I was thinking about this whole subject the other day and some very important thoughts came to my mind. MacArthur gains his share of criticism from others in the Evangelical community and outside, but what prominent figure in any arena of life doesn’t get criticism. There are a couple of immensely important contributions that MacArthur makes through his teaching ministry and ministry model. I mentioned the following things to my wife:
- MacArthur has modeled and promoted expository preaching The other day I heard him described by someone as the “prince of expository preaching.” I believe that Spurgeon was the so-called “prince of preachers.” One thing anyone knows who has read over the sermons of Spurgeon, though a bold proclaimer of biblical truth, his sermons are far from expository. MacArthur on the other hand has trumpeted the necessity of expository preaching and it comes a very crucial time in evangelicalism. Much of preaching in popular evangelicalism amounts to nothing more than a Psychological self-help session with a few Bible verses thrown in for good measure. I am thankful for MacArthur using his public presence in evangelical Christianity for the purpose of modeling and lauding the necessity of expository preaching. It has set a worthy example for those men, who are soon to be and already are involved, in ministry.
- MacArthur has provided a biblical model of church governance – This statement will cause some who read this some consternation, especially congregationalists. When one takes an honest look at the N.T. teaching on how churches are to function with a plurality of elders functioning in leadership over the congregation, spending their time in the study, preaching, and teaching of Scripture, and equipping the body for ministry, MacArthur’s church appears to have done a fine job of following the biblical pattern. This is why so many men are leaving “fellowships” like the GARBC. The churches in many of these fundamentalist camps do not promote or function with this biblical model. Many of these fundamentalist movements began with admirable motivations but now function with the identity of being “separate from everything.” This has resulted in these movements having churches full of disagreeable people who want to vote on everything. This is why I am thankful for men like John MacArthur for modeling this in his church and teaching it through his ministry.
One final thought that I would like to share is that there are some younger men who are attempting to practice the same model of ministry which MacArthur has practiced. One man who comes to my mind is James MacDonald. I would like to thank the Lord for men like this who have provided a worthy example of biblical preaching, church governance model, biblical church ministry, and love for the God of the Bible.
Obviously the list is not exhaustive, nor is it meant to be a blanket approval of everything John MacArthur does or says.