John MacArthur as his website describes him is “the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry.” John MacArthur happens to be in very serious error. One commentator say this about John MacArthur’s grave error and I quote:
“It is awfully hard to write a blog expressing disagreement. I particularly have trouble when it comes to naming names. I am not saying it is necessarily wrong, I am just saying I don’t do it well. I would rather keep things generic. On top of all this, it is really hard to write criticism about someone whom I respect so much. John MacArthur, the pastor, teacher, author, and Christian spokesman, is a man of God who has brought so much growth in my life in so many ways. He is an incredible Bible teacher who has changed many people’s lives for the better.
(Of course, when something starts this way, nothing before the “but” really matters, does it?)
But . . .
In his “Strange Fire” conference (that starts today), book (upcoming), and ensuing promotions, John MacArthur has, I believe, acted very irresponsibly and is doing incredible damage to the body of Christ.
It is no secret that John MacArthur pushes the polemic line and causes many of us to be uncomfortable. This is just who he is and I don’t really expect him to change. But this conference is an excessively eristic and unnecessarily divisive crusade against charismatics. And, to be frank, it is even over the top for him.
Now, let me make sure you know:…I have been reading reviews of the book and viewing the promotional videos, created by John MacArthur, for this anti-charismatic campaign…It is quite the production. And this is not some passing slip of the tongue that may be excused (as is sometimes the case). This is a full-blown, all-out war he has declared.
Please understand that I am not charismatic. I have often expressed myself as the most “wannabe charismatic” non-charismatic you will ever meet. As well, I used to be as anti-charismatic as anyone you would ever meet. Frankly, charismatics made me angry. I attributed all that went on in charismatic circles to the work of Satan. I called, pleaded, and prayed that charismatics would “convert” to cessationism. And my arguments were, at least to me, persuasive.
However, I changed. God put way too many flies in my ointment for me to remain in this excessively polemic position. I suppose the first fly was “what’s his name” that sat next to me in undergrad. He was a charismatic. Worse than that, he spoke in tongues…However, all semester long I observed this guy. I came to realize that though he knew everything I knew, he was still charismatic. What gave? I thought the right answers dispatched would bring home the booty of change. But he remained charismatic and continued to speak in tongues (though not in front of me). On top of this, he seemed to love the same Jesus I loved. On top of that, he seemed to follow the Lord better than me. I came to realize he was a better, more devoted Christian than I was. How could that be, if he had a demon? He was the first fly and this fly worked me over.”
As you have read in the above-John MacArthur has declared truly an all-out-war against charismatics and will perform much hindrance against God. Division never helps skeptics come to faith in Christ but rather it adds to their skepticism.
Nonetheless, I have often wondered why there was not an “all-out-war” by John MacArthur against two major issues that have occurred in the Baptist denomination:
1. Sex Abuse Scandals: The site stopbaptistpredators.org explains that these scandals are a major epidemic in the baptist denomination. Yet where is John MacArthur’s voice on these issues to deal with these issues seriously? Here is what the site says and I quote:
“Where is the Outrage?
So many Baptist clergy could not possibly get away with so much abuse unless many others were complicit in turning a blind eye. Why do Baptist leaders tolerate the presence of ministerial colleagues who sexually abuse the young and vulnerable? Why do people in the pews not rise up and demand that their leaders be held accountable? Where’s the outrage?
Why don’t people at Bellevue Baptist in Memphis demand the resignation of Pastor Steve Gaines, who admittedly kept quiet about a staff minister’s sexual abuse of a kid?
Why don’t people at Trinity Baptist demand the resignation of Pastor Tom Messer, about whom there is significant evidence that he knew of a minister’s serial sexual abuse of kids?
Why do so many people act as though clergy-abuse cover-ups are no big deal?
In my own case, the church finally made a written apology, but only after first threatening me and then seeking a secrecy agreement and finally being forced into an apology by a lawsuit. An apology extracted in a lawsuit (and handed off by their attorney) doesn’t carry the feeling of any genuine remorse, but it does constitute an acknowledgement of the truth. Their ministerial staff knew all along that this man had molested me as a kid. Yet, they tried every means possible to avoid owning up to that truth. And they didn’t bother to warn people in the pews of other congregations – people whose kids were at risk.
The apology was arrived at only after hours of hammering out the language in a court-ordered mediation session. “Churches should respond with righteous outrage and anger at such crimes against kids committed by church leaders they trust,” says the church. Well gee….doesn’t that sound nice? But where is that outrage?
Even now, has anything changed? Have any of those who covered up and kept quiet about the abuse been held accountable?
The church’s music minister, James A. Moore, knew about it for 30 years and kept quiet. He was apparently content to leave countless other kids at risk. Yet, he is still the church’s music minister. Where’s the outrage?
