John MacArthur on Died-and-went-to-heaven-and-back Books

heavenJohn MacArthur. The Glory of Heaven: The Truth about Heaven, Angels, and Eternal Life; With New Material Addressing the Current Debate and Issues. 2nd ed. Wheaton: Crossway, 2013.

One of the most talked-about books of 2011 was Heaven Is for Real, by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. The book recounts four-year-old Colton Burpo’s vision of heaven (as told by his father to Ms. Vincent). Colton claims he visited heaven during surgery a!er a burst appendix nearly took his life. His stories of heaven are full of fanciful features and peculiar details that bear all the earmarks of a child’s vivid imagination. There’s nothing transcendent or even particularly enlightening about Colton’s description of heaven. In fact, it is completely devoid of the breathtaking glory featured in every biblical description of the heavenly realm. That doesn’t deter Todd Burpo from singling out selective phrases and proof texts from Scripture, citing them as if they authenticated his son’s account. (p. 14) [Read more…]

MacArthur: “It’s very easy to be hard to understand”

From an interview of John MacArthur on “expository leadership” (watch from 11:45 to 12:35):

The money quote:

It’s very easy to be hard to understand. It only requires that you not know what you’re talking about. And if you don’t know what you’re talking about, nobody else will either.

It’s very hard to be crystal-clear because in order to be crystal-clear you have to have mastered the text. [Read more…]

MacArthur Study Bible in the NIV

I have a soft spot for The MacArthur Study Bible because it’s one of the first I read through (after this and then this a few times). I thank God for it—though I frequently wished that it was available in more translations than the NKJV. I was delighted when it expanded to the NASB and then the ESV.

Next year it will also be available in the NIV.

Thomas Nelson and Zondervan announced this yesterday:

For the first time, the world-renowned MacArthur Study Bible will be available in the 2011 updated New International Version (NIV) translation text. The Bible will feature John MacArthur’s original 20,000 study notes; an extensive topical index; and numerous charts, maps, outlines and articles.

Publishers Thomas Nelson Inc. and Zondervan are partnering on the project, with Zondervan licensing the NIV translation to Thomas Nelson, which will publish the Bible. The Bible is scheduled to release in Fall 2013.

“I’m delighted that The MacArthur Study Bible notes will now be easily accessible to NIV readers,” MacArthur says. “My prayer is [Read more…]

Iain Murray on John MacArthur and Fundamentalism

Iain H. Murray, John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2011), 77–78:

MacArthur has written of Fundamentalism moving apart in two directions after World War II:

One wing, desperate for academic respectability, could not resist the pluralism of the modern age. . . . Another wing of Fundamentalism moved in the opposite direction. They were keenly aware that an obsession with academic respectability had led their brethren to abandon the fundamentals. For that reason they distrusted scholarship or spurned it altogether. This right wing of the fundamentalist movement was relentlessly fragmented by militant separatism. Petty concerns often replaced serious doctrine as the matter for discussion and debate. [N. 9: Reckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will to Discern (Wheaton: Crossway, 1994), pp. 95-6.] [Read more…]

John MacArthur on How to Serve Christians Who Are Needlessly Restrictive

At the 2007 Shepherds’ Conference, John MacArthur answered this question in a Q&A session:

How would you approach a congregation trapped in years of legalistic tradition?

The Shepherds’ Fellowship granted me permission to upload an MP3 of MacArthur’s 5-minute-and-20-second answer.

Here’s a summary. (It’s not a transcript, but it’s close. The headings are mine.)

1. Love them by not needlessly offending them.

  • Advice. “I would not attack legalism. I would not preach on Christian liberty. I would not assault their consciences either by flaunting liberty on a personal level.”
  • Scriptural principle. “I think there is a very important principle that comes at the end of 1 Corinthians 10 . . . . Do you offend the non-believer, or do you offend your weaker brother? The answer in that text is you offend the non-believer, and the message that the non-believer gets is that you love one another. . . . You defer always to the weaker brother.”
  • Definition of legalism. “In many cases when you’re talking about legalism, you’re not talking really about works-salvation. You’re talking, I assume, about an approach to the Christian life that is needlessly restrictive and narrow and artificially constructed around certain behaviors that aren’t even biblical issues.” [Read more…]