Posted in theology

Pastor John MacArthur on the Grace Community Church lawsuit victory

By Elizabeth Prata

PODCAST HERE

Grace Community Church in Sun Valley CA has been harassed and sued by both Los Angeles County and the State of California for about 18 months- ever since the initial COVID 3-week ban on worship gatherings expired and the county and State tyrannically continued it- while allowing riots and other gatherings to continue to occur with no restrictions. That’s when worship at GCC resumed, and the trouble began.

Continue reading “Pastor John MacArthur on the Grace Community Church lawsuit victory”
Posted in theology

Gospel-Prophecy Week #3: They banned the video but here are the words

By Elizabeth Prata

John MacArthur has been making statements in his sermons that when the sermons or the clips of them are posted to Youtube, it results in a deletion by ‘fact-checkers’ and warnings and strikes to the Youtube channel host. When MacArthur makes truthful (albeit negative) statements about the Center for Disease Control, government agencies, or the certain flu we’re all incessantly hearing about, the clip or video will be deleted.

Prophecy is important. We are in the end time. It has been the end of times since Jesus ascended and will end when He returns. The end of the end of days will be horrific because Jesus will pour judgment onto the world. That period will be 7 years. (Daniel 9:24-27)

I knew that a recent 11-minute clip would be banned so I downloaded the transcript of it and edited it with the correct punctuation, took out all the time stamps, and cleaned it up so that I could post it and then read it myself for the podcast.

Continue reading “Gospel-Prophecy Week #3: They banned the video but here are the words”
Posted in theology

Phil Johnson factually debunks recent negative assertions against John MacArthur. Interview with Justin Peters

By Elizabeth Prata

Two of my favorite people in the faith, Justin Peters and Phil Johnson, speak about the recent criticisms against another of my favorite man of the faith, John MacArthur. These criticisms have been asserted by self-professed reporter Julie Roys and others, (some anonymously) who persistently try to damage the reputation of the church of which MacArthur is leading and the people who work and minister there. In a particular case with one detractor, he crafts his vague accusations in the worst way possible and intimates darkly there may be more, without offering evidence. This is the downside of the internet. A craven underbelly of which we should all beware of/

For the people who have questioned this situation and wondered of the character of John MacArthur is really all that it seems, please refer to this interview which sheds light on and offers facts from a person knowledgeable of the situation. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

I am grateful for these three men, standing for the faith with such grace and patience and for such a long time.

The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17)

John MacArthur’s Lavish Lifestyle? An Interview With Phil Johnson,

Posted in theology

Is having money or wealth, a sin?

By Elizabeth Prata

Photo from Unsplash, by Jingming Pan @pokmer

Recently an article was published by a yellow journalist against a well-established, reputable ministry, charging its leader with the sin of wealth, hypocrisy, and comparing him to false teachers. The organization she wrote negatively about is Grace Community Church, Grace To You, and John MacArthur.

There are two issues with the article. One is the brand of “journalism” displayed in the article, and the other issue is whether a well-known pastor or teacher having money or wealth presents an immoral problem in and of itself, which is what the yellow article intimates.

Continue reading “Is having money or wealth, a sin?”
Posted in theology

John MacArthur and Paul Washer Update

By Elizabeth Prata

The Truth In Love conference is organized by Richard Caldwell of Founders Baptist Church of Houston TX. It was held on January 22-24, 2021. The theme this year is “Discernment, Faith, and Fidelity to the Truth,” a topic which I find exciting.

The schedule of speakers included many solid men and though I am unfamiliar with some, several are my favorites. Paul Washer, Phil Johnson, and John MacArthur (via livestream) were all slated to speak.

Continue reading “John MacArthur and Paul Washer Update”
Posted in theology

John MacArthur isn’t dispensationalist, YOU’RE dispensationalist! Reaction to Shapiro/MacArthur interview pt 2

By Elizabeth Prata

I wrote yesterday that I had enjoyed the hour long interview conservative talk podcaster Ben Shapiro had conducted with pastor-teacher John MacArthur this past Sunday. I had never listened to Shapiro before (confession: I don’t really enjoy podcasts of any kind) but I tuned in because MacArthur is wise and always worth listening to. It was also exciting because many people listen to Shapiro who are likely not saved (as Shapiro himself isn’t) and we always get excited when the Gospel is presented to people, and on Sunday it certainly was.

I enjoyed that Shapiro asked a question and did not interrupt the answer. Also I liked that it was just the two of them, not a panel, so there was nobody else butting in or chomping at the bit to butt in. The topics covered were wide ranging, but centered squarely on Jesus and theology. Here is the link, I recommend listening to the interview. It’s really good.

