Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Bible X-Files?

Dr. John MacArthur has a new book coming out. I heard about this a few weeks ago from a commenter here at On My Walk, but now there's a promo video!

Brother Martuneac, author of In Defense of the Gospel which was recently reviewed here has a discussion about MacArthur's new book "Slave" going on over at his blog. Lou quotes MacArthur's own explanation of the book.
“Studying the New Testament I discovered a distortion of truth when it came to the word ‘doulos.’ The book Slave is about the hidden word that unlocks the believer’s identity. There had been a conspiracy to cover up a truth that is so essential to the New Testament that without it we misunderstand our relationship to Jesus Christ.”
You "discovered" a distortion of the truth? Written about a "hidden word"? There's been a "conspiracy"? Wow, hold the show there Spooky Mulder... I'm sure you're just trying to sell some books but you're going a bit over the top here buddy. What is this? An episode of The Bible X-Files?

Well I don't know about any of that... last I checked the Bible has been completely open for study to everyone for a long time and ignorance of what it says, or doesn't say, is really the fault of an individual - not a conspiracy.  As for what MacArthur intends to explain to the world with his upcoming book "Slave"- well, I think this quote from his sermon "Slaves for Christ" sums it up pretty well.
“When you give somebody the gospel, you are saying to them, ‘I would like to invite you to become a slave of Jesus Christ…give up your independence…give up your freedom, submit yourself to an alien will, abandon all your rights, be owned by, controlled by the Lord’. That’s really the gospel.” (1:06 of video linked above)
"That's really the gospel." Really? Alright MacArthurites, remind me again how I have misrepresented this man's doctrine again and again...

Here's the promo video. I'll definitely be buying this book, if only because I want to show it to all the people who tell me that MacArthur doesn't pervert the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Kevl said...

The X-Files lead character Fox Mulder said to a bartender:

Mulder: I'm the key figure in an ongoing government charade, the plot to conceal the truth about the existence of extraterrestrials. It's a global conspiracy, actually, with key players in the highest levels of power, that reaches down into the lives of every man, woman, and child on this planet, so, of course, no one believes me. I'm an annoyance to my superiors, a joke to my peers. They call me Spooky. Spooky Mulder, whose sister was abducted by aliens when he was just a kid and who now chases after little green men with a badge and a gun, shouting to the heavens or to anyone who will listen that the fix is in, that the sky is falling and when it hits it's gonna be the ****-storm of all time

Bartender: Well... I say that about does it, Spooky.



Jan said...

LOL Kev! You nailed it on the conspiracy stuff!!

Actually, I'm really bothered that he used that language. I want to know who is behind this conspiracy! Was Vine involved? Or Kittel? Did Strong know about it? How about Zodhiates? And what about all those Greek professors in seminaries around the world? Do they know? Are they involved? And how long has this been going on since virtually every English Bible version is contaminated? Does this go back 400 years to the King James? Or is it more recent? And which version(s) passed the smell test? And who did he consult with to make sure he is right? Then again, who could he trust, what with this conspiracy going on and all? What other words did these mysterious evil men conspire to distort? For surely this is not the only one! Really. This is serious stuff!

Phew! I guess we should all be glad Indiana MacArthur has ridden in to save the day! Go Indie Mac!


blessed said...

Hi Kev

Just in case you are interested John Macarthur preached on this book at Christ Fellowship Baptist can find it at on the Christ Fellowship page entitled Slave of Christ ( not sure if you are familiar with sermon audio but you can search by speaker name on the Christ Fellowship Baptist Church Mobile AL page)
I understand if you dont post this as it may lead others to go listen....just wanted you to know in case you wanted to listen.

Kevl said...

Hi Blessed,

I've read his "Slaves for Christ" sermon. If his preaching on the book is the same then he is in typical MacArthur form.

People will find it very persuasive, until they ask just a couple of basic questions. I'll get to those at a later date.


Kevl said...

The text for MacArthur's "Slaves for Christ" can be found HERE.

If you read it you'll find that the doctor finds many places in the Scripture where "slave" is an accurate translation of the word. He asserts that slave is always the accurate translation of the word - and I could agree with him except that such would no doubt distort the meaning of the Text in some places.

Translation is not simply replacing words in one language with words in another language that mean the same thing - it's not actually that easy. It seems like it should be... but it is not.

I highly encourage people to read the translation notes for both Darby's "New Translation" and the new 2011 NIV. There are some truly great insights into how translation is done and why. Darby's notes are excellent - the NIV notes are surprisingly good, well surprising to me anyway, and truly shine a light on concepts that are otherwise hard to consider.

