Wednesday, December 27, 2006

How I Would Respond To John MacArthur


I have looked over some of your writings and noticed that many have misrepresented your views at times… and really it surprises me that you have not taken from that and learned mercy and grace and extended that to someone like Brian McLaren… or myself as I am in the emerging conversation or as you call it the emerging church movement.

Interestingly to me is that you have softened a bit on some of your views (at least some of the charismatic movement) and though being one of that persuasion again, (notably many of my EC friends are Calvinistic in their view which I am not… though I believe in eternal security and free will) as least I see a sliver of hope that the Grace you preach will be extended and practiced.

What I see though is that even as you have been misrepresented at times, you still fall into the trap of labeling all in this so called movement (which in itself is still an in house debate as to if it is a movement) as heretics… The funny thing is I read your statement of faith from your own church website and agreed with most of it… outside of that I think the statement of justification could be fleshed out much more… though I understand that it is a statement of faith and not a doctorate thesis.

My concern in all this is that Jesus in John 17:17 called for unity in the faith… which I see and have experience by those in the EC, yet what I see and have experienced from those who follow you is slanderous accusation and lies as to my character and ministry. I am a heretic because I have a “link to Brian McLaren’s websites” is what one of your follower’s have said to me… and unlike your “zap” story (which was a bit funny as I have never heard that used in my 20 some years in the charismatic movement I had a good laugh over it as I do believe it plausible.) I will not assume all that follow your teachings act or behave or are reflecting how you act and behave. In fact I hope you find that many of us in the EC are working hard to address the issues of post-modernity and modernity and are seeking to give an answer in gentleness and respect… (I am sorry as I do not see this on display on your site). I see that you have some genuine concerns and I too seek that people find a biblical view of truth and one not based on humanist reasoning. I have been attacked by some who claim I do not believe in truth… in fact they believe and teach that we can come to a saving knowledge without a relationship with Christ Jesus… (This is a person who follows your teaching btw, again I do not assume you teach this… and view this person as aberrant, yet he is being heralded by some anti-emerging sites as an up and comer! I would hope you extend the same grace to the EC as I have to you here.)

I personally teach the “exchanged life” which is very close to your Lordship Salvation… (Yet I see it as deeper than mere “obedience” and is about walking in the "obedience of Christ" as taught in Rom 5:19) there are many of us who teach the “exchanged life”… or have been influenced by it. Yet again, by you and others I am called a heretic, as well as others even by association, without you even knowing me.

I hope you can see that while you may have inadvertently found some that have strayed off the path… the bulk have not. In fact I think you miss a very subtle nuance about Brian’s books and that he is not out to give an answer… to even tell one what to believe… but he desires to ask the question to send one back to the Bible and get the answer, from the Holy Spirit leading one in understanding what is written. This is subtle as I have said, and if one has not read books like “More Ready than you Realize” which is about evangelizing in the post-modern matrix one might not “get it”… also remember he is not writing for you or to you... you are saved already... Brian is addressing those entrenched in the post-modern world view. This is again often missed by his critics as they approach him from their modernistic/Platonist viewpoint (which is more akin to the heresy of Gnosticism than Christianity and has infected the church much more than post-modernism in it's acceptance of dualist theology).

I also beseech you to beware that if you are wrong and have mischaracterized Brian in any way shape or form… that you are slanderingand slanderer’s do not inherit the Kingdom of God… and to continue in this sin (which it is)… without absolute certainty you are not wrong in any way shape or form is usurping Jesus as the TRUE JUDGE and placing yourself in HIS THRONE of Judgment… I hope that is not true for you. I find it a bit sad you feel it is your right to come and clean our house... when it seems you have an affiliation* with SBC in which the president Frank Page has considered the EC a good thing over all. I think more integrity would have been for you to clean your own house... or as the scripture teaches, remove the beam out of your own affiliation before you come outside to remove ours (be it beam or splinter).

So, please, consider what you are doing and saying… and I trust that you practice what you preach… and that is Grace to you… and to others.


*I meant to use the word "association". But thanks to a kind and generous and gracious person they pointed out that I used the wrong word.

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andrew jones said...

