Bible Questions and Answers, Part 64


PHIL: Well, John, I know everybody’s been
saying this to you all day, but I want to say it too; welcome back, we missed you JOHN: Well, thank you, thank you. It’s good to be back. Thank you. PHIL: This is fast becoming my favorite time
of year: you come back to the pulpit, the college students come back, and – JOHN: It’s a great time. PHIL: college football is about to start. JOHN: That too. PHIL: I’ve got some questions. You know, normally when people know that I’m
going to be doing one of these Q&As I’m flooded with suggestions and questions; and today
I’ve asked dozens of people, “What should I ask?” and every single person has said,
“I don’t have any questions.” So this is a well-taught church. JOHN: Either that or they’re totally disinterred
in me. PHIL: Well, I’ve got some questions. JOHN: Oh, good. By the way, this is Phil Johnson for those
of you who don’t know. Phil Johnson, an elder here; gifted, gifted
teacher of God’s Word, preacher, theologian, and the Director of Grace to You and all of
its ministries all over the world. And you and I have been working together for
– since when? PHIL: Since – well, when I was working at
Moody Press, 1980, 1981. JOHN: Yeah, that’s where we first met. I was doing a book on the family and you edited
that book, and that started a relationship. And hired him away from Moody, brought him
here, and the rest is history. PHIL: It was the best thing that ever happened
to me. JOHN: From my viewpoint it sure was, so I’m
glad you feel that way. PHIL: Yeah. In fact, you made me nervous this morning
when you said that you liked to livestream the service while you’re gone. JOHN: Especially when you’re preaching. PHIL: Ha. Now you told me once, years ago, 35 years
ago I think you said to me that it’s hard for you to listen to other preachers because
you’re always thinking, “He should have gone to that text. He should have included this cross-reference.” And, yeah. JOHN: I never think of that when I’m listening
to you. I love to listen to the men who preach here. PHIL: I know better than that. JOHN: You know, you told me years ago that
you would never preach. PHIL: I did, that’s right. JOHN: You said, “I will never preach; I can’t
do that,” and I said, “You’d better be careful of what you tell the Lord you won’t do.” So, no, I love listening to you especially,
but to all the men who preach here. I have no criticisms at all, I’m just delighted. PHIL: We’re glad to have you back. JOHN: Oh, thank you. PHIL: I’d rather listen to you than me any
day. JOHN: Well, yeah. No. PHIL: All right. Well, it’s been – I did the math on this today
and was surprised to realize; it’s been almost three years since the Strange Fire Conference. And I’ll bet you’ve had the same experience
I have; everyplace I’ve spoken since then – and this is literally true without an exception
– everyplace I’ve spoken in the past three years I encounter people who tell me they
are former charismatics who were led out of the movement because of the book or the conference,
and those messages that are out there on YouTube are still having an impact. Is that your experience as well? JOHN: It is. You know, when we decided to do the Strange
Fire Conference, you know, the whole charismatic movement had run loose, it had run free, and
there had never been any public widespread outcry from the evangelical church. I mean you know this because you live in the
world of the evangelical ministries, media ministries and publishing. Nobody was writing a book to call this into
biblical account. Nobody was confronting it. Nobody was willing to step and criticize the
movement, and the movement was wreaking havoc. It always does; it still does. It was wreaking havoc here; but maybe the
greatest damage it was doing was outside of America. One could argue that the greatest damage it
has done is in Africa. PHIL: Yeah. I don’t know if you saw the news story this
week. There was a story about a charismatic pastor
who literally killed a woman in the service because he put one of the speakers on top
of her and claimed a miracle that she would live, and he jumped on the speaker and it
crushed this woman to death. JOHN: Yeah. PHIL: That kind of thing is fairly regular. JOHN: We don’t see the extreme horrors of
it, we see enough. But my obligation as a faithful servant of
the Lord was to basically lead an outcry. So that’s why we had the Strange Fire Conference
and we made no attempt to soft-pedal the issue. We hit it head-on; brought in a lot of people,
including Conrad Mbewe from Africa, and he gave a great message. If you haven’t heard that you need to download
it and listen to what he says about what’s going on in Africa. I knew there would be a number of effects. I knew, for one, that we would be attacked
back; and we were from some people who are sort of the quasi-intellectuals – and you
got into some broadcast conversations on that level – from the people who just hate us because
we question the legitimacy of their experience in all of that. But I also knew that there were lots of people
out there who just needed to know the truth. And you’re absolutely right; everywhere I
have gone since that conference, people have told me they have listened to that and it
has led them out of the movement. It has delivered them from what they now see
was a very dangerous situation. This is a great time to be alive in the sense
that when you do something once, it lives on forever in the media, whether it’s YouTube
or some other media forum. It’s a good thing that truth lives on, because
everything else does too. So we were able to create an event that has
almost a permanent life, and those messages keep going and going and going. And I had first begun to experience that one
back in the ’70s. I wrote a book called Charismatic Movement;
it was called The Charismatics. And then we did another one, Charismatic Chaos,
and I saw the fruit of those books, people coming to a true faith in Christ out of that
movement, out of that movement. And so my experience with the fact that God
had His people out there and they just needed the truth led to the conference. And it’s even exponentially beyond what the
books have done. Those messages on YouTube and other forums
have been a tremendous tool to bring people out of that movement. PHIL: Yeah. And, you know, don’t overplay the critics. Actually, there have been two vocal critics
– Michael Brown who occasionally still takes pot shots. The other was Rodney Howard-Browne, you know,
the Holy Ghost bartender guy, the laughter guy who threatened me with a lawsuit because
I put one of his videos online that he tried to take off because it had the record of how
foolish his foolishness is. But beyond that, most of the feedback I’ve
gotten has been entirely positive. JOHN: Yeah. And I think there’s a short shelf life in
the lives of people in that movement. I think the movement keeps going because it
finds new people. But when you buy into that and you’re not
healed, and you’re not well and you get cancer, and your friends die and life is bad, you
begin to question the prosperity gospel, you begin to question the lies. So the turnover in the movement is constant,
it constantly doesn’t deliver what it promises; and that’s stock and trade for lots of preachers,
not just the charismatics. Joel Osteen – who is a charismatic by the
way, many people don’t know that – is telling people everything’s going to be wonderful
if they just think that way. The turnover in any ministry that talks like
that, that advocates that is going to be great. But there are always enough new people to
come in the backdoor when the disillusioned people go out. But knowing those people that are in that
movement are so totally disillusioned. I go back to a story in the biggest charismatic
church in our area a few years ago, announced that they had appointed a new prophet who
