October 20, 2017

Riffs: John Macarthur on TBN

I’m not the usual blogosphere fanboy of John Macarthur. I appreciate the good contribution he made to my own life, especially right after seminary. Several of his books and talks are outstanding. I love his take on Church/State issues. (See his series on Titus.) I appreciate books like Ashamed of the Gospel and many others.

But I have a lot of disagreements, too. I’m not a dispensationalist. I don’t get his view of the relationship of faith and works at all. I think he’s got some law/Gospel issues, but so do a lot of us. I’m sure we’d disagree on plenty of other things. With whatever criticisms I have, and some of the critical comments I’ve made on here regarding his views on the Gospel and culture (that tie comment still gets me), I still count him as way up the list of good guys.

So this segment of Macarthur on TBN is something to be savored. Yeah, that TBN. Apostasy central. Kirk Cameron feeds him the ball and Macarthur dunks it more than once. Yeah, I don’t like Hard to Believe and there’s some quibbles here, but seriously folks, how many in the TBN audience get THIS Gospel presented to them? Ever?

When Macarthur explains how Christ is our substitute and our righteousness, it’s just perfect.

I have to wonder what the regular TBN cast of prosperity pimps was doing while this interview was happening. Macarthur tells more truth in this segment than you generally hear from that stage in a decade.

Thank God for Pastor Macarthur’s willingness to go into this forum and proclaim the Gospel.

Comments

  1. Sorry, but after having attending The Master’s College for four years and having significant contact with Grace Community … too many stories, too many good friends lost to the faith, too much water under that particular bridge.

    On the other hand, I was 18 – 21 and who knows … for someone else to be blessed by, I guess.

  2. I wish they would have shown the audience at 5:40 in the first video when he says “that is not the gospel” and like 5 people clap.. I think the rest probably had a confused look on their faces, especially if they were hanging around for the regular TBN ilk.

    Thank you for posting this. It was a great interview.

  3. Thanks for this post. I have always appreciated the fact that Macarthur doesn’t soft sell or back down from the truth of the Gospel. I can’t believe this show made it onto the air at TBN. We don’t get TBN here in the north land of ND where I live so I wouldn’t have found this otherwise.

  4. This is so refreshing to hear. This is the gospel.

  5. wow, thanks for pointing this to us.
    mike

  6. Cameron seems to be full-on Reformed now. Check out the links from his site. I think his eschatology may be changing too.

  7. It is time we Christians follow or Bible. Imagine what the Kingdom would look like if we lived Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
    Imonk, you just did that, you found excellence in MacArthur’s clip and dwelt on it.
    How many on the net feel dissed by Mac Arthur about amil vs dispy? Isn’t the subject of substitution and the Truth of the Gospel more important and isn’t that what we should dwell on?
    Thanks for the clip and thanks for following the biblical injunction, find something to agree upon, let the disagreements slide as much as is in your power.

  8. So what does this do to the Guilt-by-association watchblogs who have labeled Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort “outside the camp” for appearing on TBN??? Their hero, MacArthur is now in the same boat for consorting with Paul and Jan??? How could he show such a shocking lack of discernment?!?

    The mind reels.

  9. “I think he’s got some law/Gospel issues, but so do a lot of us.” Context is everything. What Dr. Macarthur did for me was clear up the confusion I had as a result of the teaching of Lewis Chafer, Zane Hodges, Charles Ryrie, etc. I and many other antinomian dispensationalists thought a person could be saved and never produce fruit, live as an unbeliever and fall away from the faith. Dr. Macarthur in the Gospel According to Jesus and The Gospel According to the Apostles made clear the nuts and bolts of the gospel, regeneration, faith and works and showed from scripture how they develop in the life of a Christian while calling heresy what it is. Phil Johnson did not edit Hard to Believe and is on record as saying errors were made in the publication of that book. Anyway, to see Dr. Macarthur on TBN makes one realize God works in mysterious ways!

  10. Thanks for posting those clips. This is the theology I grew up with. John’s father, Jack Macarthur, baptized me many years ago. Although I have moved on from John’s theology in many small ways, and am still sorting through a lot of it, I love the way he holds the line and says it straight.

