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Welcome to another “potpourri” edition of The Mailbag, where I give short(er) answers to several questions rather than a long answer to one question. I also like to take the opportunity in these potpourri editions to let new readers know about my comments/e-mail/messages policy. I’m not able to respond individually to most e-mails and messages, so here are some helpful hints for getting your questions answered more quickly. Remember, the search bar can be a helpful tool!


Why do you still have Art Azurdia on your “Recommended Bible Teachers” list?

Genuine thanks to those of you who reached out in concern about this. I appreciate your dedication to sound doctrine and to protecting me from my own absentmindedness.

As many of you may recall, Art was removed from ministry by his church over the summer for committing adultery. The day Trinity Church released their statement announcing this, I added an update to the article (the article was written in 2016 – two years prior to his removal) linking to it and explaining the situation. I have since tweaked that update for clarity. The update to my article reads:

On July 2, 2018, the elders of Trinity Church announced the removal of Art Azurdia as pastor due to sexually immorality. Art subsequently released his own statement of contrition and repentance and stepped down from all public ministry. While Art’s sin does not change the doctrinal soundness of his previous books and materials, you may wish to use this information as a factor in deciding whether or not to use or continue using his previously released sermons and materials. Should Art take it upon himself to return to ministry in the future, I will not recommend him as he has disqualified himself from the biblical requirements (1 Timothy 3/Titus 1) for ministry. The above information now applies only to Art’s sermons and materials predating July 2, 2018.

Art has dropped off the face of the earth for all intents and purposes. With regard to public ministry, it is as if he died on July 2. His adultery does not magically change the content of his previously released sermons and materials from doctrinally sound to doctrinally unsound. Therefore, I am making the judgment call to leave the information in the article with the update and let people follow their consciences and decide for themselves whether or not to use his old materials.


Did you know John MacArthur is partnering with false teachers at a conference next year?

There is an ugly rumor going around that John MacArthur is partnering with Rick Warren (and other false teachers) at next year’s Proclaim 19, the annual National Religious Broadcasters International Christian Media Convention. He is not.

Dr. MacArthur has been asked to deliver a sermon at the convention in honor of his 50th year of broadcasting Grace to You as well as his 50th anniversary of pastoring Grace Community Church. His appearance at the convention has no connection to other speakers who are speaking at other times and at other events during the convention.

I believe part of the reason people are being deceived into believing that Dr. MacArthur is “partnering” or “sharing the stage” with false teachers at Proclaim 19 is that they do not understand the nature of this event. I attended a similar event a few years ago, the International Christian Retail Show, when my book, Jacob: Journaling the Journey first came out.

You need to understand that the NRB event, like the ICRS event I attended, is a products, services, and informational trade show for the people and ministries NRB serves, not a preaching and teaching Christian conference.

At a trade show, there’s a large arena with dozens or even hundreds of exhibitor booths. You walk around and look at what you’re interested in and what pertains to your ministry. You network with people you meet who are in your particular field. That’s it. That’s what you’re there for – a products and services fair – not to be taught the Bible. Some trade shows offer various tangential events, dinners, or lectures for attendees who might be interested in a particular niche topic. If you’re interested in the topic and/or speaker, you attend. If not, you don’t. It is at one of these “a la carte” types of events that Dr. MacArthur is speaking. As of today, the only other person appearing at that event is Joni Eareckson Tada, who will be singing some hymns.

Another thing to keep in mind about this event is that it is taking place over the course of four full days, and it’s a “come and go” type of thing. Thousands of people will attend at various times during the four days. At an event this large and fluid, it is very likely Dr. MacArthur won’t even lay eyes on Rick Warren or any of the other problematic personalities who will be attending, especially if, as could be the case with his busy schedule, Dr. MacArthur is only at the convention for a brief amount of time. I’m not sure how you can be “partnering with” or “sharing a stage with” someone you have no contact with and isn’t present at the event you’re speaking at.

The deceptive information that Dr. MacArthur is “partnering” or “yoking” with false teachers is being spread mainly by a YouTube personality called “Servus Christi” . Friends, intentionally or unintentionally, this man is a deceiver and a slanderer, and he is causing division in the Body.

In the same way that you can’t trust every pastor or teacher to be doctrinally sound, you also can’t trust that every self-proclaimed “discernment” ministry is biblical, and Servus Christi most certainly is not. He routinely goes after “big name” doctrinally sound pastors and teachers with ridiculous and spurious claims in order to make a name for himself. (For example, he has falsely accused Paul Washer twice this year- once for “partnering” with Hillsong, and once for “partnering” with an associate of the Pope.)

Please don’t be deceived by this man, and don’t spread his deceptions by sharing them around on social media. Here’s the truthful information about Dr. MacArthur’s appearance at Proclaim 19 (the screenshotted statement is from Phil Johnson, head of Grace to You) and about Servus Christi:

 

If you’re considering commenting on this article to:

• defend Servus Christi, Jacob Prasch, or any other “discernment” ministry that slanders doctrinally sound teachers,
or to
• accuse John MacArthur (or any other doctrinally sound teacher) of heresy for appearing at this convention or for any other reason,

please save yourself some time and effort. Your comment will not be published.


This question was asked publicly on Twitter:

Is it philosophically inconsistent not to have some sort of funeral or burial of a miscarried fetus if you believe that fetus to be a human being with equal value and rights from conception? Asking for my wife and [me].

Great question. And if this isn’t a hypothetical question, I’m so sorry for your loss.

I think people grieve and honor lost loved ones in different ways and that, biblically, this is a matter of conscience. If you and your wife would like to have a full-scale funeral and burial for your baby, then go ahead and do that. If you’d like to do something more akin to a memorial service, that’s something to consider as well. You could also do something on a smaller scale such as a prayer gathering of your closest family and friends in someone’s home. Or, you could choose to follow whatever the hospital’s policy is for taking care of the baby’s remains. My thought is that as long as the remains are treated respectfully, as with any other death in the family, this is really a decision between you, your wife, and the Lord. Again, my condolences.

Thank you for your response, condolences, advice, and encouragement. I think God has provided an option for us that both honors our baby and satisfies our consciences. Thank you again.

Friends, would you please take a moment to pray that God will comfort this gentleman and his wife during this sad time?


Help me to respond to Christians that say “Good luck!” “Wish me good luck!” “We were lucky!” etc., etc., etc.! For the life of me I don’t understand.

Well…here’s how I would respond:

Her: “Good luck!”
Me: “Thanks! I covet your prayers.”

Her: “Wish me luck!”
Me: (In a lighthearted, sweet manner) “I’ll do you one better, I’ll pray for you!” (and then do it)

Her: “We were lucky!”
Me: “Wow, God really blessed you!” or… “I’m so thankful God protected you!” Or something like that.

I would not make a big deal out of this, especially if you know the person is saved and generally doctrinally sound. Most people just say these things out of habit and culture. It doesn’t mean they’re into New Age spirituality or anything like that. I mean, I eat Lucky Charms for breakfast sometimes, and I’m not into any of that. :0) It might make an interesting topic for Sunday School or Bible study class, though, just to help everybody become more aware of the things we say and why we say them.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

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