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Friday, July 29, 2011 | Comments (95)

Before we put up John MacArthur’s second post in the series—what amounts to some fatherly advice to the Young, Restless, and Reformed folks—I’d like to interject a few thoughts for your consideration.

I’ve been watching the comments here and there in the blogosphere, and I’m mostly encouraged. Most people have been saying, “I appreciate John MacArthur. I don’t always agree with him, but I realize I need to set my disagreements aside to hear what the man has to say.” Bravo. I totally applaud that attitude, and I appreciate Tim Challies for encouraging us in that direction.

But I’ve also read posts that represent the sentiment Tim cautioned against. I appreciate the concerns some have raised, and I’d like to speak to some of that now. In fact, to keep you from having to wade through it all, here are a few of the criticisms (in my own words):

  • Why does MacArthur always sound like he’s scolding everyone, like he’s everybody’s critic? Who appointed him the evangelical pope?
  • MacArthur puts his own preferences on clothing, culture, and worship styles on par with Scripture. Who says you’ve got to dress like him and love organ music to do church right?
  • Sure, MacArthur emphasizes personal holiness, but he really has no appreciation for reaching the lost. He has his emphases, and we have ours. Can’t he appreciate what we’re doing well?
  • MacArthur’s dispensational and cessationist commitments are quaint but crippling aspects of his ministry.
  • Why does MacArthur always have to pick on Mark Driscoll? Driscoll is obviously the target of this whole series.
  • MacArthur clearly doesn’t get the YRR movement. If he wants the YRR crowd to listen to him, he needs to take time to understand them first.

While I could take the time to answer each of those concerns point-by-point, I don’t think that’ll be as profitable as the direction I’d like to take for this post. But what those criticisms show me, beyond the shadow of a doubt, is that the YRR crowd doesn’t get John MacArthur. He’s quite a bit different than the caricature created in the comment threads.

But here’s an observation I’d like to make at the outset: Of all the comments I’ve read about this series, in several different blog forums, the criticisms have largely come from young men. I admit, I’m probably missing an exception or two, but the women and the older men who comment seem to be in strong agreement with John. It’s the young men who take issue with John’s tone, question his motives, or complain he hasn’t taken the time to understand them.

Why is that? What do young men have against John MacArthur? In light of all who have appreciated John for his biblical manliness, what gives?

I can think of a few factors that contribute to the gap between men of John’s generation, and the men of younger generations. To begin with, today’s culture favors the young, and young people are used to having older people cater to them. The rapid development and continual marketing of new technology reinforces the idea that what’s new is awesome and what’s old is useless. Who has any use for a cassette tape, a video tape, or even a first-generation iPhone?

Digital natives are fast adapters to the newest digital gadgets, and are quick to abandon any technology that is out of date. It’s relatively easy for twenty-somethings—always helping their parents and grandparents program their new cell phones—to get the idea that the older generation doesn’t have a clue. Oh, maybe some wise advice here and there, but relevant instruction and exhortation about living in a modern world? Not a chance.

Those who create the technology also market the technology; and they aren’t dummies either. Marketers know full well what demographic has the most disposable income, and they need that money to fund their salaries and their continuing development of new technologies, which funds tomorrow’s salaries and tomorrow’s development, and so on.

Biblically speaking, marketers are flatterers; they spread nets to ensnare young people and take their money (Proverbs 29:5). Read the ad copy, listen to the sales pitches—“It’s all about you, and don’t let anyone tell you differently!” To write persuasive, flattering ad copy, marketing teams need to understand their target audience, so they are constantly surveying them, soliciting their opinions, and learning what makes them tick. And after spending precious time and money to understand young people, they’d be mortified if the surveys came back with this message: “You don’t get me!”

So, I guess it’s understandable that many today would be uncomfortable when John MacArthur doesn’t cater to them, when he shoots straight, when he tells them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. It’s understandable, even if it isn’t right.

There is much in this culture that contributes to the tremendous gap between the young and the aged, the simple and the wise, the YRR crowd and the men of John MacArthur’s generation. There has always been the seepage of that aspect of our culture into the church, but it was church growth philosophy that turned the spigot on full blast.

Now, combine the liabilities of being young with the difficulty of learning how to be a biblical man, and we begin to get a clearer picture of the challenge facing John MacArthur as he reaches out to the YRR generation.

The cumulative effect of decades of unbiblical manhood and womanhood in this country has been devastating. Roles are reversed and divorce is epidemic, so it’s hardly surprising when young men have no idea what it means to be a man. From their vantage-point, the YRR feel like the older generation is a bunch of grumpy old men, always critical and scolding; from the perspective of the older generation, the YRR can come across as thin-skinned and narcissistic.

How do we break the impasse? What will bring the two generations together?

If we return to Scripture, the biblical pattern—which is the assumption throughout most of human history—is that it’s incumbent on the young to understand the old. Young people should make every effort to understand the aged, not the other way around. That’s the message of the Proverbs:

  • Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching (Proverbs 1:8)
  • My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent… my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths (1:10, 15)
  • My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments (3:1)
  • Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many (4:10)
  • My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding (5:1)
  • My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you (7:1)
  • My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways (23:26)

Older people, by virtue of God’s predetermined birth order, have the right of priority over us younger people. If you don’t think that’s fair, you’ll have to take that up with God; He’s the one who chose to put them on the planet ahead of us.

But some will say, “We have no problem with age. After all, we’re the Young, Restless, and Reformed. We do listen to Luther and Calvin, Owen and Spurgeon. Those guys are our homeboys, our spiritual heritage!”

Yes, well, those guys are dead. They have gone to heaven. But if they were walking the earth today, what do you think they’d tell you?

Rather than debate that point, how about listening, like men, to those who have gone before you? How about trying to understand and learn from the men who are still living, men who have studied the Reformers and the Puritans in more depth and detail than you have? Men like John MacArthur have been drinking deeply from the fathers of our spiritual heritage, learning from them through big, thick books, not blog articles. (That’s a joke. Just chuckle as if I’m not talking about you.)

This little summary has already become longer than I intended, so let me leave you with a quote from one of our favorite homeboys, Charles Spurgeon:

It is very pretty, is it not, to read of Luther and his brave deeds? Of course, everybody admires Luther! Yes, yes. But you do not want anyone else to do the same today.

When you go to the Zoological Gardens you all admire the bear. But how would you like a bear at home, or a bear wandering loose about the street? You tell me that it would be unbearable and no doubt you are right.

So, we admire a man who was firm in the faith, say four hundred years ago. The past ages are a sort of bear-pit or iron cage for him. But such a man today is a nuisance and must be put down. Call him a narrow-minded bigot, or give him a worse name if you can think of one.

Yet imagine that in those ages past, Luther, Zwingle, Calvin and their compeers had said, “The world is out of order. But if we try to set it right we shall only make a great row and get ourselves into disgrace. Let us go to our chambers, put on our night-caps and sleep over the bad times and perhaps when we wake up things will have grown better.” Such conduct on their part would have entailed upon us a heritage of error.

Age after age would have gone down into the infernal deeps and the infectious bogs of error would have swallowed all. These men loved the faith and the name of Jesus too well to see them trampled on. Note what we owe them and let us pay to our sons the debt we owe our fathers. It is today as it was in the Reformers’ days. Decision is needed. Here is the day for the man—where is the man for the day? We who have had the Gospel passed to us by martyr’s hands dare not trifle with it—nor sit by and hear it denied by traitors who pretend to love it but inwardly abhor every line of it.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to listening, like a man, to John’s next installment.

Travis Allen
Director of Internet Ministry


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#1  Posted by Robert Nicholson  |  Friday, July 29, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Romans 12:2 clearly states "DO NOT BE CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD, BUT BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND.'' I am 24 and I can see clearly the attempts of Christians my age to be "conformed to this world". It is pitiful that a man of God like John MacArthur is looked upon as attacking these movements or not understanding. MacArthur is giving you truth and the Gospel itself is warning you not to try these new techniques to reach the lost by compromising the Gospel! Give people truth not slick speech or fancy clothing! We need more men who are willing to be as bold as MacArthur, willing to lay their lives down for the preaching of the Gospel. Thank you Travis Allen for this post it was enlightening!

#2  Posted by Bryan Zinn  |  Friday, July 29, 2011 at 2:14 PM

I have listened to MACARTHUR the whole time I have been out of prison and striving to walk by faith. All to many false teachers have tried to get to follow their error, but john so graciously directs me in the way by the word of truth. The teaching here has enlightened me to understand the perspective a little more of young men of my generation. I live in Jasper, Georgia and I am 26 years old. I have received wisdom in the area of false teaching by studying the word, and not other teachers as this movement has proclaimed. Yes, there are teachers that have been given the gift of teaching, but it is ultimately the Holy Spirit who is our teacher (1 John 2:26, John 14:26). I rely on the scripture to teach me as I go here and there to build as a wise master builder does building upon the rock. I just recently experienced an encounter with a younger man than I who had this type of intent in his walk. It is as if they are still conformed to this world by listening to it's music provoking evil and not love, watching it's shows on television, talking in the same manner and not the slave talk of freedom using such words as "swag". This is of the world and will soon dissolve away in the fervent heat of God's wrath. This is all what I learn by the word and not the wisdom of man. Grace be with you in Christ the Lord!

#3  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Friday, July 29, 2011 at 2:46 PM


Your take on the YRR genre is accurate from my very intimate knowledge. I have witnessed first hand many of the same criticisms that you cited as having been leveled against John. I have tried to raise caution against the independent nature of some involved in the New Calvinism only to be called harsh names by men who are at this moment standing in pulpits as senior pastors.

You are correct. If Calvin, Luther, Spurgeon, et al were alive today they would be horrified by the likes of some of the YRR representatives. Songs such as Highway To Hell by AC DC played as worship music, etc would probably have killed Spurgeon much sooner than the Downgrade he experienced!

Keep on with your efforts Travis and Dr guys are shooting the Church straight...the young men simply need to grow up.

Finally, an area of concern, and one that you guys may want to consider addressing, is what I have heard deemed the "second generation" of YRR. Believe me...the newest crop (teenagers brought up under the guidance of "first generation" YRR) are waaaay off target The future is rocky to say the least.

#4  Posted by Scott Barber  |  Friday, July 29, 2011 at 2:58 PM

A YRR here, and I have not followed Tim Challies in his line of response, and I hope you will bear with my opinion. And not because I despise Dr. Macarthur's age, not because I don't deeply respect him, and not because I don't realize that his message is well intentioned indeed. It is. Rather I feel that Dr. Macarthur has not adressed the fact that at the very heart of our YRR movement is the sad awareness that our parents generation got it dead wrong. Christianity is dying in the west. Atheism is defining college life, secularism is defining the public sphere and the YYR movement is trying desperately to fix an image of Jesus wounded by our parent's fundamentalist evangelical approach. The wild-eyed apocalypticism of dispensationalist eschatology (a sad affront to careful exegesis), the pseudo-science of moon-dust and carbon-14 questioning, a willingness to believe anything and everything so long as it was simplistic and that it re-enforced previously held beliefs -- this approach has hurt Christianity in the sight of the western world in a serious way. When my atheist friends at college saw Christianity as anti-intellectual, naive, and just plain silly, I often had to agree with them -- and as a young Christian struggling with faith I shouldn't have to do that, ever. Now, there is a problem with the silver-haired preacher in a suit and tie and chicklet-smile with the organ droning behind him: in the eyes of the world he looks more like a car-salesman than a bearer of the image of God. So when we take the suit off and wear something more appropriate you should understand. My parents generation taught the world like a pavlovian dog to not believe the man in the tie behind the pulpit, so when we don’t drink from the well that they poisoned they shouldn’t get offended. This is really what I want to say that we’re restless because we are fighting a battle, a battle to reintroduce the world to a Jesus that was horrifically presented by our parents. To settle down and become like our parents is to give up on Christianity in the west forever, and to just let it die from the wounds that our parents afflicted. We will grow up, but we will grow up into something remarkably different, and I hope that you can appreciate this. I hope that you don’t take this post as unhelpfully negative, but rather a reflection of my experience at least, and maybe more in the YRR camp.


#5  Posted by Michael Farias  |  Friday, July 29, 2011 at 3:43 PM

There is a reason why God uses "ELDERS" in a church, because there is Godly wisdom in them that should be sought after to be applied in one's one life, particularly the babes and young men in spirit. Spiritual "FATHERS" shouldn't be so easily dismissed and ignored by the spiritual babies and spiritual young men, but rather have ourselves as spiritual infants and young men embrace the wisdom, knowledge, and reproof of the elders or spiritual fathers.

As the apostle Paul was imprisoned, there was this new generation of young preachers at the time who considered Paul to be shelved like an old book; setting him aside as if he wasn't useful to anybody in the new generation, yet Paul had a contentment with ever being outdone by others, and in humility glorifies God with this attitude. This is a high level of spiritual maturity on the part of Paul.

Philippians 1:12-18

"12-Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel, 13-so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else, 14-and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear. 15-Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16-the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17-the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment. 18-What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice."

I believe John MacArthur has this humble attitude in any circumstance he's in, including circumstances in which he is criticized, and those who criticize usually *HEAR* and *LISTEN* afterwards to be humbled and embrace reproof:

"A wise man will *HEAR* and increase in learning,

And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel"

-Proverbs 1:5

"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who *LISTENS* to counsel." -Proverbs 12:15

I am a 25 year old young man who's been listening and hearing John MacArthur for about 3 years, and I'm currently listening to all of his sermons in the sermon archive in chronological order; being on the year 1972 finishing listening to his sermon on The Crucifixion Part 2, and as old as those sermons may be by a younger John MacArthur, though he may grow old in an earthly sense, the Word of God and his love for Truth is what makes me so happy for him. He's my favorite Bible Teacher. As I first listened to him, I was easily ready to criticize and ignore some things he has taught from the Word of God, but after LISTENING and HEARING what he taught and putting together all he taught from the Word of God, I have to say that John MacArthur is accurate in all he preaches; no contradictions because he makes sense.

