Sunday, June 21, 2009

Phil Johnson - grace worthy of imitation

An e-friend sent me this copy of Phil Johnson's response to a question about the Masters' article that I referred to in my Friday post. I'd tried to be gracious, but Phil manages to make me sound sour by comparison. PJ's response can, apparently, be found on the sharperiron forum - wherever that is. Read and learn, O my soul.

Given Dr. Masters' stature, his age, and his history of usefulness for the cause of Christ, I'm happy to let him have his say without feeling the need to argue with him on the points where I disagree. As you note, he makes some valid points and says vital things no one else is saying. Like you, I can't agree with him on every detail of the worship issue completely, and I certainly wouldn't place the importance he does on matters of style per se. (The doctrinal content of our singing and the mindfulness we pay to the lyrics is of much more importance in my judgment than the question of whether we're being accompanied by instruments or not.)Anyway, he has given a message on this subject at every conference I have ever attended with him. In his mind it's the most vital issue facing the church today. No one is likely to change Dr. Masters' mind on that, so all anyone in your position (or mine) can do is listen with an open heart, glean whatever edification we can from his lectures on the worship issue, and be thankful to the Lord for the way He has used Dr. Masters.If Dr. Masters had come to central London and taken the pulpit of a thriving church and let it die while making worship style the one issue he was passionate about, even while his evangelistic testimony in the community completely diminished--then we might be justified in taking him aside and suggesting that his priorities are upside down. But since the opposite is the case, and he took a historic but nearly-dead congregation and shepherded it through a season of growth and fruitful evangelism, so that it is now full every Sunday, I think he is entitled to speak his mind on the worship issue, and I'm thankful to the Lord for all He has accomplished through Dr. Masters.I'm also deeply grateful for Dr. Masters' own faithfulness and clarity on all the crucial doctrinal issues of our time.Given all that, I have no trouble listening to him with great profit even when I disagree. I just have to keep all that in clear perspective.Hope that helps.

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