An emphasis on social justice and tying that to the gospel has invaded evangelicalism. MacArthur says that he could see it coming, but now is when he's saying something about it. I'm happy he is saying something about it.
Some would say, look, see what we've been saying, MacArthur deals with important subjects, while independent fundamental Baptists talk about dress, music, and alcohol. He's doing something about the gospel. As anyone reading here knows, we also deal with the gospel here, including where independent Baptists go wrong on it. I've written a lot on it and our Word of Truth Conference has been on the gospel for the last three years, and will be about it this year too.
MacArthur has to deal with the social gospel as related to the gospel because it is affecting those with whom he affiliates. I wouldn't need to deal with it at my church at all. That's been clear. In fact, because related subjects, ones that folks would say have nothing to do with the gospel, were ignored, he's now confronting a subject such as this.
Evangelicals for awhile have pandered to various constituencies in order to get their crowds. They would say that it's been important so that they could reach these people with the gospel. This is mainstream evangelicalism. They have also kept kicking issues down the road, treating them like their not gospel issues, and then they hit them right in the face as related to the gospel. Evangelicals have been wrong on this. This is not something MacArthur says. He talks about all this like he's had no problem, has had nothing to do with the problem, which isn't true. He's a part of evangelicalism and part of the problem.
Before I write more, I want to say that I really like what MacArthur has written in his part three. It's worth reading for anyone and important to understand. I agree with MacArthur in what he's written. I agree with most of the series. I'm on his side in what he is writing. A few things he writes are not exactly right, but I'm with him on the crux of everything that he writes in this series. He's helpful. It's sad what has happened to evangelicalism.
MacArthur treats several issues that he relates to the gospel. In his first paragraph, he writes:
Evangelicals as a group have shown an unsettling willingness to compromise or unnecessarily obfuscate all kinds of issues where Scripture has spoken plainly and without ambiguity.The essence of this statement I support, except for one part, that I believe haunts evangelicalism and still MacArthur. This is one of those aspects where he's "not exactly right," to put it kindly. His statement implies that some of scripture is not plain and that some of it is ambiguous. This really is where MacArthur and evangelicals get themselves in trouble and they open the door for denial of the truth and compromise of God's will. Certain teaching and application of scripture is disobeyed, because MacArthur and others like him give their listeners the strong impression that a good number of subjects that have been clear in the past to Christians, really are not.
I know MacArthur would confess to support the historic doctrine of perspecuity. If pushed, he only goes so far as to support perspecuity as it relates to gospel related subjects. He is saying that the Bible does have plain and non-ambiguous statements, but with his implication that it has some that are not plain and are not ambiguous, he opens the door for professing Christians to do what they want, even on the subjects that he addresses.
Nevertheless, MacArthur says the truth about certain subjects, the ones that he says are plain and without ambiguity. From my reading through the years, with him and some of his associates, the subjects that are without ambiguity are the ones he says are without ambiguity. However, certain subjects have not been with ambiguity until in the last century, and those are ones that MacArthur himself says are ambiguous. His capitulation on some of those have led to many of the issues that he's concerned about, like the strange fire of Charismaticism, the pragmatism everywhere in evangelicalism, and the role reversal.
The list of plain doctrines or practices MacArthur addresses in the article (part three) and with which I agree with him are the following:
- Women Preachers
- Marriage Role Reversal
- Accepted Fornication
- Borrowing from Pop Culture for Worship and Church Growth
- Worldly Methods
- Seeker Sensitive
- Social Justice
What I've read in the past is that some of the above are just non-essential. Some of these are not gospel, so when is it essential, or non-essential? Now I'm getting that something is essential when it is "plain" and "without ambiguity."
I'm just happy some evangelicals are concerned.