My old friend Johny Mac who not long ago told parents of adult children who are gay to shun them and “turn them over to Satan”, has now stepped up the game– this time, he’s defining “Satan’s church”.
And well, you can probably guess the key issue he uses to define “Satan’s church”… yup, marriage equality.
MacArthur said recently in the Blaze:
“They have no allegiance to the Bible,” he said. “You go back to every one of those seminaries … for a century [they] have been deniers of biblical authority, they have no relationship to scripture, they are the apostate church, they are Satan’s church.”
What’s ironic about this statement, is that in his previous statement we’re told to turn gay children over to Satan… and now he says churches that support marriage equality are Satan’s church. So, I guess MacArthur wants us to turn them over to these inclusive churches… which really isn’t a bad idea, actually.
First MacArthur went after the charismatics to essentially declare them outside of the Christian church, and now it’s the affirming churches. I wonder who is next? Perhaps the list will go on and on until his church is the only one not on the list— because that’s pretty much how this game works.
But here’s the problem, and here’s why statements like this really fry my you-know-what:
We can play this “You have no allegiance to the Bible and are therefore ‘Satan’s Church'” game all day long.
And I mean ALL day.
If I were to play, I’d say that “all churches who do not take Jesus serious on enemy love, are apostate– Satan’s church”.
I’d also add that “all churches who believe in this extra-biblical end-times garbage (that’s you, Johny Mac) have no allegiance to the Bible and are therefore Satan’s church”.
If my Calvinist friends were to play, they’d say that “all churches who do not take God’s sovereignty and election seriously are apostate– Satan’s church”.
My free will friends could play and just delete “sovereignty” from the last statement to read “free will”, and they’d have their Satanic church too.
If having a different view on a secondary theological issues that aren’t even covered by the creeds of the church is a qualification of being “Satan’s Church”, we’ve got a lot of “Satan’s Churches” out there.
This kind of stuff is obnoxious. It’s unhelpful. It divides us unnecessarily. Dare I say, it’s actually driving people away from faith instead of inviting them into faith.
Between John MacArthur shunning people (and labeling them as Satanic) and John Piper’s farewelling both people and the King of the Whopper, I’d say we’ve got two large sections of Christianity slowly closing themselves off from the rest of the Church (capital C) in assertion that they are the only true church.
Not a smart move in my book. That’s actually how cults form, which ought to be a major red flag.
Let me be clear:
If you are a church that supports marriage equality, you are still the church of Jesus even if you hold a different theological opinion than these other guys.
If you are a church that believes in the rapture, believes in predestination, believes in eternal conscious torment, or believes a bunch of other stuff that I personally don’t– you are STILL part of the church of Jesus– you just have different theological opinions on things.
And that’s okay… even if MacArthur disagrees with you, or even if I disagree with you. We’re not the gatekeepers.
We all have some of our theology wrong. Some of MacArthur’s is wrong, and some of mine is wrong. However, as long as we are sincerely attempting to follow Jesus (the one we believe is the “way” and “truth”), we’re all still part of his church. He’s the gatekeeper– not MacArthur, and it’s certainly not me.
So let’s knock this stuff off. No more farewelling, no more saying “you’re Satan’s church”. Let us forcefully yet nonviolently confront it when they do it, and let us make sure that we don’t do it in return.
The Christian Church is a big ole church with tons of significant theological diversity. It’s time we all put on our adult sized undies– including MacArthur– and deal with it.