John MacArthur’s Truth War

I picked up The Truth War by John MacArthur on CD. So far I’ve only gotten through the first of three CDs. For the folks who think MacArthur is somehow mean and unloving maybe listening to him read his book will change your mind.

For that matter, just listening to his sermons should help understand his demeanor. I think sometimes when people write things we don’t like or agree with that we develop a certain tone in how we read to ourselves in these instances. My understanding is that John MacArthur is not writing out of hate with a tone of nastiness, rather, he’s writing out of concern and love. Concern and love for how God has revealed Himself to us in Scripture and for his fellow man that they might not be drawn into or will leave apostasy.

Should MacArthur be concerned? I believe he should and hearing some of the quotes from folks like Brian McLaren gives good reason. The whole position about truth or more specifically propositional truth just puzzles me. MacArthur is reacting to people like McClaren who have been influential in presenting their views of Christianity. McLaren isn’t just presenting his views in a vacuum, but is reacting against those who hold to a propositional truth. So in one sense MacArthur is just defending himself and the many who agree with him. Yet, it’s MacArthur who is charged with attacking and not vice versa. How loving.

Furthering the point of propositional truth in these disagreements is something I found ironic. If McLaren and his ilk claim MacArthur is wrong in his critique and positions from where are they arguing? Is MacArthur wrong just because you say so? There has got to be something that grounds one’s beliefs which would be a propositional truth. If one believes the true God is the Triune God of the Bible that is a definitive propositional truth position. It’s a starting point. Now from there if that same person believes that the rest of what we know of God is virtually unknowable and we are all left to seek God through our own experience then all positions that start here should essentially be accepted. So why the argument from the non-propositional truth folks? In other words, if the truth of God is so unknowable then why write books, articles and tell others they are wrong?

So if we can’t really know certain things about God then every position should essentially be accepted. Why even accept the Trinity and that salvation is through Jesus Christ? If Christianity should really be understood through the lens of church practice above doctrine what informs this practice? From where does the instruction come that we should even understand Christianity this way? Isn’t church practice itself a doctrine? When we abandon propositional truth we are left with no truth at all. We might as well argue with ourselves and agree to disagree.

Ramble off…

Mark

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Thomas Twitchell November 9, 2007 at 12:31 am

Exactly, it is the self-defeating maxim. Which is amazing for the emergents when they consider themselves not to be defeatests, but to have actually achieved true knowledge. Like the athiest they say there are no absolutes that can be known. And their assertion defeats itself.

When we settle on there being somethings we cannot know in reference to the revealed Word of God, it is as you said, we begin on that slippery slope to denying the inspiration and inerrancy of the Word of God. It becomes subject to interpretation, and 5 billion interpretations later, it means nothing.

2 Dan Paden November 9, 2007 at 8:02 am

…in one sense MacArthur is just defending himself and the many who agree with him. Yet, it’s MacArthur who is charged with attacking and not vice versa. How loving.

I’ve noted more than once, in reviewing Mr. McLaren’s books and in my interactions with other Emergents, their remarkable penchant for putting their thumbs in other peoples’ eyes and then acting shocked and hurt that their digits might get forcibly removed from those eyesockets. Mr. McLaren, in particular, has a gift for the back-handed slap delivered in passing.

…if the truth of God is so unknowable then why write books, articles and tell others they are wrong?

This is the problem they always run into, and ultimately, they never solve it. Instead, they resort to verbal subterfuges like talking about “overconfidence”–that’d be what non-Emergents have–and “proper confidence”–that being what they have. What’s the difference? As far as I can tell, it’s that they’re too humble to be overconfident, so they must therefore have a proper confidence!

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