Archives For John MacArthur

I witnessed something today that I consider a remarkable privilege. It was as if I travelled back in time to colonial New England. And it happened here in the middle of the epicenter if technological development and advancement.

I’m in Los Angeles at Grace Church for the Shepherds’ Conference along with 3,000-plus other pastors, and mid sermon the power went out. The place went black with only emergency lights dimly shining in the cavernous brick auditorium that is Grace Church.

What did John MacArthur do? He grabbed a flashlight and just kept on preaching. He didn’t flinch. He was unflappable.  He literally just kept going. His voice grew with intensity as he unpacked the covenant of redemption. Soon his voice was traveling powerfully to every corner of the room.

Without being trite, let me just say, it was awesome. I felt like I was in an auditorium in Geneva with men leaning in to hear each word Calvin spoke or out in a field in western Massachusettes to hear Whitfield. Dr MacArthur just went on preaching Christ. In Spurgeon fashion he powerfully pleaded with pastors to preach Christ or stop preaching.

Since the power outage prevents access to his words, I’ll give you snippet here:

I just wish that the church would lift up Christ. If anyone would tag your church let it be this, “They were ever and always exalting Christ” you and your church should be known for robust Christology. Do you want to know the secret to Grace Church? These people keep be holding the glory of Christ and they have been and are being transformed! That’s the answer. When I watch TV preachers I yell at the TV. “Stop!! Give them Christ!” A truncated Christology does not help anyone. Men, you need to care less about what people want to hear and more about what they need to hear. Give them Christ.

This power outage served as an illustration for us. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from preaching Christ! What a surprising blessing and timely lesson this was. I’m thankful for the providential feeling of going back in time, while being  greatly encouraged to keep plodding along in faithfulness.

Update: in talking with Phil Johnson today he let me know that the quick thinking pastor Mark Dever grabbed his iPhone and captured the scene described above. Take a listen below:

Just a quick note of follow up from yesterday’s post.

1) I was pleased to read the Grace to You Blog’s response. I appreciate the tone that was struck in that article and the attempt to highlight the maturity, experience, and care of Dr MacArthur along with the initial concerns.

2) I wrote my post because I thought the original GTY post was an unfair and overly broad characterization of a large, undefined group of people. I was individually linked among this group as a bad example or at least an example to make the author’s point. In my view this needed to be addressed and corrected.

3) As I had hoped to make clear in the post, I am still a beneficiary of Dr MacArthur’s ministry. His books litter my desk as I write at this moment and his sermons jam my iPhone. I recognize the body of his work is nearly unmatched. Please don’t get the wrong idea from me on this. I think you can disagree without discarding someone–especially someone I have benefited from so greatly.

4) I also recognize that there are young Reformed guys who are doing and saying things that not only would Dr MacArthur be not comfortable with but neither would I (because of how it intersects with Scripture). I think this is valid and timely point to make. However, it should be made in clear, specific terms. In short, I think there may be reason to point out some of these issues but it should be done in a far more nuanced and charitable way.

5) From my perspective the issue is done. I responded to an article and am done. Thanks for the comments, tweets, and messages–whether affirmative or negative they serve to make me think and evaluate. I apologize that I can’t get to all of them, but things are actually quite busy on my end. I will try in the near future to do so. But in the meantime, please know that I appreciate the way in which the Lord uses these things.

Sometimes unwritten rules are good, other times they are bad.

I recall an important meeting with my pastor several years ago. I was younger, more restless, and, of course Calvinistic. As a former Roman Catholic who had been converted they (along with Arminians) seemed to always be in my cross-hairs. My pastor lovingly took me to task. He talked to me about the danger of creating straw-men and then blowing them over with persuasive arguments. He was pointing out that my treatment of Catholics was a straw-man attack. He introduced me to James White’s books and ministry. As I read and listened to Dr White debate people outside of the tent of orthodox Christianity, I was impressed and instructed by his approach.

Similarly, I think it was Tim Keller who said once, “If your opponent wouldn’t agree with the accuracy of your statement about their beliefs then you should not say it.” This is difficult because, well, it’s hard work. Sometimes you have to tone down the rhetoric in order to be accurate. After all, as a Chrsitian the goal of our instruction is love that issues from a pure heart, and a sincere faith. (1 Tim. 1.5) We want to see people impacted by the Scriptures. We want to see people drawn and conformed to Christ.

WHY I AM WRITING THIS POST

This is why I was so disappointed last Wednesday. After an early morning meeting with our leaders in our church plant, I was driving home. My phone began erupting with messages about a certain article written by one of my living heroes in the faith where he referenced me unfavorably.

As I read the article my heart sunk. The article, now pretty much famous in the blogosphere, was a scolding by John MacArthur on the Young, Restless, and Reformed (YRR) folks.

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I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have quite a few jobs in my relatively young life. The experiences are truly life-shaping. However, there really is nothing like pastoral ministry. One aspect of its uniqueness is the amount of talk from within the camp of what we as pastors are to be doing. This is interesting because the job description is pretty simple: lead, feed, and protect the sheep. Pastors are to give themselves to the word and to prayer.

This is simple. This is hard.

Therefore, as a pastor, I really appreciate when quality books come my way and add to the discussion of the subject of preaching. They are oftentimes my favorite books to read. In particular, I love reading of how other preachers do what they do. I love reading how they expound the priority and practice of preaching. It is refreshing and instructive.

I have been both refreshed and instructed by Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching. The book has contributions from Mohler, Sproul, Piper, and MacArthur (among others). As you might expect, it is a very helpful reminder and instruction into the priority of preaching.

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‘Slave’ Book Winners

Erik Raymond —  December 17, 2010

A big thanks to all who participated in the ‘Slave’ book giveaway by John MacArthur. We had a great response here on the blog and on Twitter.  Also, props to Thomas Nelson for supplying the books.

Here are the winners as picked by the admin staff here at Ordinary Pastor…

Congratulations to:
Steve Gardner
Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

I will email or DM you to get address details.

As I mentioned in my review yesterday I have a couple of copies of Slave by John MacArthur available for giveaway. The contest will run this week and I will plan to announce the winners and get the copies out in the mail by Friday afternoon.

Here is how you can get enter:

1. Subscribe to Ordinary Pastor’s Feed & leave a comment below stating that you want the book.

2. Follow the Ordinary Pastor blog on Twitter

3. Retweet this post on Twitter

If you do all 3 then you obviously have a better chance to win.

(note: due to a low budget operation here, I have to limit this to ‘contest’ to readers in the US or international folks with an APO.)

Here is the promotional video from MacArthur…

Book Review-Slave

Erik Raymond —  December 13, 2010

John MacArthur believes he has ‘uncovered’ something of a cover up. This cover up is by the English Bible translators. Now you may be wrongly tempted to think that in his later years of ministry he has gone off the deep end to join someone like Dan Brown. He hasn’t. He believes “the cover-up was not intentional–at least not initially. Yet its results have been dramatically serious.”

What is the cover-up? It is the translation of the Greek word doulos. The word is most often translated ‘servant’. MacArthur contends that we should be translating it as ‘slave’.

Why? MacArhtur writes:

“While it is true that the duties of slave and servant may overlap to some degree, there is a key distinction between the two: servants are hired’ slaves are owned.”

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