#6  Posted by Ty Corbett  |  Friday, July 29, 2011 at 3:51 PM

This post hit right on target. I do understand what Scott is saying and being 16 myself, I can most assuredly relate to the parent issue he mentioned. But the sad news is that young people do need to realize that we don't know everything and need to grow up and learn what our place is in the Church. This post was a great reminder for me to be even more submissive to those older men of the faith who truly desire to see the Word of God proclaimed (1 Peter 5:5).

#7  Posted by Gabriel Powell (GTY Admin)  |  Friday, July 29, 2011 at 4:33 PM

Scott (#4),

Your description of the problem is entirely inaccurate. You're putting the blame on our parents and our parent's generation. Unless, perhaps, your scope is very narrow and you actually mean "your parents" not "our parents". Because I can tell you that my parents certainly don't fit the mold you've put them in.

Additionally, some of the heros of YRR are from our parents generation (Piper, Sproul, Keller, Carson, etc.). So you cannot blame this as a generational thing.

More than that, there are many young men (who probably outnumber YRRs) who are quite content and self-affirmed in their ways which you would ascribe to their parent's generation. The "silver-haired preacher in a suit and tie and chicklet-smile with the organ droning" has his hipster with skull shirt and faded jeans counterpart. To the world it's all the same. Only those with a shallow [read, unbiblical] view of the nature of man assume that clothing and hair style actually matter.

The problem is not our parents, grandparents, or any generation in particular. The problem is unbiblical Christianity. That problem has existed throughout time, continues to exist, and will exist until Christ returns.

So rather than reacting against any particular generation, I'd encourage you to overcome unbiblical thinking with biblical thinking--whether that unbiblical thinking comes from your parents, the pastor on TV, or your fellow YRR.

I promise you: if you live and think biblically, there will be plenty for your Atheist friends to run from without any unbiblical trappings. Don't think that somehow if you just live, dress, walk, talk and think a certain way all of a sudden your Athiest friends will love Jesus.

Also, it seems you lay the blame of the Atheist triumph on fundamentalism. If that's the case then you're demonstrating the Arminian pragmatism John talks about. The problem with assigning that blame is there is zero objective evidence. There may be testimonial basis here and there, but then you'd have the testimonies of all the atheists that were converted in that same environment. You may as well say Atheists are winning because we have pews in the church instead of couches--it's nonsensical.

YRR's go off track when they get concerned about college life and the public sphere. Newsflash--we live in a fallen world and Christianity will not take over the world (unless you're a postmillenialist). It's not our job to fix the image of Jesus so that we can transform secular college campuses and the public square. Even if you could "fix" the image of Jesus among Christians, you'd still have all the other religions that portray Jesus heretically and on Wal*Mart receipts.

Stop worrying about fixing the image of Jesus, and simply conform yourself to the image of Christ and preach the gospel. You don't need to conform to the culture to do that.

Live biblically, not culturally.

#8  Posted by Holly Schrader  |  Friday, July 29, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Thankyou, Travis Allen, for standing for John MacArthur as he stands for the truth of God. Everything you said rings true to this 60 year old. My husband and I just left a Reformed Church because of the young pastor's Amillenialism and negative comments regarding John MacArthur's dispensationalist stance. There also existed within the church a "Reform Mentality," which constituted an almost arrogant posture based upon their belief that since they were indeed "one of God's elect," this allowed them the freedom to sit back and bask in the wonderment and bliss of being "one of the chosen" without having to open a Bible each day and pursue personal sanctification.

The young Reform pastor's father was the senior pastor of this Reform church but at the same time he is serving as the mayor of our town. Upon leaving we gave him a copy of the "Why John is Not Involved in Politics" article and one by Phil Johnson's entitled, "Polically Correct?" Pastor Johnson calls a pastor's involvement in politics, "spiritual treason."

This brings me to ask the question, "What is wrong with the Reformed movement's theology that it is producing unbiblical scenarios within its churches and amongst its adherents?" I have also recently become disillusioned with R.C. Sproul and his ministry for its shortcomings, as well, for exhibiting behaviors that, in my humble opinion, dishonor the Lord.

Regarding the YRR: When one adds the adjectives "young" and "restless," to the "Reformed" moniker, is it no wonder that what results is a stubborn, arrogant, conceited, spiritually rebellious, and disrespectful group who are not in the will of God? Naturally such a group of people would not understand or comprehend who or what John MacArthur is all about! We can only hope that they will one day grow up and pray that God would open their eyes to the full knowlege of His truth.

I could write at length on my appreciation for how God has used Pastor MacArthur to open my eyes to true doctrine and the exercise of discernment. His faithful teaching rescued me from the abysmal sea of "Charismania" as he held out his shepherd's staff and directed me to an accurate understanding of God's truth through his radio messages, the MacArthur Study Bible and his books. God has blessed me through the GTY ministry and John's teaching on the importance of dedicating our lives to Christ and obedience to His word. The MacArthur Daily Bible has trained me to read Scripture faithfully each day.

I follow John MacArthur because I know without a doubt that he is following Christ. May God bless you, Pastor MacArthur, your ministry, Travis Allen, Don Green, Phil Johnson, and the many others of us who love and support you. It is so evident that you are under the divine hand of the Lord and you are a true inspiration to your sheep.

#9  Posted by Scott Barber  |  Friday, July 29, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Gabriel #7

Thanks for your response, and I appreciate what you said. I was writing about my parents' generation in general and not my own (they are great). In response to what you wrote: I'm not convinced that we can ever step out of culture. I think of the saying (I'm not sure who first said it) that "the man who thinks he has no traditions (culture included) is a slave to his traditions." I believe St. Paul displayed the necessity of engaging with culture and not trying in a vain effort to escape it when he had poor Timothy circumcised. You might call him a pragmatist, but I think this instead displays the inescapability of context to our message. I actually am not that hung-up on clothes themselves (I'm more of a collard shirt-guy myself) but on what they signify (like Timothy's circumcision) as a road-block to evangelization. This isn't pragmatistic "boot-straps" evangelism -- it's living in the world as messy as it is. It is not about being cool, pews or couches, its about displaying Christ to the word face to face, and working to remove as many stumbling blocks as possible. I am sorry but your exhortation to "live biblically, and not culturally" rings rather nonsensical to me. The moment I open my mouth to use language, I am using culturally encoded language. Culture is inescapable. The bible itself is covered in culture, both of the first century and older!! God bless culture.

And yes, Christian fundamentalism is to blame for the new atheism -- if you don't believe me you should read a book by Dawkins or Hitchens where they plainly state this. Any number of conversations you could have with new atheists would confirm this as well.

#10  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Friday, July 29, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Thanks for your posts, Scott. I think Gabriel did a great job in answering some of your concerns, but I'd like to add a quick comment.

You are correct in saying we are all immersed in culture. We are born into it, grow up in it, and live in it day by day. Culture clearly influences us and affects our thinking--no doubt about it.

As you travel through a city, around the country, or even across the globe, culture differs from culture, sometimes in very significant ways. You wouldn't be wrong to wonder, "How can different cultures ever see eye to eye? Is it possible to have unity and understanding when such diversity exists?"

At the point of salvation, all who are regenerated by the Spirit and baptized into Christ Jesus are brought into a new family, a new people. We have to learn a new culture, a church culture, one that God reveals to us in Scripture.

Our goal is not to make ourselves, our churches, or (heaven forbid) our message relevant to any particular culture of the world. Rather, we preach and learn and live the culture of heaven, right here on earth. What people need--whether it's the YRRs, the new atheists, the Hindus, or anyone--what people need is the faithful proclamation of God's Word.

And here is the effect: When an "unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you" (1 Cor. 14:24-25).

So, culture is--we all have to recognize it, navigate it, enjoy certain aspects of it, and be wary of much of it. After all, culture is the vehicle of all that is in the world, which is not of the Father, but of the passing-away world (1 John 2:15-17).

But we Christians have the holy and joyful privilege of learning and living a new culture, a heavenly culture, a revealed culture--unnknown apart from God's Word--before a watching world. That's what we do in the church. And that's what Dawkins and his ilk, the stone-cold fundamentalists, and the urban underground so desperately need to see.

Thanks again for your comments.


#11  Posted by Taylor Lett  |  Friday, July 29, 2011 at 8:28 PM


I'm glad that I read your article before reading MacArthur's articles. I think there is wisdom in it. I also think there is some sound insight in his articles so far. I'm not YRR, but much of my reading and study probably parallels the movement. As such I think I can uniquely relate maybe to the concerns and observations of both sides.

So first to my group, the 20 somethings. We're basically rebranded fundamentalists in many ways, and one of our worst qualities is that we think liberal(youthful) externals will somehow enhance the beauty of Christ in our outreach. So, in that regard, MacArthur nailed it.

We're linked in, but not plugged in, which I think you nailed. I've begun reading the John Owen and am having a terrible time getting any of my Puritan quoting friends to read him outside of quotables in Piper and online.

And we could easily change the 'restless' to 'rebellious.'

Recognizing this, I think MacArthur has a tendency to speak truth in a way that is not very kind, at least, not at face value. One of my favorite profs in college was much the same. But, since I personally knew the man, seeing his heart cleared up any offense his words may have caused if I had merely read him. It seems to me then that wisdom would suggest not using the same tactics in mass ministry as one would personally, especially online.

The main thing that comes to mind is calling his readers hipsters in the very first critique. Calling a hipster a hipster is the most offensive name you can use. I think this might be an example in this context of fathers exasperating their children.

#12  Posted by Jordan Red  |  Friday, July 29, 2011 at 9:58 PM

I suppose I would be considered "New Calvinist." I was blessed with godly Christian parents who both taught and lived out the gospel for their children to see. Growing up and going to college in the bible belt in Texas, I would say I grew up primarily under teachers and preachers similar to the theological viewpoints and philosophy of ministry of Dr. John Macarthur. With that, I am very GRATEFUL and BLESSED to have had men like that leading our churches.

During college (3 long years ago)I was introduced to men like John Piper, Mark Driscoll, and Matt Chandler. I don't know if I would speak for a majority of my peers (young men 18-26?) who might be "YRR" but I would die for these men, who don't even know my name. I can't imagine where I would be if God had not in his MERCY broken through to me and allowed me to see my idols, my arrogance, and the smallness of my view towards God (and His plan of restoration and salvation for the world). I don't know exactly why, but He used those men and ministries to do it, largely. Yet at the same time I am blessed by having fatherly correction and wisdom from people like Dr. John Macarthur and the many faithful elders and teachers in places like the non-denominational Bible churches I grew up in...even as I begin to lean differently in terms of a few theological viewpoints. Please pray for my generation, that we would be faithful in sound theology, passionate as they in their love for Christ and mission, and also that we look to new heights in engaging culture and the world so that we might be useful in God's plan of reconciling all things in Christ.

#13  Posted by Steve Wilson  |  Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 8:50 AM

Travis and GTY ... thanks for your care and patience in dealing with this issue. It is real, and the maturing of the YRR is essential to the defense of the gospel for the next generation. That said - your title probably says it all: growing up; how to listen like a man! As I follow the comments here and around the blogosphere this seems to be the problem - - the YRR, for all of their sound theology, are neither grown up or listening. I pray for humble hearts and open ears.

#14  Posted by Rick White  |  Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Scott #9,

I don't think you realize that when your evangelism is culturally driven you offend as many people as you attract. So, do you believe you are to only evangelize those who are in your age group, ethnic background, or appreciates your style of dress? Your view of the state of the church today is shallow to say the least. There have always been those who have presented a heretical view of Christ. Just reading your Bible will confirm that. I'd start with Paul's letters. Also, to conform your evangelism to placate people like Hitchens and Dawkins is just plain absurd. Where in scripture does it say we are to change our message to accomodate atheists? Scripture tells us such people are already suppressing the truth Romans 1:18. Changing our approach to them is not going to change their opinion. I have atheist family members and friends that appreciate the fact that I don't change my message just for them. They say it makes them realize that I'm not trying to "sell" them something that I don't truly believe myself. As one who is reformed you should realize that the reason they don't believe is because God has not opened their minds to his truth yet. All we can do is present that truth to them biblically and rely on the Holy Spirit to do the rest.

#15  Posted by Trent Whalin  |  Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Ah, definitely some profound words of wisdom.

I didn't know that Spurgeon was talking in his time, I could say it's very accurate of today's generation.

If I am called a bigot, which I sure will happen sooner or later, I will just say then so was Jesus and I am in good company.

Thanks for the psot

#16  Posted by Chance Sumner  |  Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 2:13 PM

I am too, Travis! I think you hit the nail right on the head. The YRR guys adopt get it with the theology, but miss it with their practical theology. I myself am a YRR. John MacArthur is by no means innerant, but he is a man who has been set apart from God for a special task. He has preached the Word of God faithfully for so many years that he has shown his unique calling by God. On the bases of his faithfulness and longevity in ministry, he deserves to be heard and respected. I love J-Mac and thank God for his faithfulness. Our culture is going to hell quickly and we still need him to speak into our lives, because so often the culture affects us negatively. This has been a well needed series from J-Mac and I hope that us YRR will listen and respond in a God glorifying way.

