What's the majority consensus here about Alister Mcgrath?

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py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Also, I should point out that it is my doctrine of sin and Christ's atoning work that leads me to believe in an historical Adam, not the other way around. The historical Adam is a logical implication, not a logical foundation (at least from my perspective).
That is a little absurd. Of course the doctrines set out in Romans 5 imply the historical reality of Adam: but Paul takes the testimony of the Holy Spirit in Genesis as his foundation. To say that doctrine requires a particular history gives no support to the history unless both are authoritative revelation. And the doctrine is not more inspired than the history.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Chuck
Another thing, we need to define "evolution." Lumping every and all theories that touch evolution into one lump is unfair, in my opinion. There's microevolution (birds beaks changing) and the original ancestor theory (we all came from a single celled organism)...and then everything in between.
Well that's different. Both YECs and OECs accept "micro-evolution", although some of them like to call it something else.

We're talking here about full-blown microbes to monkeys to man theistic evolution, not YEC or OEC.

It's just bad doctrine on a major and foundational aspect of the faith. It would be alright if McGrath was a complete liberal, but because he says a lot of good on other areas, it means that his views on creation spread like bad leaven through the evangelical and Reformed world.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
That is a little absurd. Of course the doctrines set out in Romans 5 imply the historical reality of Adam: but Paul takes the testimony of the Holy Spirit in Genesis as his foundation. To say that doctrine requires a particular history gives no support to the history unless both are authoritative revelation. And the doctrine is not more inspired than the history.
I don't think it at all absurd. The revelation of Christ and my view of Christ are what inform my view of Adam and how to read Genesis: I take Genesis as history because it forms the historical backstory which the Gospel takes for granted and without which there is no Gospel.
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
chuckd said:
I think something needs to be said here...ever since the Enlightenment or even a little prior (maybe Descartes), science and/or reason has been pitted against faith unfairly. Granted, it likely happen outside of Christianity by those who wanted to expel faith and the Church's hold from scientific discovery, but we have to remember that many scientific discoveries happened as a result of faithful Christians.
I don't know if you saw this thread, but it may not be the worst of things to keep science and faith separated--at least not in the manner suggested in that thread (although it is possible you hold the view advocated in the aforementioned thread anyway, since "science and/or reason...pitted against faith unfairly" could mean that there is a fair way to pit them against each other). I also included a section from Descartes' writings in the thread; from what I understand of him, Descartes would accept Church dogma as reality but for the purposes of understanding the world better as it is now, he advocated looking beyond the realm that the Church says is reality and so look at a "hypothetical" universe that extends before Creation in the investigations of science. Of course, Descartes did also try deriving scientific laws from the nature of God.

I also had thought Augustine wasn't that familiar with Hebrew, but I suppose this post is mostly off topic anyway.
 
