Perspicuity of Scripture: The Emergent Approach

John MacArthur | August 25, 2009

The most recent battle being waged in the evangelical church is one related to the perspicuity of Scripture. Within the larger context of the Emerging Church Movement is the Emergent Church, whose leading spokesman is Brian D. McLaren. Because of his prominence as a leader of both the Emergent Church and the Emerging Church Movement, what he says about the clarity or perspicuity of Scripture needs to be scrutinized. McLaren undermines the clarity of Scripture by questioning whether biblical doctrine can be held with certainty. He questions the clarity of Scripture by needlessly introducing complexity into biblical interpretation. He further dismisses scriptural clarity by questioning the possibility of deriving propositional truth from the Bible. Also, his refusal to abide by the Bible’s emphasis on the exclusive nature of the Christian gospel raises questions about the Bible’s clarity. McLaren’s pointed criticism of conservative evangelicals who insist on the clarity of Scripture is another indication of his disdain for the perspicuity of Scripture. McLaren’s position on the perspicuity of Scripture is clearly at odds with what the Bible itself says about its own clarity.

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John MacArthur President Professor of Pastoral Ministry B.A., Los Angeles Pacific College M.Div., Talbot Theological Seminary Litt.D., Grace Graduate School D.D., Talbot Theological Seminary John MacArthur is pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, author, conference speaker, president of The Master's College and Seminary, and featured teacher with Grace to You. From 1964 to 1966 Dr. MacArthur served as an associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Burbank, California and from 1966 to 1969 as a faculty representative for Talbot Theological Seminary, where he graduated with honors. In 1969, John came to Grace Community Church. The emphasis of his pulpit ministry is the careful study and verse-by-verse exposition of the Bible, with special attention devoted to the historical and grammatical background behind each passage. Under John's leadership, Grace Community Church's two morning worship services fill the 3,000-seat auditorium to capacity. Several thousand members also participate each week in dozens of fellowship groups and training programs, led by members of the pastoral staff and lay leaders. These groups are dedicated to equipping members for ministry on local, national, and international levels. In 1985, John became president of The Master's College (formerly Los Angeles Baptist College), an accredited, four-year, liberal arts Christian college in Santa Clarita, California. In 1986, John founded The Master's Seminary, a graduate school dedicated to training men for full-time pastoral roles and missionary work. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, John regularly teaches Expository Preaching at the seminary and frequently speaks in chapel. John is also president and featured teacher with Grace to You. Founded in 1969, Grace to You is the nonprofit organization responsible for developing, producing, and distributing John's books, audiocassettes, and the Grace to You, Portraits of Grace, and Grace to You Weekend radio programs. Grace to You airs more than 1,500 times daily throughout the English speaking world reaching all major population centers in the United States, as well as Australia, Canada, Europe, India, New Zealand, the Philippines, and South Africa, It also airs more than 450 times daily in Spanish reaching 23 countries, including Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, and Colombia. In its three-decade history, Grace to You has also distributed more than 12 million audiocassette tapes and more than one hundred study guide titles. Since completing his first best-selling book The Gospel According to Jesus, in 1988, John has written over 150 books and, through Grace to You and retail bookstores, distributed millions of copies worldwide.Many of John's books are available on CD-ROM and over 80 titles have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Marathi, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, and several other major languages. John and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children: Matt, Marcy, Mark, and Melinda.They also enjoy the enthusiastic company of their thirteen grandchildren--Johnny, Ty, Jessy, KD, Olivia, Susannah, Gracie, Kylee, Andrew, Brooke, Elizabeth, Calvin, and Audrey.

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