OUR SUFFICIENCY FOR OUTREACH
An interview with John MacArthur, Jr., about his controversial new book.
October 1, 1991
John MacArthur, Jr., believes in outreach-fiercely. Through his pulpit at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, and through his radio ministry "Grace to You," he has taught thousands to scatter into the world and spread the gospel. He has unambiguous feelings about how church outreach should be, and should not be, conducted.
In his new book, Our Sufficiency in Christ (Word, 1991), MacArthur criticizes, among other things, the trend in church outreach toward pragmatism, as seen in church growth theory, seeker-oriented services, user-friendly churches, and entertainment in worship (what he calls "evangelical burlesque").
He also blasts mysticism (the "Signs and Wonders" and "Spiritual Warfare" movements) and psychology (even Christian counselors). Such trends, he believes, undermine the core of the gospel.
The LEADERSHIP editors sat down with John one Friday afternoon to probe his heart and practice as a pastor as well as a polemicist.
Many people come to church for less than ideal reasons: to be part of something exciting, big, and thriving; to be entertained or inspired; to get a spiritual uplift to help them through the week; to give the kids some religious training; to see the preacher they've heard on the radio. Is it legitimate to use these motivations to attract the unchurched to hear the gospel?
Thinking up a strategy to get an unbeliever to church isn't difficult. All you do is find out what their hot buttons are and press them. If they like dancing elephants, you get dancing elephants. If they want to be successful in their business, you hold a business success seminar. If they're worried about their kids, you hold parenting workshops and invite the whole world.
I realize that's true about people, but I'm not ...