Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MacArthur on TBN

I was taking a little time tonight catching up on the many blogs I haven't read for months and was really shocked by this evening's post from Imonk. In it he featured two clips from a recent interview Kirk Cameron had with John MacArthur on TBN. Yes, you heard me right, MacArthur was on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

I don't share this in order to unfairly disparage TBN, but I do have great concern about the damage some of the teachings on the network has done for the cause of God's Kingdom in the world. MacArthur rightly defends the truth of the Gospel and the lack of prosperity promised in this life for followers of Jesus. More could have been said about the spiritual benefits of our union with Christ, but I appreciate how MacArthur worked very hard to define an understanding that accentuated the need for those in the prosperity camp to question some of the foundational beliefs they have embraced and taught.


First Theology said...

Kirk Cameron & John MacArther = a match made in heaven. Certainly a kinder and gentler JMac too. All in all a good clip – he kindly went for the jugular with his John Bunyan quip at the end (people think they are going to heaven, but really they are headed to hell). Also appreciate that he worked hard to explain substitutionary atonement. It was interesting to hear crowd clapping & crowd silence at various moments. Two points where I might have liked to hear him go a bit of a different way...

First, when JMac explained that back in seminary (presumably DTS where we both went!) they told him that there were about 8 things he would have to 'fight' – models of sanctification, views of church polity... then he says he didn’t know he’d fight evangelicals for the gospel. I get his point (and it certainly describes evangelicalism of the 70-80s), but what about the ‘positive’ side? Like: In seminary I knew I was going out to preach the gospel & become all things to all men that by any way possible some might be saved... here is how that turned out. I know the point he wants to make here is ‘Christians’ get it wrong, but this is a pereniel point for JMac. Always looking for the next fight… wish that were mitigated a bit.

Another telling moment was when he described the prosperity gospel, Kirk said: ‘That’s not the gospel?’ (rhetorically I hope?!) And JMac explained that the gospel involves denial and ‘spiritual’ blessing. While he’s completely right, I would have liked to hear him say the prosperity guys try to claim the ‘physical’ blessings of the future resurrection right now (an ‘over-realized eschatology’). Rather than “spiritual not physical” (what JMac said) how about God will do those things when he remakes the heaven and earth, but right now he works under the conditions of sin which means things are not the way they are supposed to be. Today our lives will look like Jesus’ life and death, and at the glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ, only then will our lives will wholly reflect what we see in his resurrection.

Those polemic and theological points registered… a good job all in all – and he did a good job of not sounding too ‘mad'

Scott Sterner said...

Josh, I definitely hear you. If you dropped MacArthur's arguments in the middle of a different discussion, he could be accused of sounding a little like a Gnostic dualist (in regard to his de-emphasis of the physical). Of course, I am gracing his statements a bit because of the context.

It was honestly more funny to me than anything else. I just couldn't imagine a greater study in contrast than MacArthur on TBN. Crazy.

James said...

I had similar fears at the creation of the "Christian-ized" American Idol, known as Inspiration Sensation. I was then comforted by a friend, who said, "Fortunately, it's on TLN, which means no one will see it."

Perhaps the same could be said of TBN?