was going to evangelize the world, who was going to do signs and wonders and miracles;
and an apostle from Kansas City came and laid hands on him and he fell over dead with a
brain aneurism. PHIL: In that very service? JOHN: In that meeting. And the response was, “Well, he was going
to do that, and the prophecy was so powerful, and his power was so great that the devil
killed him.” Well, if you’re in a church that you think
the devil is in control of, you’re going to leave. I remember talking to people who came here
and I said, “Why did you leave a charismatic church to come here?” and they said, “Because
we cannot live under the sovereignty of Satan.” So that’s an illustration of the nonsense
that when exposed over time or in an incident like that makes people wonder what the real
truth is. And we’ve always been eager to put books and
messages and even the conference out there so people who are questioning can find real,
biblical answers. PHIL: The question I keep getting is, “Is
there going to be a sequel either to the book or the conference?” Would we do another conference? JOHN: So what do you tell people when they
ask you that? PHIL: I say I hope so, that’s been my answer. I’d love to do Strange Fire Part Two, at least
a conference if not the book. JOHN: Maybe we could call it Stranger Fire. PHIL: Yeah. Or I thought a good sequel would be Holy Smoke. JOHN: That would be good. That would be good. Or maybe Unholy Smoke. PHIL: Even better. JOHN: Look, you know me, I’m game for anything. PHIL: All right. JOHN: So I mean we just want to proclaim the
truth. PHIL: We’ll start planning it. Does it ever trouble you that it seems like
none of the other A-list evangelical leaders are willing to speak out with any kind of
force or clarity on this issue? It’s like this is suppose to be off the table
for criticism. JOHN: Sure it bothers me; we’ve had that conversation. I don’t understand that. I understand sort of the personal human desire
to be loved, and to be popular, and to develop a widespread audience and not offend people. But I’m just compelled by the truth. The truth is everything. I do not understand how anybody can say he’s
a minister of God, he’s a man of God, he’s a minister of the gospel, he’s a teacher of
the Word of God and let a massive, massive movement of gross misrepresentation of the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and the Scriptures go on unassaulted. I think if we don’t contend earnestly for
the faith, we aren’t faithful to Scripture. PHIL: Do you think the time is coming when
circumstances and just the sheer weirdness of all that’s going on is going to force more
people to speak out, or do you think – JOHN: Well, I’ve been thinking that for a
long time, Phil. I’ve been thinking that for years and years
and years, and I’m still asking the question, “Why don’t people say anything?” But you can remember, even Christian publishers
in the past who wouldn’t publish a book that was anti-charismatic, or they called into
question anybody that had deviated from biblical truth unless it was some kind of real open
heresy. But even that was hard for them to confront. There’s a pervasive tolerance in our whole
culture, and it shows up; it shows up in the media world too. And I don’t think it’s just the threat of
lawsuits, although that’s a reality. You said lawsuits were threatened to you;
I’ve had the same kind of threats as well. PHIL: Yeah. I told them, “Bring it, come on, let’s do
it.” JOHN: The reason these little ropes are here
in the front is because we had a prophet from Scotland come up – PHIL: That was a year ago this week in fact. JOHN: Was it really? PHIL: Yeah. JOHN: I tried to forget that. PHIL: It’s on YouTube; you’ll never forget
it. JOHN: It’s on YouTube. He started screaming at me, and he had been
sent by his charismatic church in Scotland to confront me as a heretic and all. No, I honestly – look, I don’t understand
how you can say you are fulfilling your calling in ministry and not confront error. How can you do that? It was Luther I think who said, “You can fight
on a lot of fronts, but if you’re not fighting on the front where the battle rages the hottest,
you’re unfaithful.” PHIL: Yeah. JOHN: I mean it’s always been, to me, as just
a sense of obligation. I don’t want to particularly pick a fight. I’m not a kind of combative person personally. But for the truth, for the sake of the truth
and the honor of the Lord, I think we have to fight where the battle rages. PHIL: Well, and particularly the prosperity
gospel, which let’s be honest, that is the vast majority of the charismatic movement. That is the dominant view among charismatics,
and it’s massive worldwide, and it’s a corruption of the gospel. So if what binds us together is the gospel,
then it would seem to me, even some of the mild charismatics ought to be making that
a focus of their polemic; and, yet, that’s not happening. JOHN: Yeah. I mean it’s very similar to the cry that you
hear all the time to Muslims: “If they don’t support terrorism, why don’t they expose the
terrorists in their ranks?” And the same thing would be true: if you say
you’re an evangelical and you’re unwilling to expose the spiritual terrorists, then you’re
a part of it, you’re clearly a part of it. I have to be honest and say that my spiritual
hero – you know this – is the apostle Paul, and the apostle Paul said things like this:
“If anybody preach another gospel let him be damned.” You don’t hear that. If you’re preaching a truncated gospel, a
warped gospel – and there’s a lot of components to the gospel that have to be right or it
is a warped gospel, it is another gospel – let him be damned. But that’s exactly the way Paul spoke. And he even gave lists of sinners that would
never enter the kingdom of God; it was specific sins, specific iniquities. Evangelicalism has been redefined by the psychology
of the age, the Zeitgeist, you know, the attitude of the culture; and what we see in the prosperity
gospel or any sort of culturally adapted perspective on the gospel that makes things acceptable
is a massive level of unfaithfulness to God. We have to speak the truth. I know you read this because it was everywhere. In the last two weeks the Billy Graham Center
at Wheaton did a study of evangelism techniques with LifeWay, which is a Southern Baptist
publishing arm, and they concluded that, “We can’t evangelize anymore by talking about
death and hell, because nobody cares. So we’ve got to stop talking about death and
hell, because nobody cares. What they care about is here and now, life
and success, prosperity, me becoming everything I can be.” It’s such a narcissistic culture. So the takeaway from this study was, “We’ve
got to change our evangelism, because people aren’t interested in life after death.” I mean they’ve basically been sort of conditioned
to believe that we have nothing to fear, people die and go to heave and come back, and it’s
all, you know, rainbows, and pretty horses, and beautiful music. PHIL: That’s actually a recipe for the spread
of the prosperity gospel. JOHN: It is. It is. PHIL: The idea is we have to give people a
message that offers what they’re interested in. JOHN: And what they’re interested in is here
and now. So the takeaway was we’ve got to stop evangelizing
people on the basis of death and hell, because they don’t care about that. My takeaway was this: if they don’t care about
that, we’ve got to double-down on death and hell, because that’s what they have to care
about, because that’s the reality. So the evangelical takeaway is, “We don’t
want to talk about that anymore because nobody’s interested.” My response was, “Because nobody’s interested,
we must talk about that.” And I don’t know why I’m the guy who seems
to always be the odd man out confronting everything. PHIL: I don’t know why either, but it’s what
