Taking God’s Word seriously means many hours of diligent study, which produces doctrinal coherence and theological consistency. That’s not what today’s evangelicals are known for. So how do we remedy that?
Let’s face it—serious Bible study is hard work. But the principles John talks about here, diligently applied, yield the treasures of God’s Word. We get to find out what God means by what He said. Is that what today’s evangelicals are after?
Metamorphosis, Part 1 (end of the cold war)
History will no doubt always remember the early 1990s as a pivotal time in human history. In 1992, conservative op-ed commentator George Will published a compilation of his newspaper columns written over the prior three years. He titled the anthology Suddenly, which perfectly captured the spirit of the day. Suddenly, confusingly, everything was in flux.
Metamorphosis, Part 2 (proliferating ignorance)
I remember being told at a strategic planning retreat in 1996 that the World Wide Web would eventually become the primary vehicle for the dissemination of our radio broadcast and recorded sermons. (At the time, radio and cassette tapes were still the only media we were using for audio content.) When someone predicted that within twenty years or so cassette tapes would be a totally dead technology, I thought they were exaggerating. “You can’t access the Internet in a car,” I pointed out. “Even if you could, who wants to carry a computer on the car seat, when it’s so much more convenient to pop in a cassette tape?”
Technology is clearly not my forte.
Metamorphosis, Part 3 (questioning everything)
The starting point for modernity was a rejection of biblical authority (setting aside belief in the supernatural as an untenable or merely irrelevant opinion). Instead, science and human reason were foolishly treated as reliable and authoritative. In the end, the disastrous failure of so many modern ideologies utterly debunked modern rationalism and delivered a deathblow to modern certitude. Postmodernism therefore subjects every idea and every authority to endless skepticism.
Discuss the implications of the failure of discernment in evangelicalism today, particularly with regard to who is and who isn’t a Christian.
John MacArthur is advocating a special, particular kind of discrimination that needs to happen if the Christian church is to remain healthy and pure. It may not be culturally sensitive to say so, but it’s right, and loving too.
According to some prominent evangelical leaders, we’ve been fighting the wrong war. Protestants, Catholics, and other religious people should quit bickering over issues of heaven and hell and unite in the culture war.
Wait a minute…what’s wrong with this picture?
One of the questions we posed for discussion on the “Ecumenical Jihad” post was, “What drives evangelical leaders to compromise traditionally evangelical priorities in the quest for some form of unity?”
John has provided some excellent insight into that question based on his personal interaction with evangelical leaders who have been inclined to sign documents of ecumenical co-belligerency.
These comments by evangelicalism’s most famous evangelist are clearly out of sync with the biblical gospel. And yet, there are many today who can’t seem to figure out what’s true. Others don’t seem to have the will to figure it out—they’ve become indolent and indifferent about truth and error. It’s as if people prefer the Dark Ages to the Reformation.
You don’t have to be an astute observer of the evangelical scene to notice the unrelenting barrage of outlandish ideas, philosophies, and programs. Never in the history of the church has so much innovation met with so little critical thinking.
You can’t be a Christian without embracing that body of truth, “which was once for all delivered to the saints.”
So, what is that body of non-negotiable doctrine that must be believed to receive eternal life? For that matter, what is it to believe?
The Bible is the only authoritative source from which Christianity is derived. Sound strange? That used to be the defining characteristic of evangelicalism.
Collectively evangelicals seem to have drifted far from that principle, and evangelicalism is taking on some strange shapes.
Standing on the foundation of Scripture is a body of truth that you must believe. If you reject that body of truth, you are not a Christian.
Does the Bible itself identify specific doctrines as fundamental? Indeed it does.
Scripture helps us lay out some biblical principles for determining which articles of faith are truly essential to authentic Christianity.
Does the Bible itself identify specific doctrines as fundamental? Absolutely. Last time we looked at two guidelines. Here are three more…