Q&A: Lawson, MacArthur, Mohler, and Sproul

A questions and answers session with Drs. Steven Lawson, John MacArthur, Albert Mohler and R.C. Sproul.

Questions:

1. Dr. MacArthur, can you tell us about the Shepherds Conference? (1:09)
2. How do you explain the term “Reformed” to a someone unfamiliar to Reformed teaching? (2:34)
3. Is our still heart deceitfully wicked after we are born again? (4:47)
4. How should I share the gospel when it could cost me my job? (7:08)
5. Is it biblical to say God “loves you” to believers and nonbelievers alike? (9:32)
6. What does it mean when we confess that Jesus has a reasonable soul? (13:05)
7. Dr. MacArthur, you spoke at 2016 Shepherds Conference about clergy malpractice. What did you mean by that? (17:08)
8. How can I best prepare students to live their faith out in public schools? (19:17)
9. How do I counsel a Reformed mother who is married to a Roman Catholic? (22:25)
10. With the rise of seeker-sensitive churches, how do we understand biblically ‘seeking’ God? (25:02)
11. How do you define a false teacher? How much error is needed before they are considered false? (32:23)
12. How is the current cultural climate forcing the “mushy middle” out of the church? (35:55)
13. Giving the failure of ecumenical movements, how do you promote unity in doctrine? (37:59)

John MacArthur: Discerning Judgement

Last time we discussed the necessity of discerning leadership in the church. But exercising discernment is not only the duty of pastors and elders. The same careful discernment Paul demanded of church leadership is also required of every Christian. The exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to “examine everything carefully” is written to the entire church.

The Greek text is by no means complex. The word “carefully” has been added by the translators to make the sense clear. If we translate the phrase literally, we find it simply says, “Examine everything.” But the idea conveyed by our word carefully is included in the Greek word translated “examine,” dokimazō. This is a familiar word in the New Testament. Elsewhere it is translated “analyze,” “test,” or “prove.” It refers to the process of testing something to reveal its genuineness, such as in the testing of precious metals. Paul is urging believers to scrutinize everything they hear to determine if it is genuine, to distinguish between the true and the false, to separate the good from the evil. In other words, he wants them to examine everything critically. “Test everything,” he is saying. “Judge everything.”

But wait just a minute. What about Matthew 7:1: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged”? Typically someone will quote that verse and suggest that it rules out any kind of critical or analytical appraisal of what others believe. Was Jesus forbidding Christians from judging what is taught in His name?

Obviously not. The spiritual discernment Paul calls for is different from the judgmental attitude Jesus forbade. In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus went on to say:

In the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:2–5).

Obviously, what Jesus condemned was the hypocritical judgment of those who held others to a higher standard than they themselves were willing to live by. He was certainly not suggesting that all judgment is forbidden. In fact, Jesus indicated that taking a speck out of your brother’s eye is the right thing to do—as long as you first get the log out of your own eye.

Elsewhere in Scripture we are forbidden to judge others’ motives or attitudes. We are not “able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). That is a divine prerogative. Only God can judge the heart, because only God can see it (1 Samuel 16:7). He alone knows the secrets of the heart (Psalm 44:21). He alone can weigh the motives (Proverbs 16:2). And He alone “will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus” (Romans 2:16). That is not our role. “Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts” (1 Corinthians 4:5).

What Scripture forbids is hypocritical judging and judging others’ thoughts and motives. But other forms of judgment are explicitly commanded. Throughout Scripture the people of God are urged to judge between truth and error, right and wrong, good and evil. Jesus said, “Judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers, “I speak as to wise men; you judge what I say” (1 Corinthians 10:15). Clearly, God requires us to be discriminating when it comes to matters of sound doctrine.

As we shall see next time, our discerning judgment is also an essential part of addressing sin within the church.

This Article: Discerning Judgement, originally appeared at Grace to You, Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

John MacArthur: Jesus, the Divine Light

 

John 1:6-13
There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.
He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John MacArthur: What Faith Does

At the heart of the no-lordship error is a disastrous misunderstanding of the nature of faith. No–lordship teaching depicts faith as inherently inert—even antithetical to works, obedience, and surrender to the will of God.

Scripture paints a different picture. And nowhere is that more apparent than in the “Faith Hall of Fame” presented in Hebrews 11. Over and over throughout the chapter we’re reminded that faith is not a static object to merely obtain. Instead, we’re given vivid, poignant descriptions of what faith does.

Faith Obeys and Endures

Faith obeys. That, in two words, is the key lesson of Hebrews 11. Here we see people of faith worshiping God (Hebrews 11:4), walking with God (v. 5), working for God (v. 7), obeying God (vv. 8–10), overcoming barrenness (v. 11), and overpowering death (v. 12).

Faith enabled these people to trust God with their dearest possessions (vv. 17–19); believe God for the future (vv. 20–23); turn away from earthly treasure for heavenly reward (vv. 24–26); see Him who is unseen (v. 27); receive miracles from the hand of God (vv. 28–30); have courage in the face of great danger (vv. 31–33); and conquer kingdoms, perform acts of righteousness, obtain promises, shut the mouths of lions, quench the power of fire, escape the edge of the sword, from weakness be made strong, become mighty in war, and put foreign armies to flight (vv. 33–34). This faith has overcome death, withstood temptation, undergone martyrdom, and survived all manner of hardship (vv. 35–38).

If anything is true about Hebrews 11 faith, it is that it cannot be killed. It perseveres to death (Hebrews 11:13–16); it endures torture, and outlasts chains and imprisonment. It endures no matter what—holding to God with love and assurance no matter the assaults the world or the forces of evil might bring against it.

A Different Kind of Faith

No-lordship theology posits an altogether different kind of faith. No-lordship faith is a fragile, sometimes temporary, often nonworking faith. No-lordship faith is simply being convinced of something or giving credence to historical facts. [1] No-lordship faith is confidence, trust, holding something as true—but without any commitment to the object of faith. [2] No-lordship faith is theinward conviction that what God says to us in the gospel is true—that and that alone. [3] No-lordship faith is “a single, one-time appropriation of God’s gift.” It won’t necessarily continue believing. [4] In fact, no-lordship faith might even turn into hostile unbelief. [5]

Is faith merely the illumination of human reason, or does it transform the whole being? Some advocates of the no-lordship view resent the accusation that they see faith as merely a mental activity. But they consistently fail to define believing as anything more than a cognitive function. Many use the word trust, but when they define it, they actually describe assent.

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