I love about you. JOHN: I don’t know how I got to this point. Even Patricia said to me one time some years
ago, she said, “Why don’t you just write a book that everybody likes.” PHIL: Because Phil Johnson is his editor. JOHN: No. So I wrote a book called The Love of God and
a whole bunch of people hated it. Do you remember? PHIL: Yeah, I do, I do. JOHN: You know, it’s about the truth. I was saying to some of the people over at
the university at Master’s yesterday that if you go back just a little way to kind of
look at history, if you go back before the Enlightenment, before the Reformation, before
the Renaissance, you have a premodern world; and in a premodern world – talking about Western
World, our heritage – it was impossible not to believe. It was impossible not to believe in God. It was essentially possible not to believe
in the Bible, because it was a dominant force, the Roman Catholic system. It was an abhorrent form of biblical Christianity. But it was impossible not to believe, because
there was no alternative world view. There wasn’t an alternative world view. There was no evolution. There was essentially no secularism. There was no skepticism. It was a world made by God and everybody knew
it, and that’s the way it was. So it was impossible not to believe. And then when the Enlightenment comes and
the Industrial Revolution after the Reformation, it became possible not to believe, because
now there’s an alternative world view: “There is no God. Evolution is the reason we’re here. We have no authority. There’s no ultimate fixed spiritual law.” So for the first time modernism could be defined
as it’s possible not to believe; and then now that it’s possible not believe, you have
to kind of search for the truth. Now we’re in postmodernism. Postmodernism says it’s impossible to believe. We’ve gone from, “It’s impossible not to believe,”
to, “It’s possible to believe,” to, “It’s possible not to believe,” to, “It’s impossible
to believe.” So we have a culture that doesn’t want to
accept the Bible at all, at all, on any level. And they still call themselves Christians,
if that’s their sort of traditional group. But, basically, postmodernism says, “Whatever
I decide is the truth is the truth, my truth.” So the truth had to be proclaimed by faithful
men when it was the dominant reality, but it had to be truthfully proclaimed. It had to be proclaimed by the Reformers and
those who followed them, and the Puritans, when it was possible not to believe; and they
had to give evidences to believe. And now that it’s almost impossible to believe,
all the more reason that we’ve got to focus on truth. You know I’m driven by the truth; it’s what
drives me every single day of my life: “What is the truth?” and, “How many ways can I proclaim
the truth?” PHIL: Yep, yeah. Well, you mentioned postmodernism. The idea there is that truth is a socially
constructed idea. JOHN: But it’s not even socially constructed
now, it’s personally constructed. PHIL: Right. But the more people who believe something,
the more like – if you can get a majority to believe an idea, then it becomes the de
facto truth; and that kind thinking has seeped into the church, and I think, frankly, that’s
at the root of why you can’t get evangelical leaders to challenge the charismatic chicanery
and all that, because it’s too popular. JOHN: Well, we determine what’s right by a
survey, a poll. The only one way to determine what’s right,
and that’s here. So, you know, you and I – I want to include
you so I have some company – we’re both anachronistic. I mean we’re like people out of a different
era. PHIL: Yeah, it’s a premodern idea of truth. Yeah. Well, all right. So let me shift to a different subject. There’s been a controversy going in the evangelical
world this summer that you haven’t really been involved in, and that’s unusual. JOHN: Really? I’ve got to get in it. PHIL: Yeah, that’s right. And I just wonder if you’ve been watching
the debate over the Trinity and the disagreement between men like Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem
who take a kind of novel view of Trinitarian doctrine. Have you been watching or following that? And can you shed any light on it, or do you
even want to? JOHN: No, no. Well, I know what the Bible teaches about
the Trinity. I don’t know what those guys think particularly. But, again, why are we now in 2016 coming
up with novel ways to define the Trinity. PHIL: That’s where I hoped you’d go with this. JOHN: What? PHIL: Yeah, because that’s – JOHN: What’s wrong with the way it’s always
been proclaimed in Scripture and understood? PHIL: Because it’s something I wanted to ask
you about. This is one of the most important things I
learned from you when I met you as a young guy, fairly fresh out of Bible college, and
it was my idea that, and it was my idea that a great preacher is the one who finds something
in the text that nobody else has ever seen, you know. That was my idea. A lot of people have that idea. JOHN: Yeah, yeah. PHIL: You taught me otherwise that the really
profound truth is what the text says on the face of it, and all these invented secret
messages are really a kind of gnostic approach to biblical interpretation. Talk about that. JOHN: Yeah. Well, Patricia and I were up at Lake Geneva
at a Bible conference, and there was a very, very famous preacher there; and I was preaching
and he was preaching – this was years ago – and I said, “What are you going to preach
on tonight?” and it was his time and he said, “I’m going to preach on the rapture of the
church.” I said, “Great.” I said, “That’s great. You’re going to use 1 Thessalonians 4, verse
15?” “No. No, no.” “What are you going to use?” He said, “John 11.” I said, “John 11? What happened in John 11?” PHIL: That’s the raising of Lazarus, isn’t
it? JOHN: That’s the raising of Lazarus. So he got up and he preached the rapture of
the church from the raising of Lazarus. And afterwards he said to me, “Have you ever
seen that in John 11?” and I said, “No, because it is not in John 11. What were you doing?” You know, there have been a few lessons like
that that reinforce the idea that you let the text speak, right? Don’t we talk about that, unleashing God’s
– PHIL: Yeah. JOHN: truth one verse at a time? But the travesty of using the Bible to say
anything you want to say is rampant and it has been since Scriptures were written, we
understand that. But, again, back to the Trinity thing; we
have to get that right, and there’s some people who have it wrong, and there are very popular. T. D. Jakes essentially is, with regard to the Trinity,
a Unitarian. He does not believe that there are three members
of the Trinity. He believes there is one God who manifests
Himself in three different ways at different times. This is a heresy. Modalism. PHIL: It’s called modalism. JOHN: Yeah. This is a heresy, declared a heresy thousands
of years ago. But it doesn’t seem to bother anybody, because
the view of the Trinity doesn’t seem to matter. Doctrine is unimportant, and it’s viewed increasingly
in a world that pleads for tolerance as a divisive force. PHIL: Right. And, again, because he is so popular with
such a large audience, you can buy his books in most Christian bookstores, most evangelical
bookstores. JOHN: Yeah. You can go to most evangelical bookstores
and buy the very books that condemn the truth, along with the books that proclaim the truth. PHIL: Well, back to the idea of, you know,
not being novel. The last time I – JOHN: No, novel – look, look: preaching is
not inventing something. It’s not being clever. it’s simply opening
up the Word of God and letting it speak. Now that’s why people say, “Well, why do you
do only Bible exposition?” and my answer is, “What else would I do? What do you want, my ideas?” I can’t even get my ideas across to Patricia;
they don’t even have weight with her. Why am I going to pass my idea, the idea of