#17  Posted by Jerry Slade  |  Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 3:09 PM

What a great forum this is for allowing the expression of thoughts and ideas of young and old (71 years for me)alike. My 35 year old pastor, who teaches from the Word inspires a church full of young people that have ideas relating to today, not to the 50's that I think were so great. I believe we have to relate to them, their needs and concerns in love and grace just as John MacArthur has taught for years. The thoughts expressed in this blog reflect so fantastically on the great teaching we have been exposed to and as long as we keep going back to scripture for our arbiter, we can't go wrong. Above all, we need to love each other, no matter which generation we belong to. After all, we will co-exist in heaven solely as a result of our salvation. Welcome YRR's.

#18  Posted by Reece Tedford  |  Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 4:36 PM

Thanks GTY, amazing blog posts as always! We would be wise to listen to admonition from John.

#19  Posted by Mark Cooper  |  Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 8:23 PM

First off, at 42 years OLD (Sniff Sniff), I guess I don't qualify as a true YRR. Just call me OCD (Old Christian Dude). John is a bottom line guy and THAT is his appeal. He cuts to the chase with no "Smoke and Mirrors" as Rich Mullins used to say back in the day. THAT'S what I love about him. He is a wealth of knowledge that you just don't pick up in a few years. He has grown as a Christian in the public arena and I would say, in my very humble opinion, that he has grown to the point that what he shares with us is the PURE Word of God. He is planting the seed and then going to sleep. No flash. No cool jeans. No U2 inspired songs in the background. Dude. THAT'S refreshing in itself! Right? Anyway....John Macarthur, you keep doing your thing and know that you are changing lives on a daily basis through the sharing of the The Word of God. Mark Cooper Fayetteville, Ga.

#20  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Hmm. Just like the Bible,I never knew that sound biblical teaching whomever he/she may be had an expiration date. Someone please tell me what Dr MacArthur preached at Grace in 1969,is still not relevant and edifying for the young generation in 2011? The NLT captured these verses rather well: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday,today,and forever. So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas.(NLT Hebrews 13:8,9a)

#21  Posted by Scott Davidson  |  Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 11:20 PM

I am also a 42 year old man so I am in between these two era's. John Macarthur's appeal is that he does not soften the message like seeker sensative churches do. He let's scripture speak for itself and relies on the Holy Spirit to take the message he is speaking and do the work in people's heart. Also there is no subject that John Macarthur will not touch on. Throughout his ministry he has spoken about sin in the Christians life, dead faith and other difficult topics. My son is an intern at our church and I have had a few discussions with him regarding ministry. He, in his youthfulness believes that Christian bands can play at concerts with secular bands as this is a "great" way for the Christian band to share the gospel. I almost gagged when I heard this. The enemy is using culture to attack our youth and get them to believe the lie that the wordly culture should be the churches model as this is the best way to reach people. Is this happening in every church, no, but it seems to be gaining alot of traction. I do believe that as parents we are responsible in the training up of our children, we also have the responsiblity to be solid in theology and doctrine to teach our children thus leading them to be theologically and doctrinally solid. I know this as I neglected my parental responsibility with my son who is the intern and now I see him with some potentially dangerous ideas and I am fighting against the influence of the culture on his thinking in some areas.

#22  Posted by Scott Davidson  |  Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 11:36 PM

Some followup thoughts. I have seen a comment that John Macarthur's posts are directed at Mark Driscoll without mentioning him by name. The irony of all this is that today Mark Driscoll as far as theology and doctrine is closer to John Macarthur than most people would think. Mark Driscoll had a rough start being that he had no formal training, thus he was a loose cannon in the early part of his ministry. The sad part was that he did not respond (at least to my knowledge) to John Macarthur's rebuke, especially about the Song of Solomon perversion that Driscoll preached. I do believe that Driscoll has matured greatly and since there is now a relationship between Driscoll and John Piper I believe that that is a major reason for Driscoll's maturity as a pastor. I have been listening to Mark Driscoll's sermon series on the book of Luke and other than some words to describe Mary (pregnant and unmarried) as she probably would have been described by the people living in that time he has been Bibically accurate. Can Mark Driscoll be just as effective as John Macarthur? I believe so. Is Mark Driscoll in the mold of John Macarthur? No. But I do believe that God is using Mark Driscoll the same way that He has used John Macarthur throughout his ministry. To further His kingdom, lead people to Christ and instruct and admonish when needed their congregation.

#23  Posted by Michael Henry  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 3:56 AM

Being 55, I am not young,nor restless. I grew up in a time when "don't trust anyone over 30" was a rallying cry,and a generation that taught newer generations to despise age, and to reject everything of any possible stripe of authority or constraint. Our generation added virtually nothing good to what the greatest generation before us had accomplished. For the most part I am ashamed of almost everything my generation has stood for. By the grace of God alone he has saved me through the blood of Jesus Christ.

The problem with "YRR" begins with the name. Like all such, anything with "young", by it's insertion must immediately draw attention to the difference between it and another group, as does "restless", as does "reformed". In particular the young and the restless at the same time draw a difference. Why would we need to, or should I say they need to, make a distinction between young and old? Why restless?

I submit that rather than something new, the trap of being "different" from the "old", and "restless" as opposed to the staid, lifeless dreary church life is at hand. After all, there must be something they missed, or that we know that "they" don't. In the stream of time, these things are historical rather than purposeful or conscious. None of these men starts out thinking they are better than their fathers.

But the comments and reactions bear my points out. "They really are not that way", or "how is Dr. MacArthurs' dress better", or "why does he pick on Driscoll?". The reaction is to assault the man, or defend the men, rather than answer the admonition and the encouragement Dr. MacArthur gives.

The biblical pattern of of preeminence of position is clear; the older precedes the younger in all matters. Is the son born before the father? does the father seek the sons blessing? No, scripture bears out the son seeking the fathers blessing. In Genesis chapter 27 we see the seeking of the blessing expanded to a degree that would do a suspense movie much justice. In chapter 8 of the Gospel of John, the procession of those prepared to go out from wanting to stone the adulteress do so in an older to younger fashion, the social regimen being so strong of the preeminence of age over youth. In Job 15:10 age is appealed to against the age of "your father" a double attribution to age. The well known Proverbs 16:31 says Gray hair is glory. Do young men have gray hair? can they without peril ignore and despise the wisdom brought by God to the men who carry the Gray hair?

There are many, many scriptural examples of the elder being worthy of respect and such, but just like it is so often forgotten when "...obey your husbands" is used that the husbands duty to love as Christ loved the Church (died for it!) is a higher standard, so will the 1Ti 4:12 be trotted out much more than any scripture relating to elder respect be used.

Our young brothers will find it very hard to swallow pride and submit to anyone simply because of their position.

#24  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 7:39 AM

Couple of things:

1) "I do believe that God is using Mark Driscoll the same way that He has used John MacArthur throughout his ministry."

What I see in Mark Driscoll is a very intelligent person who has grasped the marketing scheme necessary to catapult him to the top. Not only has he not repented over the vulgarities he presented in the Song of Solomon/Peasant Princess series he actually views it as a huge success for his ministry...the statement was made on his site that the series would make them "Oprah" big in terms of popularity.

Further, he has a mature-audience-only section on his web site where he has promoted off-site risque' web sites which are not mentionable here. It seems that sex sells in Driscoll's world, just note the title of his upcoming book: Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together

Further, with regards to Mark Driscoll, he pushes Contemplative Prayer practices and gurus such as Richard Foster and others. I view this practice as the doorway for ecumenism to gain a strong foothold in the visible church...which, in my opinion, it already has. For example: The Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions web site promotes...Spiritual Disciplines: Pathway to Christian Maturity. In this document the MB cites Richard Foster as well as "Brother Lawrence" a Roman Catholic monk who was involved heavily with mysticism. CP and its acceptance is a dangerous trend which plays footsie with a religion (RC) that has anathematized the Christian Gospel by rejecting Justification by Grace Alone through Faith Alone...and this is the same kind of mystical stuff Mark Driscoll pushes on his web sites.

Enough about Driscoll...I simply and wholeheartedly disagree that Mark Driscoll is a valuable asset for the body of Christ unless and until he abandons his erroneous ways.

2) I see the trend for on-the-edge representatives in the church as well as in secular society as being the culturally demanded/accepted norm. I know that I am not alone in this assessment based on comments I have seen on other sites of a different nature than GTY. For example: I am an outdoors person and I occasionally view the outdoor related channels on television. The same mindset that is permeating the YRR crowd is too evident in the hunting world...and it is disgusting. Grunge rock music playing while men (and usually seductive looking women) kill a myriad of animals. Show titles such as "Bone Collector" etc demonstrate a somewhat twisted view that is disturbing. I just saw a new Bow (archery) labeled the "perfect killer". Here is a quote from someone that demonstrates my same sentiment:

"Its all about graphic killing (some ten yard explosive shots, and then, of course laughter) antics, comedy, and stupidity. Is this the new generation of hunters? I thought I was watching a video game with real people. There was absolutely zero mention of tradition, ethics, conservation, respect for game etc..."

What culture demands many will provide...

#25  Posted by Mark Cooper  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 7:49 AM

#21 and #22 Scott: I will pray for you and your son. Please pray for me as I have three VERY young children (5,3 and 1 years old). My wife and I want to raise them in a way that shows the importance of God and to have our family be a ministry to others around us. I don't want us to "Waste our lives" as Piper says. I agree w/ you re. Mark D. as well. Piper has helped him much and it's wonderful to see him grow. Stay strong in the Lord Scott and know that I will be praying for you. Mark Cooper (

#26  Posted by Jane Wilson  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 8:53 AM

I had my young, restless (though not reformed) days too. I remember being in the college stage of life when God was getting a grip on my heart. But the enemy had his tactics to thwart me too. I should have been GRACIOUSLY LEARNING from the adults in my life. With love, gentleness, and long-suffering, and a healthy dose of humility- knowing I was YOUNG. (Even if I did not see eye to eye on everything- God's Word admonishes the young to listen!) Soon everything I looked at seemed tainted by the world, and sinful motives... I quietly judged just about everyone at my church for being less that I thought God's Word held up for them to be. For they should be my examples, right?! What a sorry bunch of examples.

In my mind: My dear parents, missed it. (Stuck in the day to day... just "surviving" spiritually, and glued to their habits and traditions.) My pastor missed it. (Do you hear how he jokes after every sermon with so little regard for what he just preached?). The choir missed it. (The songs were so SHOWY, really... even though we all wore robes and sang in 4 parts at the time.) The youth pastor missed it. (He is like a "child"... so immature, and hardly to be respected and taken seriously.) The Sunday school teachers missed it. (They were discussing such petty issues, when we needed to focus on our wayward HEARTS, and God's Word.) The rest of the families missed it too. (Some only showed up on Sunday morning! You'd think they'd have more of a commitment than that... what are they training their children?) And there was an element of truth to all I discerned at the time.

Fast forward to 2011... age 41, wife, and mother to several (teens to toddlers). NOW I understand what I did not then. Now I KNOW what it is like to be a wife. What it is like to raise little ones, AND teens. All those propensities, all those temptations for a young adult to believe "I'll do it better. I'll be more faithful." is as real as it was when I was a young adult. No wonder God's Word has so many warnings to the younger to listen to the older, wiser. And humility is the key! Now I see with a bit more graciousness... because I know I need GRACE! There is no perfect parent (I'm not one. And my own parents are glowing examples to me now!) There is no perfect pastor. (Be thankful for those like John MacArthur who may not stroke the fur, but tell us the TRUTH.) There is no perfect church body. (I am now the mom who goes with her husband and children to church on Sunday only... And it is enough that God knows our hearts!)

I was missing so much by judging while in my teens, and 20's. I was NOT walking in step with the Holy Spirit, and I thought I was so spiritual. I wish I had just let God teach me through His Word, and LOVED people more... And let Him keep my heart soft and my attitude gracious. I can only wish for the YRR movement that they chose not to fall in such a camp. That we would listen to God's Word, and the wise elders, and walk humbly. "Blessed are the meek..."

#27  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Here is a relevant passage. Some YRR's may be interested in Calvin's take on verse 9:

Psalm 96

1 Sing to the LORD a new song;

sing to the LORD, all the earth.

2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name;

proclaim his salvation day after day.

3 Declare his glory among the nations,

his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;

he is to be feared above all gods.

5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,

but the LORD made the heavens.

6 Splendor and majesty are before him;

strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations,

ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;

bring an offering and come into his courts.

9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;

tremble before him, all the earth.

10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.”

The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;

he will judge the peoples with equity.

Calvin commenting on verse 9 says:

"Worship before Jehovah The Psalmist prosecutes the same train of sentiment. In requiring oblations of his people, God was not to be considered as standing in need of the services of the creature, but as giving them an opportunity of professing their faith. The true reason, therefore, is here mentioned why the oblation was enjoined, That his people might prostrate themselves before him, and acknowledge that they and all belonging to them were his. Mention is made of the beauty of the temple, referring to the fact that the Gentiles should be raised to a new honor, in being associated into one body with God's chosen people. [88] At the time when this psalm was written, it was generally deemed scarcely credible that the heathen nations would be admitted into the temple in company with the holy seed of Abraham. This should make us think all the more highly of our calling as Gentiles, which seemed then so incredible and impracticable a thing. We may be convinced that God only could have opened for us the door of salvation. The beauty of the temple is an expression intended to beget a reverential view of the temple, that men may approach it with humble fear, instead of rushing without consideration into God's presence. The clause which follows in the verse is inserted for the same purpose -- tremble before his face, intimating that we should prostrate ourselves as suppliants before him when we consider his awful majesty. Not that he would deter worshipers from drawing near to God. They should esteem it their greatest pleasure and enjoyment to seek his face. But he would have us humbled to the right and serious worship of God. I may add, that the beauty or glory of the sanctuary did not consist in silver and gold, in the preciousness of the material of which it was made, nor in polished stones, nor in any splendor and decoration of this kind, but in the representation of the heavenly pattern which was shown to Moses on the mount,"

#28  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 11:39 AM


I think you got it wrong. Christianity is growing weaker in the west because the church is not leading in law, education, business, and the arts among others, this is the only time in history when it hasn’t. Why, because of the bleak and pessimistic outlook that Dispensationalism has led to for the last 200 years. Many of the leadership of Grace Community Church don’t even vote, “why polish brass on a sinking ship”. The popularity of this eschatology has in general, led to young people not to go out and make deciples of the nations as the great commission says they should but to continually wonder when the big bad anti-christ is about to make his appearance, sad.

