Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Johnny-Mac On Point

The world of evangelical Christianity in 2021 is awash in soft, lightweight men, men with soft voices and soft demeanors and soft convictions. Men who often seem more concerned with appearances than truth. Best selling authors like Max Lucado groveling to the sodomites for forgiveness for saying what Christians have been saying since there have been Christians.

With the death of theologian R.C. Sproul, there is really just one prominent Christian out there who seems to have a spine: John MacArthur

MacArthur gained some attention lately for pushing back against the draconian and patently unconstitutional restrictions on in-person church services. He has always been a pretty stalwart guy. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak in 2008 at the Together For The Gospel conference and I dubbed him the "Calvinist Terminator" for his relentless exposition of Scripture with minimal fluff. 

Anyway, I don't have a dog in those doctrinal fights anymore but I still admire MacArthur for having a spine. As one prominent evangelical after another capitulates, J-Mac is notably for refusing to compromise. That may have something to do with him being 81 and nearing the end of his life. 

He is in the "No Effs Given" zone of life. 

MacArthur just released an essay where he declared that the age of easy religion is over.


In a recent commentary, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church predicted that one positive result to come from the "string of calamities" that occurred in 2020, is the coming demise of frivolous religion in America.

Specifically, MacArthur referenced the "irreverent brand of entertainment-as-religion" that is now finding it difficult to sustain itself in an era where cultural talking points discourage in-person gatherings. Because such churches have for so long followed the whims of pop culture, these congregations aren't likely to resist the societal counsel to avoid meeting together until all fears of COVID-19 have passed. This reality subjects these "megachurches" to very real dangers regarding sustainability.

Without a hint of irony, amen to that. Most of what passes for Christianity today, across the denominational spectrum, is little more than entertainment and socializing. Even groups like the Amish who came into being and spent most of their existence in suffering and persecution from other Christians have become very comfortable and soft. It won't survive what is coming when there is a real cost to being openly faithful, something I was saying many years ago. But it will also be healing because the days that are coming will winnow out the marginally faithful. 

What MacArthur said also is true more broadly speaking. It used to be that you could express most political opinions more or less openly in America, unless you were something way on the fringe like an *actual* Neo-Nazi, rare as those are. Not much longer and not at all in many places of America. The examples are too numerous to mention of people being assaulted at a political rally for Trump or being attacked for wearing a MAGA hat. Where I live this is not the case, hell a lot of people still have their Trump signs up months after the election, but the Left has declared that any sort of populist conservatism is now tantamount to being a domestic terrorist. You can still be a neocon warmonger of course.

The next decade is going to wash away most of the "I would like lower taxes and the gays are icky" conservatives. Most Republicans/conservatives are going to quietly drift into the apolitical center, keeping their heads down in return for keeping their shitty job they hate. They might vote for whatever milquetoast sap the GOP throws out there but they won't make any noise about it. Online voices will likewise be silenced, whether by endless purging from social media or out of fear of being doxxed and losing your job. 

Those who are left will be people who are willing to lose jobs, friends and reputations, perhaps even freedom or their very lives. They won't be very numerous but they will be very dangerous as they are willing to lose everything. Desperate people are dangerous people.

These are not the days for the faint of heart, not for much longer.

2 comments:

  1. Ah, yes, John MacArthur. Brings back memories of 1989-90, when Operation Rescue was a thing and I had not yet dropped the bad habit that is "Christian" radio. I got myself arrested four times on the misdemeanor charge of "criminal trespass" during those years, in Fort Wayne and in southern Michigan (we figured that an abortion mill that advertised in FW was fair game). We foolishly imagined that the civil-rights model of passive, peaceful civil disobedience would awaken consciences, and also that the police in the "City of Churches" wouldn't enjoy arresting their kids' Sunday School teachers. Needless to say, wrong on both counts. But back to Johnny Mac: I caught the tail end of his radio program one evening, when he was answering questions from ... listeners? Parishioners? Don't know. Anyway, he was asked what he thought about Operation Rescue, and he pretty much blew up. HIS people certainly weren't to have anything to do with it, that's for sure; not until the government started forcing women in the church to kill their babies.

    Interesting standard. Wondered what else he could apply that test to? In any case, he obviously wanted his people to be respectable and avoid having police records. Well, whatever; that took care of Johnny as far as I was concerned.

    But then I heard about him defying the Branch Covidians last year. Kind of annoyed me at first; dammit, why did he go and have to start rehabilitating himself? Of course, yeah, I have to give him some props. Some.

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    1. Sounds like perhaps a misapplication of Romans 13 on his part but there can be a tendency to be too much of a theologian egghead and lose the practical ramifications of theology.

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