Iggy. Seasons greetings to you. Its a good and gentle response to JM and i like your stuff. i might consider toning down the title to something less threatening if i was in your shoes - like 'what i would say to JM' - lest he takes it harsher than intended.
have a great new year!!!!!!

iggy said...

I was just saying to myself last night as i read some of your comments here and there... i wish i was more like Andrew... So with that i will take your advice. I admit I am walking a fine edge as I am greatly saddened and a bit put off over this... yet I know somehow God will be glorified...

Believe me this was not a first draft... nor a second... and it still seemed a bit too harsh... yet it seemed to need said.

As a "traveler" do you see this sort of thing elswhere? Say in the UK or Australia? That interests me as it seems more a US issue...

Anyway thanks for the advice... Christmas was a bit rough here as i had to work over the season... the newspapers had to still get out.TES went through a rough spot missing her family in California. It was fun to see our kids on Christmas morning with their presents... they are at fun ages.


ben2590 said...

I agree with Andrew. Your title should be different.

Perhaps, "How I Would Respond to John MacArthur if I Had the Guts (or the Common Courtesy) to Let the Guy I'm Attacking in Public Read My Arguments and Actually Answer Them in Public."

Howdy--ben2590 awhile. Just stopped in for fun today. Right off in the first post I read, I was reminded why I have enjoyed reading your stuff and exposing you.

MacArthur is not with the SBC. Masters College is independent.

And you have lied a again by claiming you have not down played truth/doctrine. And you have lied again by portraying Brian McLaren as a Christian brother. And you have lied again by mischaracterizing Bible-believing Christians as denying the need for a relationship with Jesus. (No real follower of Mac would make such a claim and you know it. It is contrary to everything he teaches.)

And, finally, you have lied by not coming clean with MacArthur about your denial of the authority of the Bible. Remember you post on inerrancy not being a thing we can believe because we do not have all the original manuscripts? (Like you would then immediately rush right over to Palestine, examine them for yourself, and then render a verdict!) After all, you often give us really good lessons in the original languages, right?

A real man, you are!

Will post this on my blog, too.

iggy said...


1. I have not down played doctrine but uplifted Jesus... I think there is a proper view in which we must view doctrine... in fact John states the same thing in many of his writings and I agree with him on that. In fact you insist I teach against holiness and yet I am in agreement that Grace insists we seek after God and forsake our sinful nature.

2. Brian professes to believe in Jesus and only Jesus knows his heart... not you.

3. You have denied relationship is needed and constantly mock me when I state one is needed to be saved. You have stated that creeds and doctrine save you... not Jesus. maybe you have not completed your thought on this matter but as far as what you have said that is it. To me though you show neither gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 2:17, 1 Peter 3 15)

4. I hold the Bible high in my life and maybe higher than you do... I think it more honest to say as I do about inerrancy... in fact if you read the newset post about absolute truth and absolute certainty you will find I am certain that the Bible can lead us to salvation, I do not see that I can honestly say it is inerrant... which is not a requirement for salvation.

In fact many claim the Bible as their final authority, and in the bible is says all authority was given to Jesus... and that is how I view it... Jesus first then the bible. Or do you reject that as truth?

5. John mac Arthur has spoken to the SBC a few times and does have a loose association with them... which means he is more in their house than ours.
Story here
I have not mentioned that Masters is or was a Baptist school. Again this is a fabrication of your own making.

6. I believe if one is a true bible believing Christian one must and will believe they need a relationship with Jesus... agian whenever I state this you mock me and call me a liar...

7. I still make no claim to knowing the original language,again, you made that up yourself.

8. I don't care what you say on your blog... slander is still slander. And slanderer's do not inherit the Kingdom of God...

9. I am still praying for you to come to a deeper and richer knowledge of the grace and mercy of our Lord. May His love dwell in your heart...

Go be blessing,


andrew jones said...

iggy, i think this kind of extremity and response is limited to USA but it does affect other countries. i think other cultures are used to more complexity and seem to be more adept at sorting out chaff from wheat without swerving to extremes.

"i always wanted to go to Montana" (from Red October)

iggy said...

BTW ben2590 does not have a link to his blog... I encourage anyone go and see his version of the truth.