Salvation is the work of God alone but God does bless the means of his workers, who cares what the pastor is wearing. My uncle was a missionary in Africa and all the women were topless in the church and in the choir, women just didn’t wear tops there, it didn’t matter.

John MacArthur is my favorite Bible teacher, but why is it that such a smart man can’t see why pessimism and future animal sacrifices presided over by Jesus himself isn’t a very strong damper on a positive and biblical Christian worldview.

Another question, when Christian men don’t vote or get involved in government isn’t that assuring that your pessimistic view of the spiritual state of the the world and the church will come true.

Were not talking about old people being out of touch where talking about worldview issues.


#29  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Donavan #28:

Paul wrote to Timothy:

Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Vain discussions and confident assertions seem to characterize your comments on this blog—especially as they relate to GCC’s leadership and doctrine. It’s interesting how you repeatedly list John MacArthur as your favorite Bible teacher, but then proceed to criticize the church he pastors, question the integrity of his leadership team, and misrepresent his theology. I think John is your favorite Bible teacher to pick on. No problem. It’s a free country, and we don’t censor our critics on this blog. But we do reserve the right to respond.

Based on your comments, it would be an understatement to say you don’t understand the YRR movement, John MacArthur, or Dispensationalism.

Your claims that dispensational theology has weakened the church, diminished evangelistic fervency, and put a biblical Christian worldview out of focus are…entertaining—to me at least.

Take a look at your statement: Christianity is growing weaker in the west because the church is not leading in law, education, business, and the arts among others.

Post millennial theology may be waning because Christians haven’t pursued those interests (maybe a couple of world wars contributed as well…), but to claim those perceived errors have weakened the church is to assume much, Donavan. As a matter of fact, I’d say the exact opposite. Christians' preoccupation with those interests has weakened the church.

Even a casual review of the book of Acts and church history would demonstrate how God has used persecution—not politics—to grow His church and build His kingdom.

Your philosophy of church growth is extremely dangerous because it leads to this kind of thinking:

If only more politicians, artists, professional athletes and CEOs would convert to Christ, we could really grow God’s kingdom and impress the world. God didn’t call us to be professionals, Donavan. He called us to be faithful witnesses. I’m blessed to be part of the nobodies and nothings Paul spoke of in First Corinthians. There aren’t many mighty, friend. God doesn’t share His glory.

I don’t know any YRR who would dispute that claim, so I’m not sure whom you’re trying to defend with your comment(s).

Finally, assuming to know the voting record of every GCC elder is quite an audacious claim. And further, to claim that none of them are involved in government only further displays your ignorance of GCC.

My opinion? I think Dispensationalism has become your white whale, and blinded you to some very obvious truths. Don’t become a captain Ahab, Donavan.

#30  Posted by Hayden Henderson  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 5:23 PM

MacArthur is spot on with everything he's saying- and it's legitimately backed by scripture. I think his point is further emphasized here because of the arguments and patronizing statements that have been said on these comment threads. I'm going to be 23 next month, I love Jesus with all my heart, I consider myself a Reformed Christian in constant need of Reformation, and I realize that no matter how much I know about Scripture, Edwards, Calvin, Spurgeon, Sproul or MacArthur, I still have much much more to learn to even scratch the surface of true biblical transformed thinking.

That said: Being a said "YRR", we need to listen to the Holy Spirit, read our bibles and be like the Bereans, pray pray pray, listen to authorities of the faith, listen to our pastors, listen to our brothers and accountability group, be humble, submissive and teachable, while balancing our zeal and passion to reach this depraved culture with the full message of the gospel.

God will work out correction in his Church. God will ultimately bring justice in sorting wolves from sheep. If you seriously consider yourself a Reformed Christian, you will fully trust in and submit to the sovereignty of God and continue on in faithful stewardship: Go and make Disciples (Matt 28:19), and, Preach the Word always (2 Tim 4:2)!

I pray always that God reforms the American Church, and saves those in the churches across the country and wakes up those who are really saved to live this life in the light of Glorifying God.

Soli Deo Gloria


#31  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 5:34 PM

#29 Tommy

Tommy you may be right I do see many trends in the church today with respect to eschatology, but then again some say perhaps a full 1/4 of the Bible is devoted to that subject and it does affect weather we have a positive or pessimistic view toward the future concerning the gospel and the great commission. I don’t want a white whale around my neck and I’ll heed your concern and focus on other parts of Gods word. I respect your opinion as a friend in the Lord.



#32  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 6:12 PM

# 29 Tommy,

thank you!

The "I love John MacArthur, but..." (and its variants) has become very old, especially to someone who has been following gty blog since it started, like myself.

#33  Posted by Steve Nuhn  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 8:12 PM

So where do we go from here? You've defined who they, what the error is, and the dangers of the movement. Forgive me if I'm jumping ahead, I know if these answers are yet to come it will be worth the wait.

Are we wrong in trying to correct these people? After we present these truths to them and they resist it time and time again, are we to keep up the battle? When they ignore scripture or only focus on areas that fit their agenda and lead the church down a path of distruction, how do we intercede without dividing the church?

Thank you Tommy, Dr. MacArthur and other blog moderators for your faithful commitment to rightly dividing God's Word.


#34  Posted by Rick White  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Donavan #28,

I've seen you on several occasions now belittle John MacArthur and the doctrines of GCC. You have also done it this in a very disrespectful way. You also never back up your assertions such as "The popularity of this eschatology has in general, led to young people not to go out and make deciples of the nations as the great commission says they should but to continually wonder when the big bad anti-christ is about to make his appearance, sad." I happen to know many dispensationalists, both young and hold, that are very active in evangelizing the world. So, your baseless comments are just not accurate. Your generalizations could be attributed to any group. Dispensationalists don't believe evangelizing is just "polishing brass on a sinking ship". We believe we are part of a great rescue mission before the ship sinks. Post-millennialists believe they can repair the ship before it goes down. Yet scripture teaches that the ship does sink. We just don't know when.

On another point perhaps your uncle should have quoted 1 Timothy 2:9 to those women in Africa. God obviously cares how we dress and present ourselves to others 1 Corinthians 10:31-33. We are not to do anything that brings offense to our ministry 2 Corinthians 6:3.

#35  Posted by Trent Chao  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Hi my name is Trent Zeno Chao and I'm new on this site. I've never blogged before so this is something new for me. My reason for signing up has a lot to do with this topic. For years I have listened attentively to John MacArthur preach on the radio and for a long time I had the up-most respect for him. But for the past couple of years, I find a lot of his sermons to be very disheartening and somewhat offensive.

I agree with a lot of you on Pastor MacArthur's character. He is without a doubt the most sincere, honest and the most straightforward/no nonsense televangelist in the world. I admire him for his willingness to preach the Gospel for what it truly is. He never back-peddles, nor does he compromise his arguments. I especially look up to him for his age and wisdom and the fact that he works tirelessly for our benefit and not for his own.

But at the same time I sometimes feel he can go a little too far with what he preaches. One of the issues I have with him is his negativity. Most of the time he doesn't have anything good to say. His tone is usually very critical and I sometimes find him to be a little offensive.

I have nothing against him being critical, all men in his position have strong opinions. I also understand he is trying to preach the truth of the Gospel. But the way he communicates the Scriptures can sometimes be quite bitter and upsetting. He seems mostly fixated on the harsh aspects of the Bible (Sin and Hell) and ignores the heart of the Scriptures. He doesn't always address Jesus' teachings on love, kinship and solidarity.

The real problem I have with him is his lack of tolerance and respect towards his fellow man. He doesn’t adhere to the principle of “do onto others as you would do onto yourself”, since he doesn’t seem to consider he might upset people, nor does he make any apology for it.

I for one am deeply hurt by the way he attacks other denominations of Christ such as Catholicism. I have friends who are Catholic and they don't act the way he generalizes them. But the biggest bone I have to pick with him is the way he uses the Bible to stigmatize women, but I'll get into more detail about that later since I'm running out of space.

Well this has been my first post so tell me what you guys think.

#36  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 10:13 PM

Rick #34

I understand what you are saying about me not backing up my assertions but I'm only touching on the general Ideas that I have studied. One of the great things about blogs and encountering other Christians with different viewpoints is that it’s so simple to search out the answers we have no excuse not to know the ideas of any sceptic.

This concerns me.

One of the normal responses to me and to many others who don’t follow the GTY line is saying things like:

“Finally, assuming to know the voting record of every GCC elder is quite an audacious claim. And further, to claim that none of them are involved in government only further displays your ignorance of GCC.”

I never said that, I said: “Many of the leadership of Grace Community Church don’t even vote, “why polish brass on a sinking ship”. Do you see the difference, in fairness maybe this isn’t true now it was 5 years ago.

I will make an effort to be more gentle, kind and respectful in the future.

Young Calvinists who are in the GTY ilk are in great shape but thy should know that Calvinists and Dispensationalists are historically strange bedfellows and this causes tension when further study is done. Once again I’m only speaking in general terms there are exceptions.

I’m just pointing out that there may be other issues in the YRR issue.


#37  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 6:42 AM

Donavan has the Gary Demar handbook and is running it play-by-play. He writes,

Why, because of the bleak and pessimistic outlook that Dispensationalism has led to for the last 200 years. Many of the leadership of Grace Community Church don’t even vote, “why polish brass on a sinking ship”.

Ah yes. Dispensationalism bleak and pessimistic. Of course, this overlooks Gary North's postmillenial survivalist mindset that he advocates out of Tyler TX. Are you stocked up on your ammo and food rations, Donavan?

Moving along,

I never said that, I said: “Many of the leadership of Grace Community Church don’t even vote, “why polish brass on a sinking ship”. Do you see the difference, in fairness maybe this isn’t true now it was 5 years ago.

I guess you are making a distinction between "leadership" in the sense of "elders and pastors" and guys handling the sound system? The reason why your claim is audacious is because by employing the term "leadership of Grace Community Church" most people reading your comment think pastors and elders. You know, the men who set the theological tone at the church and shepherd the people. They aren't thinking the two or three sound guys running the audio in the worship center. Additionally, you make your comment with the confidence that this is a certain fact of these "leaders." They specifically told you, "I never vote because why polish the brass on a sinking ship." Seriously?

Then, you state how John is your "favorite Bible teacher" and then turn around and call him stupid by stating, "but why is it that such a smart man can’t see..." Why do you think? He isn't smart enough? Your comment implies that John teaches that civil involvement like voting is pointless for Christians when in point of fact this is not the case at all if anyone would take the time to search out his messages on these subjects.

#38  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 7:32 AM

#35 Trent Chao

Dear Trent, with all respect in love.

One thing I really, really could recomment, is listening to the sermon series: "Back to the basics"

What John MacArthur has spent many years on, is in love, and faithfull to his calling, to tell the thruth from the Bible, to warn people who think they are Christians, but are not.

Could anything be more loving? Both for their own sake, so that they do not deceive themselves, and for some to repent and come to the true knowledge of Christ, but also for the true believers sake.

Real love goes hand in hand with the truth.

#39  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 7:53 AM

"I for one am deeply hurt by the way he attacks other denominations of Christ such as Catholicism."


There are many points that should be addressed in your post but it is the particular point above I want to address.

Ironic that your name is Trent...for the Council of Trent anathematized the very foundation of the Christian Faith to which we as protestants adhere...Justification by Faith Alone.

Here are a few of the referenced Canons from Trent for proof that Roman Catholicism is no denomination of fact, Rome has denied the very tenets of our faith and condemned all who embrace Justification by Faith Alone in Christ Alone to damnation:

CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

CANON XI.-If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.

CANON XXX.-If any one saith, that, after the grace of Justification has been received, to every penitent sinner the guilt is remitted, and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such wise, that there remains not any debt of temporal punishment to be discharged either in this world, or in the next in Purgatory, before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened (to him); let him be anathema.

CANON XXXII.-If any one saith, that the good works of one that is justified are in such manner the gifts of God, as that they are not also the good merits of him that is justified; or, that the said justified, by the good works which he performs through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life,-if so be, however, that he depart in grace,-and also an increase of glory; let him be anathema.

CANON XXXIII.-If any one saith,that,by the Catholic doctrine touching Justification, by this holy Synod inset forth in this present decree, the glory of God, or the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ are in any way derogated from, and not rather that the truth of our faith, and the glory in fine of God and of Jesus Christ are rendered (more) illustrious; let him be anathema.

#40  Posted by Rick White  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 8:05 AM

Donavan #36,

I can appreciate the fact that believers have different viewpoints when it comes to eschatology. But to attack the other viewpoint and blame it for the current state of the church is rediculous. I've heard others say that the current state of the church is because calvinists aren't involved in evangelism like they should because they believe why bother, it's up to God who He chooses. Also a rediculous claim. If we want to strengthen the church we need to dedicate ourselves to more bible study and prayer and listen to those loyal to God's word such as John MacArthur.

#41  Posted by Dan Strong  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Lot of good thoughts above. As one who has deep respect and affection for both GTY and YRRs, I would like to make just one observation. When MacArthur criticizes the YRRs, the response is "Hey, you don't get us." When the YRRs criticize MacArthur, Travis's response is "Hey, you don't get MacArthur." What is ironic is that though both sides use this defense, neither side believes it to be a valid response for the other.

