Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Joel McDurmon and John McArthur on "We Will Not Bow"

A lot of people have already noticed that Joel McDurmon had nothing better to do so he criticized a fabulous sermon delivered by John MacArthur recently, entitled "We Will Not Bow." I listened to it...TWICE. Yes, it was that good. I am not going to get into the convoluted arguments that underly McDurmon's theology for the simple reason that they were recently exposed by J.D. Hall in their recent debate. But I do want to take some space to point out some of the more obvious errors in some of McDurmon's statements. Sometimes our theological system can be so blinding that it even causes us to forget some of the most basic statements utter by Christ and written by His Apostles.

Obvious Error # 1
McDurmon Says, "The reason MacArthur sees such persecution as the norm for all of history is a consequent belief of the premillennial worldview: since the millennial reign of Christ lies totally in the future, Christ is therefore not reigning in any significant way in this world now."

Actually, the reason so many of us see persecution as the norm for all of history Joel is because Jesus and His Word predicts it.


“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Matt. 5:11

and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. Mark 4:17

“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. Jn. 15:20

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Rom. 8:35

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:10

Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Tim. 3:12

I admit that this was a lay-up but it is a critical one. Look at how Christians are supposed to respond to persecution. Persecution is a blessing according to Jesus but not according to Joel. If the master was persecuted so too will the slave be according to Jesus but not according to Joel. Tribulation is as normal as distress, famine, peril, war, etc., according to Paul but not according to Joel. Paul was content with persecution but Joel tells us such capitulation is wrong. In fact, Paul's final words informs us that persecution is in fact the norm for the Christian life. It is not a capitulation to expect persecution but rather it is to take Christ at His word. Contrary to McDurmon, it has nothing whatever to do with eschatology and everything to do with a godly attitude toward a very specific promise of Christ: His disciples WILL BE PERSECUTED.

Obvious Error # 2
McDurom says that Satan has been bound, and that he no longer is holds the world in his power, "That judgment and casting out was an accomplished fact back then, and Christ regained total dominion over the world."

There is a simple rule in biblical interpretation that says first, the obscure must be interpreted through the clear. And second, there are no contradictions in the biblical text. Does Scripture support McDurmon's claim or can we find language in Scripture after Christ uttered these words, similar to that which MacArthur uses today?

in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. (Eph. 2:2) According Paul, anyone who is unregenerate still walks under the control of the prince of the power of the air, in other words, Satan.

We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 1 Jn. 5:19

Even John 12:32 cannot be taken to mean that Satan was casted down that instant any more than the world experienced final judgment. But Satan's casting down become officially sealed by the act of the resurrection of Christ. Just as there was a time in WW II that we could say, now the Nazis have been defeated, actually meaning that their demise was at some point certain before official surrender took place.

The final error McDurmon makes has to do with the question of Christians sending their children to public school. McDurmon demands that we do not allow anyone from the public school system to train our children on anything whatsoever. But can such a principle be established by Scripture? Does McDurmon offer a shred of exegesis to demonstrate that he has arrived at this conclusion biblically? He does not. The training of our children really is the job of the parent. Can an unbeliever teach my kid math? Yes! But I add that all math must be done to the glory and praise of God! I also add that God is the necessary precondition for mathematics. It isn't ipso facto compromising to place your children in public school. If you can avoid it, you would probably be wise to do so. But is it a violation of the law of God? Such a suggestion without any exegetical warrant so far as I can tell.

McDurmon is wrong to think that Christians ought to conform culture to the point that persecution is eliminated. Christ and the NT Scriptures unambiguously inform us that all those who live for His name will be persecuted. Second, McDurmon is wrong when he argues that Satan has been bound from the time Jesus uttered those words. John and Paul both used clear language that contradicts that thinking. And finally, McDurmon is wrong when he imposes his own convictions about public education on the rest of the Church. It is incredibly shocking how easy some men bind the lives of others with their own extremely narrow way of thinking about some of these issues. Where Scripture speaks clearly, we ought to speak clearly. Where Scripture speaks with some degree of ambiguity, we ought to speak softly. Where Scripture does not speak at all, may God grant us the humility not to speak with it. 

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