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

Friday, June 10, 2011

1969 - 2011

This past Sunday, June 5th, 2011, John MacArthur accomplished something that is extremely rare in Christendom. He finished preaching through the entire New Testament, verse by verse.

To our knowledge here at Grace, this hasn't been done in over a hundred years or more. The one person that comes immediately to my mind is John Gill, who preached through both the OT and NT, but that was in the 1700s.

It was an emotional moment. John's last sermon was on the longer ending of Mark, chapter 16:9-20. It was a encouraging message that explained the confidence we can have in the integrity of the Scriptures.

The message can be downloaded here: A Fitting End To Mark's Gospel

The Sunday evening before that, John did a Q&A with the audience. He opened by sharing a bit about his thoughts and feeling with finishing the NT. A number of the questions asked had to do with his ministry. It, too, is worth the download to listen. Q&A Part 58

John is on sabbatical until August, but I have heard him mention on a few occasion that he may return to preaching through the Gospel of John, because he felt he didn't cover it as thoroughly as he liked the first time around. I believe it was the first major book he preached through. Others have mentioned they said he may do some character sketches of lesser known folks in the Bible. What ever the case, I am excited to see where he goes next.

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Blogger The Squirrel said...

I watched last Sunday night's service on the live stream. The ovation at the end was, while obviously a bit embarrassing to John, a great tribute to a monumental achievement.

I hope he enjoys his sabbatical, although it doesn't sound like he's going to be resting much while he's away from Grace. Preaching in Europe, I heard?


6:16 AM, June 10, 2011  
Blogger Edward said...

My heart skipped a beat when I saw the title "MacArthur: 1969 - 2011". At first I though he passed away. Thankfully it is how long he has been at Grace Community Church. What a relief.

6:24 AM, June 10, 2011  
Blogger David Kjos said...

Man, don't do that to me! Whew.

I watched it live, too. What a moment, and what a great way to finish Mark.

8:23 AM, June 10, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Well. I sort of wrote that title on purpose. Get's your attention, right?

8:31 AM, June 10, 2011  
Blogger DJP said...

I can think of 39 other books that deserve to be preached through.

8:40 AM, June 10, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Okay. Due to unintended alarm for many readers, I altered the title of the post. I took off the "MacArthur" with the hopes it sounds less like an obituary.

8:51 AM, June 10, 2011  
Blogger Lynda O said...

Agree. How about if he would preach through more of the OT? His Genesis 1-11 series is among his best.

9:10 AM, June 10, 2011  
Blogger donsands said...

"John is on sabbatical until August"

May he find great rest for his soul during this time.
And come back with even greater zeal, if that is possible for John MacArthur.

I appreciate him as such a fine pastor and gift to us, the Body of Christ. I see our lord magnified when I hear his preaching-teachings, and that's how it should be. A man of humility, and yet speaks with authority in integrity.

My pastor just finished Romans, and is now beginning John's Gospel this Sunday. How I love this book. I hope he goes through it again for ya'll.

JC Ryle says of John's book: "It abounds in "deep things of God," and "sayings of the King," which we feel instinctively we have no line to fully fathom, no mind to fully comprehend, no words to fully explain. It must needs be that such a book of Scripture should be difficult. I can truly say that I have commented on many a verse in this Gospel with fear and trembling. I have often said to myself, "Who is sufficient for these things?"--"The place whereon thou standest is holy ground." (2 Cor.ii. 16; Exod. iii. 5.)

have a great Lord's day. Maranatha!

9:27 AM, June 10, 2011  
Blogger Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

“I can think of 39 other books that deserve to be preached through.”

Yeah, I wish John could be around for another 40 years to do it!

Fortunately, if one listens to John’s N.T. sermons they will learn much about the O.T. because of how often he references it along the way. He has also written several bible studies for some of the O.T. books and of course his “Study Bible” and “Bible Commentary” cover the O.T. as well.

John has been as solid as a rock when it comes to his pursuit and defense of God’s Truth and no one has had a greater influence on my life than him.

9:39 AM, June 10, 2011  
Blogger Peter said...

My grandparents were here to hear the first, and I am happy to be here to hear the last!

6:37 PM, June 10, 2011  
Blogger Chris Poe said...

If I'm not mistaken, W.A. Criswell preached through the entire Bible, OT and NT. He would preach a message in the A.M. and pick up where he left off in the P.M. I think I first saw mention of it in MacArthur's "Masters Plan for the Church."

I also know an Arminian pastor who has preached through most of the NT and maybe only has a handful of books to go. While he would have some obvious theological disagreements, he is a big MacArthur admirer and I'm guessing he may have begun verse by verse preaching after he started reading MacArthur material.

