Tim Berends called right toward the end of the DL today and from what Rich tells me, he wasn’t a happy camper about the article I posted about the interview aka debate on KJSL last week. Evidently, he feels I need to retract the piece because 1) Jerry Thornburgh was not on the hour after I was on unopposed, and 2) there was a Calvinist on with Dave Hunt, specifically, Tim’s co-host, Al. I have been trying to call Tim since the DL ended, but only get a busy signal. So I’ll clear things up here.
A) I glady retract the two phrases (wasn’t even an entire sentence) regarding the hour after I was on. As Tim himself noted, their time slot has changed since I was last on. They used to be on that hour, now it has changed. Mr. Thornburgh does have his own program along with his wife Kathy on KJSL on Monday evenings at 8pm (and, in fact, I may get the opportunity of debating the issues on that program in the future). But I gladly retract the statement that he was going to be on the hour after I was. He was only on the hour before me, asserting that John 3:16 is opposed to Calvinism, that Calvinism is opposed to the cross and the gospel, etc. So he only got one free, unopposed hour that morning, not two.
B) God bless Al Gross, but I have a really, really hard time viewing Al as a spokesperson for Reformed theology. But I tell you what: if in fact Dave was asked a question about Calvinism, and then Al was given equal time to respond, I’d like to hear it. I’d like to hear the tape of the previous days’ interview, and if that is what happened, I’ll be glad to announce it right here.
C) The point of the blog entry had almost nothing to do with Tim or Al. It had to do with Dave Hunt (as you can see from reading it) and those who are willing to speak out against Reformed theology, and against me in particular, but who will not face me directly. Multnomah contacted me about doing the Tim and Al show. Hence, it was another “Talk about a book where your co-author will not appear with you” situation. I did not know, however, that Dave Hunt had been on the previous day. I do not hold Tim Berends or KJSL responsible for Dave Hunt’s fear of facing me, and to read what I said as if I was suggesting they knew about Dave’s many errors is simply wrong. I doubt Tim reads my blog, and hence I doubt he was even aware of Hunt’s escapades on this topic.
D) Tim called my personal cell phone the day before the program and left me a voicemail that Jerry Thornburgh would be filling in for Al and would “dialogue” with me about “the book.” That did not communicate to me “Jerry will get equal time to debate you on Calvinism.” Don’t get me wrong: I don’t care if it turns into a debate. That wasn’t the point of my blog article to begin with, as anyone can see from reading it. The point was that Hunt would not face me. Further, I doubted very much that they brought anyone on to “oppose” Hunt, and I was right: Al Gross does not count as bringing someone on to “oppose” Hunt.
E) Now, the name “Jerry Thornburgh” rang no bells with me. A few days after the program, and after my posting the blog article noted above, someone came in channel and asked me why in the world I was willing to be on with him. And I told that person that I didn’t really have any choice, and why shouldn’t I anyway? That’s when I was informed that Mr. Thornburgh and his wife hosted the program that featured Dan Corner back in 2000. Now, I won’t go back over all the Dan Corner stuff. It is, in fact, a fascinating story, and you can read about it here, and listen to a 90 minute program I produced about the whole thing here. Now, I don’t have time today (oddly, I’m flying to St. Louis tomorrow!) to go back through all of this, but if the person from St. Louis is correct, then the person who was chosen to fill in for Al Gross was the co-host of the program that not only brought Dan Corner on to make all sorts of false accusations against me, but whose other co-host called in when I was on with Tim and Al (you can listen to all of this in the file noted above). Now, believe me, if I had been informed that the man who was “filling in” for Al was in fact one of the folks who had been pushing the Dan Corner stuff back in 2000, well, I sure would have known what was headed my direction, at least. It wouldn’t have changed much of what I had to say, but at least I would have known it was going to be a debate.
Listen to the linked real audio file for yourself. You’ll find it most interesting if you haven’t heard it before.
So to Tim Berends, I’m sorry if you thought the article was focused on you or your program: it wasn’t. Tim knows I would be on his program to debate Norm Geisler or Dave Hunt or Jerry Thornburgh without condition. In fact, he knows I’d debate Dan Corner on his program too: I just refuse to sign a contract saying I will not mention certain portions of my own beliefs (something Corner demanded back in 2000)! My article was not about Tim. It was about those who attack Reformed theology without a willingness to either 1) represent it correctly, or, even worse, 2) attack it inaccurately and refuse to allow for direct one-on-one interaction over the exegesis of the inspired text itself. So, come on out to the Founder’s Conference, Tim! Meet a whole group of Calvinists! You’d be welcome.