Thursday, May 31, 2007

truth wars

I love Chad's comment to Andrew Jone's post on John MacArthur's Truth Wars.
I have developed a method of reading his books. If it is on subjects he knows something about (N.T. studies, Reformed Theology, etc.), his books can be great. If the book is on subjects he is entirely confused about (charismatic issues, the emerging church, etc.), I simply chuckle.

MacArthur continues his terrible track record when deviating from expositing Scripture - which is ironic since one of his key points is how we should stick with Scripture.

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5 comments:

K-Fish said...

I have been reading John MacArthur's "Hard to Believe" book. I bought the book several years ago but am just now reading it finally. Yes, I am sure everyone who blogs has already blogged this book, and I am way behind.

The book jacket caught my attention because of what it said on the back "This book is John MacArthur's unflinching, unapologetic treatise on the modern tendency to alter the true message of Christianity in order to meet the whims and desires of a culture hoping for nonconfrontational messages, easy answers, and superficial committments." This got me curious and I asked myself, 'What does he think is wrong with the churches today?'. So I bought the book.

My list of what I think is wrong with churches and 'Christians' today is rather lengthy but I was surprised at how strongly and unreservedly he attacked 'evangelicals', 'charismatics', 'preachers trying to get people power' and televangelists (and that's not even mentioning the attack on the 'seeker friendly' church). At any rate, I have plodded on through the book and still have two chapters left.

I do recall previously seeing unsympathetic blogs regarding John and his attack on the 'church'. But I was still unprepared for what I read. Evangelicals, charismatics, pentecostals, faith- healers, televangelists, and seeker-friendly churches are apparently single handedly thwarting the advance of the Kingdom of God being established in the hearts of men and women around the world -according to John.

Well okay, yes I agree, saying a 'sinner's prayer' or giving money to the televangelist is not going to guarantee entry into heaven. And I would agree that churches where the preaching never brings conviction of sin or never exposes the sinfulness of man to man, where the work of the Holy Spirit in convicting men's hearts is not welcome -well I would agree that church is not fulfilling its intended mission. We would be well to avoid these churches for our feedings.

Here's where I take exception to John MacArthur's writings. In chapter 10, 'Traitor's to the Faith' of "Hard to Believe" page 171, he writes: "No one on earth can have the power of Jesus Christ to do what he did, and anybody who promises otherwise is lying. God granted the power of Jesus Christ only to the apostles and those who followed in the apostolic age to establish His messiahship. You will never have the power to heal the sick or raise the dead, walk on water, or cast out demons." (The bold emphasis is mine.)

Are we just supposed to take whatever Satan and his demonic reign over this world throw our way and never stand up to it in the name of Jesus? I don't think so! We in and of ourselves are powerless against the enemy(ies) of God (meaning Satan and his strategies to take men to hell with him). Because of this, I do not believe for one fraction of a second that Jesus would leave us in this age without the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to combat Satan and his works in our lives. We in and of ourselves in the natural may not have the power to do what Jesus did, but Jesus already overcame Satan, and Jesus avails us the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to enforce that victory. I believe this means that we not only have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit when we are born-again (become the sons of God through regeneration by putting our faith in what Jesus and only Jesus has done for us to gain eternal life), but that we can also experience the infilling of the Holy Spirit to be given power in our lives to do what God has called us to do and to stand in the face of evil: laying hands on the sick and expecting them to recover, seeing the dead rise from their lifelessness, casting demons out, and preaching that cuts to the heart of men and brings conviction of sin leading to true salvation.

If saved men didn't have the power of Jesus to do the things Jesus did, anytime any attack that could be traced back to Satan came against them and those around them, wouldn't we be just standing around wringing our hands with our tails tucked between our legs watching Satan destroy everything around us? I have heard too many testimonies from this church age, of healings and demons departing their host, where saved men were participants in the event to accept that the power of Christ is not alive and well in men to heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead.

As a side note, based on the criteria for books that could be placed in our church library, the above statement by MacArthur would eliminate "Hard to Believe" from being in our library. It is contrary to the teachings and beliefs of our pastor and the 'denomination' we are associated with.

I really believed that when I read in the Bible that Jesus healed the incurable disease in His day, that I could be healed today of today's incurable diseases whether Jesus healed me or whether Jesus healed me through the ministry of man operating in the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Despite MacArthur's claims (he probably has a book filled with scripture that 'proves' this claim?) that no one on earth has the power to heal the sick and cast out demons, I will continue to believe otherwise. I refuse to put God in a box that does not allow these things to occur in my world.

rick said...

k-fish ... welcome back ... haven't heard from you for awhile. thanks for the feedback.

K-Fish said...

It has been really tough to allocate internet time in my daily life for so many months now that I have lost count of how long it has been! A lot of weekends and week nights have been spent doing work stuff in addition to the normal 'life' stuff.

Bottom line is, I have been choosing to read books that have been waiting on the shelf to be read, or the Bible, for the half hour to an hour a day that I have prior to going to sleep at night.

The internet and email has been dubbed low priority for now in preference of getting Bible content into my brain during this short time each day. John MacArthur's "Hard to Believe" book was pretty much a waste of time compared to the other faith building scripturaly based books I have been reading for the past several months. His book didn't do much to encourage my faith, probably because the negativity towards the 'church' was so persisent throughout. The book, while it did cause me to consider whether my salvation was legitimate rather than just being on the Jesus band wagon with little or no committment to crucifying the flesh and such, comes across like someone who is wanting to share 'secrets' with you as in an intimate relationship but due to deeply rooted resentment and anger towards you keeps on jabbing at you reminding you of how bad you are and how wrong you are about everything. In other words, the power in his call for true salvation in men's hearts is rendered powerless by the negativity about everthing and everyone else. This man truly has issues with every church or 'religion' that is not his church. It's like he is the angry jilted lover. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. Read your Bible instead and let the Word of God bless you, change you, sanctify you, and heal you. This book won't do this for you.

iggy said...

Rick,

I am so glad you are back as you have much to give people...

Thanks for the link.

What i have recently found out the "War" is about is over the Kingdom... John teaches that right now it is only "spiritual" and that it is yet to come.

He misses that WE are the Body of Christ physically now representing the Kingdom.

So, it is not about "truth" but over a disagreement about whether the Kingdom will come physically at the Millennial reign, or if it started at the Resurrection of Jesus... I view that the Kingdom came to earth as it is in heaven, at the Resurrection and Jesus taught the disciple for 40 days about this after the Resurrection.

John also misses that the Kingdom has not beginning or end... The Kingdom of God is being in Christ Jesus and indwelled by the Holy Spirit... it is eternal Life! John 17: 3 States clearly this: " Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." If we know God we are in His Kingdom... it is now... or as Jesus taught, "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it." Matthew 11:12.

I guess if one wants to deny that Jesus ushered the Kingdom and we are the physical Body of Jesus and our vocation is to preach the Kingdom and the reconciliation... they can follow John MacArthur... but I prefer Jesus myself! (grin)

Blessings,
iggy

chad said...

thanks for the mention...glad that you enjoyed it so much.

reftagger