Thursday, June 05, 2014

Phil R. Johnson, Singapore, and the sanctification debate

Phil R. Johnson, the execute director of Grace to You, was recently in my home country Singapore, and he tweeted two tweets which seem to tie in the current sanctification controversy within the Reformed circles in USA with Joseph Prince in Singapore.

With all due respect to Mr. Johnson, he does not know what he is talking about. The two issue are not even close, not one bit. Whether Pastor Tullian is actually an antinomian I have yet to be convinced of either way as of now, but the issue with Joseph Prince is a flat-out denial of the validity of the Law as to its third use. As Dr. R Scott Clark has said, and I had his verbal assent to tweet it (but that tweet has been lost in time), antinomianism is the rejection of the third use of the Law. Prince denies the third use of the Law (in just one of his many heresies). Not only does he deny the third use of the law, but he attributes the work of the Holy Spirit in convicting Man of sin to the Devil. (According to Prince believers are to be "righteousness conscious," not "law conscious"). Those in Singapore who are influenced by JP have no reason whatsoever to watch the controversy in the Reformed circles closely, for there are no parallels between the two on sanctification. JP denies the third use of the Law. Pastor Tullian at least in the interview with Chris Rosebrough affirms it. Regardless of who "wins" the sanctification debate, JP is still an antinomian, and he still preaches a false gospel which affirms men in their sin.

It is regrettable that Phil R. Johnson is misled as to this issue. I seriously doubt he knows what JP actually teaches, and I also wonder whether he knows what people like Dr. Mike Horton teaches. In the book by Horton et al Christ the Lord, Horton et al corrected some of John MacArthur's carelessness in the Lordship controversy. According to the foreword, Pastor MacArthur accepted the corrections by Horton et al and amended subsequent editions of his book. Did Mr. Johnson read Horton's book? MacArthur presumably did, but I sometimes wonder if MacArthur's increased clarity of thought has actually been passed on to his followers, or rather it might have been lost in transition.