The pastor of the church, Sam Underwood, is a man who was himself reported on allegations of sexually abusing a congregant. He showed his style of leadership when he shepherded the church to respond to my report of child molestation by having the church’s attorney threaten to sue me and insult my family (as though the fact that I grew up with a father who still suffered post-WWII combat trauma could somehow make the psychological injury of a minister’s sexual abuse not such a big deal). Even if church members see no need for accountability as to the adult congregant’s abuse report (presumably because they accept the deacons’ view that it was mere “sexual misconduct”), that would still leave a lack of accountability for Underwood’s failure of appropriate leadership when confronted with a substantiated report about one of the church’s ministers who had sexually abused a minor. Yet, the man who chose hostility rather than compassion is still the pastor. The man who chose to threaten a child molestation victim rather than to protect others is still the pastor. The man who attempted to compel secrecy rather than reach out to other victims is still the pastor. Where is there any accountability. Where are there any consequences for such awful and immoral behavior? Where’s the outrage?
And what about the leaders at the Baptist General Convention of Texas? Was anyone there outraged at the fact that their long-time attorney threatened to sue a clergy abuse victim even when the abuse was readily substantiated? It certainly doesn’t appear that way. Where is the outrage?
And what about the fact that he tried to compel secrecy by pushing a confidentiality agreement while leaving the perpetrator in the pulpit? Were BGCT leaders bothered by that? Apparently not. In an even more recent case involving the same BGCT attorney, a secrecy agreement was used once again, while the perpetrator was allowed to remain in the pulpit. (Of course, most of the time, when a secrecy agreement is used, you’ll never hear about it at all — that’s the whole point of it.) Where’s the outrage?
And what about the fact that a man with a substantiated report of having sexually molested a kid was still standing in the pulpit of a Florida mega-church talking about his children’s ministry even after 18 Baptist leaders had been informed? Those men are still in leadership positions. Where is there any accountability for the willing blindness of Baptist leaders who leave kids in harm’s way for clergy predators? Where is the outrage?
It is easy enough to look at the perpetrators and say therein lies the problem. But what about all the enablers? What about the many leaders who turn a blind eye and allow clergy molesters to move on to other churches where they find fresh new prey? Where is the outrage.”
This is very, very chilling yet I do not see the same all-out-war by John MacArthur on something so evil and sick as sex abuse scandals as he has done with his “strange fire” promotion.
2. Serious Racism Issues: It is a known fact that Baptists have been part and parcel of racism and prejudice. The site known as theatlantic.com says this:
“Most Southern Baptists still see the issue of race as a matter individual hearts and minds, not collective experience and collective policy….The Southern Baptist denomination helped define the history of American racism….Richard Land, was the face of the Southern Baptists in American politics. In the 90s, he led the denomination’s hard-right shift; years later, he became an appointee in the George W. Bush administration. Until 2012, he had his own talk-radio program, Richard Land Live! That show eventually proved his undoing: In a 2012 segment about the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, Land said that black political leaders were using Martin’s death to “gin up the black vote.” He also said that a black man is “statistically more likely to do you harm than a white man.”
The site america.aljazeera.com said this about evangelicals namely the Baptist denomination that “they tend to see racism as a matter of the heart rather than one of systemic injustice.” The site also quotes Christena Cleveland, a sociologist who also said this: “the way evangelicals look at race, they think racism is interpersonal meanness.”
In other words there is no outrage over racism. It is just calmly and quietly dealt with as something NORMAL like breathing air. This can be seen with the forbidding of a Black couple from getting married in a Baptist church which is predominantly white in its general makeup congregationally. The site cbn.com explains the issue and I quote:
“Stan Weatherford, pastor of First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, informed Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson that some members opposed holding their wedding at the church.
The couple, who are regular attendees, say they got the bad news just days before their big day.
“The congregation had said because we were black that there would be no black wedding at the church,” Charles Wilson said.
Wilson said it was tough to explain the situation to his daughter.
“My 9-year-old was going to the church with us and how would you sit around here and say to your 9-year-old daughter, ‘We cannot get married because, guess what, sweetie, we’re black!'” he said.
Pastor Weatherford performed the July 21 ceremony at another church in the area.
“I didn’t want to have a controversy within the church,” he explained. “And I didn’t want a controversy to affect the wedding of Charles and Te’Andrea. I wanted to make sure that their wedding day was a special day.”
I wonder where the outrage was from John MacArthur about this? Here is another issue of racism that is in the Baptist denomination that the site splcenter.org exposes:
“TEXAS’ APPLEBY BAPTIST CHURCH PUSHES RACIST DOCTRINE
“The curse of Ham,” an old-time Biblical (mis)interpretation used to vilify black people and justify slavery and laws against racial intermarriage, is still alive and spreading bigotry in the United States.
