We all were shocked by John MacArthur's announced promotion of the NIV2011. Gobsmacked.
Here is a man who has spent his life working his rod and staff in protection of the flock of God. Then this.
John's not been afraid to beat off wolves from the inside. His Gospel According to Jesus was a wonderful encouragment in defending the Gospel of grace against Dallas Theological Seminary and Grace Theological Seminary men who thought they must deny Christ as Lord to embrace Him as Savior. And like many of you, I praised God for the man as I read that book.
It was no aberration, as I'm sure Iain Murray makes clear through his autobiography of John recently released. And there's that, also: likely the man David and I have benefitted from more across our life's work than any other--Iain Murray--showed his commendation of John by giving himself to John's biography. Honestly, there could be little higher commendation for us this side of Heaven than Iain choosing to do this work.
Feminists aren't on the inside of John's world and church so why has he gone and made common cause with them at this late date? Has he grown weary? Has he changed his mind...
on sex-neutered Bible translation? Does he want to make nice as he ages?
Right there I'm sure many find themselves angry, again. How dare I accuse John of growing weary? Of changing his minnd? The very idea of John deciding to change course and "make nice" is ludicrous. John is not interested in making nice. His only commitment is fighting the good fight and finishing the course in a way that pleases his Master.
Alright then, why? Why has John allowed his name to be used to promote a Bible that systematically repudiates the Fatherhood of God writ large over man? Why has he decided to sell a Bible that deletes the name "adam" God gave the race? Why is he promoting a Bible that obscures the federal headship of Adam over that race? That hides the wonderful truth of Scripture that all die in that "one man" Adam? We didn't die in both Adam and Eve, nor did we die in that first eater of the fruit, Eve.
When we stop to count the doctrines attacked by the systematic destruction of the Holy Spirit's name for the race used throughout Sacred Scripture, we pinch ourselves and ask, again, why would John do such a thing? What is his motivation? Is he really so naive as to think calling the NIV2011 the "MacArthur Study Bible" is not misleading of the sheep who look to him for safe pasture? Can he be oblivious to the power of marketing and sales? To the ignorance of consumers--"Well, John MacArthur's name is on it so it must be OK."
Actually, this is what I think and I'd be happy for someone to prove me wrong. Deep down inside where a man ruminates over such decisions and makes them, John came to the conclusion that neutering the sex markings of Scripture is no big deal. He concluded that the doctrine of God's name for the race is fine to leave behind because no other doctrine hangs on it. And added to these conclusions, he felt it important that his life's work residing in his notes have the broadest possible distribution, even at the expense of endorsing what he sees as only a slightly imperfect Bible translation. As he's pointed out justifying his decision, all Bible translations are slightly imperfect.
Anyhow, we're left with the fact of John's name and work promoting an ideological attack upon the Word and Words of God and it's left us flabbergasted. We've loved John and trusted his work. We've commended his work to many. I'll never forget listening to his sermons on Timothy back in my first pastorate out of seminary. What strength those sermons gave me for my work! I've been grateful for them (and him) throughout my ministry. How many times I've recollected them and been strengthened to do what's right.
Others may be so close to John that they don't feel able to question his decision or to ask him to reverse it. Being Presbyterians, David and I have that freedom.
John, for the sake of the Gospel according to Jesus Christ, reverse this decision. God will give you the distribution of your study notes that He wants without you promoting an ideological feminist abuse of His Word. Go for depth and leave the breadth to Him.
Write Zondervan and Nelson and tell them you've changed your mind. Please, dear brother. It's not a matter of picking sides between conservatives and liberals. It's a matter of obeying the God Who warns us:
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18, 19)
In my own MacArthur Study Bible fifteen years old, now, I find your comment on this text above:
These are not the first such warnings (cf. Deut. 4:2, 12:32; Prov. 30:6; Jer. 26:2). These warnings against altering the biblical text represent the close of the NT canon. Anyone who tampers with the truth by attempting to falsify, mitigate, alter, or misinterpret it will incur the judgments described in these verses.
Save one last sentence, these words above are the conclusion of your study notes for Scripture. Listen to them, dear brother.
Your own MacArthur Study Bible will tamper with the truth by falsifying, mitigating, and altering the very text of Scripture. And while you didn't do the translation yourself, you will be selling the translation with your own name and work.
Don't do it. We love you and want to see you end well. We appeal to you as a father.
A faithful shepherd doesn't mislead God's sheep.