T. David Gordon's Letter Back to Me

Dear Readers,

If you read the previous blog post, it contained a detailed rebuttal to Prof. Gordon's review of Popologetics. I felt that his review had made some accusations about my handling of Kenneth Myers All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes. I posted my rebuttal and sent a copy to Prof. Gordon. He responded the same day with this letter. My response to him is one of immense gratitude to a brother in Christ. We may have differences over our approach to popular culture, but it is obvious that he cares for me as a brother, and was dismayed that I might think that he was trying to harm my reputation. For my part, I publically apologize for misreading him on this point -- I feel badly that I caused him such dismay. But as both of us serve a Savior who extends forgiveness in a most outrageously gracious fashion, I am assured that we are both reconciled to our God and to each other. And I am really grateful that I can have a public exchange with another academic in this sort of context. Academics can get really nasty at times, but a context of loving concern for one's interlocutor makes for a safe environment where exchanging opinions and ideas is both creative and an occasion for joy, not resentment. In short, I've learned a lot, just from Prof. Gordon's gracious response. Here's the letter in its entirety.

Dear Mr. Turnau,

It saddened me to learn that my review prompted you “to clear my name.”  Please let me be the second (you were the first) to clear your name.  I did not say then and do not believe now that you lied about Ken Myers.  Everything I know about you from your writings and reputation is that you are a Christian of the highest moral fiber, whose life is upright, even exemplary, and I regard it as my public duty to declare so in the clearest, most unambiguous terms.  Readers of your blog may feel free to stop reading right here, but I will offer a brief explanation of the two things you mentioned (“lying and misrepresenting”), to be sure (for those who may care) what I did and did not say or intend.  You said, “Prof. Gordon accused me of lying and misrepresenting Myers’ position.”

1. Regarding lying.  I most certainly did not and do not accuse you of lying.  Before citing LC 145, I said, “What he (Turnau) should describe is Myers’s position, reasoning, or evidence, not his attitude,” about which I could, of course, be entirely mistaken.  Following the citation, I said, “and I would suggest that guessing about someone’s intentions/attitudes virtually guarantees that one will occasionally misconstrue them…”  I still suggest that; I still think it is better to find labels for positions that are non-attitudinal, because I still think permitting ourselves to do so will eventually result in our miscontruing them.  But I did not say that you had done so; I merely cited the wisdom of our catechism as grounds for my preference that we find non-attitudinal labels when describing the positions of others.  We apparently have an honest disagreement here about the label you chose, but it is an HONEST disagreement, and I want the public to know that.  I did not and do not “accuse a brother in Christ of dishonesty,” and you are entirely free to publish this sentence as broadly as you think necessary to preserve your deservedly good name.

2. Regarding misrepresenting.  I did accuse you of misrepresenting Myers in the one quotation that I cited.  I said that Turnau “misrepresents Myers by suggesting that Myers made a comprehensive claim where he only made a potential and qualified claim,” and I then placed the two quotes side-by-side so that readers could judge for themselves whether my allegation of misrepresentation was accurate.  I followed that immediately by saying, “I do not suggest that Turnau’s mis-representation is intentional…”  So even my claim that you misrepresented Myers in that quote expressly cleared you of any improper intention.

Perhaps in the near future we can continue to discuss the substantive matters, and even the question of how best to label certain approaches; but the duties of Ephesians 4:3 and of LC 144 (“loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name”) cannot await that.  I do love, desire, and rejoice in your good name, and it is my duty to offer you this statement to put on your website, so that the public will know that I did not and do not accuse you either of lying or of intentional misrepresentation. 

That God would bless and keep you, is the prayer of

Yours in Christ,

T. David Gordon