I really do have better things to do. (Like put IKEA cabinets together. So. Maybe I don’t have better things to do, then.) But this stuff just frosts my extremities.
John MacArthur has set himself as the arbiter of who is and isn’t a Christian. With the company I keep, I’m sure I’d be outside of MacArthur’s heaven. In this interview with Paul Edwards, he announces that Doug Pagitt is not a Christian. (I’m not a Pagitt fan. In fact, he tends to get on my last nerve when I read him, but as confusing as I find him, it is hardly my place to announce him to the world as a non-believer. Ridiculous.)
I think you know it’s most helpful, Paul, to go back and kind of recast how we view these people. He’s not a pastor; he’s not a Christian; that’s not a church. When you call yourself a Christian and you call yourself a pastor and you say you have a church, all of that has to be—to be legitimate—defined biblically. And if it’s not, that’s not a church and you’re not a pastor and you’re not even a Christian.
What you have here is a form of false religion … A form of paganism that basically wants to be thought of as Christian because it gains a certain ground. But the underlying bottom line of this whole emerging movement is they don’t believe in any doctrine, they don’t believe in any theology. They don’t want to be forced to interpret anything in scripture a certain way and the out is, “Well the Bible isn’t clear anyway.” In other words, we don’t know what it means; we can’t know what it means.
Jonny Mac then goes on to tell us what the sole role of the church is,
I believe the church has one function, and that is to guard the truth, to proclaim the truth and to live the truth. So you take the Word of God, you teach it, you proclaim it, you protect it, you defend it, and you live it, and that’s a church. The Word of God rightly divided, rightly understood.
And apparently Johnny Mac’s the only one who can do that.
At the end of Matthew, this is what Jesus says to his disciples,
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
There is no Truth War in Jesus’ command. Let me be blunt. MacArthur is as much promoting another gospel as he claims the emergent crowd are. His Darbyist dispensational theology has as many holes as the theology of Brian McLaren. I wouldn’t deign to say that MacArthur isn’t my brother. But I would say this. The man is an… I can’t even say that. Though I wish I could.
Might I suggest, however, that it is time for the more irenic of the Calvinist wing of Christianity to disassociate themselves from the man who wants to be Pope of the Truly Reformed. [HT: the BHT]
UPDATE: I had to drag this up from the bowels of the comment section. From the always brilliant mind of Brant Hansen.
I’m not one of these namby-pamby, post-mod types who think Truth will be just fine, thank you. I know it’s much, much weaker than that.
If it weren’t for men like John McArthur, the Truth would disappear into thin air. It is not enduring on its own. It will not last without bold leaders to defend it, to much applause, by preaching it to the same people week after week and selling books about it to them.
The Truth is very, very fragile, indeed. If anything, Paul himself was weak-kneed. He claimed he couldn’t even judge himself, and it was up to the Lord to look at men’s motives, not him. McArthur realizes the folly of that kind of false humility.
Chesteron thought that we should be confident of Truth, but less confident about our own selves. McArthur doesn’t fall for that post-mod ruse, either. He’s quite confident that his own take is the Truth, period.
McArthur knows that the church is to do one thing: 1) Defend the truth. 2) Proclaim the truth. 3) Live the truth. That’s it. One thing.
I used to be one of those mod-hip guys who think that Truth will last without McArthur, but now I know better.
Hanster artwork that I originally wanted to steal for this post: