First Response To “Faith According To The Apostle James” By John F. Macarthur, Jr. -- By: Earl D. Radmacher

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 33:1 (Mar 1990)
Article: First Response To “Faith According To The Apostle James” By John F. Macarthur, Jr.
Author: Earl D. Radmacher

First Response To “Faith According To The Apostle James” By John F. Macarthur, Jr.

Earl D. Radmacher*

When the apostle Paul called for the elders of the church at Ephesus to meet him at Miletus, he spoke with extreme concern about the doctrinal dangers threatening that church both from without and from within: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (Acts 20:28–31).

The Church in America faces similar problems today, although the epicenter seems to be more from within than from without. There seems to be general agreement about the nature of the problem, especially in evangelicalism, but it has been put succinctly by Charles Colson:

Pollsters tell us that 50 million Americans say they are born again. Evangelicals have come out of the closet in recent years, accompanied by a surge of Christian books, records, celebrities and candidates.

No doubt about it, religion is up. But so are values unremittingly opposed to the truth of Christianity: One out of every two marriages shatters in divorce; one out of three pregnancies terminates in abortion. Homosexuality is no longer considered depravity, but an “alternative lifestyle.” Crime continues to soar—in “Christian” America there are 100 times more burglaries than in “pagan” Japan.

That is the great paradox today: Sin abounds in the midst of unprecedented religiosity. If there are so many of us, why are we not affecting our world?1

If the statistics concerning the number and nature of “born-again” people are true, then we certainly have the largest spiritual nursery ever in American history and we are suffering desperately from the tragedy of protracted infancy.

Although there seems to be consensus as to the problem, at least in its manifestations, there is a great diversity in the suggested solutions that have arisen and developed disciples among Bible-believing evangelicals.

* Earl Radmacher is chancellor of Western Conservative Baptist Seminary in Portland, Oregon.

Three of them stand out to me. On the one hand, there are the reconstructionists or theonomists who are convinced that the spiraling antinomianism in our society is the result of departure from the law of Moses. Their solution is to reestablish the law as the m...

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