After eagerly waiting for the elder theologian to enter the fray on the topic of Social Gospel, deceitfully renamed Social Justice, Dr. John MacArthur waded into the controversy last week with his first article on the subject. He was quickly maligned as being a white supremacist, as “fighting ghosts,” and was accused of “attacking racial reconciliation.” The aged pastor-warrior has been flogged for defending the Gospel so often and for so many years that he has skin as thick as a dinosaur, and so it’s doubtful he was even aware of the barbs in social media, let alone felt them. He has now launched a second salvo against “Social Justice” on the Grace to You website.
A Grace Community Church pastor, Mike Riccardi, reminded the world of MacArthur’s long-proven tenacity when it comes to defending the Gospel on his Facebook page on August 15:
“The measure of a person’s love for the truth is how that person responds when confronted by it. Those who most loudly proclaim the virtue of tolerance are often those with the most to lose if confronted by the truth. And when the truth is brought to bear on them, they frequently retaliate with fury. But when the honor of God and Christ, and the truth of the gospel and Scripture were at stake, Paul was not one to equivocate.” — John MacArthur
MacArthur isn’t disappointing. For those concerned that MacArthur was backing off the issue, it’s been clear he wasn’t waiting. He was just reloading.
In Part 2 of The Long Struggle to Preserve the Gospel, MacArthur historically documents the current evangelical downgrade. He laments the capitulation on female clergy that is a by-product of the sexual revolution rather than careful exposition of Scripture. He laments the church’s softening tone on sex outside of marriage. He acknowledges the current side-stepping of Scripture to embrace sexual perversions of every kind, including gender-fluidity and homosexuality. MacArthur then diagnoses the problem:
Why have so many evangelicals openly embraced such compromises? The answer is very simple. It’s the next logical step for a church that is completely ensnared in efforts to please the culture..The common link in those continual compromises is pragmatism, driven by a desire to reach the world and win its support and admiration by utilitarian means. Evangelicals of our generation seem pathologically addicted to the sin of desiring the praise of men. Indeed, that is precisely the brand of pragmatism that I fear points people down nearly all the paths of departure from the gospel mentioned in Monday’s post. Today it has penetrated deep into the culture of the church, and the end effect is disaster.
MacArthur then explains that the different forrays into tragic doctrinal compromise we’ve recently seen, using the Seeker Friendly Movement and Charismaticism as two other examples (which I take as a rebuke of Ed Stetzer’s tweet, whether it was intentional or not), are just other kinds of Gospel distraction, similar to the latest fad of Social Justice. These are all distractions designed by principalities and powers to keep us from focusing on the actual, real, Biblical Gospel. These are all a part of the vain philosophies the Scripture warns us not to be taken captive by in Colossians 2:8.
The young critic who accused MacArthur of being
a wascally wabbit “chasing ghosts” for not being specific enough in the concerns listed in his original article, should notice that MacArthur was more specific in his latest post, unmasking the philosophies that undergird what is known as Social Justice. He did so accurately. MacArthur writes:
“Social justice” (in the world’s usage of that term) entails political ideas that are deemed sophisticated—namely, identity politics, critical race theory, the redistribution of wealth, and other radical or socialist policies. Those ideas were first popularized and propagated in the secular academy, where they are now regarded as received wisdom and have become a dominating part of popular culture. Evangelicals who are chasing the culture are latecomers to the party of those who advocate “social justice.”
I don’t know that there have ever been truer words written that weren’t inspired of the Holy Spirit. The ideas propagated by evangelicals at The Gospel Coalition, certain among those at Together for the Gospel, the ERLC, Southern Seminary and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary – chiefly those influenced by New Calvinism – are all ideas that were first created in the secular laboratories of thought and are thoroughly political philosophies. Chasing after the world’s approval, enjoying a momentary popularity among the heathen through worldling pastors like Tim Keller, and with the wheels of these institutions having been thoroughly greased by a proven money trail that leads back to George Soros and James Riady, we now see New Calvinist leaders promoting what amounts to communist ideology in a clerical collar. Even Joe Carter, who serves both The Gospel Coalition and the board of the ERLC, acknowledged in a post just six days ago that a communist Jesuit Priest invented “Social Justice” as we now know the term. The origins of their movement seem not to matter to the Evangelical Intelligentsia, even though they are aware of it. To MacArthur, it matters.
The current fad of Social Justice is due to little else than world-pleasing preachers seeking the applause of a culture that hates Jesus. Its ideas are not theological, but philosophical. Its ideas are not doctrinal, but political. It did not come from the Bible, but from the academy, so says MacArthur:
Consider this: The maestros of missionary and church growth have been telling church leaders that they need to survey the unchurched people in their communities, find out what it would take to get them interested in their churches, and then give that to them. Let opinion polls tell the church how to preach, what to teach, and what not to say or do.
Is it any wonder that the unchurched world now expects to be able to tell the church precisely what she should believe and how she should function and teach?
And is it any wonder that people who grew up through several decades of evangelical pragmatism and have now come into leadership positions in the church are absolutely convinced that it is essential for Christians to both heed and parrot the world’s wishes?
You can read MacArthur’s article here. The line to MacArthur a White Supremor angry old bigot forms to the right. I mean…left. It forms to the left.