John MacArthur Rebukes Church Hosting Ligonier National Conference

Recently, news broke that Ligonier Ministries scheduled their 2022 National Conference at First Baptist Orlando, which concludes this weekend. This was alarming due to the recently exposed heretical teachings espoused by First Baptist. Danny de Armas, the senior associate pastor, infamously offered a full-blown ecumenical statement devoid of any Gospel truth and antithetical to the teachings of Scripture by highlighting how many illegal immigrants, pro-choice demoncrats, and LGBTQ folk were ‘serving’ in his church.

“We have transgender, LGBTQ, straight, single, married, divorced and cohabitating people. These same people attend listen, serve, grow and give…We have pro-life and pro-choice…And in the midst of all of this, we have one of the most beautiful worship experiences you can possibly imagine.”
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Unfortunately, the above is only one of the more recent examples of heresy spewed at the church. In the aftermath of the shooting at a gay Orlando nightclub back in 2016, First Baptist Orlando held a memorial service for the 59 victims. What proceeded from this was one of the most jaw-dropping blasphemous statements someone could ever think of. Guest speaker and pastor of Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, Dr. Larry Mills said to those in attendance something which could only be described as straight from the pit of hell:

“…We believe in the Word and what others would have against us – what others would show as a stumbling stone- we’ve elevated to be the head of the corner. And right now no matter what the presence and people of mine may think, that LBGTQ area is the head cornerstone. And we are here to lift up and magnify and allow them to know: that regardless of people’s opinion, regardless of where we are, love triumphs over evil.”

This is in stark contrast to Ephesians 2:20-22, which places Christ as the cornerstone. Larry Mills blasphemed Christ by claiming that workers of an abominable sin are the chief cornerstone. This isn’t just error, it’s flat-out satanic.

This snapshot of First Baptist Orlando raises a lot of concerns in regards to Ligonier deciding to host their conference at their building. Amongst other prominent men of the faith, Pastor John MacArthur originally was scheduled to be a speaker at the event as well. Thankfully, not only did MacArthur withdraw, but he took time at ShepCon 2022 to rebuke First Baptist Orlando two weeks before it took place by quoting Scripture saying, “…By their fruits you shall what? Know them” and drawing a line in the sand between a church adhering to the culture versus standing for the truth.

“Pragmatism basically says, you do what works. In other words, what the culture wants, you give them. And once you decide that you’re going to give the culture what it wants eventually it will take you to the bottom of that culture. And then you’ll have a church, a Southern Baptist church, a first southern Baptist church saying we welcome homosexuals, transgender people, and immoral people…once you decide you’re going to make an alliance with the world with the ill-conceived notion that somehow this is going to make the Gospel more effective, the culture will take you to the bottom.”

Clearly Pastor MacArthur took issue with the messages spewing forth from FBO and echoed a sentiment that many Christians share.

A fair question to ask then, is why didn’t Ligonier take a stand against FBO as well? While MacArthur withdrew, for whatever reasons those were, many prominent speakers remain such as Steven Lawson, Sinclair Ferguson, Robert Godfrey, Stephen Nichols, Burk Parsons, Derek Thomas, and Michael Reeves, amongst others. These men are wonderful brothers in the faith, many having decades long faithful ministries that have benefited an untold amount of believers.

But the fact remains, it is concerning for a faithful ministry to associate itself with a false church that blasphemes Christ and is heretical on its view of Christ and sin. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 states, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” Romans 16:17 says, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.”

Would it be okay to hold a national conference at a Roman Catholic Church? It’s certainly possible that the speakers could be unaware of the heresy espoused by First Baptist Orlando, but the core issue is this: there’s the appearance of association by holding their 2022 National Conference in that building whether FBO pastors and staff are present or not.


Editor’s note. This article was written by Brad Schoolfield as a guest post for Protestia. h/t Doctrinal Watchdog for the vid.

6 thoughts on “John MacArthur Rebukes Church Hosting Ligonier National Conference

  1. That continued compromise and friendship with the world, in order to fill the pews and the collection plates, has, in many cases, led to a complete abandonment of the Gospel. If they ever even knew the Gospel, they’ve forgotten it.

    The Gospel starts with one thing: Sin is bad, and we are all born sinners because Adam sinned.
    “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:23
    “For the wages of sin is death” – Romans 6:23

    It requires repentance
    “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

    Repentance involves turning away from sin.
    “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Cor. 5:17
    “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” – Romans 6:1-2 (and the rest of the chapter)

    I wonder if they even know the Gospel. You can’t remove step 1. If you do, there is no Gospel at all. If sin doesn’t separate you from God, if sin is ok, and you’re fine just the way you think you were born, then why would you need a Savior?

    They’re not just watering it down. They’re completely abandoning it altogether.

    1. You ask them “is sin bad?” you’ll probably hear something like “er, uh, well, uh, that’s above my pay grade, I’m not a biologist”

      Watering down the Gospel? No, they’ve completely rejected it – if they ever knew it in the first place.

    2. We need a Savior to save us from _______, to reconcile us to _____, so that we may have _________. That savior is ______.

      How many would flunk that test?

      To hear them speak, their answers appear to be: A) Everyone and everything but sin. B) Everyone and everything but God. C) Everyone and everything but eternal life. D) Everyone and everything but Jesus.

      If you ask them what is the Gospel, could they even answer?

  2. I agree. But. A building is just a building in the end. Church is when believers gather to worship HIM. Something that FBO doesn’t seem to do.

  3. Are the leaders now at Ligonier just asleep at the wheel or compromised? At least they’re not inviting Ligon Duncan and Al Mohler anymore to participate. That said, they owe everyone an apology for their poor choice.

    1. The critical word concerning holding the recent Ligonier Conference in a church building that normally espouses LBGTQ behavior is: “appearance”.
      God’s Word states that we should protect (immature) Christians. Those who may be just beginning their journey, by refraining from that which may ‘appear’ to them to be evil.

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