The Appleby Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, Texas, is among this country’s scattered, independent fundamentalist churches still openly promoting the idea that the Biblical Noah pronounced a curse on descendants of his son, Ham. Ham had sexually molested Noah as he slept in a drunken stupor, and Noah realized it, the story goes. The curse ultimately fell on Canaan, Noah’s grandson, whose descendants were black and fated to be an underclass of slaves, according to this version of the Bible, which has been widely discredited by mainstream religious scholars….For hundreds of years, the so-called curse of Ham was frequently taught by religious leaders as the source for racial differences, and in more recent times was seized on as a Biblical excuse for segregation and slavery….
The Appleby church, whose pastor could not immediately be reached for comment, proclaims a litany of racist beliefs on its website:….
“the proof of the presence of God among the Israelites was the absence of the black skinned folk of Canaan … It is obvious God is a separator, not a mixer. It is God who set the boundaries.”
And who’s in favor of the races mixing? The church knows: “Satan wants to eliminate color by interracial marriages. Someone will ask why do we have to see color when we look at one another? Why can’t we just see each other as people? The same reason you see a Poodle, German Shepherd, Beagle, etc. God made us different and set the bounds. You don’t get thoroughbreds by taking the fences down. You get thoroughbreds by putting the fences up.”
In case you don’t get the meta-message about thoroughbreds versus mongrels, the church’s statement mangles a Biblical passage in Matthew in which a Canaanite woman pleads with Christ on behalf of her daughter, who is assumed by the Appleby church to be black. “Christ terms her people as dogs,” the church says. “‘It is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to dogs.’ … Unlike modern day blacks yelling about equal rights, this woman humbles herself and says ‘Truth Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from the master’s table.’”
Hewing to an extreme fundamentalist principle, Appleby condemns ancient Hebrews for “immorality, idolatry, and interracial marriages.” We’re seeing the punishment to this day, it insists. “Interracial relationships bring much heartache. … Before the coming of Christ, there will be many more half-breed producing marriages that will, in turn, produce more hate and envy against what the Lord has commanded.”
In case you wondered where the love of Christ fits in with all this, the church has an answer: “In Salvation, ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.’ In salvation, there is no difference, but when it comes to marriage, there is.”
Finally, for proponents of our 13th Amendment, the church helpfully reminds us that slavery is fine with God. “The New Testament does not condemn slavery,” it says. “What it does condemn is the misuse of a slave.”
….So the same seeds of hatred proudly displayed by Appleby and an unknown number of other independent fundamentalist churches are scattering, planted to grow in coming generations”
Where exactly is John MacArthur’s voice of outrage against ALL of this hate? The answer is that John MacArthur’s website in a Q and A with him says about racism that the solution is to “preach Christ” to it. I agree but John MacArthur’s Grace to You website does not tell us that MORE can be done other than just this such as participating in correction or preaching correction in addition to preaching Christ such as correcting major doctrinal issues that project racism or removing racist pastors or excommunicating racist members or shutting down racist churches.
John MacArthur claims to “understand” racism in the Q and A on his website while calling black people “that culture” and “those people” and I quote his own words from his Grace to You website when he says:
“I understand the frightening demise of that culture.” Notice as stated before he calls black people “that culture.” Here is another quote also:
“Well, I look back on that and my heart was to reach those people.” Notice also as stated before he calls black people “those people.”
Why does he not call white people “that culture” or “that people” one has to ask? You see this is a common issue with white people in that they almost tend to treat people who are of different skin types as if they are ALIENS from another world especially when it comes to the use of their terminology. This is cause for concern especially when it comes seeing people as human beings equally.
It is to also be noted that those who claim to be proponents against racism and who are from the Baptist denomination can in fact have a racist mindset within them STILL. Richard Land who was quoted earlier happened to be the longtime president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) in the Southern Baptist Convention and was in fact a key proponent of racial reconciliation in the Southern Baptist Convention but he STILL made racist statements which the site the christianpost.com expanded further than what was previously said about him in this post when it said this and I quote:
“Land, who also serves as executive editor at The Christian Post, sparked controversy in March when he accused Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and President Obama of exploiting the Trayvon Martin shooting.
Martin, a 17-year-old African American, was shot dead on Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman, 28. The teen was unarmed. Zimmerman has claimed self-defense.
Denouncing the public’s “rush to judgment” before all the facts were clear, Land called the two well-known civil rights activists “race hustlers who’ve made their careers and made their fortunes exploiting racism” and argued that some were using the case “for their own political ends.”
Land further stated that the civil rights activists were “perpetuating their central myth” that “America is a racist and an evil nation.” He later also stated that a black man is “statistically more likely to do you harm than a white man.”
As chilling as these words are it is equally as chilling for John MacArthur to not be outraged about racism and sex scandals in his very own denomination as he is outraged about charismatics. John MacArthur is a mixture of error it seems. The truth will always remain the gospel and not what these distracted people are saying in their error-filled ways who will be judged later on for it as (2 Peter 3: 16) says:
“16 ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”
Focus on the true gospel instead not on the falsehood created by others whose foolishness will not get them far with God in the end. This true gospel is found below (Romans 10: 8-13):
“8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, 9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”