piecemealing the Bible together to show my cleverness? All I want to do as a preacher is preach the
Word, and that means I have to explain what the Bible means by what it says; that’s the
whole purpose of preaching. Reading into it is not just not the best,
it’s wrong. PHIL: Yeah. The last time I did a Q&A with you and I asked
people to submit questions, I kept this one. This guy sent me this question, so he wrote
this, it’s not my words. He said, “I recall laughing loudly at one
of the Together for the Gospel conferences, when as an aside in his message, John MacArthur
said, ‘I hate creativity.'” He says, “Could you ask him to expand on why he hates creativity?” I think this is what you were saying. JOHN: Yeah. Look, I don’t mind creativity in art or design
or whatever, some kind of a human expression; but God isn’t asking us to create anything. I hate creativity in preaching. I don’t want people to be confused between
my creativity and the truth of Scripture. I don’t ever want to be the issue. I don’t want to get in the way of the Scripture
speaking, I want to be out of the way. And one of the things I’ve said, just to kind
of emphasize that, is if you go to a lot of churches, particularly churches that are this
large, you might see a big screen with the preacher’s face on it. You’ll never see that here, because you don’t
need to see my face, you need to see your Bible and hear my voice. That’s all you need. All you need to do is look at your Scripture
and hear what I say to explain it to you. I’m not the issue; focusing on me is irrelevant. I don’t want to get in the way of the Scripture,
I want to be diligent enough to point you to the Scripture and get you caught up in
seeing what it says. So when I say I hate creativity, I hate the
idea that we could impose on the Bible some of our own novelty that would in some ways
not necessarily counteract the Bible or give a contrary interpretation, but somehow allow
us to miss the true depth of the text, which can happen if you just start being creating,
and picking and choosing things in Scripture, you don’t get the depth of it. But if you’re committed to digging out everything
that it says, that’s when you penetrate the depth of it. PHIL: Yeah. I have this theory that a lot of that stems
from the fact that our culture is so hyper-entertained. We are the most – I mean we’re assaulted with
– JOHN: Sure. PHIL: entertainment everywhere all the time. JOHN: Well, look, I am not an entertainer;
this is a talking head experience. I just stand here and talk. I’m amazed that people keep coming back. This is not entertainment. There’s nothing high-tech about me, nothing
electronic; there’s no flashing lights. Even when we worship here we just do what
the Bible says; we take the instruments and the voices and we praise the Lord. We’re not trying to create an atmosphere,
we’re not trying to induce a feeling, and the last thing we’re trying to do is entertain
anybody. And I will say in all honesty, an hour of
exposition of Scripture is an acquired taste; it’s an acquired taste. People who aren’t used to this get fidgety. I’ve preached in situations where maybe kind
of a charismatic environment where I’ve been asked to preach, and when I do what I do here
they don’t really know what to do with me, but they know they’re bored out of their minds,
because there’s just nothing that grabs them, you know, sort of by the nap of their emotions
and shakes them around. There’s just none of that. What I’m doing is talking to the mind, talking
to the reason. I’m talking to you to reason these things
through to the truth. That’s not entertainment, that’s education;
but it’s education that’s beyond education, because it’s empowered education, because
the truth is divine, and it’s carried and conveyed by the power of the Holy Spirit. PHIL: You may actually overestimate how many
people are bored. I remember the first time I ever heard you
– and I came kind of reluctantly – but you definitely grabbed – JOHN: No, you came because Darlene invited
you to come, and you wanted to date her. PHIL: That’s right. We don’t have to – yeah, okay. It’s true. JOHN: For real, I know it’s true. PHIL: And yet you grabbed me by the hair and
shook me around pretty well in that first one message, yeah. JOHN: Well, I think the Lord was working on
a connection. PHIL: It’s the power of the Word of God too,
and the clarity with which you give it I think all of us would attest that at times you have
– JOHN: Well, look, I get that, the Word has
power, but it’s not because of my experience that I get it; that’s what Scripture says:
“The Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword.” It is a heavenly weapon. It is the sword of the Spirit. It can do some serious damage. It can tear up a person; it can put them back
together again. The Word of God in Scripture is called a lot
of things. It’s called a sword; it’s called a hammer;
it’s called a plumb line; it’s called a fire. So I believe in it. And this is the foundation of everything for
me. I believe in the absolute authority and power
of this book, and I believe in the Holy Spirit, and I believe that the combination of the
Holy Spirit empowering this already powerful divine revelation can transform lives, radically
transform lives. That’s all I need to know. When I came to Grace Church I only knew one
thing for sure: God would honor His Word, His Word was powerful, and His Holy Spirit
did His work through His Word. So for whatever reason – and it wasn’t common
for people to approach the Bible the way I did, I just began to say, “I’m just going
to open the Word and let God do what He’ll do through the power of His Word by His Holy
Spirit.” That happened the very first Sunday I ever
showed up here back in 1969 and preached on Matthew 7: “Many will say unto Me, ‘Lord,
Lord.’ I’ll say, ‘Depart from Me; I never knew you, you workers of iniquity.'” Pretty
strong stuff for your first Sunday, Matthew 7. But I had no fear, because I know this is
the powerful Word of God, and in the hands of the Holy Spirit it’s going to do powerful
work. That has never changed in all the years I’ve
been here. So I know it’s not about me. When people come and they say they listen
to me, they appreciate – I know the real experience isn’t me, the real experience is the Word
of God. In fact, there’s not a lot of me even in a
sermon – not personal things and personal illustrations, because that’s not – I’m not
a part of the Bible story, I’m not in it, so why would I inject myself? So I think the experience that people are
having under the preaching of the Word of God is with the Word of God and not so much
with me. PHIL: Yeah, no question about that. But when you preach, it does come – the depth
of your conviction is obvious. And, you know, you said you’re absolutely
sure of the truth of the Word of God. And I wonder, was there ever a time in your
youth or childhood where you entertained doubts about whether the Word of God was – JOHN: Never was. And, you know, I mean that’s a gift from the
Lord. PHIL: Yeah. JOHN: When you ask why I trust the Bible,
it’s not because somebody laid out a bunch of evidences when I was nine years old. I trust the Bible because I trust the Bible. I mean the Lord did a work in my heart; and
the more I’ve studied the Bible, the more it validates itself. PHIL: Yeah. Well, that was true. I noticed that was the thing that kept going
through my mind this morning during your message, because you’re giving all of those ties between
the Old Testament prophecies and their fulfillment in the crucifixion of Christ; and I don’t
see how anybody can look at how meticulously the Word of God, these ancient prophecies
were fulfilled in Christ and have any doubt about whether the Bible is the Word of God. JOHN: But, see, that’s the point. I don’t need to defend the Bible, the Bible
will defend itself if it’s taught right. PHIL: Yeah. JOHN: It is its own defense, and I’ve seen