My observation is that both sides are correct. YRRs don't quite get MacArthur, and GTYs don't get YRRs. There does seem to be some foundational differences between the two, but these differences often get lost in the fog of judgmentalism. According to GTYs, the YRRs are just too immature to listen. According to YRRs, the GTYs are too out of touch and unconcerned about evangelism. While I am sure there are some who are guilty of both accusations, my guess is that the vast majority are not.

My plea is that both sides would no longer take the easy road of pronouncing judgments upon the intentions and heart of the other side, and instead start doing the hard work of dialoguing about the actual differences. There are significant questions at stake, and so I understand the passion. But I don't think telling each other to either grow up or get a clue is extremely helpful, even if you can put Bible verses next to either charge. The very fact that two groups of people deeply committed to the authority of Scripture and the glory of Christ have such strong convictions about these matters should signal to us all that there is probably something worth in considering in both camps. My desire, both for myself and for the church of Christ, is that these questions would be hashed out together. They are important questions and worth deeper thought. But I long for them to be hashed out with a quickness to listen, a slowness to speak, and a deep suspicion of of our own sinful, prideful, defensive hearts.

#42  Posted by Charles Haynes  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 8:53 AM

I am 31 and have been listening to John MacArthur preach for a few years now (first heard of him from The Way of the Master radio - now Wretched Radio). John should be a role model to all young men in this country. I have learned so much from him and love that he is a straight shooter. I want the truth, not what my generation wants to hear. For a while, when I couldn't find a local Church because it seemed most preach nonsense, I spent my time devouring everything I could find from John. Thank God I finally found a great Church, and the Pastor mentioned John MacArthur as one of his inspirations, I knew I was in the right place. I am sick of the silliness, the lies and the horrible preaching of my generation, give me real men of God who preach the truth regardless of what people think.

#43  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 9:01 AM

Scott Barbar writes in #4

Atheism is defining college life, secularism is defining the public sphere and the YYR movement is trying desperately to fix an image of Jesus wounded by our parent's fundamentalist evangelical approach.

I guess I fail to see how coddling atheists and secularists by dressing sloppily and acting worldly fixes the wounded image of Jesus.


The wild-eyed apocalypticism of dispensationalist eschatology (a sad affront to careful exegesis),

Okay. So we are both agreed that the Thief in the Night was a terrible movie. How exactly does dispensational eschatology wound the image of Jesus? I am sort of missing that.


the pseudo-science of moon-dust and carbon-14 questioning, a willingness to believe anything and everything so long as it was simplistic and that it re-enforced previously held beliefs -- this approach has hurt Christianity in the sight of the western world in a serious way.

Okay. And I guess we are both agreed that we don’t care for Kent Hovind. Why exactly then do I have to reinterpret Genesis according to an evolutionary, deep time history of the world? Just so I can placate the anti-God hostility of an atheist?


When my atheist friends at college saw Christianity as anti-intellectual, naive, and just plain silly, I often had to agree with them

This assumes your atheist friends are correct with their views on life and their assessment of Christianity in general. I see atheism as being just as anti-intellectual, naïve, and plain silly as you claim they see Christianity. Yet for some reason that I fail to see, I am wrong, and the atheist is correct, and I am expected to retool my beliefs and convictions.


-- and as a young Christian struggling with faith I shouldn't have to do that, ever.

Why? How is that you get a pass with learning to defend your faith and challenging the absurdity of your atheist friends’ convictions where as the rest of us have used such struggles to strengthen our faith in God’s Word? That doesn’t seem fair to me.

#44  Posted by Trent Chao  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 9:31 AM

#38 Rudi

I agree there is no greater love than to preach the truth to the lost and the deceived.

I believe John MacArthur has done a great job in reaching out to those who don't believe. But the problem is he's only telling half the story.

We mustn't forget that Christianity is not just about Hell, damnation, sin and repentence.

Christ's teachings are also about love and compassion and solidarity. Charity and sacrifice, piety and generosity.

These are the most fundamental teachings of Christ's church. These are the principles which we all should try to live by.

As Christians these are matters we should be discussing. Yet you people seem more interested in condemning the lost and the wicked.

How are we to reach out to those who learn false truths from false prophets, if we ourselves aren't able to focus on the core teachings of our cherished faith?

#45  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Trent Chao:

I'm terribly busy today and had promised myself I wouldn't engage, but your comment caught me off guard.

Are you saying there's something more fundamental to Christianity than the gospel? Are we missing the mark if we prioritize issues of life and death, heaven and hell, and how someone can escape the just judgment of a holy God?

I thought those things were the "core teachings of our cherished faith." No?


#46  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 9:49 AM

#37 Hey Fred

You’re famous, I just heard your name mentioned on the Theopologetics podcast.

You have strong and studied opinions about your faith, I respect that, I do look at all of your comments and check them out. Speaking about the voting of the GCC leadership,

please don’t be rude and assume that I’m talking about sound guys, please, Yes I’m talking about the preachers and the like, and I did hear it directly. This is not a put down just ask them, they will tell you.


Please do me the favor of not constantly referring to me as a follower of other people, this is not a good argument and a way of arguing with me indirectly, not fair.


Yes John is my favorite Bible teacher, that doesn’t mean I agree with all of his theology, do you? One of his teaching identities that I admire most is that he generally isn’t practical he just teaches the word and then lets the Holy Spirit do the practical application, this is all together different from the teaching style of many of the new hip pastors. This speaks to the subject at hand, the Holy Spirit is the best practical teacher, John MacArthur has said many times he will take care of the depth of his teaching and God will take care of the width.


#47  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 9:56 AM

I would take Dr MacArthur's disciples to battle over over a feel good "we don't preach sin here" we leave judgment to God kind of (cough,cough preacher)Last time I checked, a big cheesy,slick smile saved no one. As for charity,even my eyes were opened at MacArthur's love for the saved and unbelivers as well. When I read Servant of the Word and Flock. I think a man with lack of charity wouldn't travel to the remotest parts of the world to preach and put the Word of God in their hands if he lacked love. That's why there are diverse gifts in the body, MacArthur does his very well.

#48  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 10:20 AM

#44 Trent

Absolutely. We are to walk in love, worthy of the grace we have received. But saying that John MacArthur is not preaching those things is simply not true. I know for sure, because I'm listening to 3-4 sermons every day, picking some out for translation. (I'm Danish)

But John MacArthur follows the text, so you have to go to the text to find it :-)

#49  Posted by Shane Correia  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 10:32 AM

I have been listening to John MacArthur's sermons and reading his books for years. Though he doesn't know me from Adam, he is like the Apostle Paul to me and I am like Timothy. I thank God each day for a shepherd like John MacArthur. God bless!

#50  Posted by Gabriel Powell (GTY Admin)  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Trent (#44),

Just to back up what Travis said, 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 as the definitive biblical statement of what is the core of the Christian message.

#51  Posted by Rick White  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Trent #44,

Which is more loving, to let the lost remain in his false beliefs, or to confront them and their false beliefs? Scripture teaches us to always defend the true faith 1 Peter 3:15; Jude 3. And to confront false teachers 1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 4:1-6; 2 Timothy 4:2; Galatians 1:6-9; etc. For a minister to do anything else would be negligence on his part. Fortunately we have men like John MacArthur who are willing to protect the flock from these false teachers and to expose them for who they are. I'm speaking of Catholicism not necessarily the YRR's.

#52  Posted by Sanford Doyle  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 1:58 PM

I too have been listening to and reading the books of Pastor MacArthur.

As I read or listen to his sermons, I especially pay attention to when he talks about a book that HE has been reading, or when he mentions someone who has influenced him. As a result I have been reading a lot of David Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Also the Puritan Thomas Watson.

Great theology is timeless and relevant to any generation. These men from the past will help everyone here as much as any "contemporary" church leader.

#53  Posted by Keith Stokes  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 2:36 PM

I'm sure nobody meant to suggest the "sound guys" wern't valuable or less important part of the body of Christ.(1Cor.12:14-25 NASB)Thanks to the people who work behind the scenes,and bring everything together so we can enjoy our worship time!(btw,our sound guys vote and need no help reading the ballot card and don't sign their name with an X either.)

#54  Posted by Steve Nuhn  |  Monday, August 1, 2011 at 9:09 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#55  Posted by Trent Chao  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 1:24 AM

#39 Keith

Sorry I didn't reply to you earlier. Unfortunately my connection blew out before I was given the chance to respond. I haven’t been able to re-connect for quite a while now.

First of all I know all about the Council of Trent. It was a committee appointed in the 16th century to reform the Catholic Church and to combat the teachings of Luther.

As somebody who used to be Catholic, I agree with you completely. The Canons of Trent are contrary to the tenets of Scripture. You will get no argument from me about this fact.

My issue with Pastor MacArthur bashing Catholicism has nothing to do with him pointing out the legitimacy of the Catholic Church.

I am however deeply upset by his attitude. Not only towards other denominations, but fellow preachers who share the same ideals of Christianity as him.

In that sermon he game some years back denouncing the Catholic Church, his message was very intolerant and very derogatory.

Not only did he discriminate against their beliefs and their customs, he also had the temerity to label them as Satan worshippers.

What upsets me most is the way he stereotypes all Catholics as worshippers of Saints and Mary.

He has this strange idea of Catholics being people who pray to Mary to get into the Lord's good books. Because it's easier to pray to Mary than to her son.

As a former Catholic and as somebody who know many Catholics, I can tell you with absolute certainty that is not true.

Sure there are people who pray to Mary and pray to The Saints. But they don't do to have their sins forgiven.

They are simply showing their reverence towards Christ's mother and towards the Apostles.

What really gets to me is: no other pastor would be able to get away with such a hate-filled message. Yet he does and he is praised for it.

But this is nothing compared to the way he attacks fellow preachers who have the same ideals of Christianity as him.

I remember some years back when he was on Larry King. I was shocked by the way he told the panel Jerry Falwell did not go to Heaven.

Of all people Falwell was a long time dedicated Christian who had the same ideas of grace and forgiveness as MacArthur. Yet for some reason he did not go to Heaven?

I also take issue with the way he denouces Rick Warren's book 'A Purpose Driven Life'.

I've read the book, my church has also given out free copies of it. I don't see how it does against Scripture.

I have no problems with him pointing out the problems of that book. But doesn't he feel it is distasteful to dedicate a sermon smearing somebody else's work?

If somebody did that to one of his books, how would he react?

I still look up to Pastor MacArthur as a great Evangelical Minister. I just wish he would be more respectful to his fellow man.

#56  Posted by Steve Nuhn  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 3:27 AM

I have no formal training in theology, though I consider listening to Dr. MacArthur for more than 20 years a good start.

Of all the sermons and series I've listened to by Dr. MacArthur, I've never heard him read a passage that encourages a new gospel or a new way of presenting the gospel. Where do the YRR find in scripture that their own view of themselves is more important than how God views them, then presumes on God to accept their view? I'm not just talking jeans and t-shirts. I'm talking worship and life style and witnessing. Where do the YRR read that scripture commands them to embrace the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life as an effective means of "reaching others for Christ"? Where does scripture teach them that popular is always pleasing to God? Where do they find in scripture that being reckless is a virtue? How does professing to have the Holly Spirit living on the inside, but the outside resembles the world exalt God?

Are these answers in scripture, or does scripture actually teach against these things? In a world that is getting more and more depraved everyday, doesn't scripture command a distinction from the world and, shouldn't that distinction be more apparent rather than less.

I thank God daily for all the teachers young and old from GTY/GCC.


#57  Posted by Scott Davidson  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 6:56 AM

@#24 Keith Farmer. Keith, do you know for a fact that Mark Driscoll has not addressed the issue of the Song of Solomon sermon? You seem to be rather harsh toward him. Can God not work in his life the same way he works in ours. Sanctifying us throughout our journey. Have you listened to Mark Driscoll recently? I know that John Macarthur was right in confronting Driscoll of that particular sermon and it is a shame Driscoll did not respond and take John Macarthur's council as it would have been very beneficial for Driscoll to do so. I looked through the 5 links to different sites off of the Mars Hill website and I did not find any mature audience only section on his site. Rather than criticizing him perhaps you should pray for him that God would make him into the leader that God wants him to be. Oh and by the way, the Song of Solomon perversion Driscoll gave, it has been wiped off their website.

#58  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 9:58 AM

Hi Trent:

You said: “I've read the book, my church has also given out free copies of it. I don't see how it does against Scripture.”

I have heard this statement used by young college kids, who after reading one entire book, on one particular subject, are sufficiently convinced they are in a position similar to that of a well-seasoned professor to speak authoritatively on the subject at hand. My friend, this is not meant to be unkind, but reading one book does not give one a fair estimate of a person’s entire thoughts and evangelistic endeavors. Aside from the book The Purpose Driven Life, which has enough problems in itself to deserve a critical response in book form, the size of which would dwarf Calvin’s Institutes, many of his beliefs, statements and highly questionable practices, of a very aberrant nature, have been tweeted about, blogged about, You Tubed to death, and many discernment ministries, such as apprising ministries, have done a pretty fair job of discerning the man and his mission.

Do some homework on the man. It is up to all of us to be discerning of anyone who names the name of Christ. We are to test the truth of what all men say according to Scripture. I will not give you my entire take on him, but in short, he is very ecumenical and when preaching to people of other faiths he will not offend by preaching the true gospel message. He wants everyone to get on the ecumenical bandwagon and all get along for the sake of love, unity, and for the betterment of society. He is very chameleon like, adjusting his message to please all people of all faiths.

Another “buyer beware”, as far as I am concerned.

