Out of all the speakers of the conference the one I was LEAST excited about was John MacArthur. I have not been a huge fan of Dr. MacArthur's, and have at times been quite critical of who he is. Do not get me wrong I think that most of his theology is solid and that he is someone I would recommend for good reformed doctrine, eschatology aside. The issue I have had with him, is the way he comes off, arrogant, rude, condescending and prideful. It is not just him that comes off this way, there are many I have viewed of his "fans" that are the same way, and graduates of his school often seem to lean on the fundamentalist side of life. In recent history many of the MacArthur army has taken aim at Mark Driscoll for his attire he has when preaching and some of the things he says. They seemed to disregard the impact Mark has had in one of the least churched cities in the U.S. and instead focus on the things the perceive as imperfections. In other words they take non-foundational issues such as dress and even evangelism styles as foundational. They also seemed to be like pitbulls ready for a fight/debate, and that gets old fast. So a lot of my beef was with the whole aura around this dude. So needless to say I was not amped for Johnny Mac's talk. God is gracious!
Dr. MacArthur spoke on the Inability of us sinners to regenerate ourselves. In other words we are totally depraved, unable to save ourselves. I was a very great talk, not because it was super theological, but because when you realize how much of a desperate state you were in and that God would save you totally it humbles you. MacArthur's talk was very straight from the Word and was very well done. Often we take for granted the "dead in trespasses" verse from Ephesians 2, and I confess do not dwell on that as much as I need. I was DEAD spiritually, not hurting, not sick, but DEAD, and dead people cannot make their heart start beating. Often we want to argue that "I chose" Christ, and that is true up to the point we realize "I chose" only after He made me alive, He gave me a new life, a new heart, new eyes to see, then yes "I chose".
This session probably impacted me the most in not so much the content although that was fantastic, but the humility. I was humbled by my own arrogant, prideful view of Dr. MacArthur and his "fans". The reality is, T4G was not an Acts 29 conference, and it did not look like one. It was more of a Southern Baptist looking conf. where many polos and dockers were in effect. The general crowd of t4G was not the kind of people I am comfortable around, or at least that was my opinion. Dr. MacArthur's session helped change that. I was humbled, and shown that these men in dockers and white tennis shoes are my brothers just as much as my friends that wear jeans and t-shirts. These men are sinners unable to save themselves, but by God's grace have been saved and made new in Christ, just like me. I am no better than these men, in fact I know my heart and fear I am far worse than any of them in that conference. I may not agree with them on certain issues, and we may not end up best buddies that will plant churches together, and that is OK! We are linked though in a way that surpasses all differences of opinion, that is we are linked by Christ and His blood!
God humbled me in many ways, and this session was a catalyst for much of that humiliation I had and I praise God for it!!
"Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." Phil. 2:3
Click here for "The Sinner Neither Able Nor Willing: The Doctrine of Absolute Inability"