接着，有人发起了一场迎合的运动，为要保守福音派接受五旬节派关于圣灵、属灵恩赐、和圣经持续启示的观点。我牧养的教堂离加州范纽斯的圣公会（EpiscopalianChurch in Van Nuys）很近，那是“灵恩运动”的发源地。为了反驳他们，我就写了《灵恩大混乱》一书，其中一部分记述这场运动是如何将许多的假师傅和异端的思想带进主流福音派教会的。
The Long Struggle toPreserve the Gospel, Part 1
by John MacArthur
Monday, August 20, 2018
From the earliest days of the apostolic era, faithful Christians have been called upon to contend earnestly for the truth of thegospel. The hardest battles have taken place within the visible church, among those who claim fidelity to Christ. That’s because the greatest threats togospel truth have not come from atheists and other overt adversaries, butalways from influential voices that arise within the church who speak twistedthings (Acts 20:30).The evidence that this was happening in the very earliest era of the New Testament church is seen not only in Paul’s parting words to the Ephesianelders, but also in his admonitions to Timothy and Titus, and in Christ’sletters to the churches in Revelation 2-3.
When I was studying doctrine and apologetics in seminary,I thought I was equipping myself to defend biblical truth against an onslaughtof attacks from the world. I envisioned answering atheism and confrontingthreats to the gospel that would arise out of secular culture, theentertainment industry, the academic world, and other places outside thechurch.
Sometime after I entered full-time ministry, it dawned onme (to my profound shock) that the greatest threats to biblical truth typicallyarise from within the fellowship of professing believers—and it is a relentlessparade of attacks. Looking back through church history, I realized that’s howit has always been. There has never been a time when false doctrines, harmfulmethodologies, unwholesome practices, bizarre beliefs, poisonous ideologies,and false teachers weren’t troubling the church of God—often with seriouslydivisive and otherwise spiritually destructive results.
In retrospect, it should not have been a surprise to methat the worst troubles come from within. I was born into a pastor’s home. Myfather was the son of a pastor. Both were part of the historic denominationallandscape of planet church. They were in the American Baptist Church (ABC)denomination.
By the time I was a teenager, my grandfather was inheaven, having served as a pastor until the day he saw the face of Christ. Mydad left the faltering, compromising ABC to plant an independent church in abuilding sold by a failing Lutheran congregation.
My father took his stand in the liberal-fundamentalist conflict. The issue then was the inspiration and authority of Scripture. My dadwas bold and relentless, always with grace, to defend the Bible as inspired byGod in total. He was cut off from lifelong friends who stayed in the ABC, buthe was never divided in his loyalty to the true doctrine of Scripture. He encouraged me as a teenager, as a college student, and as a seminary student tolearn and acquire all the doctrinal and evidentiary proofs necessary to defendthe Word of God against the modernist and liberal attacks.
Although he was a loving pastor, my dad was also anearnest, relentless, skilled, and thoughtful defender of the Bible.
By the time I finished seminary I had my own settled convictions about the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. My beliefs wereshaped by and solidly anchored in the testimony of Scripture itself—affirmed by the evidence of the Bible’s life-changing power, its accuracy in all detailsthat are subject to examination, the precise fulfillment of so many of itsprophesies, and the sheer glory of God’s self-revelation. In the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith (1.X), what I hear when I read my Bible is “the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.”
While in seminary I wrote papers defending the Bible’sauthority, and I even debated at Fuller Seminary against the corrupted view ofinerrancy put forth by two of its faculty members, Jack Rogers and DonaldMcKim. Theirs was a defective view of the Bible’s truthfulness, claimingthe general thrust of Scripture is inspired but not the very words (ipsissimaverba). They argued that there may be “technical errors” in the Bible, but itnevertheless is a “living witness” to what God has revealed. Together with someother evangelical leaders, I was invited (when Donald Hubbard was president) tospeak to Fuller’s administration, faculty, and board on the issues ofbiblical inspiration and inerrancy. This was requested by concerned boardmembers who had been told by faculty leaders that the views being taught atFuller were perfectly orthodox—but when they spoke to students and othermembers of the faculty, those board members were hearing that unorthodox ideaswere indeed being aggressively promoted in classrooms at Fuller.
I had always assumed that the defense of Scripture wouldbe a lifelong battle (and it has been). What I did not anticipate, or evennotice at first, was that the most damaging attacks on gospel principles tendto come in relentless waves and not mainly from secular skeptics andcontentious unbelievers, but almost routinely from within the church—and fromall sides.
I hadn’t been serving as a pastor very long when I was attacked by legalistic fundamentalists, and therefore was thrust into aconflict between works-based self-righteous religion and liberty in Christ.After that, an attack came from the opposite direction, claiming that gospel preaching that calls unbelievers to repentance and submission to Christ’slordship is itself a form of legalism. I wrote The Gospel According to Jesus inresponse, and when the controversy intensified, I wrote a second reply, TheGospel According to the Apostles.
There was also the campaign to gain conservative evangelicals’ acceptance for Pentecostal views on the Holy Spirit, spiritualgifts, and continuing revelation. The church I pastor is a short distance fromthe Episcopalian Church in Van Nuys, California, where the charismatic movementhad its inception. I wrote Charismatic Chaos in part to chronicle how thatmovement resulted in an influx of unorthodox ideas and false teachers in theevangelical mainstream.
We fought for the sufficiency of Scripture against theintrusion of psychotherapy into the church (attempting to integrate Christiandoctrine with a horde of ideas based on godless presuppositions about thereasons for the human struggle). For a time, the evangelical movement was besetwith, and almost overrun by, self-styled experts who belittled biblical truthas unsophisticated and inadequate for helping people with their “deep”psychological problems. They were convinced that sanctification couldn’t evenstart until a person went through the foyer of psychology. Our Sufficiency inChrist was my written response to that trend.
Throughout all those years, another somewhat subtle butvery appealing—and very dangerous—trend was steadily gaining influence among evangelicals. It was the rank pragmatism of the so-called “seeker-sensitive”philosophy of church growth. Churches that followed this pattern moved awayfrom biblical preaching and doctrinal instruction and generally used entertainmentlaced with spiritual-sounding themes as a means of drawing crowds. The stresswas on reaching the “unchurched” rather than training believers for ministry.The result was that people remained untaught and did not grow spiritually.
A handful of megachurches stood out as models thatsmaller churches everywhere attempted to imitate. Although countless smallchurches failed and even died when they adopted the model, a few glib, youngleaders became very skilled at the pragmatic approach and saw their congregations grow to unprecedented sizes. Some of them numbered literally inthe tens of thousands, giving observers the impression that this novel approachto ministry was reaching people on a huge scale. My book Ashamed of the Gospel analyzed and confronted that issue.
I have referred to those books not for the sake ofself-promotion but to show that my best-known polemical works all have onebasic aim: they were written to respond to subtle, in-house attacks on coregospel convictions. The fact that they span my whole ministry illustrates whatI mean when I say, the battle for biblical authority rages constantly and onmany fronts. I’ve never sought to be a controversialist, but my conscience andmy commitment to Scripture compel me to contend earnestly for the bedrock principles of the gospel delivered once for all to the saints.
On Wednesday I’ll continue and conclude this retrospective with an explanation of what the current evangelical obsessionwith “social justice” has in common with all of those other issues. And I’ll begin to explain why it’s my conviction that much of the rhetoric about thislatest issue poses a more imminent and dangerous threat to the clarity andcentrality of the gospel than any other recent controversy evangelicals have engaged in.