  11. Most of the time I have difficulty listening to John MacArthur, ‘cuz even though I know he’s not a legalist, he sometimes comes off as one. However, this was a really good interview. I don’t know how the heck JM got on TBN. And really, knowing Ray Comfort’s (and Kirk Cameron’s) works, I don’t know how the heck they are so accepted on TBN.

  12. It is so cool to see growth in Christ where we least expect it. Especially, in ourselves. No matter the size of the beam, we have all the tools necessary for the surgery.

  13. Every time I read Mccarthur i just get the sense he needs a few less oughts and shoulds or as you said law/gospel issues. This distinction between law and Gospel is something every Christian needs to consider in their faith walk. Mike do you have any recommended reads or websites on law/Gospel distinction?

    JM is not my favorite read but as usual I glean a few good things from most Christian authors. :-).

  14. TBN is willing to take anyone who will pay for the time, or can be used because they have some sort of “fame”.

    Since when do they care about the actual content of their programs? As long as it has some sort of christianized-sounding bent to it…they’ll take it.

    The only thing important thing seems to be maintaining the TBN empire with whatever people will watch. Prosperity gospel going down the tubes? Then why not swing to the other side of the issue?

    or so it seems to me.

  15. “I have to wonder what the regular TBN cast of prosperity pimps was doing while this interview was happening.”

    Hmm…

    1. Counting money,
    2. Talking to their hedge fund managers,
    3. Taking a few hours to puff their hairdos up,
    4. Getting more plastic surgery,
    5. Using the putty knife for more make-up applications,
    5. Giving each other naked, hot oil massages, of course it would be “Holy Land olive oil.”

    I digress . . . you’re right, this was a positive change on the TBN menu, exposing people to a Gospel they may not recognize.

  16. I got some holy land olive oil for Christmas and actually cooked with it…I really missed out. What was I thinking?

  17. Wow,

    thanks imonk,

    that second clip is powerful and a great explanation of substitution

  18. I loved the tone in Cameron’s voice as he asked Mac about the abundant life in Christ. It did sound like he saw Mac making a back-door cut and he was throwing up the alley-oop pass. Mac’s answer was basically jamming it home and swinging on the rim for a couple of seconds.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  19. My take…

    Video 1: John Macarthur?!?!?

    Video 2: John Macarthur.

    Grace and Peace,
    Raffi

  20. I agree with this, but theres a trend these days that I start to wonder if the Reformed view would have anything to really talk about if these guys (TBN, Joel Osteen, etc) didnt exist.

    I love the White Horse Inn, I’m going through Horton’s new book Christless Christianity. But at some point I’m sort of tired of the blogosphere, speakers, preachers, and everyone else showing me how well they know that Osteen is wrong in all the different clever illustrations.

    Of course, if very few spoke up then it would be a problem.

  21. Osteen has the largest audience in the world. He dwarfs all those reformed voices put together and doubled.

  22. I have a question which i wish someone could answer. Being on staff at a large church I have been around a few of the TBN crowd. Oh the stories, I could tell… I can’t even watch the network anymore which by the way is the largest television network in the world. Check the facts out if that surprises you.

    Now to my question. With all that goes on there, why are they not ever exposed? Why isn’t the senate investigating them? Why don’t evangelical leaders in the Spirit Filled corridors of Christianity stand up and say something?

    Well, I might have the answer to the last question. A ministry acquaintance of mine who pastors a mega church recently turned down a ministry date that Rod Parsley asked for with his church. His reason; Rod is on TBN.

    Rod quickly got in his personal jet, flew to Tennessee and explained himself. This was his excuse. “When I am on TBN, I get tens of thousands of clicks on my website.” Which in turn leads to tens of thousands of ministry revenue.

    Here is a final thought. I’m Pentecostal. I love God. I want to live a Holy life. I love people. That’s why I surrendered to the call of ministry. But now I must admit I am disillusioned. I just want to be around people who are real. I hate it, but I wonder about every minister I see. It’s almost as if I live in an atmosphere of ministerial distrust.