Most people, no matter their flavor of theology, recognize that MacArthur’s ministry is a Spirit-filled, God-given, Jesus-centered ministry without moral blot or doctrinal failure. In this day and age, that is quite an achievement, especially for one as long lasting as MacArthur’s. He is weeks away from his 50th year of preaching at one church.

Yet this day and age also has its theological nitpickers. It seems that no matter how sterling the ministry, no matter how well the minister presented the Gospel, no matter how many people were blessed by hearing it, there will be some who take issue. This past Sunday was no exception.

One of the biggest criticisms I read about the interview were charges against MacArthur’s “dispensationalism.” One person wrote on social media that he had decided, in the end, to listen to the interview despite MacArthur’s “blatant dispensationalism.” Wow.

The definition of dispensationalism is

belief in a system of historical progression, as revealed in the Bible, consisting of a series of stages in God’s self-revelation and plan of salvation

Another explanation of dispensationalism from GotQuestions is

a theological system that emphasizes the literal interpretation of Bible prophecy, recognizes a distinction between Israel and the Church, and organizes the Bible into different dispensations or administrations.

When many Christians, especially male theologians, refer to dispensationalism, it’s uttered as a dirty word. It’s spoken of as if it’s something to either avoid, a cause to look upon that theologian as sketchy, or to dismiss him altogether.

That’s wrong. On so many levels, too.

But I’ll get to my editorializing in a moment.

Characterizing John MacArthur as a dispensationalist is to mischaracterize him. He calls himself a ‘leaky dispensationalist,’ if one must call him anything at all. He takes care to distance himself from the dispensationalist doctrines that are man-made and faulty.

Here is John MacArthur’s statement on what he believes regarding this term “dispensationalism”:

I try to distance myself from what most people think of as dispensationalism. You know, the seven different dispensations, new covenants, to the difference between kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God. … Those are convoluted kinds of things imposed on the text.

I simply believe, and this is the sum total of my quote-unquote “dispensationalism”, I simply believe that there is still a future for Israel the nation as an entity in the purposes of God. Because, that’s what’s promised in the Old Testament. And that’s it. … I take the Old Testament at face value and I’m unwilling to change my hermeneutics when it comes to those passages, and make promises made to Israel become promises to some other entity, including the Church.

In the 2-minute clip, MacArthur went on to say,

Everybody believes in dispensations. Everybody. We all understand pre-Fall/post-Fall, we understand pre-Law/post-Law, pre-Cross/post-Cross. We understand this age and the age to come. So we all understand that there are different economies in which God has operated. … It’s making sure that the distinctions are biblical distinctions and not some kind of external distinctions imposed on the text.

Based on his own declaration of what he believes, I think it is unfair to characterize MacArthur as dispensationalist. Based on what what the Bible says, and at root we’re all dispensationalists, one can just call him, and us, biblicists.

Now for my editorial. Everyone has their limits to what they can tolerate. I know lots of Christian brothers and sisters are tired of the negativity. I do OK with that, or did, up until the Social Media reaction to JMac’s interview with Shapiro. Naively, I thought that people would be so thrilled that the Gospel was going to be presented on a secular program, they’d be basking in joy. I thought, foolishly, that JMac as elder statesman with his wisdom and skill in presenting difficult theological concepts concisely and accurately while speaking extemporaneously, that the brethren would be tickled. Most were, to be sure. At the least, I thought that people would be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19). I thought, ingenuously, that people would simply be happy about this.

I was wrong.

While I was disappointed with the nitpicking, and I thought the discussions would have better served the body to be held in private messaging, I was terribly upset at the name calling. Not harsh names, none of the Christians I saw called MacArthur anything bad. I’m talking about the pigeonholing kind of name calling. I’m tired of people hurling around titles as if they define a person. “He’s a dispensationalist”. “She’s a Calvinist.” “They’re amillennialists.” “He’s an Arminian.” “She’s Reformed.”

Do we have nothing to learn from Adrian Rogers, a conflicted Arminian-almost-Calvinist? Or RC Sproul, an Amillennialist ? Or MacArthur, charged with the crime of dispensationalism? Or Spurgeon, a Calvinist? Why define these men by these terms, all of which relate back to the Gospel anyway? Unless you believe a dispensationalist, Arminian, Calvinist, amillennialist is not saved. Then, don’t listen to them.

You know what? We’re all brothers and sisters. I am weary of the pigeonholing and of arguing from the pigeon’s holes. The only name we will call each other when the Kingdom finally comes, is family. What a day that will be.

