Truth Matters Conference
The Truth Matters Conference was held from October 16-18th 2019 and was a celebration to honor John MacArthur’s 50th year of pulpit ministry. John MacArthur has been known to speak very candidly regarding theological distinctives and polemically against individuals who are regarded as unscriptural and even heretical. His matter-of-fact, level-headedness is what draws many people to his preaching style. It doesn’t take long to listen to John MacArthur to hear that he believes wholeheartedly that speaking truth plainly to those who are in error, or those who may fall prey to the erroneous teaching, is one of the most genuinely loving things that any preacher can do. This is because we are called to judge rightly, according to what God has revealed in Scripture.
Grace To You has this description posted on their website “With The Sufficiency of Scripture as its theme, the conference focused on some of the doctrinal distinctives that have guided and shaped John MacArthur’s Bible teaching. John MacArthur preached about Telling the Truth in a Post-Truth World and The Blessed Work of the Sufficient Word and God’s Demand for Discernment. Phil Johnson preached Scripture vs Human Experience and Another Look at the Charismatic Movement: Strange Fire Six Years Later. Voddie Baucham preached a sermon titled The Pain and Peril of Pragmatism and Irreconcilable Views of Reconciliation. Justin Peters taught about Hearing from Heaven: How to Know the Voice of God. There were several other excellent speakers.
If you haven’t gone online to listen to these sermons, I would highly encourage you to do so. Everyone spoke boldly, with a focus on bringing truth to light in areas that are under attack by the world – because, Truth Matters. We must stay true to what is the solid, absolute truth – because it is proclaimed in Scripture, and Scripture is sufficient for all aspects of life and godliness. The discussion of the Social Gospel was brought up frequently, as it has been in a few conferences in recent years – which was also a key factor in the issues presented at the June 2019 Southern Baptist Convention. In fact, there are a growing number of large churches leaving the SBC over the way they caved to the liberal side of these issues. A split is coming soon for the SBC since they are rapidly giving up Biblical Authority. There have been a plethora of issues relating to cultural Marxism, Racial Reconciliation, Women Pastors, Critical Race Theory have come up frequently in recent months, it is no surprise that it was brought up during a conference in the Truth Matters Conference.
John MacArthur said, “When the Southern Baptists met in June and they passed resolution 9 and they said intersectionality and critical theory are useful tools in interpreting the Bible, that was a watershed moment for that entire movement because if the culture has the right to interpret the Bible they will interpret the Bible and liberalism will take over.” Christianity is under attack. The SBC is one of the largest evangelical denominations and is considered by many to be the bulwark for conservative Christianity.
And later he said, “When you literally overturn the teaching of Scripture to empower people who want power, you have given up authority.”
During this conference a Question and Answer forum was held, like is held at many similar conferences. Todd Friel, host of Wretched TV and Radio moderated. One game that is held frequently with guests on Todd’s program is a pithy answer – Word Association game. Todd says a word or name and the guest says a few words which are associated with them. Each question then turns into an opportunity to discuss why the word(s) were chosen. It’s a fun way to dive into a variety of subjects.
At one point during the Question and Answer forum, Todd Friel asked John MacArthur for a short, pithy response to Beth Moore. She has been vocal lately against what she considers “misogyny” in the evangelical church. John MacArthur asked how many words he gets, for which Todd responded, “You know, actually, before you answer this please think carefully this time ’cause last time you did a one-word association the guy wrote a book about it, and we don’t want that.” The “last time” referred to MacArthur’s one-word response to the name Steven Furtick; his response was “Unqualified.” Shortly after, Steven Furtick wrote a book in response called “(Un)Qualified.” This wasn’t a jest to say that anyone there disagreed with his previous comment regarding Steven Furtick, but that we don’t necessarily want it so quotable that it turns into a book deal.
John MacArthur responded by saying “Go home.” He said it very matter of fact. Not in a tone that spewed hatred. And within hours of this, the evangelical world was split into two groups: those who agreed, and those who vehemently disagreed. This statement was much more controversial than it should have been. Social Media has been ablaze with this one quote – completely fixated on the two icons in evangelicalism. Yet many people have failed to address the issue at hand for what it is.