that reality. It isn’t that all of a sudden people say,
“Wow, this is the Bible because of these five reasons.” The longer you sit under the preaching of
the Word, the longer I study it – and it’s obviously been a long, long time – the greater
that conviction grows. I’ve never had any other – I’ve never had
any doubt about that, and I think maybe because my father had no doubt about it, my grandfather,
both of them preachers. My dad had an absolutely fixed confidence
in the Word of God, and so I sort of saw that in him. And he was a preacher who studied the Word
of God, and the more he studied it, the more the truthfulness of it gripped his heart,
so I kind of built on that foundation. And then I went to study under Dr. Charles Feinberg who was the most brilliant
person I’ve ever known, and he had that same exact unwavering confidence in every word
in the Bible; and that was another part of the foundation for me, and so I had that commitment
to Scripture and that has never wavered at all. People sometimes say to me, “Do you worry
about what people are going to think when you say something, when you get up to preach
and you know you’re going this way or that way, or you’re going to say this or that? Do you worry about what people are going to
think or if you’re going to offend somebody?” and I can honestly say that thought has never
entered my mind, never. I never think, “What’s somebody going to think
about this?” All I think is, “Is this the Word of God?” PHIL: That’s an amazing gift too, because,
you know – JOHN: Well that’s the basis of conviction. PHIL: Personally, when I think, “John MacArthur’s
livestreaming this,” that’s all I think about, “What’s he going to think?” JOHN: No, you know better than that. But, look, conviction – oh, conviction is
a lost word in this culture. PHIL: Yeah. JOHN: Conviction is everything for the preacher,
it’s everything. Starting this week, Tuesday morning for four
hours or whatever, I’m going to have a new batch of seminary students coming in, and
I’m going to talk to them about being expositors of Scripture and having convictions. Convictions, they’re the strength of your
ministry. In fact, leadership is about conviction. You can’t lead if you don’t have certain convictions
in any way. You’ve got to say, “This is true; this is
what we must do.” And certainly from a biblical standpoint,
it is confidence in the Word of God that leads to faithful study of the Word of God that
produces fixed convictions, and those convictions become the fiber of your preaching. PHIL: Now when you told me we’re going to
do a Q&A and you wanted me to ask you questions, the one thing you said was you didn’t want
me to ask you about this year’s election, the politics and all that. So I have to ask you that, because, because
I’m full of mischief, plus – JOHN: Yes, you are. PHIL: everybody – that’s the question we’re
getting at Grace to You and everything. JOHN: I know, I know. PHIL: So here’s the way I want to ask it. As a practice, I don’t think in all the years
I’ve been with you, I’ve never known you to endorse a candidate or get involved in party
politics or any of that. Why is that? Explain why you pretty much steer clear of
politics. JOHN: Well, first of all, because – this is
important – what happens in America politically has absolutely nothing to do with the kingdom
of God, nothing. Whether America is republican or democrat,
whether it is libertarian or socialist, whether it becomes a communist country or whether
it becomes a dictatorship, what happens in America has absolutely nothing to do with
the kingdom of God. Jesus said to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of
this world. If My kingdom were of this world, my servant
would fight.” We don’t fight on that level. I got a lot of battles; none of them are political. That doesn’t mean that I’m indifferent. Look, I hate sin. I have no tolerance for those who advocate
sin, for the platform that says, “We think you should kill unborn babies, and we think
homosexuality is some kind of norm, and we’re supportive of transgender, and we want everybody
to be free to be whatever they want to be.” I have no tolerance for those sins, because
the Scripture has no tolerance for those sins. And we have to preach against them, because
they need to be exposed so people know they’re sinning and can hopefully be rescued from
their sin. We have to say that no adulterer, no homosexual
will enter the kingdom of heaven. So that immediately makes me a problem politically,
because politics is the art of compromise; and you’re seeing that now. I can go back to a previous election and the
Bush election and there was a group called the Moral Majority, Jerry Falwell’s group. The Moral Majority was big stuff, so the republicans
tried to define themselves as moral, moral, moral. Here we are now, later, and who’s moral? Who’s moral. Who cares who’s moral? There’s no moral majority. There’s not even a moral minority. And you have somebody who’s so conservative
like Rubio saying we’ve got to stop being negative on homosexuals. Well, I can’t do that and represent the kingdom
of God. I don’t have to pick them out, but I have
to preach against every sin and call every sinner to the recognition of sin and judgment,
and call them to gospel repentance and faith. So we’ve seen, well, during Obama’s election,
for the first time, the democratic party had an anti-God, anti-Bible, immoral agenda: kill
babies, pro-homosexual, pro-homosexual marriage. That’s new in our nation in the last couple
of elections. Now the republicans can’t survive unless they
get on that bandwagon to some degree. Maybe not abortion. The abortion train has been slowed down by
videos of babies in the womb; that’s what slowed it down. It’s not the right or wrong of it, it’s the
reality of it, the human reality of it. So I’ve never believed that politics has anything
to do with the kingdom of God. If we were a low taxation, capitalistic, self-enterprise,
everybody takes care of himself kind of country as the right-wing believe, I would be glad
for that, because I think that’s biblical: if a man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t eat. Right? If you don’t take care of your household,
you’re worse than an infidel. I don’t think handouts help anybody, I think
they’re destructive. I think we were watching the death of inner
cities – massive immorality: 75 percent of kids born out of wedlock, without a father. And these are all devastating realities of
a society that has been stripped of its dignity. So, yeah, I think there are biblical models
for how society ought to function. PHIL: But none of the candidates really promote
that. JOHN: No. No. No, they don’t. But I’m just saying, but even so, even if
we were that way – maybe we used to be that way – it has nothing to do with the kingdom
of God, because the kingdom of God is built one soul at a time as a sinner puts his trust
in Christ. Look, if you’re in a first century Roman Empire,
you’ve got rampant sin and no Christian influence, right, because Christianity just came into
existence. So nobody had any Christian influence; there
was no Christian morality. The Roman Empire was just infested with every
vile thing, but it had nothing to do with the growth of the kingdom of God, the proclamation
of the truth. What happened sadly is the churches try to
straddle that, and then they lose their voice. I spoke first part of my time away. I went to the Western Conservative Summit
in Denver, which is the largest conservative meeting outside Washington D.C. Thousands of people gathered into the Denver
Convention Center. They said, “Would you come and speak?” and
I said, “Well, look, I will; but I don’t know if you want me, because I’m going to say some
things that probably are going to surprise some people.” So I just give a biblical message. I kind of reiterated the two messages I did
