Friday, September 16, 2011

Opposing the Monster He Helped Create

For several years now, especially in his published materials, John MacArthur, perhaps the leader of the conservative evangelicals, has exposed and opposed a major element of pragmatism and worldliness in evangelicalism. He's obviously alarmed by it. I have enjoyed what he has written about it and much of what he has said, including what he said in the following recent skype interview about who have been titled the young, restless, and reformed (YRR). I warn you about the jazzy, sensual music incongruous with what MacArthur says, an irony that seems to be most often lost on MacArthur. He participates right along with the very thing that he is bemoaning. It would be like him complaining about gum chewing with several gum chewers chomping and snapping in his background.
Part One
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And Part Two.

(It's too bad that this interviewer didn't instruct MacArthur to look up at the camera instead of at the interviewer on his computer screen.)

You heard what John MacArthur said. Maybe you've read some of his books too. I was talking to someone who had seen these videos and was reminded of the later years of the early fundamentalist, W. B. Riley, when people were calling him more conservative and yet he insisted that he hadn't changed, but that some people had called him liberal when he was young. This is probably true of MacArthur. He's looking more and more conservative, when maybe he has actually moved a little to the left from where he once was, but not at the rate that everything else in evangelicalism and fundamentalism is moving left.

The things MacArthur says here now seem like something you would hear from a fundamentalist about cultural issues. And I do appreciate a lot of what he has to say here. If someone looked at the the theology of the entire population of the United States, I would probably be with MacArthur in the far right 5%. I recognize that I'm further right than him, but he is still very conservative compared to the rest of the world. Nevertheless, I believe that from his very influential position, MacArthur has been the cause and still causes the very things that he is criticizing in these videos. Peter Masters, another reformed pastor and theologian, made the same observation in a recent article in his Sword and Trowel (my review). Masters himself already said the things MacArthur is now saying, and the parallel with Arminianism with which he targets MacArthur himself.

The very thing that MacArthur now warns about and decries, he said was a true revival in the Jesus movement that helped fuel the early numerical growth of his church in Southern California. He didn't preach against the problems they had then, which are identical to the ones he sees are a problem now. And now MacArthur is also involved with Arminian, Finney-esque new measures for the church growth of his own church. He produces "events" as well. His church also has pushed the same growth ideas with their church activities for teens and singles, concerts of all kinds. They teach these things in their own school, Master's College. You see the way they promote the school with young people with body and hands touching each other. Young people know that will be available if they go there.

If you are going to oppose the monster you helped to create, you have to come clean. You have to repent of your own pragmatism. You have to reject your own new measures. You have to admit that you were in error. If not, then you're only going to encourage more of the same. MacArthur is really just complaining about a matter of degree. The YRR are worse than his own church. The principles, however, are the same.

2 comments:

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

May comment on the actual article later, but wow, I need to come by more often. It's been a month or so since I dropped by, and there's enough stuff to keep me busy for a week.

Tim said...

Worldliness and over intellectualization are quenching the Spirit in Evengelicalism. Even more conservative Evengelicals can be working from the flesh, rather than the Spirit. Too much authority is given to scholars and not the local Church as the ground and pillar of truth.

Thank the Lord for Faithful fundamentalists. Continue to cling to Christ, his Word and Church and don't fall into the same trap!