Op-Ed: Why is the ERLC Criticizing MacArthur For Refusing to Contend For Baal?

In response to the circulation of a heavily edited John MacArthur sermon clip from January 2021, the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and many Big-Eva leaders recently attacked Pastor MacArthur for “opposing religious freedom”. In the article, “3 Reasons John Macarthur is Wrong About Religious Liberty”, Casey McCall of the ERLC invokes the 1778 account of the Baptist pastor David Barrow, who was nearly drowned by Anglicans. McCall proceeds to caricaturize Macarthur as a sectarian proponent of forced conversions:

McCall and many others in Big Eva who make this argument are deliberately ignoring what MacArthur intends when he says that he opposes religious freedom. MacArthur, a Baptist who was a decades-long friend and ministry partner of Presbyterian Pastor R.C. Sproul, is not a sectarian looking to persecute Presbyterians by abducting them and forcefully baptizing them in a fashion similar to the aforementioned treatment of Pastor David Burrow. If you watch the unedited sermon, immediately after attacking the idea of religious freedom, MacArthur proceeds to criticize those who hold a postmillennial view of eschatology and believe that they will take over the world. MacArthur is not a proponent of theonomy who wants to establish an official state religion or forcefully convert people. Rather, MacArthur simply opposes the idea that Christians should advocate for freedom of religion on behalf of false religions. Scripture is chock-full of instances where God commanded the faithful to tear down idols, oppose idols, and oppose false religions. There is not a single scriptural example of God telling anyone to advocate for those preaching false religion or their ideology. 2020 Clarity: Reflecting on God’s Goodness in the Last Year – YouTube

The ERLC wants you to believe that John MacArthur is a zealot, while hiding the fact that they materially support false religions through their position on “religious freedom”. For more than a decade, the ERLC has advocated on behalf of Islamic organizations that receive resistance from local communities seeking to block the construction of mosques. Instead of preaching the truth and trusting the sovereignty of God to bless faithful ministry, as Pastor MacArthur has done for 53 years, many Southern Baptists have bought into the false currency of “cultural capital”. Derived from a false teaching of St. Francis of Assisi (Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words), cultural capital theory teaches that Christians must earn worldly brownie points by being extra nice to pagans, and advocating for the rights of those who follow pagan gods and desire to enshrine sin into law.

In this pragmatic man-centered theory, when worldly people who worship false gods and have darkened hearts see a Christian with a large accumulation of cultural capital brownie points, their hearts instantly melt like a marshmallow over an open fire, and they become instant converts because they believe that Christians are such nice good people. If they don’t become converts, it is expected that the pagans will at least reciprocate the treatment and advocate for Christian rights. Apparently, the cultural capital folks forgot how Christians are treated in Muslim countries. Unfortunately, many who focus on earning cultural capital rather than preaching the Gospel have twisted themselves and their faith into a gnarly pretzel, and they have no fruit to show for having jettisoned the truth of the Gospel.

In Judges 6:25-31, the Lord commanded Gideon to tear down the altar to Baal that belonged to his father Joash. The pagans in the community who utilized the altar for their idolatry were understandably outraged at this action, because it showed great disrespect to their pagan deity. When the pagans called on Joash to bring out his son so that he could be executed for the offense, Joash rebuked them saying, “Let Baal contend for himself” (vs 31). God didn’t reason with the pagans, and he didn’t give Gideon a post-demolition apology speech. Gideon didn’t help the pagans find a new church home. The Lord is a jealous God, who wants all of the glory for himself.

If your church belongs to the SBC, a portion of your giving goes to the Cooperative Program. A portion of the money that goes to the Cooperative Program is allotted to the ERLC, and the ERLC uses a portion of that money to advocate for “Religious Freedom” in the form of creating legal briefs to support the construction of mosques, and lobbying governments for the advance of “Islamic rights”. Islam is tantamount to Baal worship.

The ERLC contends for Baal.


Editor’s Note. This article was written by Paul Brown.

4 thoughts on “Op-Ed: Why is the ERLC Criticizing MacArthur For Refusing to Contend For Baal?

  1. I’ve worked closely with the ERLC for a number of years and knew Moore both at Southern Seminary and when he went to ERLC. At Southern his theology seemed fairly straight. He often challenged students to attempt to apply theology in very rare, but what he thought would be, upcoming situations in the ministry. Yet, when he actually had to face the same situations he attempted to train his students to face, he faltered and caved in to the point of converting to a semi-secularist. When he went to ERLC he suddenly converted to a modified-reformed-secularist position, or what I call a new neo orthodoxy. The “new new orthodoxy” I speak of is aligned with the need to be identified with a conservative view of the Bible but also hammer it on the anvil of culture to form it into something that places a noose on the grace of God I think this article reflects the droppings of Moore that have been consumed by a remnant of followers who are all vying for the position of top dog at the institution. They represent the skin of the truth stuffed with lies. It is good that Moore left. At least at CT he does not need to be a chameleon.

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  3. Postmillennialism postulates forced conversions? Are you guys serious? This is just another violation of the 9th from you guys. And since you all are against theonomy, I’m a historic theonomist, then whose law do you want to prevail, since God’s law will not do….that’s right….the heathen’s law. Baptists….the primary antinomians of our time.

    As for MacArthur, he’s a dispensationalist, enough said.

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