Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Strange God of John MacArthur

Johnny is a cessationist. Cessationists believe that some of the gifts of God have ceased. Which ones you ask? The ones they don't like and the ones they can't control. If choosing which parts of the Bible you like and discounting or discarding the others sounds like a poor way to determine theology to you, your right. Let's hear some of their arguments.

MacArthur writes, "Miracles in the Bible [primarily] occurred in three major periods of time.  The time of Moses and Joshua, the time of Elijah and Elisha, and the time of Christ and the apostles.  . . . And it is during those three brief periods of time and those alone that miracles proliferated; that miracles were the norm; that miracles were in abundance. Now God can interject Himself into the human stream supernaturally anytime He wants.  We’re not limiting Him.  We’re simply saying that He has chosen to limit Himself to a great degree to those three periods of time." Of course, revelation came to Gideon, Samuel, and prophecies came during the time of the judges, the kings, and the prophets, etc. Clearly these are arbitrary divisions of time whose purpose is to prove the preconception of the Cessationists. Oh, there is a reason why there is no Biblical record of miracles after the apostolic age. The New Testament was already finished! What Johnny claims is that God has chosen limit himself to certain times. Now, honestly can you think of one verse in which Jesus limits the expectations of God's response to prayer? Didn't think so. Instead, Jesus stimulated faith in God and challenged the faithful to believe for more.

Johnny doesn't like prophets, either. He has written, "There is no warrant anywhere in Scripture for Christians to listen for fresh revelation from God beyond what He has already given us in His written Word." Hmm,  Johnny has conveniently forgotten the command to "quench not" in 1Thessalonians 5.19-22 (Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. ESV) What are we to say that this verse means if not that we can expect extra-biblical revelation? Not only is Johnny guilty of despising prophecies and quenching the Spirit he errantly claims that the Bible alone is the place God speaks.  This in spite of the fact, that there is not a single verse that teaches that the Holy Spirit would stop speaking or cease to use men who were gifted to the church (Eph 4.11f). Paul taught that the purpose of prophets is to bring the church to maturity.

Johnny's strange God seems to be pretty much an absentee landlord who shrugs his shoulders at the needs of mankind, perhaps blaming poor timing for his impotence to help. I prefer the God of Jesus.