Posted tagged ‘Phil Johnson’

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

An Open Letter to TeamPyro

February 2, 2011

I was a refugee from the world of Charismania when I landed at Pyromaniacs from a link at the Spurgeon archives.  I was being drawn into Reformed Theology by such lovely words as his, and hoped to find more.  Frequently, at Pyromaniacs, I did.  Stuff like Turk’s “This Shall Be A Sign to You” which inspired a weeks fruitful meditation and even a mediocre poem bearing that title.  And the post by Phil Johnson this week on fornication’s particular sin against a body that is owned by the Lord is now part of the must-reads on my teenage boy’s curriculum list.

But more and more the blog has dedicated itself to serving up tasty morsels of scandal, and you all seem to gleefully compete for the most comments in the meta from those with itching ears.  And  the readers who would disagree with your points of view, as I  frequently do–not having completely converted to the cessationist camp– are too intimidated to refudiate your furious clanging swords.  I mean words. And I confess, I was also titillated by all the blood and guts flying about, too.  But then.

The Open Letter to Horton seems like straining at gnats while you all swallow camels.  Mr. Turk  accused WHI of fostering a cold kind of Calvinism.  What about the level of charity and hospitality on this blog?  That quality certainly is lacking in the comments following the posts.  Turk’s very necessary apology to Challies in the meta of the Horton letter only proved this. Time and time again, commenters have begged, “Don’t hurt me”, as they plunge into the shark tank of the comments section.  Mr. Turk used adjectives for Tim Challies like vanilla and worse, but I am not afraid to post on that  blog, even daring recently to pose a question for Tim to use in his interview of John MacArthur.   I have no fear of being shamed at Informing the Reformed.  That is how it should be when we wander into each other’s Internet oikos’, is it not?  When we with meekness seek to glorify the Savior, to make Him known, and help along those weak in knowledge and faith?

And yes, I agree meekness is not a synonym for milktoast.  Jesus was not a wimp.  And I firmly believe that for those who are proud there is much to be recommended in the use of that serrated edge encompassing satire, sarcasm and Open Letters, as I did when I crafted my own “Letter From a Child to Bill Johnson” a year or so ago.  But Mr. Johnson  preaches a false gospel, and I wept when I wrote that post, and I suspect tears had also honed the blades of Jesus and  Paul.  Those motives and emotions keep chances of bleeding to a minimum for rebukers using such messy implements.

Last week, Turk gloated quoted, “big boys play contact sports.”  Well, those big boys’ 300 pound brains eventually turn to cauliflower after too much head to head battering–and all that damage is  done while trying to move a silly ball down some lines in the dirt.

Interestingly, during today’s broadcast on Truth for Life Alistair Begg talks about the twin perils of distractions of the pastor and divisions from the people  in the church.  I urge you to listen to his helpful sermon about dealing with controversies; it comes from his series on Titus titled, “Danger: Keep Out.”  Begg says those distracted by ceaseless arguments 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 needed: clear sound helpful instruction of the Scriptures …( these peripheral controversies) will bring your fellowship to nothing, because they are ultimate futility.” And he goes on to talk much better than ever I can about dealing with the ‘pugnacious purveyors of pertinacity’, …or something like that.

I pray better things for Pyros than futility.  I pray  for a  pursuit of edification, exhortation and yes, sometimes the necessary rebuke;  not a devolvement into a scandal-sheet, but instead a growth in this storehouse of wisdom–that it continues to be a blog befitting those who are the caretakers of the Spurgeon Archives.

Respectfully yours,

Karen Butler