12:55 PM, June 11, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

From what the elders at Grace could determine, there were individuals who had "preached" through the NT, but it was typically chapter by chapter.

To be more specific regarding John, we have in mind the idea of detailed, verse by verse preaching. Hopefully that's clear. Of course, I guess the concept of "detailed" can be up for debate.

2:18 PM, June 11, 2011  
Blogger Shazza89101 said...

Yay, John Macarthur is such a faithful servant. He has been so important to me as a pastor teacher, on my christian journey.

8:32 AM, June 14, 2011  
Blogger Mike Neglia said...

That's fantastic to read. I love the enthusiasm for God's word!

I'm not sure if MacArthur is the first person to preach the whole New Testament verse-by-verse in over 100 years though.
Chuck Smith (Pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa) has preached through the entire bible many times over the years. Here's a link to his first teaching series:
I hear he has gone slower and with greater detail in subsequent journeys through the Bible.

Not that it's a competition, I hope and pray that THOUSANDS of pastors and teachers across the world would give attention to every word of Scripture and do all that they can to declare the WHOLE counsel of God!

Thanks for the post!

10:50 AM, June 14, 2011  
Blogger Dan said...

That was a great night at Grace!

11:04 AM, June 14, 2011  
Blogger SinglesPastor said...

What? John again? He just preached through John 40 years ago!

[humorous sarcasm intended]

12:32 PM, June 14, 2011  
Blogger James E. Snapp, Jr. said...

I read the sermon-transcript. What a shame that in this finish-line sermon, Dr. MacArthur made numerous mistakes and misrepresentations regarding Mark 16:9-20. It is clear to me that the level of research in preparation for this sermon was inadequate. He should treat the passage as part of the Word of God, instead of excluding it from his exposition.

In 2007, at http://www.sfpulpit.com/2007/01/22/a-short-kjv-detour-part-3-2/ , there is a statement at the Pulpit Magazine blog stating the following about Mark 16:9-20 --

"Mark 16:9-20 has evoked no end of critical discussion. Many believe that this questionable passage should be deleted since it is used to back up the claims of charismatics; others, Grace Church included, believe that it should be considered part of the authorative text and rightly interpreted."

This is, it seems, related to a booklet called "The Biblical Position on The KJV Controversy," which is online at, among other places, http://jcsm.org/StudyCenter/john_macarthur/KJV.htm , where it is noted that copies of it can be obtained by writing to Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. That is where John MacArthur preaches, and at its preface and its conclusion, there is the name John MacArthur. It sure looks like John MacArthur wrote it.

In that presentation, I find the following statement:

"You mention Mark 16. That text has evoked no end of critical discussion. For many, they delete it because it simply solves some of their theological hangups. I know we differ on the charismatic issue and quite honestly, it would be easy for me to hide behind the cloak of textual criticism and conclude that because it's not in some of the manuscripts, that therefore, verses 9 ff. are to be deleted. The evidence is not conclusive for either side, but a good case can be made for the inclusion of Mark 16:9-20 and I myself believe that it should be included and then rightly interpreted."

So how can he say that the passage should be included, and then turn around and say that it's a "bad ending"??? Frankly I do not think that Dr. MacArthur has a firm grip on this text-critical issue. His congregation and radio listeners were not well-served by this sermon; Dr. MacArthur gave many false impressions and false descriptions of the evidence.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.

6:45 PM, June 18, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

James writes,
So how can he say that the passage should be included, and then turn around and say that it's a "bad ending"??? Frankly I do not think that Dr. MacArthur has a firm grip on this text-critical issue. His congregation and radio listeners were not well-served by this sermon; Dr. MacArthur gave many false impressions and false descriptions of the evidence.

A few thoughts here:
One, that article on the SF pulpit website wasn't written by John, but more than likely an associate pastor. His conclusion on John 16 doesn't necessarily speak for everyone at Grace.

Second, Perhaps it was John's initial conviction on the passage, but since preaching through Mark came to the opposite conclusion. There is such a thing as changing one's view. That article was written in 2007. That's like 4 years ago.

Third, rather than John making mistakes, I thought he made some excellent comments about textual criticism, outstanding observations on how Mark wrote his gospel, and then rightly concluded that the last 12 verses of Mark neither add anything new as far as other revelation is concerned, or leaves anything vitally important out if it was not authentic. Is there no response to his conclusions? I guess I am missing where there is this big conspiracy of deception going on. The word "false" being a rather harsh description seeing that it implies John was perhaps intending to mislead.

7:40 PM, June 18, 2011  
Blogger James E. Snapp, Jr. said...

In case anyone is wondering if, as Fred asked, there is any response to his conclusions: yes, there is. There are plenty of corrections of his false claims, too lengthy to list here. Readers are welcome to contact me for details.

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.

12:29 AM, June 27, 2011  

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