James MacDonald’s Resignation – D. Phillips

I regard myself as pretty old school.  I don’t much care for the evangelicalism of the 21st Century.  I feel much more at home with D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones or J. C. Ryle than I do with John Piper and Wayne Grudem.  I know many people don’t see much of a difference, but I believe (like Peter Masters) that Lloyd-Jones and Ryle would.

For one thing there is the charismatic emphasis: something older evangelicals would have had no truck with.  Then there is the lack of discernment, the stress upon experience, the vulgarity of some YRR leaders, and the cult of personality and its horrid attendant, the publishing prostitute.  Then there is the seeming underhand Calvinizing going on in the SBC (I would find Arminianizing just as objectionable).

The problem has once again been highlighted with Reformed scholar Michael Sudduth’s defection to, of all things, Hare Krishna!  And still more telling of the state of much evangelicalism today is the kerfuffle surrounding the resignation of Pastor James MacDonald from The Gospel Coalition.

I regard myself as several removes away from MacDonald and his ministry, and I believe older evangelicals would too.  If you want a little insight into why I say that, you ought to read Dan Phillips’ thoughts on MacDonald’s resignation.  Dan has his own opinions and he does not necessarily agree with everything I’ve just said.  But I really like this piece.

Dan Phillips: Even Better Than The Race Card {tm}



  1. Hi Dr. Henebury,
    I have been doing alot of reading of the Puritans, Lloyd-Jones, Ryle, Spurgeon and the like and when I read anything by any of the new guys, it’s like eating baby food…even with the best of them. I can understand how you say there is a difference…just read the vintage Christian leaders of 400 years ago and none of these newbees can hold a candle to them.

  2. To be fair, the doctrinal decay among those who profess to be Calvinistic or expositional+dispensational tend to be slower than general evangelical church. If you read enough John Piper and Wayne Grudem or even Tim Keller, there is still residual materials on sin, salvation through the blood of Jesus. In contrast, if you enter a generic (3/4)-Pentecostal-community church that still professes to be premillennial (yet doesn’t really know much head to tail about theology) and who is all gung ho on loving its community neighbours and teaching the congregation to experience God’s healing power”, the fluff from people like Richard Stearne, Rick Warren, Chap Clark, Don Piper, etc make what @William describes as baby food look positively like beef stew in comparison.

    I’ve noticed over my part of the world, we have very few cardinal 5-point Calvinists – although I can’t say what the conservative Presbyterian/Reformed churches are up to, and yes, people were enchanted by the YRR crowd and still are to some extent, they are nonetheless starting to distance themselves from the likes of Driscoll now as they found Driscoll doesn’t really make his doctrine affect his conduct. There are still enough people in churches I know that read J.C. Ryle, John Stott, and Martin Lloyd-Jones as well as John Piper, Tim Keller, and Mark Driscoll that they will not hesitate to chuck the YRRs’ beliefs out.

    On another note, a lot of Reformed types don’t react well to people who are turncoats. For example, they were touting Sudduth a few years ago as brilliant, but are now busy dissing him as a “brilliant philosopher but a poor theologian” as if he has always been an imposter who never “got it”. Same with their treatment of Robert Sungenis, who was a graduate of Westminster Seminary no less and yet has now converted to Catholicism, or Scott Hahn, who (to their credit, Hahn was PCUSA so he isn’t exactly confessional) converted from Reformed. Or observe how they treat Vernon McGee and Lewis Sperry Chafer. Each convert has never “got” Reformed theology because by defintion Reformed theology is right, eh?

    @Paul, I have read some of your off remarks about the charismatic movement in general. I hold to cessationist views as well. I was wondering if you can write a few articles with the charismatic renewal movement doctrinal issues DV, especially cessationism has almost died out in many parts of evangelical christendom due to the impacts of YRR or Calvary Chapel types of “soft” charismatics. Many believers need correct teachings on this area.

    In particular, I believe a lot of us will be keen to see some discussions on these areas:

    1. Does God still speak to us extrabiblically? (theology proper, pneumatology)

    2. If 1 is biblical, how does it relate to the Bible as the foundation of our beliefs? (pneumatology, bibliology, soteriology)

    3. When a bad thing happens to a believer, is God using the suffering to grow our maturity in faith in Him, or wanting us to experience His power of healing and deliverance through prayers and ministry? (theology proper, apologetics)

    4. What is meant by speaking in tongues? Does it always refer to foreign human language or a type of prayer language in non-human-language? (pneumatology)

    5. Are sign gifts in the Bible nromative for all times? (pneumatology)

    If you can include some of these discussions DV that will help edify all believers who read this blog. Thanks.


    1. Scott Hahn wrote a Forward to one of “Born Again Catholic” David Currie’s books. He ironically stated that, “Fundamentalist tendency…is to read each biblical text in isolation from the other texts and from the larger context of Sacred Tradition, including the ancient Israelite prophetic traditions.” Yet Currie actually read his own conclusions into Daniel, Zechariah 14 and Revelation and avoided large chunks of Scripture that didn’t suit his theology. Where he couldn’t, he allegorized it. The excuse was that one must consider “Sacred Tradition” or the “Magisterium”. This is rather like the Adventist claim that White illuminated Scripture.

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