Tim Challies asks John MacArthur……..
What are the two or three most urgent theological crises that you see in the North American Church at present?
Two of my primary concerns are addressed in the next two questions. So I’ll save my responses to them for later. A third major issue that I see is the Arminian methodology that seems to characterize many in the Young Restless Reformed crowd in contradiction to their Reformed credo.
It is sadly ironic to me that those who claim to hold to a Reformed soteriology would simultaneously embrace ecclesiological and evangelistic methods that depend so heavily on current fashion, clever techniques, and human ingenuity. When pastors work so hard to be “cool” or “hip” or “trendy,” thinking that the way they talk or dress will make the gospel message more appealing to the lost, they betray an intrinsically Arminian perspective. Words like “relevance,” “innovation,” and “contextualization” have become buzzwords, even in Reformed circles, for reaching the “unchurched.” But these words expose a man-centered perspective that, I believe, is completely unbiblical.
How much better it would be to adopt the perspective of Jonathan Edwards during the Great Awakening. Edwards was surprised by the response to his preaching. He did not manipulate revival (like Finney did a century later). Rather, he focused on preaching the truth and trusted the Holy Spirit to do the work. If we are going to be Reformed in our soteriology, we should at least be consistent with how that works itself out in our practical ecclesiology—and particularly in our evangelistic srategy.