If you’ve ever poked around Christian Websites, you’ll know what I’m talking about immediately.
(this one’s a little long – I encourage the casual blog reader who normally skips any page with more than three paragraphs to take your time, and READ this post.)
Phil Johnson, one of the many pastors at John MacArthur’s Grace Fellowship church, has a website that has bookmarks to various websites. He takes some pride in listing links to websites he disagrees with, and often takes a ridiculing tone in the comments for each link. They are organized into “Bad Theology”, “Very bad theology”, etc.
Websters 1828 Dictionary Definition: Churlish CHURLISH, a.
1. Rude; surly; austere; sullen; rough in temper; unfeeling; uncivil.
2. Selfish; narrow-minded; avaricious.
3. [Of things.] Unpliant; unyielding; cross-grained; harsh; unmanageable; as churlish metal.
4. Hard; firm; as a churlish knot.
5. Obstinate; as a churlish war.”
Normally I save blockquotes for Bible verses. I am not suggesting by this use I am elevating Webster’s to the level of scripture! Because I’m sure if a contentious person saw this blog post they would make exactly that accusation. Block Quote is a device to make something stand out in the text as a quote. That is all. I normally use it for Bible quotes. This is a quote from Websters. That’s all.
I would have called Mr. Johnson a Boor, but I have no idea if he’s tight with a dollar or not, so it would be incorrect to state this. I will state he is acting churlishly.
Easy answer. Mr. Johnson will list anyone he disagrees with their doctrine. He is a 5-point Calvinist, so anyone who is not a 5-point Calvinist runs the risk of being listed under at least the “bad Theology” section.
Mr. Johnson therefore feels compelled to list popular Baptist (or Baptist personality) websites in his annotated bookmarks. He will list anyone who is Armenianist. Now, this does not mean he obsessively looks for Armenianist or Baptist websites (like all Calvinists, Mr. Johnson is unaware that there is a difference between Armenianism and Baptist doctrine – he merely lumps everyone who is not 5-point Calvinist as Armenian). But any website that catches his attention that he in his arrogance and disdain decides is lacking in correct doctrine is thus bookmarked.
Some charges he often makes is Pelagianism (disbelief in the doctrine of original sin). I’m not sure exactly why he labels so many websites as Pelagian – perhaps it’s Calvinist based? If one does not believe in TULIP theology, perhaps he considers them Pelagian. After all the T stands for Total Depravity. Perhaps to 5-point Calvinist sensitivities, one who does not accept completely the Total Depravity doctrine would seem to be Pelagian. I would invite Mr. Johnson to make himself clear upon this point? Please. I do not want to misrepresent your opinion on this issue – the way Pastor Johnson misrepresents so many of the websites he disagrees with.
And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. (1 Corinthians 8:11-12)
Another charge on many is he makes the tired old charge of Ruckmanism to any KJO website or preacher. Another Phil, Phil Stringer of the Dean Burgon Society, makes the observation that “Ruckmanite is what they call you when they’re losing the debate”.
I’ve answered that charge several times on this blog. Ruckmanites are Ruckmanites. Riplingerites are Riplingerites. King James Only is King James Only.
Labeling every KJO website or blog as Ruckmanite would be like me blogging on Hyper-Calvinism, and charging Pastor Johnson with this, which would be incorrect (Calvinism is so complex, that only extremely educated people on this particular issue even are aware of the issues, such as prelapsarianism! And when some Calvinists debate Baptists on this, they often will throw these issues in to attempt to make the Baptist look stupid. Thouless in his book “Straight and Crooked Thinking” lists this as “Evasion of truth” and “distraction” (see pages 41-48). Thanks to John J. Parsons of Hebrew4christians for listing this information on his website). Pastor Johnson is a 5-point Calvinist, and not a hyper-calvinist. There is a distinction. I make these kind of distinctions. Pastor Johnson does not.
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. (Mark 7:21-23)
I notice that John MacArthur, on the KJO issue, wrote his defense of his position, which is to repeat the arguments made by Wescott and Hort, who were not saved men. One can claim I am misrepresenting them because they were Anglican. That would be a straw man argument (and an ad hominem attack)… and incorrect as I also quote and support another Anglican priest – Dean John Burgon!
Pastor MacArthur has an excellent grasp on the ability to research an issue. His skills in discovering that Kenneth Hagin, for example, plagiarized much of Mary Baker Eddy’s writings was scholarly and well done.
But on this issue, MacArthur either has not done his homework, or has done it and is uncomfortable with the answers, and decided to reject them. Pastor Johnson apparently feels the same way – except he uses poor debate tactics to evade and distract, by labeling EVERY KJO website as Ruckmanite. Does he use the term? No. But he does use Riplinger and Ruckman definitions of “Second Inspiration”, and accuses all KJO believers of this, as does John Ankerberg (dealt with elsewhere on this blog).
Mr. Johnson needs to heed the words of the Bible on his behaviour.
Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath. (Proverbs 21:24)
Since Mr. Johnson makes an issue of whether one is a Calvinist or not… here is what the Bible commands Baptists do.
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. (2 Thessalonians 3:6)