BJU's Steve Pettit on his meeting with John MacArthur

"Had a great meeting with @johnmacarthur this afternoon! Thankful for his ministry at @mastersuniv" - Twitter

Might be related: A Note from the President (FBFI)

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TylerR's picture

Editor

I feel sorry for Schall that he has to put out this statement. Very difficult to walk this tightrope.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ron Bean's picture

“The church has a common goal and a common enemy. All the bickering and backbiting stops when the real enemy shows up. Fighting is what happens when there is no real enemy around. There is a lot of fighting among Christians because they have failed to recognize where the real enemy is.

When Christians wake up and realize that they are in a battle for the truth against ideologies stacked against the knowledge of God, when they begin to take serious the onslaught against virtue, against men and women, against marriage and the Bible—then this bickering and divisiveness will subside. Those who fight in the church don’t know who the enemy is. The church at large today is not fighting for the gospel, we are sadly just fighting each other. Meanwhile there is a raging enemy attacking life, the Bible, holiness, the church, and the family. And the church seems indifferent. It contentedly squabbles. Paul wants the church to be built up with joy, which means you have to strive together for the truth. We have to know where our enemy is.” - JMac

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

WallyMorris's picture

Although John MacArthur's statement is accurate as far as it goes, there's more to the overall issue than what he says. The current SBC situation illustrates that point. Sometimes people use the "We need to fight the real enemy" mantra in order to silence those who raise legitimate concerns about music, standards, associations, and elements of theology.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

TylerR's picture

Editor

Pardon me while I yawn as I watch this kerfluffle unfold.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

BJU has changed and it ain't going back. Nothing you can do about that. I think it's a very good thing. Reading people lament this is like watching someone passionately argue about Iran-Contra - it's been over and done with for a while!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

Wonder what they talked about.  I can imagine any number of things which any number of people (and yes, advocacy groups) might have been very interested in.  I think it would be safe to say, however, that JMac and TMC/TMS seem to have found some common ground with BJU, which (in partial agreement with Wally) I'd dare say represents a move on BJU's part to "convergence" and a more "conservative evangelical" point of view.

And as I read Scripture, I'm with Tyler; I think that's profoundly healthy for BJU.  It represents a shift away from substituting the cultural traditions of their historic constituency for the teaching of Scripture.

(although, to be fair to Wally, I'm still kinda amused that most people at BJU aren't horrified by their President singing a song about moonshiners killing revenue agents....)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

CAWatson's picture

I don't envy pastor Schaal (I was baptized in his ministry, was a member there for a few years, and did an internship there - so I'm not going to throw him aside). 

Some facts: 

The FBFI mentioned MacArthur directly in its resolutions in 1985 ("new evangelical") and in 1995 (for preaching at Moody). 

Both Kevin Schaal, his son (and I believe most of the other children) are graduates of BJU. Plus, a number of other students from that church went to BJU. 

Sam Horn, in his Northland days, was on the board of the FBFI. 

Steve Pettit was a regular for doing meetings at Kevin Schaal's church (every other year). 

 

So...on the one hand - you have the history of the FBFI contra MacArthur. 

On the other hand, you have BJU, former FBFI leadership (Horn), and a well-loved guest preacher (and friend of the church) now publicly endorsing MacArthur's ministry. 

Rock? Meet hard place. This is a complicated knot of history that is not easily unweaved without an organization simply saying "we were wrong." And if they say that, their raison d'etre of their very existence for the last 60 years disappears. 

dgszweda's picture

I was just reading this yesterday, "For the one who is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward."

G. N. Barkman's picture

It shouldn't have to.  Why does saying "we were mistaken" force the termination of an organization?  I'm sure they applauded John Mac Arthur when he said he was wrong about the eternal son ship of Christ, and that admission certainly didn't end his ministry.  If their reason d'etre is to defend the fundamentals of the faith, there will never be a time when their efforts are no longer needed.  But, if their purpose is to defend mistakes from the past, then that's a different story.

G. N. Barkman

dgszweda's picture

CAWatson wrote:

On the other hand, you have BJU, former FBFI leadership (Horn), and a well-loved guest preacher (and friend of the church) now publicly endorsing MacArthur's ministry. 

Rock? Meet hard place. This is a complicated knot of history that is not easily unweaved without an organization simply saying "we were wrong." And if they say that, their raison d'etre of their very existence for the last 60 years disappears. 

You now also have the leadership of BJU (Horn), leaving BJU to lead Master's.  I am surprised everyone is up in arms about a Tweet from Petit, but no one really cared that much about Dr. Horn leading Master's.

Ron Bean's picture

Perhaps someone would remind us and be willing to explain in simple term why it's wrong to have fellowship with JM?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

TylerR's picture

Editor

Unfortunately, that explanation likely won't be forthcoming!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ron Bean's picture

TylerR wrote:

Unfortunately, that explanation likely won't be forthcoming!

Ah, yes! Another one of those dangerous monsters that keep us in "The Village".

