MacArthur Causes a Stir

Status
Not open for further replies.

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Blogging from John MacArthur's Shepherd's Conference, Tim Challies writes that MacArthur caused quite a stir, especially with regard to his views on amillennialism:

Well we weren't expecting John MacArthur to begin the conference this way. He decided to forego his usual opening sermon and speak instead on a touchy topic. His lecture was titled (and I'm not sure how much this is tongue-in-cheek) "Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Pre-Millennialist." A couple of weeks ago, at the Resolved Conference, he mentioned this topic so it was interesting to hear him fill it out. ...

MacArthur made the point that those who most celebrate the sovereign grace of election regarding the church and its place in God's purpose and those who defend the truth of promise and fulfillment and believe in election being divine, unashamedly deny the same for elect Israel. This is a strange division. "It's too late for Calvin," he said," but it's not too late for the rest of you. If Calvin were here he would join our movement." ...

The long and short is this: 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.

Kim Riddlebarger in his Riddleblog and another blog has additional comments.

The subject was also the topic a one Christian call-in program, Calling for Truth.

Is premillennialism, esp of the dispensational variety, really the most God-honoring eschatology for a Calvinist? MacArthur thinks so.
 

etexas

Puritan Board Doctor
Blogging from John MacArthur's Shepherd's Conference, Tim Challies writes that MacArthur caused quite a stir, especially with regard to his views on amillennialism:



Kim Riddlebarger in his Riddleblog and another blog has additional comments.

The subject was also the topic a one Christian call-in program, Calling for Truth.

Is premillennialism, esp of the dispensational variety, really the most God-honoring eschatology for a Calvinist? MacArthur thinks so.
Wow........way to get everyones attention! I am sure no ones chins were in their drinks!:wow:
 

Founded on the Rock

Puritan Board Freshman
This is why MacArthur bothers me to no end, he is SOO arrogant about EVERYTHING he believes. In the probably 10 times or so I have been to his church I have heard him say, "it is obvious, it is right there in Scripture!" about things like the millennium, infant baptism etc., all the while when he reads 1 Cor. 7, he just says what it really says is that the children are just under a holy influence.

I have no problem with MacArtuhr's convictions, I disagree with him, but he has every right to hold them. I respect what the man has done, he has been a greater worker for the Lord, and his knowledge far surpasses mine. But I simply cannot take the tone that he uses, even when discussing things like the Doctrines of Grace...
 

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
I like John, but I'll disregard his premillenialism. Turns out he said it in front of several amillennial preachers there.
 

puritan lad

Puritan Board Freshman
In the little that I've read about MacArthur's comments, he holds that Calvinists should be premillennial on the basis of Israel. He is stuck with the idea that "Israel after the flesh" is God's elect, and to deny this would be to deny God's sovereignty in election.

I would ask if the Pharisees and Judas were "elect".
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Ironically, E.P. Sanders addresses this very point in Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People, p.207:
One is the traditional Jewish doctrine of election, which Paul denies. He appeals, to be sure, to God's covenant with Abraham, and thus his language is often appropriate to understanding the church as "true Israel." But his argument that the covenant "skips" from Abraham to Christ, and now includes those in Chrisst, but not Jews by descent, is in fact a flat denial of the election of Israel.

Leaving aside the question of Sanders' reliability, this at least makes clear that things are not so simple as Challies reports MacArthur as stating.
 

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
Just talked to someone who was there.

He said it.

ps. I became an amillennialist when and because I embraced divine sovereignty. There were predestinarian pre-mil (chiliasts) in the history of Reformed theology (e.g., Jos Meade and Piscator and Alsted) but there have been many who, I think John would agree, knew a little bit about Reformed theology, who weren't chiliast at all. I think that since the 19th century anyway (I don't know enough about the 18th century to say certainly) chiliasm has been the minority report among predestinarian types. I think I remember reading that R B Kuiper was shocked to find the degree to which there was chiliasm in the OPC when he got to WTS.

If Jesus is, as we say, on the throne sovereignly administering his kingdom through his church and sovereignly saving his elect and sovereignly administering his providence generally (raising and dashing kings) this would seem to be a pretty serious non sequitur.

rsc
 
Last edited:

Chris

Puritan Board Sophomore
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.