As far as Driscoll and Catholicism, too many issues there, as well. Study to show yourself approved. Learn to use Godly wisdom to know right from wrong. No one can do that for you.

#59  Posted by Marc Lambert  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 10:42 AM

I'm not young, restless, or reformed. I'm a 33 year old southern baptist. I just enjoy GTY because it is very educational with the approach taken to the bible interpretation and challenging in those areas where I disagree. However, I have worked almost exclusively with teens and college students for the last 10 years. There is a "cultural language" gap that exists.

In the same way a missionary must learn the language when he goes to a new people, there is a cultural language we have to be able to speak just to have a conversation. But changing the medium of the message does not automatically mean you change the message itself. But I see a lot of the disagreement here centers around the idea that a medium change is a message change. I regularly use pop culture in my youth ministry. I try to stay aware of popular music, movies, fashions and TV.

When I use a secular movie/music clip in a message or study it's not to study the lesson from that item but to examine the falsehoods contained within. Our youth room is set up more like a living room than a class room. I try to make full use of Facebook, internet, texting and this generation's love of music and technology. But simply using these mediums does not change the message of sinners in need of grace.

As Paul went about, he adjusted his methods to communicate with the people he addressed: synagogues, public squares, in people's homes, sermons, reasoning discussions, modeled living, etc. The example is clear. It's ok to change methods but not the message. And I'm not sure a good distinction is being made here between the two.

#60  Posted by David Pauley  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 11:00 AM

@Donovan #28 -

Just to start off, I am not a Dispensationalist, but an Amillennialist, and have been truly blessed by Dr. MacArthur's preaching, writing and ministry (as well as a number of dear folks at both Grace to You and Grace Community Church).

Just a quick comment regarding some of the women in Africa and their so-called lack of concern about their state of dress.

First, I will never forget several years ago listening (in person) to the testimony of one of the (now Christian) Auca Indians who had been alive at the time Jim Elliot and the others were murdered by his people. In his testimony he made it a very specific point to mention that they (those whom Christ later saved) were very well aware (even in their paganism - prior to their salvation) that they knew in their conscience that they were immodest in their dress and that it was wrong.

Second, don't underestimate the reality of the negative impact that the culture of these native Africans has had on their conscience (even as Christians). EVERY Christian in every culture I know has to deal with how their own culture has and is negatively impacting their conscience and their walk with Christ.

Third, even a casual reading of the Scriptures will reveal that the nakedness of a woman in the manner in which you have described is not a cultural issue, but a creation issue which goes beyond the borders of culture. See for example Proverbs 5:15-20 which definitely implies that such displays should be reserved for the husband alone.

Fourth, you are failing to take into account that although nakedness did not bring shame prior to the fall, it has become an issue of shame after the fall, not because it is wrong in and of itself, and not because of culture, but because of the fall. Man's heart is now desperately wicked. While a husband and wife need not be directly ashamed before each other due to nakedness (because the marriage bed is undefiled), there still is a sense of shame before God (you may not sense it in your daily life, but I promise you, if you had a vision like Isaiah did in Isaiah 6, you would become profoundly aware of this), and there is now a direct problem in public settings, because of our shame due to the fall, and our propensity toward evil.

It is profoundly naive to believe that because the collective conscience of a culture is now desensitized to an issue due to generations of evil practice, that somehow the sinful aspect of certain behavior has been removed. They didn't end up in this state due to primitive culture, rather, somewhere along the line, they abandoned the morality of their culture-See Leon Morris' book "The Long War Against God." They may not feel guilty, but they are. And, due to the wickedness of men's hearts, it is very unwise to presume that the power of the such a display has lost all it's seductive powers over men and women. They may not sense as great a violation of conscience, but they could use some godly instruction in these matters.

#61  Posted by Gabriel Powell (GTY Admin)  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Marc (#59),

It sounds like your goal is not to embrace culture, but to counteract it. Some may disagree with your methods (including myself), but I can appreciate your goal.

If I were to encourage you, I would tell you that what you and your teens need is not to stay up to date with the latest cultural icons in order to counteract them. Why? Because if that's all you do then not only are you constantly exposing yourself and them to garbage, but they will always be depending on someone else to show them the error of the latest fad. It is far more effective to teach a biblical worldview from Scripture so that any counterfeits are easily identified. Why go dumpster diving just to prove it's trash?

That aside, I don't think your attempt at a biblical case is valid. The biblical model is preaching through and through. Sometimes that preaching is in public (synagogues, public squares, homes), and sometimes that preaching is private (small group or one-on-one discussions). But Paul didn't change the method. He preached Scripture. He taught Scripture. He never veered from that method. The location changed, the number of hearers changed, but Paul preached from the Scripture Christ and Him crucified.

You are correct there needs to be a distinction between method and message, but there is a biblical mandate for methods.

I think all the discussion about "cultural language" is a farce. How is it that educational institutions haven't seen the need to bring couches into the classroom? Why don't schools see the need to change all their methods just because Facebook and Twitter exist and everyone has an iPhone? It seems the church has bought into a man-made philosophy that not even the world's educational systems have bought into.

We've bought into the strategy of the marketing gurus over that of the shapers of minds. We've sat in the school of those who sell widgets rather than those who change the world.

In trying to change the world we're following the man selling peanuts rather than the man who built the stadium. How nonsensical is that?

#62  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 12:02 PM

#55 Trent Chao

I can see you are judging John MacArthur based on some subjective feelings.

What is a proper response to someone teaching damnable lies, contrary to the glorious Gospel from the blessed God, who eventually will send people to hell?

You confront them with their error, and tell them the truth from the Bible about who they belong to - period.

We are sinners, and when we sin, we confess our sin to the glory of God. But if people try to alter Gods word to accommodate their sin, we must meet it with zero tolerance.

Sinners we forgive, if they repent and turn from their sin. False teachers we must fight against by all means. Only the truth can set us free.

#63  Posted by Keith Farmer  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Scott #57

Mark Driscoll's Resurgence for peasant princess. Anyone can see the MH-17 link. Under that link, until very recently (I actually have the archived link titles saved in an email attachment), were very disturbing graphic sexual discussions and off-site links to very questionable adult web sites. I cannot mention the names on this site...the GTY staff does not approve and neither do I frankly. In fact, if you do an internet search for the peasant princess one of the sites that was listed as a reference for Christians to visit pops up and the series is discussed by these nym...uh "women". :-)

In terms of me being "critical" of Mark I am simply calling out the error of the vulgarities and the mystical practices that he is involved in. If that is being critical then so be it but the fact remains that those (the vulgarities and mysticism) issues are anti-scriptural at best.

Finally, my prayer life is not open to your knowledge. How do you know whether or not someone is or has been praying for those involved in such things? To simply suggest that I should pray presupposes that I do not...and that is simply wrong and not very charitable.

#64  Posted by David Pauley  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 12:30 PM

#59 - Marc Lambert

I think you may be missing some VERY important points. I am certainly not opposed to using technology.

However, please, please be aware that you may be potentially impacting at least some of these young people (albeit unintentionally) if you rely too heavily on certain amounts of technology in teaching. The content may still be basically the same, but you may also influencing them regarding their belief on how that message should be delivered and you may be pandering to their fallen tendency to demand that they be pleased and entertained else they will not listen. In other words, you may be teaching reformed doctrine, but inadvertently promoting seeker sensitive practice (something that is most definitely not Reformed).

Although generally young myself, this is one of my great concerns with some of the YRR's. They are generally Reformed in their theology but sometimes range in their practice from seeker to emergent.

In the same way Arminians EXPECT an alter call at the end of preaching, some YRR's often expect certain dress, music and technology or they lose interest.

Remember, I am speaking of some (not all) YRR's. They appear not to love or respect older believers (even if this is not the case - they appear this way to others - and we are to avoid all appearance of evil). They appear not to care about the middle aged or elderly lost person because they are only seeking to reach their generation. They appear to disdain older pastors and laymen and mock their suits and their musical tastes. They do not seem to often enjoy their fellowship or their company. They have often abandoned older churches in favor of ones which please them allowing them to flounder and die (young people are just as much to blame for the dying of these churches because of their utter disdain of all things old). They know little of caring for widows, because there aren't many (if any) in their churches. They do not listen to the wisdom gleaned from older men and women (not all older folks are old school Arminians). This is not only not reformed, it is not Christian.

I am not saying you personally believe or practice ANY of this. I am not saying that such is the case for your young people. However, please be aware that we could be sowing seeker seeds in our presentation of reformed doctrine.

I will end with this. I am currently the teaching pastor at a Baptist Church. Prior to that I taught youth for 7 years. I discovered something early on in my work with youth - you can train young people to learn to listen attentively and joyfully to hour long lessons using no technology with tremendous fruit. They can learn quickly of the pitfalls and weaknesses of their own culture (i.e. short attention spans, etc.) and can overcome them to great effect if they are made aware of them and how to overcome them.

Again, I meant this as a caution, not as an indictment or intending to imply that you or young people are guilty of such

#65  Posted by Barbara Laurie  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Travis... so good! Tommy Clayton too.. you are all so patient. As I read the Spurgeon quote I read by accident.."Infectious BLOG" instead of "Bog" Then I laughed. So many bloggers out there who haven't actually studied the Word. I read Mike Abendroth's book "Jesus, Prince of Preachers" Not that I am heading out to preach! But it was so good, and every chapter speaks to the listener of the teaching as well. So every time I go to church now I remember I need to know HOW to listen. I'm old, I'm a gal... I am childless.. to most young people I have nothing at all to tell them. That's okay. So grateful for this ministry.. and yet the best sermon I heard this week was at my home church by my Pastor, who knows me, and cares about us. I believe you Men at GTY, including John, really care to be so patient.

#66  Posted by Dj Jenkins  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Friends, may I make an observation as a YRR guy myself? I don't see the YRR crowd not listening to modern wiser, older men above us. The list of influences of the YRR crowd is extensive. Here are just a few: John Piper, Tim Keller, CJ Mahaney, Wayne Grudem, Ed Stetzer, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, and on and on. Most of these men have the great respect and ear of the YRR crowd.

The reason the YRR crowd is more abrasive to MacArthur is not primarily because "they don't want to listen to older men" but because of how, in my own estimation, uncharitable, unloving, and unreasonable he has been with his objections of Driscoll and Patrick and others.

The other men above have come alongside the YRR crowd, to encourage, help, instruct, and yes, rebuke, them. But they have done it as loving fathers, not as contentious adversaries, as MacArthur has often appeared.

Whether MacArthur intends to be a loving father I am not sure, but boy, he sure doesn't seem like it as these other men have been to the YRR crowd.

Does that make sense?

#67  Posted by Trent Chao  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 7:54 PM

# 58 Mary Elizabeth

Did you finish reading my last comment. I said I have nothing against him criticizing the book. I disagree with him but he is entitled to his opinions.

I do think it was inappropriate for him to slander the book in a public forum, especially since his sermons end up in the media. He could have been sued for what he did.

Look I agree with your points on The Purpose Driven Life. There are some inconsistancies in it regarding the Scripture. I myself have my opinions on this book, but there is a time and a place to bring these opinions forward.

I find it obscene how he would use his podium as a platform to attack this book. Worst off his negative remarks get broadcasted live. How would he feel if a fellow televangelist (or a news station) takes one of his books and slander it live on tv. How would he react if that happend to him?

#68  Posted by Scott Davidson  |  Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 8:44 PM

@57 Keith, fair enough, If you are praying for Mark Driscoll then great, but you are right as it is none of my business what you pray for. Thanks for the rebuke? I hope you extend the same charity to others as you showed me.

#69  Posted by Trent Chao  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 12:45 AM

I’m not sure if this comment is considered appropriate because it goes a little off topic. I’ve had some reluctance putting this comment forward for fear of upsetting anybody, but I don’t mean any disrespect to the John MacArthur. The reason why I signed up is to bring this issue forward. In my very first comment here I said right at the end that my biggest bone to pick with John MacArthur was the way he belittled women in a recent sermon. This is the gripe I have with him right now. Two weeks ago I watched his sermon on Youtube labelled ‘John MacArthur - I do not Allow a Woman to Teach... (1Timothy 2:12-15)’.

The sermon went for twenty minutes. In it he was reinforcing 1 Timothy 2 where he talks about how women must be prohibited from taking authority in the church. This sermon was without a doubt the most misogynistic speech I’ve ever heard in my life. Throughout the sermon he continuously debases the status of women. His condescending rant really aggravated me to breaking point.

In this sermon he tells us according to Scripture, the rights of women must be severely limited in the presence of the church. Men and women cannot have equal rights and opportunities in realm of God. He also sugar-coats the idea of women being denied equal rights as a blessing. He suggests that women must always be subjected to their husbands because God designed them for that very purpose. Therefore they cannot become leaders in the church because it is not what God designed them for. “It is inherent in the nature of woman that she should not find herself in the position of ultimate responsibility”

His reasons for forbidding women leadership roles in the church because: 1. they are inherently power hungry and act on their desires and ego “women have always desired to rule”. 2. He tells us women are much more susceptible to deception, therefore not only are they less qualified but require male subjugation in all matters “she was designed with the need for a head/protector/leader”. 3. He puts a stigma on women for what Eve did in Genesis. He stereotypes all women to be like Eve. They are weaker and easily deceived “no daughter of Eve should follow the path of Eve by entering into the forbidden territory of rulership”.

What makes me most livid about this sermon is at the end. After chiding the opposite sex for 15 minutes, he goes further by talking about their ‘contribution’ “she shall be saved through childbearing”. Here he is bluntly telling us the only thing women are good for is having children and managing the household. According to him all ‘Godly women’ must resign themselves to this fate.

