Monday, September 17, 2007

Father, Forgive John MacArthur

I need to say what follows in order to get it off my chest. My intention is not to question John MacArthur's love for Christ, but to share how deeply unsettled I am today because of MacArthur's virulence toward and mockery of Catholicism. In the sermon I just listened to, he blasphemes Christ - though he does not do so intentionally.
     I have begun listening to some mp3s of John MacArthur called "The Heresy of the Mass" (Parts 1 and 2). I need to stop because he's terribly misinformed and painfully arrogant. And I've run out of Tums - it is terribly disturbing. (Why am I listening? Because I know friends and family who listen to this man, and I want hear what they're hearing.) MacArthur gets maybe 5% of his facts straight - and I'm not exaggerating. In fact, I'm being generous - at least in his first sermon. I haven't heard all of the second sermon. He is woefully misinformed about what takes place in the Mass and he's misinforming about 7,000 of his congregants plus tens of thousands more who think he's a voice of truth. And I know he does speak the truth in many areas of the faith. But not here.
     For instance, he states in his sermon that during the Mass the people are strictly spectators. They don't pray, they don't sing - they do nothing but watch. Anyone who has been to a Mass knows how grossly misinformed of an assertion this is.
     He mocks the priesthood and infers that they are wicked, pedophiles and homosexuals.
     And these statements are what I found to be some of the tamer moments in his sermon.
     He calls the Roman Catholic Church satanic. And says that the hottest hell is reserved for us who, having had the truth, have turned away from it - for those of us within Catholicism. Then he gets angry that Trent dare lay anathemas against those who don't accept the Catholic Church's teaching on the Eucharist, not understanding the Church's teaching on Trent and these specific anathemas.
     He mocks what Catholicism teaches and mocks the Blessed Sacrament. In his closing prayer, he prays, "It's so dishoring to you. We want to make a whip and clean it out. It is a den of thieves. It ... is ... a ... den ... of thieves. Stripping people of their money and their souls, in your name. How it must horrify heaven. But our horror is also mingled with grief for the millions upon millions of people who are captive to this system and don't even know what they teach. But worship a dead woman, Mary, and worship a box with bread in it and never the true and living God. They trust in a priest who may have a wretched heart and not in the Lord Jesus Christ, the holy, harmless, undefiled, one, truly, great high priest by whom access to you is given. Help us Lord to understand these things and to rejoice that we know the truth and have been delivered, many of us, from this satanic system ... "
     At the end of the program, the radio announcer says, "We trust you're encouraged by what you have just heard ..." Frankly, I laughed out loud when I heard this even though I knew it was the standard verbiage that wrapped up MacArthur's sermons.
     John MacArthur is, unfortunately, not a fringe figure in Evangelicalism.
     I feel anger and pity all at once. I don't know this man. I've certainly known of him for years and years and have often listened to his preaching in the past. But he's ignorant about what Catholicism teaches. He is an exemplar of what Bishop Fulton Sheen famously said, "There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church, which is, of course, quite a different thing."
     So I am praying for John MacArthur today. I pray that God might forgive him, for MacArthur truly doesn't know what he's talking about. I also am praying that I might love him instead of responding in anger and remember him in prayer often.
     This post may seem a strange way to do that, but please understand that I need to dump this emotion somewhere. I'm sorry if it offends any of you - it is not meant to.


alison said...

I was not offended. Thanks for not stooping to sarcasm, but just stating what was said and your response to it.


He clearly hasn't experienced mass: I've never been so on my toes, or knees or feet, as the times I have attended mass.

Keep praying for love...that's all I got.

truevyne said...

I couldn't have made it through five minutes of that horror! I feel sick and weepy after reading this post. I can't say enough how sorry I am that people meant to be brothers and sisters in Christ speak that way of others.

Chad Toney said...

I listened to those talks months ago. There were mind-blowing for me.

It is very disconcerting that someone so respected by so many respectable, earnest Evangelicals can be so demonstrably wrong and so vitriolic in his error.

For a good mind-cleansing, I recommend listening to Dr. Thomas and Lovelace Howard on this past Monday's Journey Home.