 

Posted in theology

John MacArthur on Ben Shapiro Show: Reaction Part 1

By Elizabeth Prata

I was excited to watch John MacArthur’s interview with conservative talk show host (and Orthodox Jew) Ben Shapiro on Sunday. Phil Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You (John MacArthur’s online ministry) has said John MacArthur is a Charles Spurgeon for this century, and I agree. John has a succinct way of stating the Gospel and applying it clearly. He has good insights on current culture, as well, yet always brings it back to God.

I enjoyed the beginning part of the interview about government, leaders’ morals, and how to assess a candidate for an election.

I also enjoyed the middle part about how to respond to people who say there are contradictions in parts of the Old Testament. I loved the part where John expounded Isaiah 53. When MacArthur concluded his verse-by-verse exposition through the New testament, he then went to Isaiah 53 and preached Christ from that chapter. It was a tremendous series, later formatted into the book The Gospel According to God.

And I enjoyed the end part where the two men discussed how Judaism and Christianity are alike, and different. The two men have belief systems that are complementary, but diametrically opposed. It’s a so close, yet so far situation.

It’s a great interview to watch not only for the theology. It’s a great piece to watch about how two men who disagree can remain listening to one another, and be affable and gracious.

Here’s the link, and it’s embedded below.

Above I mentioned that MacArthur is a Spurgeon for this century. That isn’t just a fangirl claim. I believed it to be so, but before I publicly make a claim like that, I do my diligence and research to see if it’s true. In 2015 I looked both Spurgeon and MacArthur’s service to the Lord. They are quite similar. See the chart at the end.

The Lord sends us honorable and trustworthy overseers, no matter the generation in which we live. He sent the early church fathers, the generation after the Apostles, many of them martyrs: Polycarp, Ignatius, Clement…and He has sent us men from then until now. I’d like to focus on the now and one of these trustworthy and honorable men: Dr. John F. MacArthur

 

John_F._MacArthur_Jr.Photo source Wikipedia

The Lord sends us honorable and trustworthy overseers, no matter the generation in which we live. He sent the early church fathers, the generation after the Apostles, many of them martyrs: Polycarp, Ignatius, Clement…and He has sent us men from then until now. I’d like to focus on the now and one of these trustworthy and honorable men: Dr. John F. MacArthur

Dr John Fullerton MacArthur was born on June 19, 1939, he is a few months away from 80 years of age. He has been serving as a pastor continuously since 1964. He is pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley California, and at this writing is a few weeks shy of being the senior pastor-teacher there for 50 years.

He has preached 3300 sermons at grace Community Church and many others besides at various conferences. He has written over 150 books. He has authored innumerable essays. He is currently President of The Master’s University (though a plan is in place to step down) and The Master’s Seminary, the seminary he founded specifically to raise up men in the faith and strengthen them in solid doctrine. He has participated in countless conferences, one of which he founded, The Shepherds’ Conference, a gathering designed to minister to men.

From Grace Community Church website

To my knowledge MacArthur is the only preacher to have taught expositorily through the whole New Testament, and from one church no less. John Gill, who died in 1771, did it prior to MacArthur. Even more of a blessing, each and every one of those sermons are recorded and transcribed. And best of all, they are all available for free online for the edification of the body. Here is one man’s reaction to that accomplishment who was present for the milestone:

Sunday, June 05, 2011
John MacArthur – Unprecedented Preaching Achievement

In addition, there is solace in trusting a man who has continued to live a long life of holiness and is a leading example of godliness right before our eyes. We mourn but are also saddened and angry when authors, theologians, professors and pastors we had trusted fall, one after another. MacArthur hasn’t swerved either morally or doctrinally.

MacArthur with his wife Patricia on the day he completed
preaching the New Testament verse by verse. 43 years! Source

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (1 Peter 5:1-4)

——————————

Further Reading

Website, many resources: Grace To You

Church: Grace Community Church

John MacArthur’s Biography (and book list)

Posted in Uncategorized

Examples of a spineless gospel presentation

dead in sin

I offer to you two men, both preachers of God’s word, both with church flocks, both well known. One is known for his falsity and prosperity gospel and has a poor reputation among true believers. The other is known for his Reformed stance and is highly thought of by many believers.

Three times the interviewer asked the guest if Jesus is the only way, and three times the guest had the opportunity to state the true answer unequivocally. They didn’t. Eerily, both men’s responses were similar despite being several years apart and on separate and different forums.

Here are both responses in video plus link to full transcript to interview #1, below.

This summer I was researching Tim Keller. I heard a lot about him but had not personally delved. Well, I delved. In all the product I consumed to do my research, this interview stood out.