I would suggest you people should check out this sermon on Youtube if you haven’t already. I found it to be absolutely appalling. In my mind it is a parallel of Sharia Law. I’ve listened to John MacArthur for years and always tried to see the good in his sermons, but I have absolutely nothing good to say about this sermon.

#70  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 4:53 AM


Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, blind guides, and white washed tombs (Matthew 23). It was not slander. It was speaking the truth in love. The truth can hurt, but remaining silent can be more damaging.

#71  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 7:43 AM

DJ writes in #66,

The reason the YRR crowd is more abrasive to MacArthur is not primarily because "they don't want to listen to older men" but because of how, in my own estimation, uncharitable, unloving, and unreasonable he has been with his objections of Driscoll and Patrick and others. The other men above have come alongside the YRR crowd, to encourage, help, instruct, and yes, rebuke, them. But they have done it as loving fathers, not as contentious adversaries, as MacArthur has often appeared.

It would be helpful to have some examples of what you mean here.

How exactly has John been unloving and unreasonable to Mark Driscoll exactly? By calling his stuff on the Song of Solomon borderline pornographic? The descriptions of "unloving," "uncharitable," and "unreasonable" gives me the impression you think John just blindly shotgun blasts from the hip without any thought to his words.

Honestly, your comment implies Driscoll and Patrick are both "above" any meaningful criticism and then, if any criticism is offered it has to be buttered up so as to be to the liken of everyone's individual tastes.

#72  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Trent writes in #69,

I would suggest you people should check out this sermon on Youtube if you haven’t already. I found it to be absolutely appalling. In my mind it is a parallel of Sharia Law. I’ve listened to John MacArthur for years and always tried to see the good in his sermons, but I have absolutely nothing good to say about this sermon.

If you sincerely believe what John has taught (from the Bible, mind you) about the roles of men and women in the church is to be equated with the misogyny practiced against women in Islamic countries under sharia law, then I doubt seriously that you have listened for years. Is your opinion the same in relation to John's classic series on marriage when he taught through Ephesians 5? What about 1 Timothy 3 where Paul says elders are to be male only? I take it you are all for women elders and teaching pastors as well?

Of course, that just begs the question: What do YOU believe Paul is saying in 1 Tim. 2? Are Christians just to ignore those portions of the Bible because our postmodern culture is irritated by them? They're no longer "relevant?"

#73  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 9:38 AM

Dear Trent:

I wrote this before I saw your post # 69. Your issues with John MacArthur really come to no end, do they?

This is in response to your post # 67.

I was just doing my regular blog rounds this morning, and came across Tim Challies’ current article, How Big Is The Universe? You can click on the words “so beautiful” and it will take you to a slide show of God’s vast handiwork, which is breathtakingly staggering.

After viewing this slide show, I thought why wouldn’t one appreciate Dr. MacArthur’s sincere efforts to warn people of false teachers? He clearly understands the majesty and power of God and His stunning handiwork in His infinitely, vast Universe, and knows full well the havoc false teachers do to try and obliterate this glory. False teachers act like solar eclipses, they endeavor to suffocate, block out, and mar God’s true image from full display. They want to bind people shamelessly in the dark, causing them to be tenaciously indifferent to a power unlike anything one could ever possibly imagine. The heavens do declare God’s glory, but that glory cannot be sufficiently viewed or truly apprehended through a telescope, only by faith in Jesus Christ can one see the brilliant majesty of our holy God, the works of His hands and His fingers, and have full access to the riches found in Christ.

John MacArthur is deeply committed, not only to his congregation seeing the Beatific Vision, but being used by God to help as many people as possible come to the full knowledge of Jesus Christ, because he knows hell is for real and for a r e a l l y, really long time, and that God’s incandescent beauty and magnificence, without question, surpasses His breathtaking Universe. Read Psa 104:1-35 to see more of God’s power in creation.

Dr. MacArthur is obligated by the clear mandates of Scripture to call out any and all false teachers (Titus 1:9, 1:11). My question would not be why JM is antagonistic towards false teachers, but why do some Reformed pastors make these false teachers a part of the true flock of Christ? That is the real question that needs to be answered.

God love John MacArthur!!!

Good to see you Mary Kidwell.

#74  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Trent #69

Anyone who desires can watch or listen to the full length version of the sermon you referenced. It’s titled, God’s High Calling for Women, Part 4, and can be found on the GTY website.

It’s important to keep that in mind, Trent. Anyone can access and search the sermon transcript—and check the accuracy of your quotes. I did, and was not surprised at what I found.

Let’s take a look at a few of the statements you falsely attributed to John:

In this sermon he tells us according to Scripture, the rights of women must be severely limited in the presence of the church.

Can you please demonstrate where John said anything about “womens’s rights being severely limited.”

Women’s rights is a pretty electric choice of words, Trent. There’s a huge difference between women’s roles and women’s rights. John affirms the equality of men and women in that sermon when he says this:

Paul says, "Let the women learn," a very affirmative statement, affirming for us the equality of spiritual privilege, the equality of spiritual rights, blessings and promises for men and women. And as Galatians 3:28 says, "In Christ there is neither male nor female." But in terms of role, he qualifies their learning by saying this, "In silence with all subjection," and that defines for us the woman's role..

You also falsely attributed this statement to John:

Men and women cannot have equal rights and opportunities in realm of God. Reference please?

And this one:

He also sugar-coats the idea of women being denied equal rights as a blessing. You’re sure about that? Find that excerpt for us, please.

Here’s one of your more subtle misquotes:

It is inherent in the nature of woman that she should not find herself in the position of ultimate responsibility.

John actually said a woman “should not find herself in THAT ultimate responsibility.” He was referring to Eve. Here’s the full quote of what John actually said:

But woman...woman who is designed by God to be under a head and a leader and a helper and a protector and a savior, when she stepped out on her own and acted independently of the headship of Adam, when she acted without his leadership, without his counsel, without his protection, she became vulnerable. And it is inherent in the nature of woman that she should not find herself in that position of ultimate responsibility. Quite different than what your misquote implied, isn’t it Trent?

Trent, it doesn’t take much for a man’s integrity to be called into question. John’s exposition was faithful to the text. If you find that “appalling” (your words), I’d say that says more about your attitude toward God’s Word than it does your views about John MacArthur.

To echo Fred, your statements indicate to me how powerful of an influence fallen culture excudes on our views of male and female roles.

#75  Posted by Susan Campbell  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Thank you John MacArthur and Grace To You ministries for holding fast to the truth of the gospel. You are a lifeboat in the sea of chaos of our world.

As I was reading the blogs above, I was reminded of the times and culture when Jesus was wih us and I wonder how many families struggled with how they were dressed or what new equipment or fad was being presented, whether organ or band. Point being, simplicity was the fad of the day, because that is all there was.

In todays world the war has heated up, time is short for the enemy and our culture in America is totally depraved. I believe that we have forgotten that it is a spiritual war and it calls for strong and prudent actions by the church to maintain our command to be the salt and light of the world.

I am afraid the church these days looks and sounds no different than our culture and that is why our voice is like a mouse squeaking in the corner. The gospel is simple, it is the ONLY TRUTH, the truth does not compromise, or it would be no longer the truth.

I am afraid even in sound biblical churches today it has been forgotten the reverence in which to come to worship.

The Holy of Holies was a shadow or a template for coming before the LORD in awe and reverence. It would do us well to remember that each worship service. It is to please GOD and in His presence we are on our face.

If I dress up for any occasion, I have to ask myself then why would I not dress up for my Creator and sustainer of life. It is only by HIS Grace I can live today and walk into a building freely to worship HIM.

We have compromised as the evangelical church and today we not only suffer but so many of those who are destined for eternal damnation. We have not been the salt and light of the earth. We have not held strong to convictions drawn upon blood of those who have died to defend the truth

#76  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Well Trent, I have been taught a lot by Mary & Mary. Sometimes I even felt like a little disobedient schoolboy being pullt by my ears. Are they not just wonderfull?

#77  Posted by Marc Lambert  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 10:52 AM

#61 (Gabriel)

Because if that's all you do then not only are you constantly exposing yourself and them to garbage, but they will always be depending on someone else to show them the error of the latest fad.

(1) I'm very selective in what gets used. No vulgarity, no explicit and overt lewdness or suggestive images. It's precisely in the gray "but-they-don't-use-bad-words" area that the point needs to be made.

(2) I've seen many christians with knowledge but no ability to apply it. Too many don't see why certain songs/movies are bad while they also seem to have knowledge of and belief in scrpture. I hope what I am doing (showing cultural flaws in the context of a study on biblical truth) is to teach them to discern for themselves, not rely on others.

That aside, I don't think your attempt at a biblical case is valid. The biblical model is preaching through and through. ... He never veered from that method. The location changed, the number of hearers changed, but Paul preached from the Scripture Christ and Him crucified.

I'm not convinced he was always "preaching." Each setting had a different set of norms and organization. Not all are a place you go in and drop a sermon on people. I have always been taught and understood I Corinthians 9:19-23 to be an explanation of this very thing. That Paul used whatever methodology he needed to get the message out.

#78  Posted by Gabriel Powell (GTY Admin)  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 11:07 AM


I'm not convinced he was always "preaching."

You're right that Paul wasn't always giving 3 points and poem. But he was always teaching the truth--teaching Scripture.

That Paul used whatever methodology he needed to get the message out.

Reading that passage carefully shows Paul spoke nothing about methodology. He is talking about giving up his rights for the sake of the gospel. He says if it's better to not eat meat then he won't eat it. If it's better to not exercise what he would otherwise be free to do, he'll limit himself for the sake of the gospel.

That passage has been abused severely to justify all sorts of atrocious "methods".

I certainly trust you, Marc, that you don't bring out the worst of the worst to teach your students. Beyond what you've said I have no knowledge of what and how you do it, but I personally wonder how much exposure is necessary to make the point? I'm not saying you over do it (because I don't know), but how many shows/songs/movies is it necessary to analyze before the students get the point?

At what point are we leaving "be wise as to what is good" and going beyond "and innocent as to what is evil" (Rom 16:19)?

I trust that in addition to what you've described you're holding out Christ and the gospel to your students so they're not only discerning error but growing in their love for the Savior.

#79  Posted by Marc Lambert  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 11:22 AM

#64 (David)

I am certainly not opposed to using technology.

I'd be Amish if my wife would let me get away with it. But it's something hard to escape if you want be in the world.

you may be pandering to their fallen tendency to demand that they be pleased and entertained else they will not listen.

Something I certainly do not want to do. But neither do I want to neglect its benefits.

you may be [...] inadvertently promoting seeker sensitive practice.

It would certainly be inadvertent. I often argue with other minister friends that the church is for believers and not to cater to the lost. Love them, teach them, share the gospel with them, but church is for the body. The lost should be getting reached outside our walls. A minority idea for sure in a predominantly baptist town with the view that inviting someone to sunday school is doing their evangelistic duty.

In the same way Arminians EXPECT an alter call at the end of preaching, some YRR's often expect certain dress, music and technology or they lose interest.

I'm a strange bird. While I guess you'd call me arminian, I don't give alter calls. Neither does my pastor. The Holy Spirit will give the invite and your answer is between you and God. "Coming forward" is then a genuine reaction of faith not a prompted reaction to a sales pitch. At most there's a general invite to come back for prayer of any type. (we go to the back of the room so those needing prayer get privacy and those still worshipping don't get distracted)

As for style, requiring a certain type at all (traditional or contemporary) is a negative in my book.

please be aware that we could be sowing seeker seeds

As stated before, I have no desire to see the church made to cater to the lost. Any style or method choices on my part are for better fellowship and instruction of believers. Granted, you're right that maybe some diverity may teach them to not assume everything be catered to their tastes. I guess all the teaching and preaching on selflessness and humility are not enough to get that point across.

you can train young people to learn to listen attentively and joyfully to hour long lessons using no technology with tremendous fruit. They can learn quickly of the pitfalls and weaknesses of their own culture (i.e. short attention spans, etc.) and can overcome them to great effect if they are made aware of them and how to overcome them.

Out of curiosity, .. any suggested resources along those lines?

Again, I meant this as a caution, not as an indictment or intending to imply that you or young people are guilty of such

Proverbs 27:17

"As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."

#80  Posted by Suzanne Tromburg  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Trent #69 & Tommy all:

Just to further clarify the truth regarding John MacArthur's respect for the opinions and/or teachings of women..

I've had parts of the transcript from that excellent sermon: "God's High Calling For Women" saved for some time. I found one in particular statement he made to be especially telling, he said he appreciates being instructed by women (gasp!).

Here's the context from the actual transcript:

"after the massacre of her husband and the several other missionaries in Ecuador, she was the only biblically trained person left who could speak the Alca language, the only one left...But so convinced was Elizabeth Elliot in her heart that she could not violate the Word of God that she took one of the Alca men and weekly taught that man a sermon so that he could preach it in the church on the Lord’s day. Much like Aquila and Priscilla, she would not step up to the preaching but she did not mind instructing the preacher. Don’t get carried away with that. (Laughter) But I do appreciate it when you do instruct me, believe me"


I am loving this series, well done...and thanks all for maintaining the comments with integrity, graciousness and most of all: Truth.

#81  Posted by Trent Chao  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 12:26 PM

# 74 Tommy

I listened to that sermon straight from Youtube. Everything I wrote down is in line with that sermon. I am not misquoting him, nor am I distorting any of his words.

The quotes I put down were much more succinct. I had originally made them longer. Unfortunately I was running out of space so I had to abbreviate some of them.

I can find heaps of things wrong with that sermon, but right now I am not going to bring out any more quotes. You've already listened to the whole sermon and read the transcripts. Also I don't want to be further accused of misquoting John.