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Unoriginalname

Puritan Board Junior
I don't think it at all absurd. The revelation of Christ and my view of Christ are what inform my view of Adam and how to read Genesis: I take Genesis as history because it forms the historical backstory which the Gospel takes for granted and without which there is no Gospel.
If you do not mind me running with your idea for a minute. It is not as if I need a prefaith in Adam in order to have faith in Christ. Obviously, the relationship that Christ has the second Adam would be underdeveloped and hurt in my thoughts but it is conceivable to have such a faith. I do not nessarily have to know any of the old testament history in order to know Christ initially. Hopefully as I grow in my knowledge of the Lord I would also grow in my understanding of how he has worked in history. Rejecting parts of that history could result in seriously crippling my understanding of scripture but it does not negate that.
All that said I cannot see how this necessarily prevents McGrath from going historical theology, where his focus is primarily on the development of ideas in church history and not on exegesis. I do not know how many times we have :deadhorse: in saying theistic evolution is bad. It is bad, but people who have bad parts of their theology (dispensationalism, Lutheran view of sacraments, weaker views of inspiration) can still write good books especially in axillary disciplines such as historical theology or philosophical theology. If someone wants to suggest a person they have less problems with that is fine but I think it is unnecessary to continually need to assert that McGrath has a serious flaw in his view of creation.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
That is a little absurd. Of course the doctrines set out in Romans 5 imply the historical reality of Adam: but Paul takes the testimony of the Holy Spirit in Genesis as his foundation. To say that doctrine requires a particular history gives no support to the history unless both are authoritative revelation. And the doctrine is not more inspired than the history.
I don't think it at all absurd. The revelation of Christ and my view of Christ are what inform my view of Adam and how to read Genesis: I take Genesis as history because it forms the historical backstory which the Gospel takes for granted and without which there is no Gospel.
If it takes the NT to persuade you that the Old is historical, what persuades you that the New is historical? Or again, if your doctrine persuades you of a particular view of the text, what led you to the doctrine? Was it not the text itself? Christ points us to Moses as having convincing, convicting, and fundamental value. It is certainly understandable if that argument persuades you with regard to Moses - but that ought to be recognized as part of psychological history, not turned into a dogmatic position. Because the fact that Christ could appeal to and speak of Moses in that way shows that acceptance of Moses was not dependent on the testimony of Christ. According to Christ, if one will not hear Moses and the prophets, he will not believe though one rise from the dead - and the ongoing rejection of Christ by many even after the resurrection is a sad illustration of the truth of those words.
To put it more simply, the fact that Christ and Paul take for granted that Adam is historical certainly confirms the point; the fact that they take it for granted highlights that we didn't objectively need confirmation, whatever confusions we may have gotten ourselves into.
 
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Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
Or again, if your doctrine persuades you of a particular view of the text, what led you to the doctrine? Was it not the text itself?
Ruben, I would say here that this is nothing more or less than Scripture interpreting Scripture. The logical priority that I am assigning is precisely a New Testament priority. If I didn't have faith in Christ, I would have no reason to believe that there was any such person as Adam.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Or again, if your doctrine persuades you of a particular view of the text, what led you to the doctrine? Was it not the text itself?
Ruben, I would say here that this is nothing more or less than Scripture interpreting Scripture. The logical priority that I am assigning is precisely a New Testament priority. If I didn't have faith in Christ, I would have no reason to believe that there was any such person as Adam.
I thought as much. While I understand that this may be part of your own history, I believe you would be quite mistaken to turn it into a matter of doctrine. Genesis 3 is just as inspired as Romans 5, and they have equal authority. Indeed, the pattern of the NT itself is to bring people to Christ by pointing him out as the fulfillment of the Old. That is certainly one reason why even Gentiles without a previous commitment to the OT are pointed to it and instructed in it.
A vital part of the revelation of Christ is that he is the one that should come - they are not to look for another, because the coming one is here; to put it another way, according to the Scriptures is as vital a part of the Gospel message as died for our sins. It is folly, it is slowness of heart, not to believe all that is written in the prophets. The fact that the NT presupposes and elevates the OT should be seen as part of their mutually confirming witness, not as the basis for our acceptance of the OT.
 

JennyG

Puritan Board Graduate
I don't think he's a liberal.

Liberals deny all important christian doctrines: the trinity, creatio ex nihilo, incarnation, the virgin birth, two-natured of Christ, substitionary atonement, biblical inspiration and sufficiency, etc. McGrath affirms them all - he just applies a non-conventional hermeneutics in certain places, but he keeps the essential.
McGrath has fought a good fight against Dawkins and others, but through it all he seems to have managed to hold onto his academic standing - in Britain, too :(
It may be unfair, but I can't help suspecting he keeps at least one toe on a "rock" that isn't Scripture.
As others have said, that doesn't preclude the possibility of benefitting from his writing, but you can't relax when reading him
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
My particular interest is historical theology. And, in this area McGrath is a wonderful read. He is (like C.S. Lewis, Tom Wright, or F.F. Bruce) broadly orthodox, albeit not as conservative as any of us on the PB. It is amusing to hear American evangelicals make him into something he is not: an American conservative evangelical. But, you will have a hard time dismissing his Reformation scholarship and will only fail to profit from it if you bring to it a chip on your shoulder.

