Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Celebrating Exclusivity

Original published at the TMS Alumuni blog

The Forth Wayne News-Sentinel published an opinion piece called, Faith-based Know-it-alls are Dangerous, by a fellow named Bill Tammeus. It basically is a complaint piece against any religion or religious people who claim exclusivity of the truth while condemning all other religions for being false.

The 9/11 terrorist were of course the first example he cites of exclusivists who corrupted Islam (as if historic Islam was and is pluralistic), but then Mr. Tammeus asserts that this wicked exclusivism is to be found beyond the poster boys of the 9/11 terrorists in areas no one would expect. Where is one of those unassuming places where exclusivism has raised an ugly head? Why none other than Grace to You and Grace Community Church under the teaching of John MacArthur, Christianity's foremost exclusivist.

Tammeus writes:

Just recently I was listening to a Christian radio network and heard a preacher I've heard off and on in the past, the Rev. John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church of Sun Valley, Calif. Sometimes, in fact, I've found he has useful and interesting biblical insights. His radio show is called "Grace to You" (www.gty.org).

But in a sermon series called "Deliverance: From Error to Truth," MacArthur has fallen so deeply into the trap of exclusivism that he's now attributing to demonic forces all religions but his own."Satan," MacArthur said, "doesn't care what people believe. He doesn't care how sincerely they believe it as long as what they believe is wrong. ... He sponsors all kinds of religions. He sponsors every religion on the face of the earth that isn't true. He's behind them all. He's got enough diversity for everybody. He's provided an absolutely irresistible smorgasbord."

So the devil has created every religion but one, MacArthur would have us believe. And what is the one true religion? MacArthur's version of Christianity, of course. But suppose people don't buy that. MacArthur says they're doomed - even if they never have a chance to hear about this faith.

Here is how he delivered that news:

"There are those saying there are people in countries in obscure places and tribes in hidden back waters of the world who have never had a Bible and never hear the truth of Jesus Christ who are going to be saved because God is going to be gracious and kind to them and they're going to be saved even though they've never heard the truth. Well, that is a lie." So much for "grace" to you.

Mr. Tammeus then draws the conclusion we should stay away from such terrible exclusivism. Think upon the utter inconsistency displayed in this man's mind. Here we have a pluralist who thinks no one has the corner on the truth, making claims of what is the right "truth" and excluding any exclusivists like John. Of course, he implies that John is making up his own brand of Christianity when in point of fact he is simply teaching the Bible.

I do find it interesting that Mr. Tammeus singles out John. No mention of big ministries like Rick Warren or Joel Olsteen. That tells me he is doing something right. There would certainly be a red flag if he had praised John as being a picture of warmth and sharing with every false teacher and abominable heresy promoted on the air waves.

I for one am happy to know John, Grace to You, and The Master's Seminary have the distinction of being exclusive as it pertains to the truth of God's Word.


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