion that such is my position, you are illustrating that you are not hearing what I’m saying.

That’s very daunting language, I am sure – the problem is that you do advance mopery – you advance the elimination of all kinds of cultural and social means of interaction in order to do what Jesus told us to do.

I’d encourage you to reconsider putting words in my mouth, let alone avatars in my avatar window.

There’s no need to put words in your mouth: you say everything that needs to be said in order to discredit your view. The clowning merely points out that you are unwilling to see how bad your logic works out in real time and space.

Happy New Year – unless the Catholics are having mandatory mass tomorrow, in which case forget I said anything. We don’t want to be confused with them, right?

*** End of Conclusion ***

I’ll break it down line-by-line, this time:

1. “It is your answer to that question, and the ones above it, which leads me to accuse you of mopery.”

There’s simply no connection between any of the foregoing discussion and mopery. There’s no support to the charge. Christian liberty is not mopery. Avoiding confusing the gospel of Christ and the gospel of Rome is not mopery. Griping that someone is not joining you in your artificial holiday is the closest we come in the discussion to mopery, but that’s not from my side of the aisle, Centuri0n!

2. “the problem is that you do advance mopery – you advance the elimination of all kinds of cultural and social means of interaction in order to do what Jesus told us to do.”

That simply is not true. It might be true if I suggested that we should all become hermits and live in caves far from other people, but of course I do not. Simply holding that it is permissible not to celebrate Christmas is in now way equivalent to or convertable to “eliminat[ing] all kinds of cultural and social means of interaction.” Furthemore, suggesting that there may be some value in exercising that freedom is likewise not equivalent or convertable to such nonsense.

This can be seen from the facts that:
a) religiously celebrating Christmas requires no or little cultural/social means of interaction with our unconverted neighbors (“I’m headed to church for Christmas,” provokes no reaction from the crowd); but
b) contrariwise “I’m going to go into the office/out to my field/to open my shop on Christmas” does tend provoke a crowd reaction and provide a starting place for conversation.

Thus, in fact, going with the flow does not provide much opportunity for meaningful social interaction, whereas bucking the flow does.

And of course, Jesus did not tell us to celebrate his birth, or to celebrate the holidays of our society. So the “Jesus told us to do” line is just rhetorical puffery.

3. “There’s no need to put words in your mouth: you say everything that needs to be said in order to discredit your view.”

If that were true, one would expect you to simply post what I said without further commentary. But, of course, my actual position is not self-discrediting. In fact, my position is simply Paul’s position in the Epistle to the Romans.

4. “The clowning merely points out that you are unwilling to see how bad your logic works out in real time and space.”

The clowning is a substitute for reasoned argumentation, and useful in situations (unlike this one) when reasoned argumentation is unnecessary. The idea of “logic work[ing] out in real time and space” is a confusion of doctrine with practice. Regardless, however, the way the doctrine is practiced is simple, we celebrate if we want to, and we don’t if we don’t want to. We’re not obliged either to celebrate (even if there are salutory reasons for doing so) and we’re not obliged to abtain (even if there are salutory reasons for abstaining, such as those I presented).

5. “Happy New Year – unless the Catholics are having mandatory mass tomorrow, in which case forget I said anything. We don’t want to be confused with them, right?”

I do often celebrate a feast on the New Year, and I give God thanks, but I don’t suggest that it is obligatory for anyone else. Doing so in my cultural environment (which is well post-pagan and post-Jewish) doesn’t seem to be likely to confuse my celebration with religious observances of a false religion.

But you weren’t really worried, you were mocking.

As demonstrated above, however, your mockery is crockery.

But Happy New Year to you too, Centuri0n, may God bless you and all who pass by,


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