As a side note: When I research and I come across things that are grievous to me, I am spiritually pierced. I literally mourn, and I weep literal tears and I pray. I do not take posts like this lightly. I find no joy in them.

My method is journalistically solid. I don’t cherry pick to fulfill a pre-conceived agenda. I don’t lift one wayward quote from a body of work that is otherwise solid. I look at the person’s overall life’s work over time. I look at the entire essay, I watch the entire interview- for context. I wait to discern. I observe if the person will repent or course-correct.

That said, MSNBC journalist Martin Bashir interviewed Tim Keller about Christianity, at Columbia University in February 2008, related to his book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. This full Veritas Forum interview is quite lengthy, it’s 1 hour 24 minutes. I watched the entire program. Here is another blogger’s transcript of the 6-min excerpt from the longer interview. There are other problematic answers later int he program to other topics as well.

Here in this 6-min clip from the above full-length interview, I’d like to direct your attention to the fact that the interviewer asks three times if people who aren’t Christians are going to hell or not, just as Larry King had pursued the question with Osteen.

In listening to the above 6-minute clip, I was reminded of similar answers from the 2005 interview Larry King did with Joel Osteen. In looking for transcripts of both interviews, I was struck by the similarity in tone, the vagueness of the responses, and the gutless gospel given. I made a chart so as to compare the responses. I tried to go apples-to-apples, comparing similar questions’ topics with their individual responses, as closely as possible. I deliberately left off the names of these two gentlemen. See if you can deduce who said what. Save to see larger.

comparison final

Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27For I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole will of God. (Acts 20:27)

John MacArthur has always been bold. I remember he explained his tactic when asked to go on a secular interview show. He said that he gets the Gospel out as quickly and succinctly as he can. Oftentimes he is interrupted or time doesn’t allow, so he cuts to the chase and presents it. He said that his main responsibility in life as a pastor is to explain and defend the Bible, and whenever he has a national opportunity to speak, he feels obligated to pursue souls quickly, with grace and clarity. Here is MacArthur on Larry King Live in 2003, on a panel that consisted of 4 other men of various faiths. I edited out two responses by a Catholic man so as to keep the focus on MacArthur’s answers.

KING: John MacArthur, you believe that Muslim people, the Islamic people are wrong. Their beliefs are wrong.

MACARTHUR: That’s right. And this is not some personal belief of mine. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life…”

KING: Yes, but if they don’t believe that…

MACARTHUR: If they don’t believe that, no man comes to the Father but by me.

KING: He died for the Islamic, too?

KING: You believe that, too, right?

MACARTHUR: Well, I believe God loves his creatures, his creations.

MACARTHUR: But in the end he’s going to condemn to an eternal hell all those who reject his son Jesus Christ.

KING: All of them?

MACARTHUR: All who reject his son Jesus Christ, the Bible says, are condemned to eternal punishment.

—————————————–

If MacArthur is on a panel with 4 other men, speaking under a shorter time frame, with looming commercial interruptions every few minutes, and still managed here and elsewhere in that same interview to get the truth out, what excuse do men like Osteen and Keller have, who were alone on a show with over an hour of leisurely talk time and one of those without any commercials at all?

None.

Our lesson as laypeople is the same. Despite the current trend away from speaking of sin and wrath and judgment, it is important to state the truth – the whole truth – clearly and unflinchingly. We have the truth, as Christians. It’s a privilege and responsibility to state it to people & to the world as it is stated to us in the Bible. No shrinking back, no alterations, no equivocations.

During a Q&A at Grace Community Church, Phil Johnson, Moderator, thanked MacArthur for his clear stand on a previous Larry King Live interview session, in this session called Standing Firm in Unstable Times. The more unstable times get, the more we need good men who are clear with the Gospel.

PHIL: I want to say…Thank you, John, for the clear stand you took for Christ and for the way you made the truth of the gospel clear. You don’t see that very often on Larry King.

JOHN: Well, it was a pleasure, believe me. It was a great opportunity and, you know, when you get an opportunity like that to give the simple straight-forward gospel to the wide world, it’s just a great privilege.

Amen.

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Biblical Doctrine: Ladies, Study along with Jessica Pickowicz, & #ReadWritePlan2017

Ladies, Jessica Pickowicz, wife of Nate Pickowicz, who authored Why We’re Protestant and Reviving New England, wrote a Bible study to go along with MacArthur’s and Mayhue’s tome, “Biblical Doctrine.”