John MacArthur went on to elaborate on his answer – as is customary with this style of Question and Answer Forum. He said “There is no case that can be made biblically for a woman preacher – period, paragraph, end of discussion. … I would just add one thing. Just because you have the skill to sell jewelry on the TV sales channel doesn’t mean you should be preaching. There are people who have certain hawking skills, natural abilities to sell. They have energy, personality and all of that. That doesn’t qualify you to preach.”
Todd Friel had a bit of commentary to add, but then he asked in a grave tone, “I’m perceiving this is actually troubling you.”
MacArthur went on to defend his position biblically, “Profoundly troubles me because I think the Church is caving in, to woman preachers. Just the other day the same thing happened with Paula White. A whole bunch of leading evangelicals endorsed her new book. She’s a heretic and a prosperity preacher, three times married. What are they thinking? The MeToo Movement, again, is the culture reclaiming ground in the Church. When the leaders of evangelicals are rolling over for women preachers, feminists have really won the battle. The primary effort in feminism is not equality. They don’t want equality. That’s why 99 percent of plumbers are men. They don’t want equal power to be a plumber. They want to be senators, preachers, congressmen, presidents, the power structure in a university. They want power, not equality. This is the highest location they can ascend to that power in the evangelical church and overturn what is clearly Scriptural. I think this is feminism gone to church. This is why we can’t let the culture exegete the Bible.”
Continuing, Macarthur was justly critical of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Resolution #9 that supported unbiblical Intersectionality and Critical Race theory. This resolution also called for more diversity in Bible translations regardless if there was someone more qualified in the languages who was not a minority. John MacArthur is calling out the entire SBC for slipping up and erring in the name of political correctness. He was contending that the greatest issue isn’t necessarily just Beth Moore’s preaching, but the pattern of allowing the culture to interpret the Bible.
Why the Sufficiency of Scripture is So Important
The issue of the sufficiency of Scripture was the core of the Protestant Reformation. It is through the sufficiency of Scripture that we come to understand Biblical inerrancy, the perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture, and the extent of the canon.
“The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible1 rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience, although the light of nature and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God and his will which is necessary unto salvation.3 Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto4 writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.” London Baptist Confession 1:1
“And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:15-17
“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.” Isaiah 8:20
“Having been built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,” Ephesians 2:20
Scriptures are completely sufficient for their task: to reveal who God is and what He requires; to elaborate on who man is and his relation to God; how man is to worship God. Scripture is totally sufficient for telling us about God’s holiness, our sin, and our need for a Savior. Just because the phrase “God is Trinity” is not found in a specific verse, does not mean that it isn’t taught throughout the entirety of scripture.
Scripture also is totally sufficient for equipping us to live out our Christian practice and grow in godliness. Though it may not tell us how to change the oil in our car, it can tell us how to behave when our car has trouble and is in need of mechanical repair – even when it happens at the most inopportune times. To say that Scripture is sufficient is not to say that it is the only thing necessary. We will still need to know how to change the oil in our car and manuals for working machinery.
The sufficiency of Scripture is also sufficient for the church as an institution. It is completely sufficient for educating us on how the churches are to function and how corporate worship is to be conducted. Creeds, Confessions, and Statements of Faith are beneficial for a church – for they succinctly teach us doctrine that is found in Scripture. Scripture is totally sufficient for the doctrinal content of the creeds, confessions, and statements of faith.
“I testify to everyone hearing the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18
All of this simply means that we do not need any more special revelation. The Bible is clear that there will not be any additional special revelation given. The Bible is the inerrant and inspired Word of God. Therefore it stands as the means by which we judge all other knowledge. That means all other knowledge has to stand under the judgment of the Bible. The Bible is comprehensive, complete, whole. It embodies everything necessary for all aspects of our spiritual life. It is flawless, true, trustworthy and right.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.” Psalm 19:7