A Response to Carl Trueman

I must confess that it grieves me to write this post because I am a huge fan of Carl Trueman and have the deepest respect for him as a Christian scholar. None of what I am about to say changes any of that.

Carl Trueman took a few minutes on his blog last night to respond, in part, to Tullian's interview on F4F.

In his post, Trueman defends his "Practical Questions" post and denies that it was slanderous. The reason that Trueman puts forward as to why his post wasn't slanderous is that it "was made up mainly of questions". Said Trueman:

Questions can certainly be loaded and problematic (as in 'When did you stop beating your wife?') but it is very difficult for them to be slanderous or to break the Ninth Commandment. Slander and lies involve false assertions. To state the obvious, questions are not assertions.

I would remind Dr. Trueman that loaded questions are far more than problematic, they do in fact make tacit assertions. For instance the question 'When did you stop beating your wife' tacitly asserts that the person who is being asked the question is a wife beater. If the person being asked such a question protests and says, "how dare you say that I am a wife beater," the person who asked the question will not be able to plausibly deny that they were making a tacit assertion by saying, "I was only asking a question." The person asking such a question knows full well that question itself not only assumed but tacitly asserted the charges of wife beating.

In this same way, Trueman's questions were not mere questions. They were in fact, loaded questions and were making tacit assertions. What they were tacitly asserting egregiously misrepresented Tullian's theology. As Tullian himself pointed out during the interview he doesn't speak one word (grace) but he speaks two words (law and grace). This is not a new development in his theology nor is this fact missing in his books, sermons or conference lectures. Trueman knows this. But his questions, by omitting the fact that Tullian speaks law before he speaks grace, tacitly asserted that Tullian only speaks grace and created the false perception that Tullian and "radical gracers" who share his theology would somehow find themselves in a theological quandary when providing pastoral counseling to parishioners who wrestle with besetting sins.

The post, from beginning to end, threw Tullian's theology on the horns of a false dilemma by omitting the very real fact that Tullian is not merely a gospel preacher, he's a law then gospel preacher.

In short, I stand by the statements made by Tullian and myself in the interview regarding the slanderous nature of Trueman's loaded questions.

χάρις ἔλεος εἰρήνη σοι,