Further thoughts on the NIV2011 MacArthur Study Bible...

NOTE FROM TB: I wrote the text below and was ready to post it this afternoon but other things intervened and I didn't get to it until late this evening. So I wrote this without having seen Phil Johnson's response to our previous posts, nor my brother David's response to Phil. Just an FYI.

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Let me clarify my thoughts concerning the publication of the MacArthur Study Bible in the text of the New International Version 2011...

At the outset I should make clear that no one has called or written threatening me with being tarred and feathered. The simple fact is that David and I respect the men at Pyromaniacs and are grateful for their criticisms and requests for clarification. And because of our respect, we are predisposed to respond positively to their requests. Just now I finished a phone call with one of them which I initiated and the conversation was fruitful. From that brother's criticisms, I want to say the following.

First, I have never thought that John MacArthur is a money-grubber. I'm sorry I implied this. I was careless and should not have been so flippant. I've corrected this at the top of the original post, but I want to call attention to it here, also. Like David, I have been to John's church. I've preached in the Masters Seminary chapel service and, during that visit, saw nothing about the offices or buildings or work that smelled of greed or materialism. Just the opposite.

Second, the decision to publish the MacArthur Study Bible in the text of the New International Version 2011 was not a purely spiritual decision. Zondervan did not donate their NIV2011 copyright license to the MacArthur Study Bible folks and the MacArthur Study Bible folks did not donate their copyright to Zondervan. Both sides made a business decision and both sides were motivated by a desire to see the Word of God more broadly distributed and to profit from that distribution. Whether that profit is individual or organizational, large or small, direct or indirect is immaterial to my larger point.

Third, I have great respect for John MacArthur. Brother David speaks for both of us in his blog post earlier this afternoon and this decision has not caused us to lose our respect for him, nor for any of the Pyro men. We only wish John had not taken this step and we regret the gain in respect and trust his imprimatur will give a Bible translation that is categorically--not simply incidentally--harmful to the souls reading it.



I've considered myself reformed for quite a while now and, aside from Scripture itself, I am most grateful to John MacArthur. When God got hold of me and convicted me of my sin I walked into a Lifeway Christian Bookstore (having no idea of the dangers) and picked up The Gospel According to Jesus. My logic was more or less: Well, MacArthur didn't put me to sleep during chapel when he preached at Cedarville College so I'll read something from him. I went on to read at least a dozen of his books and listen to countless sermons and all of this pushed me more deeply into God's Word.

I am, and always will be, grateful for John MacArthur. God used him to open my eyes to the doctrines of grace, a high view of Scripture and many other wonderful truths. This stirred up a lot of dust in my life but when everything settled and I came out of the cage phase of being reformed, I latched onto semper reformanda above all the other reformed battle cries.

Now I'm part of Christ the Word Church and we have a distinct culture of confession and repentance. It's not unusual at all for me and my friends to challenge each other and help one another examine our hearts and look for sin. I wish that culture would permeate more of the reformed and evangelical world. Why is it considered off limits or below the belt to point out we're all influenced by money and this is sin? Do we really believe there are only two categories. We're either money grubbing profiteers or completely above this temptation. There's no in between? I, personally, know I'm in between and need to have my sin pointed out. Now, sometimes when confronted I examine my heart and remain convinced I'm more or less right but it's always good for my soul to be pressed. I don't think this sort of challenge should be off limits. In fact, it just seems like basic Christian living in community.

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