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John MacArthur Disappoints His Fans

John on March 15, 2007 at 9:59 am

John MacArthur seems to have turned off many of his own supporters with an address on eschatology given at something called the Shepherd’s Conference. Tim Challies was liveblogging the talk and word quickly spread that MacArthur, the Dean of evangelical Calvinism, had announced that all good Calvinists must be Dispensational Premillenialists. Here’s how Tim described MacArthur’s conclusion:

Now that the Spirit of God is moving the church to recover the high ground in sovereign grace in election it is time to recover the high ground of God’s sovereignty in eschatology. If you get eschatology right, you can just open the Bible and preach what it says without having to go hunting for other interpretations. Get it right and Christ is exalted and God is glorified.

Tim ends with this statement of his own:

If he is right about the damaging effects of poor eschatology, this is an issue that should concern all Reformed believers.

Personally speaking, I do think we’re seeing “the damaging effects of poor eschatology” just not in the way MacArthur thinks.

Others who heard the talk were offended by MacArthur’s presentation. Here’s a sample of Jason at Fide-O’s reaction to what MacArthur had to say:

  • I am glad I didn’t pay $300 to be mocked, for that is exactly what Dr. MacArthur did to us who are not premillennial…
  • At this point I realize that what I just heard was the grandest stawman burning I had ever witnessed!
  • [T]he next part of Dr. MacArthur speech was the most outrageous thing I have ever heard from a preacher in many years. Dr. MacArthur claimed there is such a thing as “Jewish DNA.” I could not believe that he said it…there is nothing worse than a sermon filled with poor theology and poor science.
  • His exegesis was noticeably biased and at times completely off base.
  • I figured the most competent man, a man that has my utmost respect, gave it his all to try to convince me of premillenialism. And not only did he not make one valid theological or biblical point, his tactics revealed to me that premillenialism is in dire straights.

I’m picking out the strong stuff, but it’s all there. I’m not making it up.

I think Jason does a fine job of showing what a complete hash MacArthur made of the topic. He misrepresented opposing views, he asserted something that is scientifically ridiculous, he used awful exegesis to suit his conclusions and did it all with absolute confidence. I’m glad that all the amillenialists in the MacArthur camp are able to see this. I’d just like to point out that this is far from the first or only time MacArthur has made these same errors.

For instance, here’s something I wrote about MarArthur’s views on worship music. In the article on his website, on which my post was based, MacArthur claims that the church has forgotten “The biblically-mandated didactic role of music…” Of course he doesn’t bother to demonstrate where the Bible mandates the didactic role of music, or more to the point, where it says that teaching doctrine is the chief purpose of worship.

Then there’s this post I wrote about MacArthur’s new book The Truth War (actually an excerpt which was on his site, not the book itself). In this case, MacArthur does some truly terrible exegesis of 1 Cor. 2 and Acts 17. As I noted, he comes very close to completely reversing the meaning of the first text and baldly misinforms the reader about the other. Is this how the truth war is waged, I asked? With bold assertions, straw men, bad exegesis and flat-out misrepresentation of passages?

Apparently this is something of a pattern with John MacArthur. I don’t mean to condemn everything the man says or to denigrate him personally, but I do think the hero worship — which is what it appears to be in many cases — is misplaced. In short, this isn’t the first time John has been both wrong and wrongheaded about an issue.

I’m hopeful that a few more people are starting to see that.

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Category: Religion & Faith |

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