Saturday, January 11, 2014

macarthur v. history

Here' s a great post by Brian Auten for my friends that continue to fail to see the sweeping generalizations by John MacArthur intended to mislead the masses:

From a draft transcript of John MacArthur’s final Strange Fire talk, yesterday, 18 October 2013 (transcript by Mike Riccardi, here)
…But you have to understand, this other stream of evangelicalism goes back to about 1966, when the hippies came out of San Francisco, joined Calvary Chapel, and we had the launch of an informal, barefoot, beach, drug-induced kind of young people that told the church how we should act. Hymns went out. Suits went out. For the first time in the history of the church, the conduct of the church was conformed in a subculture that was formed on LSD in San Francisco and migrated to Southern California. That launches the self-focused church that winds up in the seeker-friendly church, [which then] splinters in the Vineyard movement, which develops into the charismatic stream. I don’t go back to Lonnie Frisbee, who led the Jesus movement and died of AIDS as a homosexual. That’s not my stream. But that’s the stream that has produced the culturally-bound, seeker-driven church movement. And while there are good and bad and better and worse elements of it, that’s where it comes from. We [i.e the first stream MacArthur discusses] are very different.
So, basically, MacArthur is throwing Calvary Chapel and Vineyard under the bus when it comes to “seeker-driven” churches and the prosperity gospel. Granted, he wasn’t giving lengthy, graduate lecture on the topic, but he’s really over-simplifying here. REALLY over-simplifying. No discussion of the “transformation” and/or influence of traditional Pentecostal denominations (just one ex — Osteen wasn’t CC or Vineyard; father went Pentecostal from a Southern Baptist background); no mention of Oral Roberts and ORU; no Kathryn Kuhlman, no Charles Parham; no Azusa Street — nothing. It’s as if the whole thing is simply the fault of Chuck Smith and John Wimber. Oh, and Lonnie Frisbee’s.

If I can recommend, as I did over at Tim Challies’ blog this AM, the following books on late 20th century American evangelicalism — particularly on the history that MacArthur is relating here. To be clear, the first three were published with university press outlets in last six years. The last one — and I made an error in the comments over at Challies’ blog this AM, suggesting that all four were from scholarly outlets — was from Vineyard’s in-house press and is older (but with a new reprint).

Preston Shires (Baylor University Press)

Larry Eskridge (Oxford University Press)

David Swartz (University of Pennsylvania Press)

Bill Jackson


For more commentary on the broad-brush used by MacArthur, see John B. Carpenter's post Recovering from Strange and Friendly Fire.

And a summary of some of MacArthur's vitrol can be found here.

4 comments:

dle said...

There is another stream that NEVER gets mentioned, and it's one I identify with: the 1904-05 Welsh Revival stream, which has its roots in the great 1860 South African Revival that Andrew Murray witnessed. (The South African Revivals greatly influenced the Keswick Movement, which I know many supporters of the Strange Fire Conference also despise.) The Welsh Revival predated Azusa and had similar charismatic outpourings.

Sadly, the Welsh Revival, which had worldwide effects, seems forgotten by Americans, particularly when it comes to recognizing its pronounced impact on early Pentecostalism and its later influence on the rise of charismatic outpourings in mainline churches.

What makes the Welsh Revival stream so different was that it penetrated "high churches," Anglican, Presbyterian, etc., and it carried over into the "stuffier" ranks of Protestantism and even the RCC. Many people fail to recall that a big boost to the modern charismatic churches came from Dennis Bennett (Episcopalian) and Michael Scanlan (RCC) in the 1960s and early 1970s. In fact, much of the theologically solid part of the charismatic movement is built upon the work of charismatics who eventually left their mainline denominations (as those who fled rejected liberalism also) and who founded ministries that kept an old school Protestant sensibility. Many of the "sane" charismatic churches today have this pedigree. Though many Strange Fire fans revere D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, they reject Jones' later life sojourn into the charismatic movement, which was undoubtedly linked to the later influence of the Welsh Revival and its lingering effect on 1960s-era mainline churches.

Anyway, I had to add this to set the record straight on this "missing" aspect of charismatic history. It bothers me that so many people don't get the whole story when it comes to some aspects of the charismatic movement.

Rick Ianniello said...

thanks ... good add

dle said...

I'm reading God's Forever Family right now and got a tear in my eye.

I wish there were some way to turn back the clock...

Anonymous said...

The fact that John MacArthur thinks Alexander Hislop is a reliable author shows that church history is never going to be his strong point.

reftagger