Sunday, April 19, 2009

Why John MacArthur Hasn't Commented On The Shack

I recently had the pleasure of communicating with Phil Johnson via Facebook concerning a question I had for Dr. John MacArthur. Realistically, this is about as close as I can hope to get an answer from J-Mac himself!—and who else better to ask?

My question had to do with why John MacArthur has remained silent on the issue of author William P. Young’s novel, The Shack.

Phil’s original response (I deleted it—doh’!) was that basically, Dr. MacArthur wasn’t inclined to comment on the book and to simply check out Tim Challies’ review. I wanted a little further clarification considering the controversy and impact it is having among evangelicals and wrote back the following:

Hello Phil,

I agree Challies did a great review. In fact I'm using his article to warn with those I care about concerning this book. It’s probably the most level, discerning and intelligent piece out there. But may I respectfully say that your response didn't really answer my question? I know you don't answer for "all things MacArthur" by any means, but you're more reachable. The truth about Seeker Sensitive message you guys did helped me to articulate why I left the church we attended for 9 years when I couldn't otherwise really pinpoint it to those who were asking. Why Dr. MacArthur remains completely silent on this is just a little surprising, that's all. --Not even a peep that I can find on Google .

Robert Tewart

Note: I was implying that a critique from Dr. MacArthur may serve as a tool for those not sure about the book. Much he provided to me when I was unsure about Seeker sensitive issues and more specifically the introduction of Purpose Driven material into the church I attended at the time.

Phil Johnson’s reply:

“In short, he hasn't read the book and doesn't want to. He wouldn't normally read a fiction book. In all the years I have known him, a brief experiment with a Louis La'Mour book is the only fiction work I have ever known him to read. Therefore he leaves the reviewing of fiction works to others. He wasn't a fan of Peretti novels or rapture fiction, either but he let other people write those critical reviews rather than read something he never would have read anyway just to critique it. Since he does read things like Challies' review of the book, and he liked Challies’ review of that book and felt it was a sufficient response to the issue, he is happy to leave it at that. He's not looking for more things to critique. It's really not his aspiration to be the leading critic on every evangelical aberration.”

I guess I can’t argue with that. Curiosity satisfied with a bit of inside humor from the world of Dr. John MacArthur!