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

Per GN's note, being wrong on one issue doesn't remove a reason for that organization's existence, but if the question goes from a central question of "were we right to suggest that fellowship with John MacArthur violates principles of separation?" to a more general question of "Have we been making reckless allegations against any number of men?", then I'd argue the FBFI will be in serious, serious trouble.  The reason is simple; you're introducing the possibility that the "fundamentalism" the FBFI has been "defending" for decades really doesn't qualify as fundamentalism at all, but rather is just a knee-jerk defense of "that which is."

Even knowing that the FBFI members are nothing if not a bit stubborn (and that's not necessarily bad), that could be a death knell for the organization.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

CAWatson's picture

Just to put it out there - The full document of the resolutions of the FBFI is: https://fbfi.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Complete-Resolutions_Website...

The resolutions committee in 1985 was (At least one has gone to glory - I have very little experience with the rest): 
James Singleton, Chairman
Charles Baker
Frank Bumpus
Marion Fast
Greg McLaughlin

The resolution reads: 
"The Fundamental Baptist Fellowship emphasizes its opposition to New Evangelicalism and its effort to brand as legalist those who hold scriptural standards of separation. We are opposed to the recent New Evangelical emphasis away from confronting people with the gospel to a life-style or bridge type of evangelism. We do not believe any person who rejects the Biblical doctrine of separation is a true Biblicist; therefore, we reject John MacArthur, Jr., Charles Swindoll, and others of their like who are opposed to the fundamentalist position."

They softened a bit between 85 and 95. The resolution of 95 reads: 

"The FBF appreciates John MacArthur's expositional ministry of the Bible, but believes that his trumpet would give a more certain sound if he separated himself from speaking in places such as Moody Bible Institute, which has given support to past Billy Graham crusades and puts its stamp of approval on an upcoming Luis Palau crusade, and at Southern Baptist meetings in which he is on the same platform as Charles Colson, whose leadership in the movement known as Evangelicals and Catholics Together represents a betrayal of the doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone. We differ with the evaluation made by James Stitzinger, faculty member at Master's Seminary, in a recent book Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry, in which he portrays MacArthur as being in the tradition of a Charles Spurgeon in the Downgrade Controversy since in all article written in 1888 as to why he separated from the compromising London Baptist Association the "prince of preachers" contended that the only complete protest was separation. While contending for the truth MacArthur continues to associate with those who by their actions and associations aid those who dilute and destroy the truth. We believe that those who follow the MacArthur line of reasoning and practice will produce a second generation of New Evangelicals"

The committee included: 
Rod Bell
Tim Jordan
John Vaughn
Dave Doran
Matt Olson
James Singleton, Chairman

Ron Bean's picture

One must remember that announcements made by the leadership or leader of the FBFI do not reflect the positions of the subscribers to their magazine (they don't have members) or dictate to those voiceless subscribers what their individual positions must be. They may assume their hundreds of subscribers are supporters, but that would be only an assumption. To the spectator it would appear that the FBFI's zeal for separation from so-called disobedient brethren has placed them in a position of insignificance to anyone but themselves. They seem not to realize that there are many historic fundamentalists who see no sense in fighting with and separating from good people with whom they will share heaven other than that are different. If Jesus says to someone, "I see you separated from John MacArthur. Well done thou good and faithful servant!" I'll stand corrected and accept my loss of reward for not doing the same.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

AndyE's picture

CAWatson wrote:
We differ with the evaluation made by James Stitzinger, faculty member at Master's Seminary, in a recent book Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry, in which he portrays MacArthur as being in the tradition of a Charles Spurgeon in the Downgrade Controversy since in all article written in 1888 as to why he separated from the compromising London Baptist Association the "prince of preachers" contended that the only complete protest was separation. While contending for the truth MacArthur continues to associate with those who by their actions and associations aid those who dilute and destroy the truth.

MacArthur was probably more in line with Spurgeon than this resolution suggests.  When I studied the Downgrade Controversy, one of the things that flabbergasted me was Spurgeon's strong written support for separation from the Baptist Union while maintaining fellowship with various men who did not separate from the Union.  While Spurgeon himself took a strong stand there were things that he did that sort of took the teeth out of his actions -- like not naming names and not separating from those who stayed in.

You look at these resolutions, and the people who wrote them, and it's pretty stunning to see where we are now.  

Mike Harding's picture

The resolution in 85 is now 35 years old and woefully out of date.  Things have changed, also, since 95.  John Mac has increasingly become more militant in his preaching and practices.  Most in his circles would consider him a militant separatist by championing the truth and boldly condemning error.  In my understanding of 2 Thess 3, I do not consider JMac a disobedient brother.  On some issues we are disagreeing brothers. I am sure we would disagree on some important matters (important to me that is). Our church and school are very conservative on lifestyle and cultural issues.  There are things he allows that I would not. Places he would go to speak that I would not. Nevertheless, his commentaries and books are very conservative and have helped many a pastor through the years, including myself.  I am glad that the division over the "blood" controversy between BJU and JMac is over.  I believe that Dr. Custer had wrongly assessed John's position on that issue.  John was simply fighting against the Roman Catholic Sacramentarian viewpoint on the blood of Jesus, nothing more and nothing less.  BJU and the Masters have different histories and different orbits of influence/fellowship. The non-Lordship pastors and KJVO pastors generally don't like him.  Well, they don't like me either.  I have never been to the Masters College or Seminary, Grace Community, heard John speak in person, personally met him, or ever attended a Shepherd's Conference.  At the same time, he's not the guy we need to be throwing stones at.  Most who do live in glass churches.