here: “What kind of candidate can God bless?” and, “What’s God doing in the world?” and
then I preach the gospel and call people to put their trust in Jesus Christ as the only
hope for anybody, regardless of what happens in America. Missionaries through the years have gone to
countries all over the world to preach the gospel to every creature, fulfilling the Great
Commission, without regard for what the government was, what the social structure was. But that’s irrelevant. Having said that, however, I think we have
to always come down on the side of righteousness and what is right. So, personally, I have to find a way to vote
to support that which is closest to what is right. But that’s the only choice I’ve got. I can’t stand idly by and say everybody’s
bad. I’ve got to say that’s worse, and I’ve got
to act in that way, personally. But there’s no sense in talking about politics,
because again, that has nothing to do with the gospel and the kingdom of God. If we go down the train we’re going, and if
it continues that way and we get Hillary Clinton as President, and everything that is part
of that whole platform that is against God, against the Scripture, everything that is
not just criminal but immoral escalates and escalates and escalates, in now way does that
hinder Christ building His church. It’s just that we’re going to have to approach
it honestly. My concern is not what’s happening in the
country, my concern is what’s happening in the church as it gets sucked into this stuff
in the country and no longer will speak to those issues. PHIL: Yeah, that’s a remarkable thing about
your ministry over the years that I think escapes some people. If you survey the books you’ve done – and
like you said, there have been a lot of books that are controversial. But your critiques have always been aimed
at the church, not the culture, and it’s as if you believe the moral meltdown even in
America is more the responsibility of a church that’s failed its duties – JOHN: Exactly. PHIL: than the secular cultures. No point in berating the secular culture if
the church is putting on a circus. JOHN: Well, I mean look at the Scripture. In the book of Revelation Jesus wrote seven
letters. He didn’t write them to the city hall, He
wrote them to the church. PHIL: That’s a good line. JOHN: We are salt and light in the world,
we are the only hope, we are the pillar and ground of the truth, and when men twist, pervert
that, or are unwilling to proclaim it, the church becomes useless. And that’s, again – I mean that’s the point
in Revelation. Jesus said, “You keep going that direction
and I’ll blow out your candle, I’ll remove you; you’re useless. I’ll spew you out of My mouth,” He said to
Laodicea. So in order for the church to its work in
the world it has to be faithful, it has to be bold, and it has to proclaim the truth. You do it in love; I don’t think we could
be accused of being unkind or harsh. We don’t rail in inflammatory against homosexuality
as if that was the only sin. And we understand that we live in a world
where that will be a sin, and even more so all the time because it’s being advocated
as if it’s normal. But it’s not a matter of picking on things
like that, but it is a matter of being faithful, to call sin sin, and to point people to the
truth, the only hope in the gospel. PHIL: Next year will be the 500th anniversary
of Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg. I’ve commented several times that it seems
to be the evangelical movement of today is in a worse state than medieval Roman Catholicism
was. JOHN: Yeah, sure. Well, we can find the right church door, and
you can edit the 95; I’ll put it up again. PHIL: Yeah. I’m only capable of three points – JOHN: No. PHIL: and they have to be alliterated. JOHN: Look, we post theses every day. PHIL: Yeah. JOHN: Every Sunday I post one here. Every day of the week we post them on – if
you all don’t read the Grace to You Blog you need to do that on a daily basis. There are other really fine blogs. The Seminary Blog is really good; and The
Master’s Summit, TMS.edu. Cripplegate Blog written by some of our graduates;
great stuff. There are doors where this stuff is posted
all the time. The problem is there’s so much other stuff
being posted all over the place that you can’t find your way to the truth very often. But I just did a series some months ago on
Christ’s Call for Reformation, those seven letters. I forget when, just not too long ago. And then I did a message at T4G, which I summed
up that, and that’s heading toward a book, and that book will come out called Christ’s
Call for Reformation. So let’s just call that my thesis nailed to
the door of Grace Church. PHIL: All right. That was a great series too. JOHN: Well, look, it seems to me that there
has to be one just about every two or three months. Some other error begins to get life and we
have to confront it, which is the wonderful thing about being in a church, and having
a pulpit, and having a daily radio program and television program and writing, and having
so many fronts and so many people coming out of our ministry who help us with all that,
that we can continue to contend for the truth on so many public fronts. PHIL: Yeah. And not to sound too pessimistic, though I
have said I think evangelicalism, the evangelical movement is in a deplorable state; I have
to say that having been a Christian now for 40 years, looking back, I think things were
worse in the ’70s when I got saved than they are today. Would that be your perspective as well? I mean it’s easier to find a church with expository
preaching – not that it’s easy by any means. But there are a lot more people out there,
many of whom have been influenced. JOHN: I think we’ve been able to generate
a commitment to Bible exposition, a widespread commitment. Some of it I hear and it makes me shutter. But, look, back in the ’70s, evangelical church
was kind of church. It kind of was one size fits all, right? I could go to your church, you could go to
my church; we could go to this church, that church, the other, and they all kind of sang
the same hymns, had the same stuff. PHIL: Yeah, and everything was about an inch
deep. JOHN: You know, it’s like a birdbath, an inch
deep. But it was kind of the same. You could go from church to church to church,
and it was kind of the same. Now you have absolutely no idea what is going
to come out of a church. It’s kind of the day of the unchurch. People don’t even want to call it a church,
they give it some goofy name. And it’s very often – quasi-churches are basically
planted by entrepreneurial people with no training. But at the same time reform theology has made
a massive, massive resurgence, and the truth is being proclaimed across the world. Sound, biblical doctrine is being preached
across the world, but it’s never, in my mind, it’s never had so much competition. I grew up and I could say churches had a kind
of a traditional approach, and then they were all sort of the same, and they preached the
gospel, and they talked about the Lord, and they talked about living a life of obedience,
but it didn’t have a defined theology. Theology is much more defined today than it
was. But at the same time, there are so many more
aberrations than there have ever been. It is the greatest revival of sound doctrine
in the history of the world we’re living in right now, and it’s being spread all over
the globe. At the same time, there is an equal proliferation
of every possible kind of deviation from what would be sound doctrine. So in one sense it’s the best of the best,
and in the other sense it’s the multiplication of the worst of the worst. PHIL: It’s as if we’re living in the last
days. JOHN: Yeah. It’s like everything has exploded. The truth has exploded, error has exploded,
and now labels don’t mean anything. You say you’re an evangelical; what does that