I would (humbly) suggest to JM that maybe, just maybe, we should focus our efforts on the former for a few more years - and in the meantime, maybe we should review what we (?) think (?) about the latter before we go starting any new movements....
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
I would ask if the Pharisees and Judas were "elect".


That's not how the dispensationals look at it. They don't think every jew from the past will be in heaven. It specifically deals with the rapture.

Honestly, I'm still wondering if the rapture is in scripture. =/
 

ajrock2000

Puritan Board Freshman
This is why MacArthur bothers me to no end, he is SOO arrogant about EVERYTHING he believes.

This is exactly the problem I have with MacArthur too. The same sort of attitude comes among a few dispensational pre-millers in my church too. Whenever I even allude to "the Israel of God" its like it turns the arrogant "I am right no matter what" switch on inside them.

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.

Wow, after reading parts of MacArthur's commentary on Revelation, Hebrews, parts of Romans, and Daniel, he is absolutely no one to talk about "hunting for interpretations"

Pre-Millennialism is just like the 'free-will' debate, they have absolutely no leg to stand on because nowhere in all of the gospels and epistles does it talk of Jesus reigning for 1,000 yrs and in a literal kingdom. Nowhere does it ever talk of any more comings than 2, and especially no salvation by heritage. One would think Jesus, Paul, or someone would say something of these things! Not only do they not, they say the opposite. I am amazed that JM just 'opens his bible' and sees it.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
Pre-Millennialism is just like the 'free-will' debate, they have absolutely no leg to stand on because nowhere in all of the gospels and epistles does it talk of Jesus reigning for 1,000 yrs and in a literal kingdom. Nowhere does it ever talk of any more comings than 2, and especially no salvation by heritage. One would think Jesus, Paul, or someone would say something of these things! Not only do they not, they say the opposite. I am amazed that JM just 'opens his bible' and sees it.

Just to start off, Pre-mill has two different camps. The historic and dispie. The historic does not believe in the rapture, and the dispie does. Also, the dispie doesn't believe that the heritage of Israel will be saved but the people in the nation.

I still have alot to learn I know, but don't misrepresent the other sides.
 

puritan lad

Puritan Board Freshman
That's not how the dispensationals look at it. They don't think every jew from the past will be in heaven. It specifically deals with the rapture.
True, but even then, it is only 144,000 of them. The dispensational view, pretty muched summed up, is that if you don't support Israel politically, God will curse you. (For the most part, I do, but not because of some false, Christless Covenant).

Honestly, I'm still wondering if the rapture is in scripture. =/
If you are refering to a secret "pre-trib" rapture, I haven't been able to find a hint of it in Scripture after exhaustive research.
 

ajrock2000

Puritan Board Freshman
I still have alot to learn I know, but don't misrepresent the other sides.

I also have a lot to learn! I apologize if I didn't represent them correctly. I was just merely stating generalities to what they believe.

The historic does not believe in the rapture, and the dispie does. Also, the dispie doesn't believe that the heritage of Israel will be saved but the people in the nation.

When you say 'people in the nation', does this mean people who are within the borders of Israel?
 
Last edited:

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
I also have a lot to learn! I apologize if I didn't represent them correctly. I was just merely stating generalities to what they believe.



When you say 'people in the nation', does this mean people who are within the borders of Israel?

Specifically, the bloodline.

The dipies believe that the covenant of abraham is different then the one we have now.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
This is why MacArthur bothers me to no end, he is SOO arrogant about EVERYTHING he believes. In the probably 10 times or so I have been to his church I have heard him say, "it is obvious, it is right there in Scripture!" about things like the millennium, infant baptism etc., all the while when he reads 1 Cor. 7, he just says what it really says is that the children are just under a holy influence.

I have no problem with MacArtuhr's convictions, I disagree with him, but he has every right to hold them. I respect what the man has done, he has been a greater worker for the Lord, and his knowledge far surpasses mine. But I simply cannot take the tone that he uses, even when discussing things like the Doctrines of Grace...


Brandon, what tone do you want him to take? If you were as convinced on a point of doctrine as MacArthur is, would you not take a strong stand? I believe MacArthur's confidence is mistaken for arrogance.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Amil vs. A Future for Israel

I also have a lot to learn.

