So, this whole thing bothers me. As someone who was once firmly in the MacArthur camp where dispensationalism and legalism ruled the day and when I could tell if someone was a real Christian by looking at what version of the Bible they carried to church and whether or not their pastor came from MacArthur’s seminary, I am disheartened by the conference that he held last week. I’ve come a long way but it seems that, because I’m willing to admit that God can choose to work in ways that we can’t explain or understand in order to reach people for His kingdom and His glory, that we are outside the body of Christ.
Here’s where I stand on this whole thing. I can’t say that the gifts have all ended. I’ve seen and experienced things that I can’t explain and as a result the only thing I can say is that it’s possible that it was from God. For me to say that it’s not is to put myself in the shoes of the Pharisees against the works of the Apostles, stating that it is an act of Satan. I’m by no means a charismatic but I can’t say that I could side with MacArthur and say that a whole swath of people who call themselves Christians are heretics and outside the body of Christ. God has worked in many ways throughout history to reach many people and if He desires to use charismatic gifts today to reach people, then fine. I’m not going to stand before God and tell him what He can or cannot do.
Carrying this forward, there are far greater issues in the church today than this one alone. The health and wealth lies that are flooding the world, and yes, even Africa, need to be addressed. They teach a gospel that focuses on the man, and not the God who died to save them from His own wrath. If I were to have a conference, that is where I would place my focus, not on things that must be argued from the silence of Scripture.
Is MacArthur able to do whatever he wants? Sure. Was Driscoll being petty and lashing out at the Evangelical Pope? Yup. Do I think that MacArthur has the right to try to weed out the false Christians in the church? If he wants to, go right ahead. I have to find a new Bible though because when I read Mt. 13:24-30 I don’t see the secret ending to vs 30 where Jesus says, “until my servant John MacArthur arrives for he can rightly divide between the roots of the wheat and the weeds and save all my children from the Charismatic Chaos”.
Then again, I’d probably be ejected from any heaven that MacArthur envisions for failing to see dispensationalism as one of the core tenets of Christian theology.