As has been mentioned repeatedly in this thread, you don't have to use the "h" word for every deviation from your own thinking. I am an Answers in Genesis YEC. But, many of posters on this board either took Old Testament from Kline or have adopted his views of the Framework Theory which does not require 6 day creation. I find it exegetically wrong and even unwittingly supportive of (or compatible with) things I consider dangerous. But, I REFUSE to throw rocks at that titan of Reformed orthodoxy and long time professor at Westminster Seminary (both coasts). For that matter, the great Charles Hodge argued for the antiquity of the earth and B.B. Warfield made his own accommodations with evolution. I think that they were wrong, but do not question their orthodoxy.

McGrath is a brilliant scholar, devoted churchman, and great defender of the Christian faith against the new atheism. He is not the candidate for pastor of your church. Thank the Lord for great minds like this who argue on our side as much as he does.
 

Zork

Puritan Board Freshman
Alister Mcgraph

Hi. This is my first post so lets hope its a good one.
DMcFadden : I see what your getting at and I agree strongly with you that if we compromise with even the smallest of things in Scripture
then everything will blow up in our faces. This isn't a question of do we read his books and "spit out the false". We need to take a stand for this kind of unscriptural teaching and "beliefs". We need to be alert to defend(contend like in JUDE) for our reformed faith.(For the weaker Brother sake. I personally think that if we start to compromise now then why do we call ourselves Reformed? What did our fathers of the faith do? Stand back and tolerate all this "apostacy" inside the Evangelicals? No Sir they did not. They grabbed the bull by the horns and they Contended earnestly for the Faith. They gave they're lives. They gave everything. I am ashamed to call myself reformed. Because they would die before they compromise on any level with scripture. There is so much compromise in the world already. The very least we can do is not to compromise with Scripture. Because if we do it what will we leave for the next generation? Only more compromise. Why do we even bother accepting and believing the creed and confessions?
We must be willing to draw the line.
Reform:
Reform means to correct someone or something or cause someone or something to be better. (verb)
Are we truly Reformers?

J.MacArthur said the following:
Im quoting "The real issue is the nature of God. To think of evolution as basically atheistic is to misunderstand the uniqueness of
evolution. Evolution was not designed as a general attack against theism. It was designed as a
specific attack against the God of the Bible, and the God of the Bible is clearly revealed through the
doctrine of creation. Obviously, if a person is an atheist, it would be normal for him to also be an
evolutionist. But evolution is as comfortable with theism as it is with atheism. An evolutionist is
perfectly free to choose any god he wishes, as long as it is not the God of the Bible. The gods
allowed by evolution are private, subjective, and artificial. They bother no one and make no absolute
ethical demands. However, the God of the Bible is the Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and Judge. All are
responsible to him. He has an agenda that conflicts with that of sinful humans. For man to be created
in the image of God is very awesome. For God to be created in the image of man is very comfortable.
[Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1992), 188-
89.]
To put it simply, evolution was invented in order to eliminate the God of Genesis and thereby to oust
the Lawgiver and obliterate the inviolability of His law. Evolution is simply the latest means our fallen
race has devised in order to suppress our innate knowledge and the biblical testimony that there is a
God and that we are accountable to Him (cf. Romans 1:28). By embracing evolution, modern society
aims to do away with morality, responsibility, and guilt. Society has embraced evolution with such
enthusiasm because people imagine that it eliminates the Judge and leaves them free to do whatever
they want without guilt and without consequences.The evolutionary lie is so pointedly antithetical to
Christian truth that it would seem unthinkable for evangelical Christians to compromise with
evolutionary science in any degree. But over the past century and a half of evolutionary propaganda,
evolutionists have had remarkable success in getting evangelicals to meet them halfway.
Remarkably, many modern evangelicals--perhaps it would even be fair to say most people who call
themselves evangelicals today--have already been convinced that the Genesis account of creation is
not a true historical record. Thus they have not only capitulated to evolutionary doctrine at its starting
point, but they have also embraced a view that"
 

GulfCoast Presbyterian

Puritan Board Junior
This isn't a question of do we read his books and "spit out the false". We need to take a stand for this kind of unscriptural teaching and "beliefs". We need to be alert to defend(contend like in JUDE) for our reformed faith.(For the weaker Brother sake. I personally think that if we start to compromise now then why do we call ourselves Reformed? "
Um. That is EXACTLY what Luther and Calvin did vis-a-vis their extensive citations of Augustine, they ate the meat and spit out the bones. Were they truly "Reformers?"