    I guess it’s either live like this, or get a hair piece. LOL

  23. I agree with your analysis, because it just reflects the changing demographics (putting aside what God may have in mind for the next two generations). Consequently – what you are saying from a secular viewpoint regarding characteristics of segments of a population, is obvious, is it not?

    I take it, that when you say ‘within two generations … will be a house deserted of half its current occupants’ you mean cultural generations and not familial generations otherwise your use of the word ‘current’ has some humor attached to it. So, in summary, you are reflecting the change from baby boomers to Gen X, and then Gen Y – and the associated attributes of these cultural generations. If that’s the case, then totally agree – with your suggested outcomes.

    In general, your language (semantics) is very different to mine, as I’m not ‘educated’ in USA ‘speak’, for example, I could not understand your discussions in your essay on ‘When I am Weak … ‘, mainly because, we use the word ‘good’ in different ways. Likewise, your piece on, ‘Our problem with Grace’, and your post on ‘The face of the Gracious God’, let me, puzzled – mainly due to your treatment of Christina – she raised an extremely important point albeit, in a short-hand way, but you dealt with it – in a really, strange way. My only thought at the time was – only, if you understand Matthew 5:3-9, can you understand grace, and those who can – talk/blog/respond to others, will show, by the humility of their speech – that they can.

    In conclusion, the changes that are coming to the evangelical movement in USA (I use the terminology as outlined in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelicalism) – are for the better, just as one generation died out in crossing a desert, so too – there are promises of a better, more faithful remanent.

    PS In Australia (where I live), the situation is not exactly the same as USA, for example, in the local government run elementary school (5-12 year olds), the majority of kids go to a scripture lesson once a week – the lessons are soundly Bible based. Perhaps, in my local area, 90% plus of the total number of final year students accepted a Bible (+ a DVD, full of testimonies given by young people), at the final Scripture lesson, before they left for senior school. There is also Scripture teaching available in senior government schools. (Obviously, in those areas with a high Muslim population this is not the case, in terms of percentages.)

  24. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    So this segment of Macarthur on TBN is something to be savored. Yeah, that TBN. Apostasy central. Kirk Cameron feeds him the ball and Macarthur dunks it more than once.

    Well, Kirk Cameron has show before dat he is not da sharpest tool in da shed…

  25. Wow…how did this get on TBN?

  26. Here is a final thought. I’m Pentecostal. I love God. I want to live a Holy life. I love people. That’s why I surrendered to the call of ministry. But now I must admit I am disillusioned. I just want to be around people who are real. I hate it, but I wonder about every minister I see. It’s almost as if I live in an atmosphere of ministerial distrust.

    I hear ya. Not that I recommend this necessarily, but similar disillusionment led me to take about a year off from ministry (and church, for that matter). In fact, I’m just starting up again and it’s really scary. Fortunately, the folks I’m working with are “real.” And not coincidentally, they were similarly disillusioned.

  27. 26 responses and nobody has mentioned this…

    Doesn’t it seem to any of us iMonkies that the gospel Kirk and John are talking about almost entirely centers on getting “rescued from hell?”

    Somehow St Paul managed to preach all that gospel (and expound its meaning–he uses the word 65 out of 95 times in the NT) without ever so much as mentioning hell.

    “Hell” and “Gospel” never even appear in textual proximity in bible. You don’t suppose we’re tacking on a little something extra here or there?

    I figure what Jesus and the apostles DID say about hell is sufficient. We don’t need to spin meta-doctrines out of “therefore, therefore, therefore’s”

  28. Larry Gwaltney says:

    “Somehow St Paul managed to preach all that gospel (and expound its meaning–he uses the word 65 out of 95 times in the NT) without ever so much as mentioning hell.

    “Hell” and “Gospel” never even appear in textual proximity in bible. You don’t suppose we’re tacking on a little something extra here or there?”

    I imagine the souls in Hell right now are SO RELIEVED to know that “Hell” and “Gospel” never appear in textual proximity in the Bible.