mean? PHIL: Yeah. JOHN: It doesn’t mean anything. PHIL: Give us an update on this measure that
got quite a bit of news, SB 1146 which was a threat to the university. JOHN: Well, the California Senate – there’s
a congressman by the name of Lara who’s a homosexual, and he put through a bill to the
California Senate that would force Christian universities, Christian colleges and schools
to stop any discrimination against homosexuals at all, or they would, first of all, be subject
to lawsuits. This is what this is all about. All these bills are about is to allow somebody
who’s a homosexual, who believes he’s being offended, or somehow his rights are being
violated, to sue. PHIL: He needs safe space. JOHN: He will. Yeah, that’s another issue. That’s the trend toward the loss of the most
defining American freedom, which is freedom of speech. PHIL: Yeah. JOHN: That’s going to go away in the reverse
of everything. But, so the idea was if you’re a Christian
school, you are discriminating against homosexuality, and you’re in violation of the law. So your students will not have access to any
government loans or any government scholarship funding. Even though Christian people pay taxes, they’re
not going to have access to that money. We don’t get any money from the government,
but students do, because the government provides Cal Grant in the state of California. So they were going to say that you can’t get
Cal Grants for students at your school unless you’re in full compliance with all the rights
of homosexuals. So they targeted specifically Christian schools,
that what it said. So some other Christian colleges and universities
leaders got together and they contacted us and they said, “Would you sign this letter? We’re going to write this letter to the senate,
state.” I looked at it, I said, “I can’t sign this. I can’t sign this,” because this was arguing
from a platform, a social platform. I said, “I can’t sign in an argument on a
social platform for this; I’m going to write my own letter.” So I wrote my own letter from a biblical standpoint
and I sent it to the California Senate: “We can’t comply with this because of Scripture,
because of the Word of God,” and just, you know, a couple of pages of all of that. If that happened it would probably mean that
The Master’s University students would lose about $2 million a year. I’m not worried about that. The Lord will provide another way, and I was
ready to see that happen. But all of a sudden things began to change,
and they began to change really dramatically. Well, I have to add one other component. There was a thing called Title IX, which came
in in 1978, which the federal government passed to make sure that – this was part of the feminist
movement – to make sure that schools were giving equal amount athletic scholarships
to women as men. So everybody kind of has to acquiesce to Title
IX. You know, we’re always, you know, working
to be sure we do that, giving equal privileges to men and women in terms of athletic scholarships,
things like that. The federal government then extended that
without writing anything else, extended that to include homosexuals. So they said that means you have to have equal
rights to all transgender, homosexual, whatever – LBGTQ people. So we said we can’t do that. A lot of schools said, “We can’t do that. We’re not going to do that.” So the federal government came up with an
exemption, and they granted an exemption to institutions that filed for an exemption from
that mandate. So The Master’s University received the exemption
that we are exempt from the requirement to accept the LBGTQ person on all levels. We’re exempt from that by the federal government
allowing it. Well, the federal government doesn’t like
that exemption, so the administration, the current White House administration published
a shame list – public list of all the schools that have that exemption to heap shame on
us. That list then became the list that the homosexual
lobby would go after, because we already have declared our position against homosexuals. So we would then be the target schools that
they would come after and sue. So it was not just the loss of scholarship
money to the students who come there, it was the threat of lawsuits, and they already knew
who we were. So they wouldn’t have to try to find us, because
we’d already declared who we were. So this was going to go down all the way to
Governor Brown’s desk, and it was pretty much agreement he was going to sign it, until this
happened. They all of a sudden realized that 80 percent
of the students that receive a Cal Grant are minority students, 80 percent of them, and
that this would be a devastating blow to minority families who couldn’t go to their college
of choice. It had nothing to do with the morality of
it or the immorality of it; it fell on its face because this guy wasn’t going to be able
to survive the animosity that would come from the minority community. So all of a sudden in a couple of days it
went away. I don’t know that that’s permanent; they’re
not going to quit on these kinds of things. Just gives us an opportunity to be faithful,
and to lead the parade and be the point of the spear; and we’ll continue to do that. The Bible’s not going to change and we’re
not going to change. PHIL: It seems clear that there is a time
of persecution coming if the culture keeps going the way it is. And, you know, maybe that’ll lead to the purification
of the church, because the prosperity gospel – JOHN: Right. Persecution always leads to the purification
of the church. We’re going to be fine no matter what, no
matter what they take away. Again, it has nothing to do with the kingdom
of God; the Lord will find another way to accomplish His work. I’m excited to see what that’s going to look
like. Compromise is not an option for us. We’re going to live and die for the truth
to the very end. That’s our commitment. PHIL: That’s what I love about you. Some personal questions, I mean personal in
the sense that you said this morning, for example, that you’ve spent the summer reading
and thinking about stuff, and I was curious; what have you been reading, and what are you
thinking about? Or do we have to wait until we hear it in
your sermons? JOHN: You know, Austin Duncan came to see
me, and he opened up the back of his car and he had a whole bunch of books laying there. He said, “I’m giving you all these books to
read.” So he gave me a bunch of books to read. And then Jay Flowers gave me a book to read. And I’ve read some really fascinating books. One that I would recommend to all of you that’s
called For the Glory . It’s by Duncan Hamilton, and it is the story
of Eric Liddell, the great Olympic 400 meter champion from the ’20s who went to China and
died as a missionary in a Japanese concentration camp. It’s incredibly, brilliantly written testimony. I think every seminary student should be required
to read that, because it demonstrates such grace and humility in a dire situation – Eric
Liddell, his story. We all know the Chariots of Fire side of the
story, but the rest of the story is what is so absolutely incredible; beautifully written. It was a riveting experience to read that. Then Jay Flowers gave me a book called MacArthur
at War , and I looked at it and thought, “Was this a biographical?” But it turned out to be General Douglas MacArthur,
and – PHIL: A distant cousin of yours. JOHN: Yeah, he’s a distant relative. And I read that; and you know what struck
me through that whole thing was the sacrifice that people in this country have made. The hundreds of thousands of American in World
War II on the South Pacific front, the Pacific front, and the European front who give their
lives for the freedoms that people are literally trashing today, who don’t understand the sacrifice. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands
of people who died. And the chronicle of the book is just a death