I am confused by this statement:

MacArthur made the point that those who most celebrate the sovereign grace of election regarding the church and its place in God's purpose and those who defend the truth of promise and fulfillment and believe in election being divine, unashamedly deny the same for elect Israel. This is a strange division. "It's too late for Calvin," he said," but it's not too late for the rest of you. If Calvin were here he would join our movement." ...

Is it impossible to be amil and also believe there is a future for Israel (Rom 11)? Are the two doctrines mutually exclusive? :candle: :worms:
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
If you are refering to a secret "pre-trib" rapture, I haven't been able to find a hint of it in Scripture after exhaustive research.

Here's the rapture passage, in context. There's nothing "secret" about it, that's for sure:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore, encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, emphasis mine)
 

BlackCalvinist

Puritan Board Senior
Honestly, I'm still wondering if the rapture is in scripture. =/

Yes....and it's actually dealt with at 1 Thess. 4:13-17. All orthodox positions on the 2nd coming have a 'rapture' - it simply means 'caught up', which is what we'll be to meet Christ in the air at Christ's return.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I always say, with regard to eschatology, that, whichever of the three main positions one holds to, he should hold it sincerely, but lightly. The fact that these three main positions (premil, postmil, and amil) have been teased out of the same biblical material by the Church over the centuries should tell us that (1) holding one's position sincerely but lightly is the way to go; and (2) none of us knows as much about eschatology as we like to think we do.

For the record, I'm historic premil (no Dispensational).
 

BlackCalvinist

Puritan Board Senior
This is no surprise to anyone who attended Together for the Gospel. MacArthur gave a little premill-schpeil there too (5-6 min worth...). I think everybody just gave him a break...because he's MacArthur.

And he said this with Dever, Mahaney, Lig and Mohler on stage with him, with Sproul and Piper (even though Piper and Dever are premill) sitting not more than 12 feet away on the floor and 3000 pastors and other folk filling up the room.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
And he said this with Dever, Mahaney, Lig and Mohler on stage with him, with Sproul and Piper (even though Piper and Dever are premill) sitting not more than 12 feet away on the floor and 3000 pastors and other folk filling up the room.

Yeah, he's pretty fearless. That's one of the things I like about him. If only we could get him totally in the Reformed camp. Despite his solid Reformed soteriology, I think there's just too much of the "independent Baptist fundy" in him (probably inherited from his dad) for him to come all the way over.
 

Founded on the Rock

Puritan Board Freshman
Brandon, what tone do you want him to take? If you were as convinced on a point of doctrine as MacArthur is, would you not take a strong stand? I believe MacArthur's confidence is mistaken for arrogance.

Mr. Brown, I want him to deal respectfully with someone else's position. I don't mind the fact that he disagrees with covenant theology, or infant baptism.

In the sermons that I have heard of MacArthur, and the services I have physically attended, he IS arrogant about some of the things he believes. To say that EVERYTHING that he believes is so black and white is quite offensive, simplistic, and arrogant.

You would feel offended if I said, infant baptism is right there in the text, its just so obvious!! (with the attitude of ANYBODY could see that, you moron!) I was not there, but my girlfriend told me that he said that the rapture of the Church is just SO clear in Scripture, you can't miss it! He went on to ridicule those who held to Post-Millenialism or Amillenialism.

I don't care if he disagree's with a position strongly. He is just bombastic and many times, does not represent the other side well because it seems that he simply assumes he is right.

Again though, much of MacArthur's ministry IS and HAS been good. I appreciate the work that he has done and it has directly impacted my growth. I do not just want to sling mud at a great man of God just because. I pray that God continue to bless MacArthur's ministry. I just feel that he needs to be more respectful of the broader Christian community.
 

BlackCalvinist

Puritan Board Senior
Lest one continually harp on MacArthur's bad points:

http://pics.theologicallycorrect.com/webmaster/photos/displayimage.php?album=9&pos=39

Right before John MacArthur and I took this pic, the guy in front of me had a short convo with MacArthur and then took out his cell phone and started dialing a number - then handed it to Johnny Mac.

MacArthur proceeded to leave an extremely encouraging message on the phone to the person (apparently an elder). I was standing there like 'wooow. that's cool.' And he took the time to meet up with everyone (unlike Sproul who simply ran out the side door :lol: ). Glad I got the chance to at least shake his hand this side of eternity.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top