I have a dear friend who is attending The Master’s University. He returned home for summer break and arrived at my door in July with a surprise gift of this wonderful book. Even more wonderful, it is signed by John MacArthur and a verse was selected to include with the signature!

readwriteplan 5

I can’t figure out if the verse is an encouragement or a warning to me. Hmmm. Likely both, since I need both!

I love that he did this and I put it proudly on my theological bookshelves. And there is sat, all 1000 plus pages of it. Once in a while I’d look at it as I passed my shelf, and mourned its size and how I was going to approach this study.

Providentially, Jess had been writing a study guide and lessons to go along with the book, and announced it about a month after I’d received the book! The study began this week.

Concurrently, an internet annual organization plan for writers is going on. It’s by Alexandra Haughton and it’s called #ReadWritePlan. What you do it post one photo a day for a month, according to their schedule, showing your favorite pens, planners, papers, highlighters, bulletin boards, desk area, etc. In other words, what does it look like where you write and study?

I love this stuff! But I missed the first week of ReadWritePlan2017 and decided to forgo it until next year. Then the Biblical Doctrine study came up, complete with its choice of binder covers (color, or B&W), papers to be printed, and pads and pens and highlighters suggested. So now I’m back in on ReadWritePlan.

Here is my first post, the preface to ongoing thoughts about the Biblical Doctrine Study I plan to post, combined with a ReadWritePlan once for all post. This is my place, the spot where I study the Bible, read the Bible, listen to sermons, and write my blog essays.

I live in a 425 sf apartment. Mainly it’s two rooms with a small kitchen and a tiny bathroom. I love it. My dining table was a garage sale find of one of those 1950s with formica top and metal legs. Since everything HAS to be both organized and available, yet fit into the tiny space, here is what I did. The dining table has become my office with the laptop prominently located. Next to the table is a bookcase containing a good light, speakers, and office supplies as normal. It is all within reach without me having to get up out of my office chair.

readwriteplan 2

Coffee, tea, or water is always on the coaster, out of the way of the cat who likes to jump on the table and curl up on his bed. Below, take a tour of my bookcase with me. Top shelf, printer, pencil and pen cup, brown leather notebook I take to church. Second shelf, MacArthur Study Bible and smaller Bible with Grant Horner bookmarks for my ongoing Reading Plan.

Next to that is the laminator and the scanner. Bottom shelf, notebooks, legal pads, printer paper, binders of ongoing studies, like the Biblical Doctrine textbook, and books I’m currently reading.

readwriteplan 1

The weekly Biblical Doctrine Pickowicz Study is issued on Thursdays but my Thursdays are straight out 14 hours, and I don’t arrive home until about 9:30pm. So I dedicate Friday evenings for delving into the week’s study. It’s perfect. I come home, take a nap, awake refreshed and settle in to the quietude with a cuppa and all the time in the world.

Below, doing the first week’s lesson, yay!

readwriteplan 6

Jessica offers tips on highlighting for various study-reasons. However, I never, ever, ever, ever write or highlight in any of my books. Ever. Instead, I buy thousands of transparent Post-It arrows in neon colors and put them happily all around. I love my Post-It arrows.

readwriteplan 3

readwriteplan 4

I encourage you to look into the Biblical Doctrine Bible Study. Jess has not only created a Study Guide but also a Facebook Group of like-minded women who are participating in the study, which is expected to last two years. Women from their 20s to their 70s have been added, women who are homeschooling or not, married and not, disabled and healthy, living rural or citified. We are all different but have Christ in common.

Here are the pertinent links for you.

Jess Pickowicz at Beautiful Thing: Biblical Doctrine study, articles

Beautiful Thing’s Biblical Doctrine Facebook Study Group

Biblical Doctrine the book for purchase at Grace To You

For purchase at Amazon, it’s $20 off right now.

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Why we must oppose false teachers: They shut heaven’s door in people’s faces

In the sermon The Characteristics of False Spiritual Leaders, Part 1, John MacArthur said,

There have always been and there always will be in this world false spiritual leaders who pretend to represent God, but in fact do not represent God. The Old Testament talks about them, identifies them, and warns people to stay away from them. The New Testament does the same. In fact, Moses was in conflict with them in Egypt. Jeremiah was fighting with them in Judah. Ezekiel faced them and called them foolish prophets that followed their own spirit and have seen nothing. Our Lord warned of them as false Christ’s and false prophets who shall show great signs and wonders. The apostle Paul struggled against them as preachers of another gospel in Galatians Chapter 1, and purveyors of the doctrine of demons he called them in writing to Timothy.

Continue reading “Why we must oppose false teachers: They shut heaven’s door in people’s faces”