Thursday, March 5, 2015
Thoughts on the Shepherd's Conference
John McArthur has pastored a Church in LA for his whole ministry. It is conservative and has resisted change and modernization with great success and draws Christians from all over the valley for his solid expository preaching and traditional music, suits and dresses and solid family values.
Over the years several issues have brought McArthur controversy. The Lordship discussion, his long standing expose on the error and weakness in the charismatic church, and his embrace of male eldership rule only in the church.
This years theme is innerency, the believe that the Bible is not only inspired but without error in all it asserts in all its words in the original manuscripts and the insistance that this issue will be the final watershed that will be the defense upon which the future of truth will stand or fall.
To affirm that the Bible is inspired and trustworthy will no longer be enough, we must also affirm a perfection in the text or we will be excluded from the evangelical camp.
I have always believed this, but have listened to scholars who have looked into the formation and preservation of the texts of scripture and have benifited from those studies. My real struggle has always been how we interpret scripture and arrive at dogma. The vast number of interpretations floating around the non catholic part of the church are mind boggling, and make group Bible study and even group discussion almost impossible in this climate.
I fear this stance will turn McArthur and followers into a sort of evangelical sanhedrin, (not my phrase, but I like it) who will play harshly with the needed reformation we always face in a living faith. The complete ouster of Rob Bell is the prime example. I know him to be a Christian and I know his controverial questions, but I also know he is dealing with the texts and not ignoring or carelessly throwing them out. He was attacked for stating that a text of scripture is 2000 years old, which is true. Even those with a high view of scripture cannot escape the difficulty of hearing an ancient text and understanding its cultural context, its religious context, its consistency in a world that is long separated by culture, language, and worldviews, not to mention the impact of technology, medicine, philosophy and history. Waving the flag of Biblical innerency is not going to stop the issues we need to face today.