Do you deny he has stated that women should be disqualified from taking authority in the church because of their gender? According to him it is not their 'God given design'.

He believes it is wrong for women to be in any position where men are subordinate to them. On the other hand he considers it to be righteous for men to dominate women and to subject them under their will.

He also considers it inappropriate for women to preach or teach or speak out for God in the public prayer. They can do all these things as long as it's done in private. But he has no problem with men doing these things in public.

Somewhere in his sermon he also talked about women missions. He started by saying "God bless women missionaries" but he quickly changed his tone when he told us it wrong for them to act against their 'God given design'.

According to him instead of recruiting female missionaries, we should instead breed and pray to conceive more men to fill the ranks of missions.

All these points show me he discriminates against the rights of women. You said there is a difference between ‘women rights and their role’.

I ask you this then: if it’s the role of a woman to be denied the opportunity to lead the church, even if she is fully qualified and capable. Then isn’t she having her rights infringed on for not being given the same opportunities as her male counterpart?

I work in HR, from my perspective women rights are determined by whether they are given equal rights and opportunities to men. The role of women should not be limited to homemaking and procreation (as John has suggested). The Bible does not prohibit women from getting a job or moving up the employment ladder (where they do get authority over men).

I also don't understand how he can slam the Women's Sufferage Movement? This was a movement which gave women equal rights as men in the workplace and the right to vote.

Millions of women today who take their liberties for granted are indebted to this movement. How can John be so arrogant as to suggest it is the work of the Devil?

#82  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Trent, you totally blew right past my question. What does 2 Timothy 2 mean then? Do we heed it's teaching or should we ignore it because it offends our postmodern cultural sensibilities? Every complaint you raise here is of the world, how are you thinking about this biblically? I am taking it you are a Christian, correct? Or are you here just to rant against John?

I'll give you another chance to interact with my questions and the text of 1 Timothy, but if not, we're not approving any more of your comments.

#83  Posted by Trent Chao  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 12:39 PM

On the issue of the subjugation of women being mandated by God. I talked to my pastor a couple of weeks ago about this sermon and he was equally shocked and appalled by it. He called John MacArthur a “typical evangelical preacher Christian who has clearly missed the mark”. He gave me a good explanation about Paul’s reasoning for this rule. I met up with him today and got him to record his statement. Here’s what he had to say:

Understanding the Bible is not completely possible without understanding the Jewish culture of the time. Unfortunately, the church spent so many centuries prejudice against the Jews as Christ-killers (Martin Luther being chief among them) that we quit studying the culture of the authors. Consider this for instance. The Oral Law for the Jews, which was written down about second century, did not become available in English until 1921! Many theologies were formed (like pre-tribe rapture and the church as spiritual Israel) without that information. Those theologies fly in the face of what the Bible is really saying. MacArthur's view on grace is only a partial-picture too. On the passage he quotes, understand that Paul was a cutting edge proponent for women. Most pagan cultures (and Jewish at the time) did not allow women in the meetings to teach religion. Paul invited the women into the gatherings! But he put it on the husbands to teach the Torah in their homes. If the women were coming to meetings asking basic questions, it was disrupting the meetings and Paul, and other teachers, weren't getting where they needed to get. So Paul put restrictions on women as a cultural decision. The Bible itself allows women in leadership throughout, and the word deacon is actually gender neutral. When Paul says in Eph 5 that it is deployable for women to speak in a meeting, he meant it was deplorable to the husband who wasn't teaching his family. That's the short answer. The church in recent centuries has done a terrible job interpreting the Scriptures in the matter and has treated women poorly. Fortunately, in my circles for the last 21 years there has been no prohibition on women in leadership.

#84  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 1:35 PM

So basically then, Trent, just so we are clear: What you and your pastor is saying is that Paul's words to Timothy no longer have any relevance to us as God's people? God never intended for Paul's words to Timothy regarding men and women to go any further than say, the 6th century? Then after that we can ignore it? It's just "preserved" for us as an amusing anecdote as to how things were in the first century. Is that your position?

From my take, I think you are picking and choosing what parts of the Bible are meaningful for YOU and what pleases our culture.

It makes me wonder what other portions of the Bible you and the "circle" you run in think are "irrelevant" for us today.

#85  Posted by Gabriel Powell (GTY Admin)  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 1:47 PM

Trent (#83),

The problem you have, Tent, is Paul wrote to Jews and Gentiles. Ephesians, in particular, was written to Gentiles (see 2:11), though certainly there may have been Jews in the church. And I don't know what your pastor has told you, but Corinth wasn't exactly your model Jewish city either. Beyond that, Paul bases his arguments on creation, not on culture.

Your (or your pastor's) interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:24 (not Eph 5 as you referenced), is also lacking. To interpret "it is shameful for a woman to speak in church" to mean "it makes the husband look bad" lacks any basis in the text. The context is about the role of women in the church, not the role of the husband at home.

Nevertheless, two things are clear: 1) this subject is far off topic, and 2) we won't begin to change your mind. For those two reasons we will not be posting further comments on this issue. Trent, I would encourage you to check out the book, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. This is an issue that warrants study because the Bible has a lot to say about it. I would encourage you to not merely rely solely on your pastor, but also study the text (first) and other resources as well.

And always be wary when someone says, "Oh, it's just a cultural thing... we don't need to worry about it." God, not man, wrote Scripture, and He wrote it for all peoples of all cultures.

#86  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Trent, even I, being a man, can't be a teacher. It's a gift from God. My gift is being a sheep. What a high calling, isn't it?

#87  Posted by Dj Jenkins  |  Wednesday, August 3, 2011 at 9:10 PM

In reply to #71 Fred,

Fred, please don't misunderstand me, I never meant to communicate that Driscoll or Patrick (or MacArthur, for that matter) are beyond rebuke. I do not believe his criticisms need to be "buttered up" as you say.

However, as Ephesians 4:29 says, his speech should be gracious and only what is good for building up, as we all are called to. His speech (and rebukes) should build them up, not tear them down.

Also, to my understanding, Piper rebuked Driscoll as well. He even said so publicly. But he did not beat him down. I read MacArthur say he didn't know how anyone in Driscoll's church could be being sanctified in light of Driscoll. That is not how Piper rebuked him. Piper came alongside him, as a loving father. And he didn't sugar coat it either.

But, in my estimation, the way MacArthur comes off in his rebukes I have read and heard on Driscoll and Patrick is as if these men are his enemies, not his younger brothers. Piper, Keller, Mahaney, Stetzer, Mohler, and other respected reformed men have never come off this way about Driscoll or Patrick.

THAT is why those men have such a greater platform with the YRR crowd, and MacArthur doesn't. It doesn't mean we shouldn't listen to MacArthur. But this is why the YRR crowd has such a hard time listening to him.

#90  Posted by Gary Fahnestock  |  Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 5:47 AM

John MacArthur is not old. He is timeless. What is old, or ancient rather, is the ambition of the young to become discoverers. To find some new purpose or new dimension of truth. When the Spirit of God awakens a soul the response to that experience can be like that of the child who found the Easter egg that has the prize in it. 'Hey everyone! Look what I found!' Along with this young people don't realize just how soon they will be old. In fact, I was NEVER going to be this old!

So I am glad that there is a YRR movement. There will be some GROW UP sooner than others no doubt. If we know anything about the history of the church, then it will not surprise us if there are a couple hundred new movements created out of this movement. And then those movements will eventually have a reunion as they get older so that they can support each other in defending the truth to what will be the YRR movement to come. And on and on it goes. It is very calming to know that God will have His way in these matters.

#91  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 6:56 AM

Dj writes,

But, in my estimation, the way MacArthur comes off in his rebukes I have read and heard on Driscoll and Patrick is as if these men are his enemies, not his younger brothers. Piper, Keller, Mahaney, Stetzer, Mohler, and other respected reformed men have never come off this way about Driscoll or Patrick.

Again, it would be helpful to have some examples of what you mean. Where as you see his rebukes as "tearing" them down, I see it more as the wounds of a friend. The idea of John viewing them as "enemies" is also lost upon me. I have never taken John's words in that way.

The one, semi-example you give is John saying something along the lines of "I can't believe anyone can be sanctified under Mark's ministry" has a specific context: When Mark insisted in turning the Song of Solomon into a sleazy, check-out counter magazine article about sex tips.

Anyone familiar with Driscoll's series, the crass way in which he presented it (with children present, mind you), and then John's reaction in the form of 3 or 4 articles, would clearly understand why John would draw the conclusions he did. And you think that is treating Driscoll as an enemy? I take it as John confronting sin.

#92  Posted by Marc Lambert  |  Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 7:56 PM

#78 (Gabriel)

how many shows/songs/movies is it necessary to analyze before the students get the point?

Assuming students are being discipled by parents and others, and these sort of things are being explained in real-life situations as they occur ... not many. Unfortunately, statistics seem to say it is not being explained to our youth on a regular basis through life experience. Hence a need for someone in their life to do it so they can see how truth gets applied.

I trust that in addition to what you've described you're holding out Christ and the gospel to your students so they're not only discerning error but growing in their love for the Savior.

Indeed. At the center of any lesson or message is the deeper message of fallen-creatures-in-need-of-grace and redemption-thru-Christ. I probably sound like a broken record stuck on Ephesians 2:8.

#93  Posted by Dj Jenkins  |  Friday, August 5, 2011 at 9:26 AM

In reply to #91


I am glad you take MacArthur's words as a friend and not an enemy. Again, for me it comes all down to the WAY he has done it, the tone of it, not that he has rebuked them and called it sin. Like I said before, John Piper rebuked Driscoll and called out sin for his Song of Solomon stuff. But why do the YRR crowd respect Piper so much more than MacArthur? Because the WAY Piper went about it compared to MacArthur.

And I the perfect example is the "can't be sanctified" comment by MacArthur. It's like someone picking out a particular sin of MacArthur or weakness/shortcoming, and then saying "I don't see how anyone in MacArthur's church can be sanctified because of that." Way, way out of line, at least to me.

This is why those other men I listed before are voices I will listen to and heed their warnings and words so much more quickly than MacArthur's. I could be totally wrong, but it is reality. Those other men have proven to have so much more of a loving discipline when compared to MacArthur. Look no further than Proverbs 15 to understand why:

"A soft answer turns away wrath,

but a harsh word stirs up anger." -Proverbs 15:1

THAT is the difference there. Would love to hear your thoughts. Blessings!

#94  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Friday, August 5, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Dj writes,

Again, for me it comes all down to the WAY he has done it, the tone of it, not that he has rebuked them and called it sin....

Those other men have proven to have so much more of a loving discipline when compared to MacArthur. Look no further than Proverbs 15 to understand why:

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." -Proverbs 15:1

THAT is the difference there.

So it comes down to a person's "tone?" That is a highly subjective means to judge an argument. This is like griping against Amos: "Well, Amos has a lot of good things to say, I'm blessed by his ministry and all, but I wish he'd be more loving with his rebukes. It's one thing he calls the people sinners, but he called those rich women "fat" (Amos 4:1). That was just cruel; and honestly, their weight really has nothing to do with it."

I guess I could agree with you if John had laid into Driscoll with something of a thoughtless, mocking rant in the style of ultra-fundy, KJV-onlyist, Peter Ruckman. But he didn't. In the context of his remarks about being sanctified at Driscoll's church, John was right to note such a drastic contrast.

The idea of "tone" also raises another problem I often have with YRR: They are way too thinned-skinned. Perhaps it is a result of a generation of people being raised in our increasingly smothering "nanny state," but the "tone" of a person is one of the last things I consider in discussions like this. If a critic has a genuine point, I want to consider what he has to say before I react.

#95  Posted by Gabriel Powell (GTY Admin)  |  Friday, August 5, 2011 at 11:04 AM

Dj (#93),

I think you're missing a significant aspect in this whole discussion. The so-called harsh words were not spoken to Mark Driscoll. All the public audio that people hear generally comes from John MacArthur speaking to his congregation, or in some public venue doing Q&A. So he's not personally rebuking Mark in those instances, but rather warning others about a faulty philosophy of ministry.

Only the Lord, John MacArthur, and Mark Driscoll know how John has appealed to him privately (which he has done).

The reason for John's tone in his public remarks is because he is warning others, not rebuking the offender. When he critiques anyone in public, it's not an "open letter" spoken for that person in the presence of all. It is a public warning to all about that or theology/philosophy.

It's like someone picking out a particular sin of MacArthur or weakness/shortcoming...

You must see how that is completely inapplicable. John isn't referring to Mark's personal sinful tendencies, he's responding to Mark's public teaching ministry.

#96  Posted by Dj Jenkins  |  Friday, August 5, 2011 at 2:27 PM

In reply to #94


Well I think our discussion has reached a stopping point. I think we have both made our points and there doesn't seem to be any other reason to continue.

Blessings to you Fred!

#97  Posted by Dj Jenkins  |  Friday, August 5, 2011 at 2:35 PM

In reply to #93


Yeah those thoughts make sense. I get the difference of a public warning to those you are teaching, and truly we don't know what was said in private.

I still think EVER saying "I don't see how anyone in his church can be sanctified" (boy, I need to find that quote!) about an orthodox brother is pretty shaky ground. Someone could publicly say that about MacArthur, and just take any weakness of his teaching (though you may say none exist) and I still think that would be ridiculous.

Again, just to reiterate, I am NOT arguing primarily whether MacArthur is absolutely right or absolutely wrong, but why the YRR crowd tends not to listen to him like they listen to other older reformed preachers/teachers. The YRR crowd (I put myself in there too) are not afraid to be instructed by older men. I personally name Piper, Mahaney, Carson, Keller, Mohler, Stetzer, and others as my heroes. So do other "YRR" guys I know. But there is a reason we listen to them far more than MacArthur.