John MacArthur, Michael Brown and Andy Stanley - Guess Who Is Right?
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. - Romans 13:1-2 (ESV)
One of the more reassuring things about having saving faith in Christ is the certainty of absolute truth. We live in a world that revels in shades of grey to avoid having to make the black and white judgments that are truly needed. There is right and wrong and they do not exist on a sliding scale. There is true and there is false not "alternate facts." I remember once speaking to an agnostic who declared that he was happy the "Christian thing" worked for me and that the "Muslim thing" worked for his other friend. My response was simply, "yeah, but one of us is wrong." In this age when people reflexively cry fake news whenever their false worldview is challenged it is good to remind ourselves as believers that things are very much black and white. God has given us sovereign instruction on everything we might face in life if only we would read, believe and apply His word to OUR lives. I capitalize OUR because the modern apostate church has gotten into the bad habit of applying the word to other people's lives so they do not have to examine their own.
With this as the backdrop I present the gatekeeper of the NAR, Dr. Michael Brown. I say gatekeeper because rarely does he personally espouse false theologies. Instead he supports and provides cover for those that do. For example, he once went on the Benny Hinn show for a week and referred to him later as a good brother in the Lord. When people were correctly mocking Jennifer Leclaire for her 'sneaky squid spirit", Brown gave her time on his radio show and supported and excused her nonsense. Even though Brown knows there is black and white he never applies it. For example, he wrote a solid book denouncing the false teaching of greasy grace and then refused to call Joseph Prince, the King of greasy grace, a false teacher. Your books on theology are meaningless if you insist on allowing wolves access to the sheep pen. Brown wrote a recent article, linked above, that brilliantly displays his refusal to ever be critical or discerning about any teacher. His topic was the COVID crisis and how two mega church pastors reacted differently and how he sides with both of them. Ahhh, why take a stand eh? Let us reason once more beloved.
Two of the best-known pastors in America have offered very different (and very public) responses to governmental prohibitions to church gatherings. Pastor John MacArthur has said no to government overreach and encouraged other pastors to do the same. Pastor Andy Stanley has said yes to government guidelines and feels this is the best example to set. For my part, I agree with both of them. But first, lest anyone think I'm trying to play both sides against the middle, nothing could be further from the truth.
Uh-huh. I feel compelled to say what is obvious - one of them is wrong. Notice how Brown splits the bill on these two pastors. For MacArthur the issue is government overreach but for Stanley it is government guidelines. Sorry Dr. Brown but you do not get to play this game. Now because Brown is an N AR dominionist we already know he believes that the government has overreached. The problem he has is that the key verses today do not say "unless the government has overreached." Think about this. The Apostle Paul wrote Romans around 57AD and a short time later he would be arrested and eventually imprisoned in Rome. At the time of the writing to say that the Roman Empire engaged in government overreach when it came to the Jews would be a gross understatement. Yet he still says be subject to the governing authorities doesn't he? If he had a change of heart after being in chains, he never once brought it up even though he wrote Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon while imprisoned. The amount of oppression the Jewish people suffered under Roman rule far exceeds being asked to not hold church gatherings during a plague.