Phil Johnson announced today that he is stoking the coals in the Pyromaniacs fire pit.
I really appreciate Phil. He is one of my favorite people in California and certainly among those involved at Grace Community Church and Grace to You. I like his family, I like his writing style, and I like his wry, humorous sarcasm.
I also really liked the Pyromaniac back in the day (he started in 2005? That’s a long time ago!), especially before it became the group blog. To get “blogspotted” was a meaningful metric for some aspiring bloggers, like me.
I appreciate the Po-Motivators® posters and the principled arguments. I am usually glad for the targets he identifies and for the shots he fires.
However, while I love his precision with biblical interpretation and logical reasoning and wordsmithing, I wonder if part of the problem is that he’s better at pointing out what to avoid rather than pointing out where to go. The Emergent Church movement and subsequent spin-offs were/are unbiblical and man-centered. But the “truth-lovers” (as David Wells named in his book, Courage to Be Protestant) can be just as self-aggrandizing and self-congratulating while never calling an offensive play. The drift of some at TGC and ERLC may be in the wrong direction, but the answer is not better isolation, which the TMS/ShepCon group seems to prefer not only from cultural issues but from other Christians.
I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without God’s use of men like Phil, both in his original writing/preaching and also his editing and administrating for John MacArthur. And because of his/their work I’m in a better position to see some of their bent toward dualism, perhaps not in the full historical definition, but in a misapplied emphasis on sentences about the Bible without a corresponding love for cosmological Calvinism, the kind God told Adam about back in Genesis.
Maybe I should say more about this. But for now I’m resubscribed to the Fire with much gratitude, and some ambivalence.