Since when is MacArthur "reformed?" Why are we referencing "non-reformed" theologians to support a reformed position, since that is essentially what got this thread kicked off in the first place?
 

Unoriginalname

Puritan Board Junior
Hey zork glad to have you in this discussion. Before I begin I just want to say I can be a bit of a snark but I mean it as no personal assault. I find it amusing that you quoted a dispensationalist, who denies the covenantal structure of scripture and has a disorted view of the law to say that we cannot use the works of an evangelical who unfortunately subscribes to theistic evolution. I would contend that MacArthur's views do equal damage to the text as McGrath and that if it is possible to glean from one it is possible to glean from the other. It has been stated ad nausum (spelling?) that denying Adam leaves room for denying or misinterpreting Paul. Yet I would say the average yec dispensationalist has a far more skewed reading of Paul then McGrath at least from what I have seen.
 

Rufus

Puritan Board Junior
Hey zork glad to have you in this discussion. Before I begin I just want to say I can be a bit of a snark but I mean it as no personal assault. I find it amusing that you quoted a dispensationalist, who denies the covenantal structure of scripture and has a disorted view of the law to say that we cannot use the works of an evangelical who unfortunately subscribes to theistic evolution. I would contend that MacArthur's views do equal damage to the text as McGrath and that if it is possible to glean from one it is possible to glean from the other. It has been stated ad nausum (spelling?) that denying Adam leaves room for denying or misinterpreting Paul. Yet I would say the average yec dispensationalist has a far more skewed reading of Paul then McGrath at least from what I have seen.
To be fair Zork may be a dispensationalist, as some others on the board are.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Hey zork glad to have you in this discussion. Before I begin I just want to say I can be a bit of a snark but I mean it as no personal assault. I find it amusing that you quoted a dispensationalist, who denies the covenantal structure of scripture and has a disorted view of the law to say that we cannot use the works of an evangelical who unfortunately subscribes to theistic evolution. I would contend that MacArthur's views do equal damage to the text as McGrath and that if it is possible to glean from one it is possible to glean from the other. It has been stated ad nausum (spelling?) that denying Adam leaves room for denying or misinterpreting Paul. Yet I would say the average yec dispensationalist has a far more skewed reading of Paul then McGrath at least from what I have seen.
To say that being a "leaky" dispensationalist is on the same plane as denying the historicity of Adem and Eve and rejecting the first three chapters of Genesis (maybe the first eleven chapters) is just ludicrous.

And he was quoting MacArthur not because he's reformed but because he is a highly esteemed and godly brother who is more than competent to address the pernicious heresy of evolution.
 
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Unoriginalname

Puritan Board Junior
To say that being a "leaky" dispensationalist is on the same plane as denying the historicity of Adem and Eve and rejecting the first three chapters of Genesis (maybe the first eleven chapters) is just lubricious.
I really do not see MacArthur as being that leaky to begin with and I think my point is well with in bounds. John MacArthur while being an esteemed brother, denies the basic covenantal structure of the Gospel and how it develops over redemptive history (even if you want to say reinterprets, then he no more reinterprets the covenant of grace then McGrath reinterprets Paul's use of Adam to be an archetypal representative for unredeemed humanity). He denies the historic definitions of the Law and should be regarded as an antinomian compared to the classic reformed position. He errs with regard to having the church be a new testament creation separate from the old testament. Finally his view of eschatology is idolatrous with his believe that the Jews could return to shadows with the reconstitution of the temple. My point is not to tear down MacArthur but to say that there is plenty of serious error in his work along with McGrath. Yet there is no reason that they cannot be read if someone feels their books could be beneficial for discussing a topic. If McGrath can be accused of heresy for his denial of Adam, MacArthur can be called to task for his denial of the covenant and law.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
My point is not to tear down MacArthur but to say that there is plenty of serious error in his work along with McGrath.
Well I would say calling MacArthur an idolater just about does it. I have never said that McGrath had nothing worth reading. But for you to put MacArthur's dispensationalism in the same category of denying creation is extreme. I find it offensive.
 

