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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This is Why I Love Phil

I figure most of my readers are aware that John MacArthur has allowed his study Bible notes to be released with the NIV. The NIV is not necessarily the favorite Bible translation of the folks who run in my neck of the evangelical woods. We're more NKJV, NASB, and ESV people with some starting to take a shine to the HCSB. Real diehards I know carry around copies of the original languages.

At any rate, there are a few numbered among us who don't like this arrangement at all. They are disagreeing vehemently against it, even suggesting that John is off his rocker in some fashion. I guess that is okay as long as dissenters are clear about the facts.

I, however, was surprised to read the Bayly bros. explain in a blog post how this MSBNIV is all about money, and shoring up the funds for the fading MacArthur empire, and what not.

In this post, David Bayly writes,

But, like it or not, John is getting older. His ministry has handlers now. There are legacy issues to consider. The financial future of a MacArthur-less GTY, Master's College and Seminary, etc. is being weighed. And are we really to believe that finances play no role in such decisions at GTY? Really?

Wow. That's the kind of Gail Riplinger conspiratorial stuff I read over at the KJV-Only websites, just minus the seizure inducing flash animation of anamorphic Bibles.

Phil's reply was precious, and hence the reason we all love him around here:

David: "His ministry has handlers now. There are legacy issues to consider. The financial future of a MacArthur-less GTY, Master's College and Seminary, etc. is being weighed. And are we really to believe that finances play no role in such decisions at GTY? Really?"

Well, yes. Really.

You're trying too hard to justify a groundless judgment you have made.

I'm Executive Director of Grace to You. We're a donor-supported ministry, and we get zero royalties on sales of the MSB. We've given away freely, no strings attached whatsoever, at least 80,000 copies (NASB, NKJV, and ESV combined). John waives his author's royalty on all copies given away by the ministry. (He does that for all books given away by GTY, and we have literally given away millions of books). We DO sell additional copies of his books at a sizable discount, but our total sales numbers are a small fraction of what we have given away for free. Moreover, our income from book sales, when you subtract the cost of purchasing books from the publisher, is negligible.

Which is to say there is a sum total of zero financial incentive for GTY to want to see an NIV edition of the MSB published.

When the NIV-MSB was first proposed, John MacArthur said no. **I'm** the one who lobbied for it to be done--for all the reasons I listed in my blogpost about it. You may question my judgment or disagree with the decision. But given the fact that not one dime in royalties or reward will go to me personally or to the ministry I work for, you cannot righteously claim my motive was money.

But: "Handlers"? In everything you have written about this issue, that's what amuses me most of all. Next time you're in California, I'll take you to lunch and let you meet our management team. We've been called a lot of things. "Handlers" is a first, and while it's a lot nicer than we're accustomed to, I have to say: You give us way too much credit if you think we're savvy, profit-motivated "handlers."

We're basically a bunch of teachers and preachers and Sunday-school teachers--churchmen without MBAs and totally lacking in either experience or interest when it comes to marketing technique. We are stewards accountable to God for what we do with our ministry and with our gifts. And that's intimidating enough without posing as "handlers" of John MacArthur's "legacy issues."

One other thing to bear in mind: The Pyromaniacs blog is my hobby, not an extension of my job. The guys who write there, except for me, have no connection to John MacArthur or Grace Community Church. Your original accusations about this were as off-base as these revised comments.

I like you guys and I love that you are passionate about what you believe. But defending your ability to publish judgments of others' hearts and motives doesn't become you--especially when it's clear you made no real effort to investigate the facts.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Robert said...

Thanks for pointing this out, Fred. It was a great response, btu sadly it looks like the Bayly's are digging in their feet and are not willing to accept anything that Phil said. Somehow that seemsto go against how my Bible tells me I am supposed to act towards my fellow Christians. I don't remember any part instructing me to demand all kinds of proof in order to believe what somebody has told me about their motives and actions. In fact, there is more of a burden on those bringing accusations to bear their own proof against those they level charges against.

4:51 AM, February 23, 2012  
Blogger DJP said...

Epic graphic.

6:19 AM, February 23, 2012  
Blogger Steve Lamm said...

John MacArthur has "handlers???" That's rich. Shows how little they know of the man and his ministry team.

9:34 AM, February 23, 2012  
Blogger Tim Bayly said...

>>the Bayly bros. explain in a blog post how this MSBNIV is all about money

That's not what we said, dear brother. Read my brother David's words just below this twisting of his words (and mine): "...are we really to believe that finances play no role in such decisions at GTY?"

It's the denial that financial considerations played any role--any role at all--that David and I and our readers judge to be Arminian, as in fully sanctified. To see mature Reformed believers squeal over Baylyblog calling attention to donations and sales and copyrights and licences and royalties in the deal with Zondervan to package the MSB with the NIV2010 is partly disheartening. But it's also encouraging in that it shows this issue hasn't been raised before in these circles and the wheels of self-doubt and self-criticism and self-awareness have grown rusty. Thus it was needed.

Love,

10:58 AM, February 23, 2012  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Tim, thanks for the comment,

You write,
That's not what we said, dear brother. Read my brother David's words just below this twisting of his words (and mine): "...are we really to believe that finances play no role in such decisions at GTY?"

I'm sorry you "think" I am twisting your words, but how else am I to understand the main thrust of your argument you have been putting forth in the comments of Dan's blog and at your own blog?

Finances=money, and you two have this weird insistence that there is something deeper and nefarious going on that Phil and John are hiding with this project so that all that is being considered is money.

I'm serious when I say your posts resonate with this tone of conspiracy that I often hear coming from people like Tex Marrs or Jack Chick. You really should step back and read some of the responses others are giving you guys.

However, on an entirely unrelated note. I have always love the Gospel Blimp movie. In spite of it being crudely made and poorly acted, it was amazingly prophetic in the points it tried to make. I have always hoped that one day a remake could be made that parodies the missional, seeker-sensitive crowd.

4:14 PM, February 23, 2012  
Blogger Jacob said...

Great post, especially Phil's response. Well put. Looks like Barnum and Bayly need to retract their claws and find a new target.

4:20 AM, February 24, 2012  
Blogger Ty Ping said...

Fred, I think you may need handlers too. ;)

3:48 PM, February 25, 2012  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Thanks. I'll have to start taking applications.

4:31 PM, February 25, 2012  

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