Pastor Mike Harding

G. N. Barkman's picture

Thank you, Mike.  You have spoken wisely and helpfully.

G. N. Barkman

Jim's picture

CAWatson wrote:

They softened a bit between 85 and 95. The resolution of 95 reads: 

"The FBF appreciates John MacArthur's expositional ministry of the Bible, but believes that his trumpet would give a more certain sound if he separated himself from speaking in places such as Moody Bible Institute, which has given support to past Billy Graham crusades and puts its stamp of approval on an upcoming Luis Palau crusade, and at Southern Baptist meetings in which he is on the same platform as Charles Colson, whose leadership in the movement known as Evangelicals and Catholics Together represents a betrayal of the doctrine of justification by grace through faith alone. We differ with the evaluation made by James Stitzinger, faculty member at Master's Seminary, in a recent book Rediscovering Pastoral Ministry, in which he portrays MacArthur as being in the tradition of a Charles Spurgeon in the Downgrade Controversy since in all article written in 1888 as to why he separated from the compromising London Baptist Association the "prince of preachers" contended that the only complete protest was separation. While contending for the truth MacArthur continues to associate with those who by their actions and associations aid those who dilute and destroy the truth. We believe that those who follow the MacArthur line of reasoning and practice will produce a second generation of New Evangelicals"

The committee included: 
Rod Bell
Tim Jordan
John Vaughn
Dave Doran
Matt Olson
James Singleton, Chairman

I suggest that Matt Olson is far less conservative today than John Mac

Ron Bean's picture

I remember the "Big Men" on this list.

The committee included: 
Rod Bell
Tim Jordan
John Vaughn
Dave Doran
Matt Olson
James Singleton, Chairman

They were intimidating and I suspect if one had a dissenting opinion it would be better to keep it to himself.

 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

....why not a statement that the previous statements are no longer operative?  Also, a bit of thought on how secondary separation fits in here would be good.  If I warned about someone ignoring or grossly violating the inerrancy of Scripture, and then removed that warning, I'd better have an indication that person had a huge indication of repentance--really that they came to Christ.  

So this is where I've got some very significant issues with separation/secondary separation being called a "fundamental" issue, per Jim's sometimes comments about "everythingism."

 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Ron Bean's picture

Bert asked: why not a statement that the previous statements are no longer operative?

Because apologizing or amending or changing are not things that they do well.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Don Johnson's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

Bert asked: why not a statement that the previous statements are no longer operative?

Because apologizing or amending or changing are not things that they do well.

You would note this statement that we have at the top of the page where our Resolutions/Position Statements are found.

Below are the positions (formerly called "resolutions") of the FBFI. These positions are listed here for the purpose of edification, education and historical record. They are a record of the issues that were of importance to members of the FBFI at a given point in time. While many, maybe even most of these statements would be affirmed by the membership today, not all of them would or should. They are maintained here to provide an honest historical record of the FBFI both past and present

With respect to MacArthur currently, his talk is more conservative than its ever been, but while he condemns the charismatic notions of ongoing revelation (aka "prophecy" and "tongues") I note that he had Bob Kauflin, Sovereign Grace charismaniac as one of his speakers last week at the Shepherd's Conference. Kaufliin is on record claiming that he prophesies when writing music - God is speaking through him.

Consistency is a rare jewel.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Editor

BJU has changed. It will not change back. That's a good thing. You can do nothing to stop it, unless you can conjure up a DeLorean and some plutonium.

Those who desire to do so may now continue the hand-wringing about JMac and seperation ... I am profoundly grateful I am GARBC. This is all so foolish!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

I do feel for my brothers and sisters who sincerely believe in an expression of the Christian life more in keeping with what BJU used to be. I wonder what universities are left that can provide the kind of environment these people are looking for, without going to KJVO institutions on the hard right?

I am asking sincerely.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

AndyE's picture

TylerR wrote:
I do feel for my brothers and sisters who sincerely believe in an expression of the Christian life more in keeping with what BJU used to be. I wonder what universities are left that can provide the kind of environment these people are looking for, without going to KJVO institutions on the hard right?
I have two children there, a freshman and a junior, and I basically fall into that category.  It’s a good question. Things are not the same there anymore and it has posed some challenges for my kids.  There are things that I am deeply disappointed in, yet at the same time, as far as I can tell, my kids are thriving there.  It has been really good for them. So, when I watched Dr. Pettit announce today that BJU would be cancelling classes through Spring Break, basically closing down the dorms, and finishing the semester online, I hurt for my kids.  They have been preparing for concerts, getting excited about some upcoming social events, and enjoying their time there.  Even though it’s not the “ideal” BJU experience from my perspective, it’s still way better than just sitting at home and doing classes at a computer.

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