chronical, day after day after day. At one point, MacArthur has 1.5 million troops
under him in the Pacific, and that means you’ve got to feed them all, house them all, move
them all. He’s got hundreds, if not thousands of ships
and airplanes and fronts he’s fighting on; and you just go back and realize that we weren’t
the aggressor in this, you know. The Japanese came and just literally bombed
Pearl Harbor and devastated America; and at the same time, Hitler’s doing what he’s doing
in Europe. But through the years these men, these great
leaders, and the men that serve and the women that served under them made the ultimate sacrifice;
and they’re still doing it today. And I just don’t think – I mean I think that’s
noble stuff, and I just don’t think people who trash America and what America is understand
the sacrifices that have been made. It’s a travesty. So I enjoyed reading that. And then I’m always interested in Israel. I love Israel. All my favorite people are Jewish, with a
few Gentile exceptions – Jesus, Paul, Peter, you know. So I read Operation Thunderbolt, which is
a chronicle of the Entebbe raid back in the ’70s under Idi Amin. Incredible story of another moment in history
when God preserved His people Israel. Brilliantly written by a man named Saul David. Also I’ve purposefully been reading through
and trying to analyze the book of Isaiah with a view to maybe when I finish the gospel of
John taking a look at Isaiah, because it’s always been a book that – I can’t go through
the whole book, it’s 66 chapters. You know, we’d all die in chapter 6. But there’s some elements of Isaiah that I’m
fascinated with, and it’s primarily the last part, which it’s God’s promise for the future. So I did some work on that. PHIL: Now I’ve done the math on this, and
your dad lived until age ninety or thereabout. JOHN: Ninety one. PHIL: Ninety one, and he preached a month
before he died, and I figured you’re in better health than he was. If you get cracking on Isaiah, you might be
able… JOHN: I’m not tottering up here when I’m ninety,
I promise you that. No, look, you don’t want to tell them that;
that’ll frighten the daylights out of them, I’m still going to be around here ten years
from now. You now, I don’t know what the timetable is. I know I’m in that time in my life by the
goodness of God where I know the Word of God because I’ve spent all these years studying
it, and I don’t have Alzheimer’s yet. So I’m just trying to make the most of this
little window before I end up with a walker somewhere trying to figure out, you know,
what I’m supposed to do. PHIL: I have much more confidence in you than
that. JOHN: Well, yeah. I want to do what the Lord wants me to do,
but there’s so many young – great young preachers here that need to preach, and their time is
coming; but as long as I can proclaim the Word of God. This isn’t a job for me, this is a calling,
so it’s really in the hands of the Lord. PHIL: One more question then we’ll quit because
we’re over time already. You’ve got a couple of books on the horizon:
The Gospel According to Paul and the systematic theology. Did you want to do a commercial for either
of those? JOHN: Yeah. Thank you for your work on editing The Gospel
According to Paul . I did a book Gospel According to Jesus . Another book, Gospel According to the Apostles
, and this was the final in that three-book trilogy. PHIL: Though I proposed we take the Isaiah
53 and call it The Gospel According to God . JOHN: Okay, that is. So this is The Gospel According to Paul . When is it going to be released? PHIL: In time for Shepherds’ Conference. JOHN: Shepherds’ Conference. PHIL: February I think. JOHN: That’ll kind of be I guess the next
step. And then The Gospel According to God is Isaiah
53. PHIL: Right. JOHN: That’s ready to go as well, so, yeah. There are some other books. I’m doing a series of books with Ligonier,
and the first one will be out in a few months, and it’s called There Is No Other , and it’s
a wonderful little book on the doctrine of God; There Is No Other . There’ll be three more. PHIL: Yeah, it’s amazing too. It’s maybe worth saying something about that. Those were all the sermons – they’ve taken
all the sermons you’ve given at the Ligonier conferences over the years, and it’s surprisingly
a large number of sermons. JOHN: Well, it’s been about 30 years off and
on that I’ve gone to Ligonier conferences; and they kept all the messages, and they pulled
them into categories, and they came up with four books built around themes. The first one on the nature of God, those
are messages taken from all different years. And, yeah, they’ve pulled it all together,
gave it to us; and your gifted son, Jeremiah, took a look at those and did some edit work
on them. PHIL: He’s better than I am. I should retire and let him take over. JOHN: We need you both. We need you both. So, yeah, there was a little book that came
out, just got one called Remember and Return . It’s a little 30-day devotional taken from
the message to the church at Ephesus. That was done by Baker. What is it, Baker Publishing? I don’t know. But, yeah, you know. I think when I preach as long as I have and
there’s this much material, there’s always the opportunity to do that. One thing that was in the bulletin this morning
that was really good was the index for the commentary series. PHIL: Oh, yeah. JOHN: Moody did an index so that you can literally
have an index to what’s in all 33 volumes. So if you were looking up like the word “atonement,”
you could look in there and it would tell you every volume, every page where that’s
discussed, so you can kind of pull that together. Systematic theology is about 1,100 pages. Dick Mayhue and I – this has been his project
for 15 years, and when I finished the commentaries I finally got onboard to help him with it;
and the faculty from the seminary gave us a tremendous amount of input on it. But it is a comprehensive one-volume systematic
theology covering every category of doctrine. It’s exceptional. It’s really, really good, and it’s called
Biblical Doctrine . It is coming in December or January. And the real objective of this is to get it
translated into as many languages as we can so it gets into the hands of our missionaries
in TMAI so they can use it as a systematic theology for the training of pastors and leaders
around the world. PHIL: Great. Great. Well, we are over time. Would you like to close in prayer. JOHN: Phil, thank you. PHIL: Thank you. JOHN: Thank you very much. Thank you. And thanks to all of you for coming tonight. Father, thank You again for what You’ve done
in our lives through Your truth, through Your Word. Thank You for Phil and his friendship and
partnership and support, strength, and loyal love, and great help through the years. Thank You for so many others like him who
have enabled this ministry to be sustained and to be carried literally around the world. And this is Your Word, and we are so honored
to have been called to proclaim it. We don’t invent the message, we just preach
it. Ours is a ministry of delivering the truth
what you have already revealed. And You have honored Your Word that You’re
never going to allow Your truth to return void, but always accomplish what You intend. I’ve seen that for about a half a century. I’m so grateful to have seen it. And we thank You that we’re continuing to
see it, and will even in the future. We thank You for all that You’ve done through
Your Word around the world and in this wonderful church. Thank You for these precious people. Thank You for using them for Your glory and
for enriching our lives through them. We give You thanks and praise for not only
what You’ve done, what You’re doing, but what awaits us as we walk in obedience to You,
we pray in Christ’s name. Amen. PHIL: Amen. JOHN: Thank you.




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