John MacArthur, popular radio speaker, Christian author, and pastor of the Grace Church in Southern California, along with his associate Phil Johnson, have written a series of enlightening articles at their online magazine, Pulpit Live, on the "emerging church movement" (ECM). The latest article features a sharp criticism of Mark Driscoll (I would link him, but his website is too much garbage), a leading figure in the ECM. I agree with everything that MacArthur says in his expose. I'm not even going to quote him. However, I will say that he takes a stand against worldliness and references James 4:4. I applaud stands against worldliness.
I wonder this though: What about the worldliness of John MacArthur and Grace Church? He has long disrespected men who preached and took stands of personal separation. I talked to a pastor who went to a MacArthur meeting in Michigan. Right before MacArthur stood to preach on the holiness of God, an ensemble from his Master's College publically swayed to the seductive rhythm of their contemporary music. I ask you to consider what MacArthur says and then view this trailer for their upcoming youth conference, called Resolved (click on the link for the trailer to watch). John Piper, the featured speaker at the beginning of this trailer, just prominently endorsed Mark Driscoll at his own church in a national conference. Doesn't it seem clear, plainly evident, that these guys are clueless on the doctrine of separation? Where is the discernment? MacArthur warns about Driscoll but he has Piper who endorses Driscoll. Hmmmm. They aren't really that serious about helping people against worldliness, in part because a church like Grace Church got where they are through compromise.
And then you look at the trailer itself. Teens watch this. Lots of guys and girls getting together in the dark, a movie-theater-like environment; the very fuzzy, LSD trip camera shots on the rock guitar and trap set. The low, rumbling rock bass, like something at the beginning of a grunge concert. Here are two concepts that came to my mind: youth culture and drug culture. It is all, to use MacArthur's word---faddish. He dresses everything up just like the world. Young people know this. The trailer finds a common denominator with the world. It says "straddle the fence" all over it, blurring dangerously the lines between theology and self-gratification. If he wants to motivate with godliness and preaching and the Word of God, why does he do it the way he does? Carnal weaponry! Of course, all of this is the pot and kettle metaphor.
MacArthur has written a lot against pragmatism---preached tons against it---from Ashamed of the Gospel to Our Sufficiency in Christ to Reckless Faith. He opines to everybody in several volumes about this kind of stuff, but he won't give it up himself. He himself seems enslaved to it. What's the difference? In his case, he has "liberty," of course, but Driscoll crosses the line into antinomianism. What line? MacArthur's line. This kind of inconsistency in practice results in reckless faith and a lack of discernment, as well as a defiled conscience, things MacArthur regularly goes on and on about (and rightly so---they're good topics....for a separatist). Separation becomes completely subjective, guided by feelings, in MacArthur's world. It all comes across like Driscoll goes beyond MacArthur's comfort zone; that's all. MacArthur is the older school pragmatist, the pot, putting down Driscoll, the newer school pragmatist, the kettle.
I'm interested in your comments.