Unoriginalname

Puritan Board Junior
MacArthur an idolater just about does it
My point is that believing that the Temple can some how be reinstated after Christ's death is idolatrous. I think I have teased out enough systematic errors that result from accepting dispensationalism to prove that it about equals McGrath's errors. Also earlier you argued that MacArthur is a leaky dispensationalist. If by this you mean he buys into some of the basic structure of dispensationalism without diving headlong into the errors that would arise if it was bought hook, line and sinker than it would be equally fair to call McGrath a "leaky" theistic evolutionist, because while he buys into a evolutionary origin of life he does not fall into the gross interpretive error that he should if it was taken to its logical ends. I think that McGrath to MacArthur is a fair comparison.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
My point is that believing that the Temple can some how be reinstated after Christ's death is idolatrous. I think I have teased out enough systematic errors that result from accepting dispensationalism to prove that it about equals McGrath's errors. Also earlier you argued that MacArthur is a leaky dispensationalist. If by this you mean he buys into some of the basic structure of dispensationalism without diving headlong into the errors that would arise if it was bought hook, line and sinker than it would be equally fair to call McGrath a "leaky" theistic evolutionist, because while he buys into a evolutionary origin of life he does not fall into the gross interpretive error that he should if it was taken to its logical ends. I think that McGrath to MacArthur is a fair comparison.
I disagree. I didn't "argue" that MacArthur was a "leaky" dispensationalist. That's what he calls himself. And while I've listened to the man for years, I've never heard or read anything about reinstating temple worship. You're going to need to substantiate that claim before I accept it.

But again, denying creation as McGrath does, so far exceeds the error of dispensationalsim (bad though it is) that to compare them is truly ludicrous.
 

Unoriginalname

Puritan Board Junior
And while I've listened to the man for years, I've never heard or read anything about reinstating temple worship. You're going to need to substantiate that claim before I accept it.
I was taking that from his study bible's notes on Ezekiel 40:38-47, He likens them to a sort of Millennial Lord's supper or something. Please remember my point in all the talk of MacArthur to say if we can admit he has serious error and still find some of his works to be useful I do not think it is too much to say that McGrath has serious errors but can still have useful works. I brought MacArthur up to establish that the "eat the wheat spit out the chaff" or "eat the meat spit out the bones" is a legitimate concept.
 
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DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
My point is that believing that the Temple can some how be reinstated after Christ's death is idolatrous. I think I have teased out enough systematic errors that result from accepting dispensationalism to prove that it about equals McGrath's errors. Also earlier you argued that MacArthur is a leaky dispensationalist. If by this you mean he buys into some of the basic structure of dispensationalism without diving headlong into the errors that would arise if it was bought hook, line and sinker than it would be equally fair to call McGrath a "leaky" theistic evolutionist, because while he buys into a evolutionary origin of life he does not fall into the gross interpretive error that he should if it was taken to its logical ends. I think that McGrath to MacArthur is a fair comparison.
I disagree. I didn't "argue" that MacArthur was a "leaky" dispensationalist. That's what he calls himself. And while I've listened to the man for years, I've never heard or read anything about reinstating temple worship. You're going to need to substantiate that claim before I accept it.