If I can find links to these documents I'll put them up later.

OH the one thing that Slaves for Christ does not establish - despite MacArthur's insistance of it being a fact? That to be saved is to be a slave of Christ.

Oops. Lots of great slavery action going on in the sermon, and within the context that the Bible uses these phrases I'm (most obviously) in full agreement. However, as per normal, the giant leap of illogic is to paint everyone with the same brush... using a few examples and ignoring the overwhelming majority of Biblical accounts.


Look up said...

From a discussion earlier in the year with some young LS guys.

"Doulos is a legal status, making one person the property of another person who has all rights to the labor and production of his property. Hence the doulos serves his owner. Contrary to common belief, the doulos was well cared for, was often better skilled and educated than his master, enjoyed great freedom of trade and mobility, and was able to rise to high posts of power, respect, and influence. It was common for a person to sell himself into doulos in order to improve his position in life. The abject slave was more often an UNPARDONED prisoner of war or a criminal."

At the time of the writing of the KJV, the two terms — slave and servant — were not as carefully distinguished as they are today."
A slave as we define it today is akin to an UNPARDONED criminal, whereas the pardoned Christian being freed is therefore become a servant, and that is all the difference in the world.

Look up said...

Another difference:

A slave serves because he has to, but a servant serves because he is allowed to.

1 Cor 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

The slave can look forward to no reward, but the servant can look forward to his reward.

The slave must serve whether his will be inclined to or not, the servant is enabled to serve from the higher precept of love.

Kevl said...

Hey LookUp,

VERY busy day at work, and I'm exhausted now so I'll read your comments and get back later.


Kevl said...

Hi Look Up,

You said The slave must serve whether his will be inclined to or not, the servant is enabled to serve from the higher precept of love.

I believe this is the Christian experience. I don't think it always "feels" this way. I know many times in my own walk I have felt compelled to do something that made no sense to me... and in the end it became clear it was God's will. A strong prompting from the Spirit I would suggest.

Other times I've felt rebuke that was so strong that I felt my will was being forcibly changed... that could be just my perception... and probably has as much to do with my flesh as it does with reality.

MacArthur's point is/will be that Paul used the word to MEAN slave - subject to an alien will with no choice in the matter.

Some of the verses that MacArthur uses to promote his view are most obviously not teaching that Christians are slaves of Christ but that they should serve their earthly masters as slaves of Christ - you are a slave to this master, serve him as you would Christ. NOT that you are a slave of Christ, so serve the earthly master well.

Actually even reading that statement "You are a slave of Christ so serve your earthly master well" it becomes even more absurd - if the person is a slave - as MacArthur defines it - of Christ then why on earth would they need to be told to obey? If you're subject to an alien will, you don't get the option of obeying or not...

Sigh... anyway. I want to take up MacArthur's arguments more fully in a stand alone article.

Right now I'm looking at Romans 3 with no small amount of wonderment!


Kevl said...

Is it just me or does MacArthur look a bit like Bruce Willis in this promo video?


Kevl said...

The New NIV 2011 Translation Notes at (PDF)

I have a much clearer understanding of the mindset of the NIV translation now, and I actually hold it in higher regard because of my new understanding.

Darby is my go-to English Bible, but I well understand the purpose for this work. Here's a quote from which makes it plainly clear -

Darby did not feel such a need for a new translation in English, because he considered the King James Version to be adequate for most purposes, and he encouraged his followers to continue to use it. But, he decided to produce a highly literal English version of the New Testament for study purposes.

His translation notes are wonderfully instructive for understanding the translation process.

Here are introductory notes for the various editions of Darby's "New Translation."

Hope these are helpful and interesting.


Lou Martuneac said...


You know it did occur to me that this was a planned marketing strategy, pre-sales hype to spark interest. Nothing like a good conspiracy to attract attention. Bottomline though is that this will be another in the line of his books to reiterate and reinforce the works based Lordship Salvation interpretation of the Gospel.


Kevl said...

Hey Lou,

That promo video is surely a teaser in the best sense of the term. I think the MacArthur organization is well acquainted with controversy and media buzz.

It's working, even I want to buy this book. LOL they know their opponents as well as their followers I think.....


Lou Martuneac said...


Reluctantly, I am going to buy and read this book.


John Gregory said...

I will not waste my money on another book by this author! He has proven false in other books, why should I give any more money to
John's money making machine? I would rather purchase a copy of
"In defense of the Gosper" and give it to some one who needs to see the truth!
John Gregory