Especially notice how he takes a partial quote and build how I am heretic that teaches Taoism... Be sure to follow all the links!


iggy said...


It seems that the most extreme reaction about the EC comes from the MacArthurites. I was not aware of this until recently as I began to notice that many who attack are from that persuasion. The thing that interests me is that I recently came across an article on SOL that expound the wondrous virtues of the exchanged life... yet that being what I teach and the base from which I approach my own faith, I am lambasted as a heretic... because I associate with the EC. Ironic to me is that I am a heretic and they do not even know me or have ever read my blog… Ken Silva even came to my blog… but it was to let me know he responded to a comment… Weirder to me is Ken is excited about a person here in Billings who is against the EC… and that person denies that Jesus is literally ”the Way ,the Truth, the Life” he has done a few post to show that these are just propositions… I bet even JM would agree with me that Jesus is literally as He said… and not just a teacher of propositional truth. All these people see is a link to Brian McLaren… and the word “emerging/Emergent” and they lose all the so called godly rationalism they claim. Such as the fellow that is in the comments above. They do not see the common and just want to show us as heretics without even knowing us… and most definitely by stepping outside the biblical teachings on how to approach a “brother” let alone a supposed non believer! They seem to justify and rationalize being judgmental/condemnation of others.

As I study out JM's view more, I am seeing a very subtle thing that would incline one to become more focused on one's works... to the point they are almost driven to inspect others in order to show theirs is worthy... I will write more about this later.

John does not teach the exchanged life, he teaches a subtle form of "works righteousness". Again I will unpack that more in a post.

Again though the critics of JM have taken things JM has said and twisted them as badly as JM has with the leadership of the EC.

I understand that Brian and John sat down and it did not go well... I can almost bet how it went... as you can imaging a modern world view demanding from a postmodern world view, concrete absolute answers to satisfy them. it would be almost funny if not so sad.

BTW I hope also you had a merry Christmas and a happy new year...


andrew jones said...

Iggy, I liked how you read Grace's doctrinal statement and compared it with your own. This is a language they understand. It would be helpful, if you were interested in taking this further, to list the exact differences or disagreements and then see if those disagreements are reflected in other more global or widely accepted statements of faith.

As for me, I read through Grace's statement of faith briefly and only had a problem with 3 issues - (I think Pre-trib might be a heresy, the Bible is MORE than propositional truth, and I do not hold that a passage can only have a singular meaning but am open to a "plenary genitive")

That does not make me a heretic but rather aligns me with mainline evangelicalism.

however, JM does not name me in his book and so i dont feel any pressure to respond. It seems his beef is more about one small group in the EC - namely Emergent Village.

iggy said...


Isn't it funny that I would consider Emergent Village really on the more conservative side... Stephen Shields is a great guy... and smart!

Really I was looking at the more "salvic" parts...

As far as Pre-trib... I think that may be part of the problem. I was pre-trib until i started studying and really looking at it and it did not add up... I tried and tried... yet in the end I can only say, I believe in the Resurrection, I do not see the Darbian (sp) "Rapture".

Yet, to me that is not an issue... one can believe the rapture and i will still see them as brothers and sisters in Christ... but I do see a dark underbelly that is there in that teaching that leads people to not mature. (Which is the real issue I see in America).

I will look into going over JM statement of faith. On the surface it seems that it is all good... yet as i have run in with his followers I realize what i disliked about my fundamentalist roots.... and as i even dig deeper I see some very subtle issues with his views... they seem to be that the "works" are man based from the quotes I keep reading from JM. to be fair I have not read his books though i have read his Q & A online and notice "our works" "their works" and yet to see "Christ's works in you" or "God's will and purpose" (they hate that word purpose don't they?)

I also see the bible as more than propositional… they are there… I see that that view limits the deeper meanings in some passages. I have taught a lot about that on this blog and that is where I take most of the heat. I speak relationally and am called a heretic… and they speak propositionally… I personally prefer the Person of Jesus as then the propositions make sense… but they argue against that… I do nto mean to use "they" or "them" but these people know who they are... they read me "religiously" (grin).


iggy said...

How ben2590 only uses part of my statements to build straw men arguments...


Notice the big difference between his version with omissions and what I really said.

how much integrity does ben2590 really have?