But again, denying creation as McGrath does, so far exceeds the error of dispensationalsim (bad though it is) that to compare them is truly ludicrous.
It is a standard feature of dispensational premillennialism to believe that there will be a reinstitution of temple worship and bloody sacrifices in the "third Temple." Some, like LaHaye, speak of this as a memorial observance rather than a true reinstatement of the sacrificial system. Nevertheless, it is a standard part of the eschatology of dispensational premillennialism to see the rebuilding of the temple and return to sacrifices. This necessarily follows from the premise of a "literal" hermeneutic with respect to prophetic passages. Since they may not be taken figuratively, symbolically, or typically, they must be historically fulfilled in national Israel.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Please remember my point in all the talk of MacArthur to say if we can admit he has serious error and still find some of his works to be useful I do not think it is too much to say that McGrath has serious errors but can still have useful works.
What is truly frustrating is that this point keeps being made even though I never said anything to the contrary or that he didn't have anything useful to say. Sure he has some useful books and points of view in other areas.

What I have said is that denying the biblical account of creation, the historicity of Adam and Eve is heresy. I simply can not and will not admit such a position as being within the pale Christian orthodoxy. It strikes at the very foundations of the Faith.
 

Unoriginalname

Puritan Board Junior
What is truly frustrating is that this point keeps being made even though I never said anything to the contrary or that he didn't have anything useful to say. Sure he has some useful books and points of view in other areas.
I did not post this directly towards you. I mainly posted this because the question of this thread was can McGrath's material be utilized. I was attempting to use that post to simply remind people why I brought up MacArthur. I am sorry if it appeared like I was accusing you of something, I did not mean it that way.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
I did not post this directly towards you. I mainly posted this because the question of this thread was can McGrath's material be utilized. I was attempting to use that post to simply remind people why I brought up MacArthur. I am sorry if it appeared like I was accusing you of something, I did not mean it that way.
Ah, duly noted.
 

Zork

Puritan Board Freshman
OKAY OKAY. Stay calm guys. I know he(DR MacArthur) has Despentational views. I didn't mean to cause all this havoc. I only quoted DR.J.MacArthur because the article was relevant on our discussion.(I agree with what he says.) And before you accuse him of being all that you say he is check this out. MacArthur: Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Premillennialist « Faith by Hearing
Thing is don't you think his views are compatible with reformed Theology?
If NO please correct me.(Scripture Please)
Are we really going to put him in the same category as Alister Mcgraph?
If so why do you say that?

I don't know everything(What I mean is I am open to correction(Biblical please)) all I know is that in South Africa(Where I live.LOL) we don't see any true reformed guys(Teachers) We seriously have to many Charismatic/Pentacostal pastors. Dr.MacArthur has truly changed my life. He is n great teacher, Really respect him for all his hard work. I know everyone has something he is struggling with.(In the scripture no one understands everything)
I downloaded all I can find from Authors like:
CH.Spurgeon, J.Owen, J.Calvin, M.Luther, G.Whitefield, J.Bunyan and the rest of Puritans. We are truly blessed to have examples like that.(Please more authors will be appreciated, we don't have any Seminary or true reformed Colleges here in South Africa(With or without Seminary I will change South Africa(God Wills, Thats why I joined PURITANBOARD(Need Some Puritan friends.LOL. Not looking good is it. :nowork: ).:down:
Forgive me for going off topic(Forgive me if my English grammar is bad, not 1st language)

Back to the point I was trying to make, The true question was that dead people are dead, they can't be corrected so we read the good and "spit out the bones"(Must inform weaker brothers though.)

But what if the Pastor/Teacher/Theologian is still alive and we can correct him?
But what do we do when there are major errors? Shouldn't we correct? There is so much sin and tolerance with SIN, so much compromise its making me sick.(We all compromise with something even if its a Tv program, not reaching to the poor, widows and orphans etc)
But should we compromise within the evangelicals? Shouldn't we earnestly contend for the truth? Isn't that what our reformed fathers did? Isn't that what Jude is warning about(Apostacy)?

I am not questioning your views guys, I am Learning from this because I don't have any other "Reformed" people to chat to so bare with me.

I am truly blessed to be "Reformed". 2nd year now. From error to truth.(From Charismatic to Reformed) TO GOD THE GLORY.
Guys please correct me where I am wrong. Please give me scripture or studies so I can investigate.

Thank you.
 
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