Life Compass
Keeping You Pointed in the Right Direction

Pragmatic Grace

The new buzz word in Christian circles is Pragmatism. John MacArthur defines the word within the household of faith as, “The [false ]belief that if it produces results then it must be blessed of God … the ends justifying the means.” While I agree that we not compromise the truth and integrity of the Word of God just to do what is seemingly popular, socially acceptable, and approved by the general consensus of people … I also disagree with Mr MacArthur when he states that pragmatism is NOT scriptural. WRONG!

Where the Bible is emphatic we should be emphatic. Where the Bible isn’t… we have some liberty.

Mac feels that pragmatism is robbing pulpits of being dogmatic. Again, I agree that truth cannot change, but the way it is presented can either draw people or push people away. Dogmatic is derived from dogma meaning the rules, rudiments, foundational non changing truth. Many pulpits are dogmatic over non dogma. THAT is a bigger problem  than a pastor who takes a stand against sin but doesn’t scream to the point of shrill over it and seeks the Lord to meet needs in peoples’ lives before admonishing them in another area of their lives.

In a video, Mr. MacArthur goes to great lengths to share his disdain for a pragmatic approach to ministry by providing audio clips of other pastors saying things like, “I need to connect with that guy in the pew who is worrying about meeting his budget, is feeling emotionally detached from his wife, and who is stranger to his kids.” Mac says, just teach the Bible.

Yeah, okay that sounds right and spiritual but if you don’t connect with the person where they are at … you won’t have the opportunity to give them any Bible insight.

When Jesus dealt with the woman at the well He DID NOT start off dealing with her adultery. He dealt with her need … a thirsting soul drinking the wrong water. You might call that relevant … real .. pragmatic!

When He addressed the woman caught in adultery He was presented with the dogma of the Law … her sin demanded immediate payment. Jesus said, “not today.” You might call that mercy … grace … pragmatism!

Then Mac does the ironic in his video presentation against pragmatism … he becomes pragmatic (too funny). He uses “reason” and “logic” (elements he claims are seeds of pragmatism) to assert mass evangelism producing mass decisions are not necessarily of God. Soooo, Billy Graham was a hoax? 3,000 saved on Pentecost was overrated? God didn’t mean it when He said He was glorified when we produce MUCH fruit (John 15:5,8)?

The most obviously example of a pragmatic approach to ministry are the words of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 9:19-23“I am made all things to all mean, that I might by all means save some.”

Hmmmm, me thinks Mac should rethink his opposition to pragmatism as a whole. Again, where the Bible is dogmatic … be dogmatic. Where the Bible isn’t….

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