Archive for September 2011

Messing with Pyromaniacs, Again. Because of an Elephant in the Room!

September 29, 2011
Day 1 // Elephant Room

Image by Eelke de Blouw via Flickr

The Elephant here is a serious slander of James MacDonald in the Pyromaniac’s room.  *sigh*  But some demonic spirit has fiddled with my computer, and I keep getting an annoying error report, and so I am forced to post my  response here.

The post by Phil Johnson is here, and I have no quarrel with it.  But I took exception to these  slanderous comments on the meta about James MacDonald,

“It is a rare megachurch pastor who is concerned about what kind of fruit is produced in their ministry. There are of course a few very noteworthy exceptions to this. But the Nobles and MacDonalds of this world are clearly unconcerned.”

(or, scroll down to the  very end of the comment thread to read it).   Because the reputation of another godly man is at stake, and no-one else seems concerned about this slander of a man with a history of integrity in the church he serves, I was compelled to stop  lurking.  Here is another letter, this time  to  JuniorTeamPyro:

Dear Tom,

Interestingly, you have  read between my lines and made some false assumptions  here: “You may well think that his ministry is going in a good direction” — now, where did you get this idea?  I said, “I am concerned for the direction of his ministry.”  Might this be a pattern for you, a certain hastiness to form conclusions? And did you  do the same disservice to James MacDonald?

Because the truth is, I feel uneasy about MacDonald’s  direction.  When I read the blogpage  quoted above, and  read of his squishyness concerning the Trinity, and sensed, as you do,  the possibility of its being demoted to a secondary issue,  I was very concerned.  Like James White, I Love the Trinity!

And like Mr. White, I do not consider it a matter of “doctrinal hairsplitting.”  I   spent several months on a blogthread debating a Oneness Pentecostal so I am thoroughly acquainted with the  heresy of Modalism —  so, no I do not think  this vagueness concerning the personhood of God is a good direction for Mr. MacDonald’s ministry!

But am I  like you, one of those ‘pugnacious purveyors of pertinacity’?   Those are Alaistair Begg’s choice words, part of his warning to pastors  that I urge you to give a listen to, Tom:   I will  remind you of his own pertinent words.  Begg  thinks pastors should  not  be “distracted by ceaseless arguments” because then they have “ceased to be a power in edifying and evangelism…. when they think they have to correct all the ills…they have lost sight of delivering to the people  what they most need: clear sound helpful instruction of the Scriptures.”

You seem ready  to go to the shed and reach for the pike, Tom.  But even that firebrand Todd Friel urged some caution in judging James MacDonald’s stance last Monday on Wretched Radio!  I too, am going to wait and see.   I plan to pray for those in  ‘The Elephant Room’ to parse out  exactly what this phrase  “existed eternally in three manifestations” means to the glory of the Triune God. And pray especially that –oh me of little faith! — Jakes would repent of his idolaltry.  And that if he does not,  that James MacDonald would forsake building bridges toward heresy, and  would affirm this  truth that has been tried in martyrs’ blood.  And all of  that repentance would be a good, and God-honoring outcome of the Elephant Room…that of iron sharpening iron.  It is indeed good and pleasant  for brothers to dwell together in unity, but it is awful when it is at the expense of the truth.

I can’t resist this.  I’m sorry, I just can’t!  “Go to war with the Church?” Really?  Didn’t we all  have such a delightful  discussion concerning this particular hypocrisy in February?   So you are still blind to all the scorched earth surrounding the  endless Open Letters generated from that site? The wounds from chainsaws regularly taken to those with doctrines or preaching practices differing from “Biblical Christianity”, aka “Pyros Brand”?  And then you wrap it all up by calling James MacDonald’s statements “arrogant and spiteful”  Oh Tom, Tom, there really are no words.  I pray to God you will be given a vision of your  very blind spots.

Your  statements would be  hysterically funny if they weren’t so incredibly sad.

Now I am going to go write James MacDonald a letter I’ve been meaning to write for ages.  I am going to tell him of a patched-up prodigal I know whose heart was softened by his ruthless and tender Gospel preaching.   And that he   is still one of the few preachers this one, now returned to the Father’s house, will eagerly listen to — tunes it in faithfully, every day! And this one is growing in faith, humbly asking forgiveness, admitting faults, responding to the appeals  Mr. MacDonad regularly makes to his listeners to repent of  their sins. It is a lovely and ongoing work of the Spirit that gives great joy to my my heart.  I suspect Mr. Mac Donald would rejoice with me too.  Because this is real  fruit growing out of his ministry he needs to hear about.  Especially now.


Believing the best (about you too!),
Karen Butler

A Tale of Two Robertsons

September 17, 2011

Sheep and Goats

This is a story of two men who preach a message.

One of them, in the trenchant words of  Russel Moore, really does  “repudiate the Gospel”.   According to Webster’s, to repudiate is to “reject as having no authority or binding force.”  Spurgeon said, “The very substance of the Gospel is Jesus Christ, Himself—His Person, His work, His glorious offices.”

One, a  prosperity preacher named Pat, declares to be dead a spouse who is  weakened by illness,  a wife who speaks hurtful things and is difficult to be around.  He says one can’t be faulted for wanting companionship–if you’re not blessed by the relationship,  end it.

Another Robertson, surnamed McQuilken, resigned the presidency of a prestigious Christian college to care for his wife who was diagnosed with Alzheimers.  It was  startlingly  counterculteral, because as one doctor who works with the dying  said, “Almost all women stand by their men; very few men stand by their women.” And he stood by her for 25 years, and he observed,

Love is said to evaporate if the relationship is not mutual, if it’s not physical, if the other person doesn’t communicate, or if one party doesn’t carry his or her share of the load. When I hear the litany of essentials for a happy marriage, I count off what my beloved can no longer contribute, and I contemplate how truly mysterious love is.

Which Robertson says the work of Christ has no binding authority on him?  Which one adorns the doctrines of Christ?  Which Robertson  really has really believed in the grace of God which has appeared, bringing salvation, that trains us to “renounce ungodliness and worldly passions ” (Titus 2:11) It is not legalism to be faithful to a vow, it is not the law that teaches us to renounce worldliness,  it is love and grace!

Which Robertson really exalts Christ here, who really reveals Christ to His people and makes Him great in their thoughts?  And who preaches a Prosperity gospel that has more in common with an Asherah pole than a cross?  That was Russel Moore’s  astute observation of  Pat  Robertson’s teaching.

Moore writes,

Somewhere out there right now, a man is wiping the drool from an 85 year-old woman who flinches because she think he’s a stranger. No television cameras are around. No politicians are seeking a meeting with them.

But the gospel is there. Jesus is there.

So which Robertson preaches Christ? Who repudiates Him? There are those who will ask, ‘And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:40)

There will be an awful sorting of sheep from goats at the end of time.
It seems that Jesus considers that when we ignore the needs of the weakest, we have rejected His authority– and we have repudiated the Gospel.  Some will be on his right and some on the left.  Some will depart from him, forever.