I recently took the time to watch a controversial lecture by John MacArthur from the 2007 Shepherd’s Conference, which was held at his home church in Los Angeles. Boldly titled “Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Premillennialist”, MacArthur (a man I greatly admire most of the time) basically attacked the vast majority of the Reformed-leaning pastors in his own conference. I say “attacked” not because of his stance on eschatology — he’s certainly entitled to present his own theological viewpoints from his own pulpit — but because of the harsh and divisive language he used.
With comments insinuating (and sometimes explicitly saying) that anyone who does not hold to a Dispensational viewpoint does not “get” the Bible, he seemingly undermined the authority of the rest of the speakers (including Al Mohler, Mark Dever, CJ Mahaney, Ligon Duncan, and John Piper), none of whom are Dispensationalists. It sparked off quite the blogging firestorm three years ago… I’m just very late to the party!
Anyway, it’s worth your time to hear what he has to say. He’s a great communicator, and very convincing. The only problem is that he completely misrepresents the opposing viewpoints in his lecture, which is a cheap debater’s trick and beneath someone of MacArthur’s caliber, in my opinion. Judge for yourself:
Many people have responded to MacArthur’s points, so I won’t do it here. For a very balanced and fair rebuttal, check out amillennialist Kim Riddlebarger’s response – “Dr. MacArthur set up and repeatedly attacked a straw man. His was a Pyrrhic victory over a phantom foe.”
If interested, you can find several other responses at links at the bottom of this page.
For a similar rebuttal from a Preterist perspective, here is Gary DeMar’s response to MacArthur’s book on Dispensationalism.