Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Who Is John Armstrong?

Lighthouse Trails Research blog has an excellent story on John Armstrong's latest flirtation with the emerging church. It reveals the agenda behind those whom Armstrong is now courting.

Here is my letter to Lighthouse Trails commending their story and sharing my own experience with Armstrong:

Thank you for publishing yesterday’s article on John Armstrong. Having sat under this man’s teaching several years ago, I can testify to how he has radically changed. The response given recently by a member of the board of directors of Armstrong’s organization to John MacArthur’s critique of him in MacArthur’s book The Truth Wars is one of many pieces of evidence for Armstrong’s departure from orthodoxy. The response was completely over the top. It heaped abuse on MacArthur but utterly failed to answer the charges against Armstrong in any substantive way.

For example, the writer attempted to mount a defense of Armstrong by claiming that Armstrong can recite the Apostle’s Creed without reservation. Reciting the Apostle’s Creed is hardly a test of orthodoxy; many outright heretics throughout the history of the Church have claimed to believe it. The real question is, what meaning does John Armstrong ascribe to the words of the Apostle’s Creed when he recites it? Does he believe those words have actual, concrete referents, or doesn’t he? We are no closer to an answer after reading the “response” given on Armstrong’s behalf.

The fact is that John Armstrong appears to believe it is not possible to know clearly what the Bible teaches as truth – in other words, he denies the doctrine of the clarity (perspicacity) of Scripture. He believes it is arrogant to say that the Bible teaches specific, understandable truths. He may claim he does not, but that is not only the letter but the spirit and practical effect of his latest writings. His recent switching of his ordination credentials to the Reformed Church in America – the denomination I grew up in – is simply part and parcel of his attempt to make it appear as though he is still “reformed” in his theology – after all, the name of his new denomination has the word “Reformed” in it. Of course, those who know that denomination realize the RCA, like so many others, has gone far off the track of Biblical orthodoxy in recent decades and his now openly embracing New Age false religion, mystical spirituality, and other heresies.

I find it especially painful and troublesome that Armstrong has somehow convinced the respected elder statesman of that denomination, I. John Hesselink, to put his stamp of approval on Armstrong. One can only believe that Dr. Hesselink, who is now well advanced in years, simply is no longer able to recognize the dangers posed to the Church by Armstrong and the like.

The same, however, cannot be said for Wheaton College. How Wheaton can have this man on its faculty teaching “spiritual formation” is simply beyond comprehension – unless Wheaton, too, is abandoning Biblical Christianity and opting instead for a cultured distaste of “the arrogance of certainty” and for the emerging church.

Please keep up your good work. The common person in the pew is simply no match for the verbal tap-dancing of men like John Armstrong. There is an appalling and almost a total lack of discernment in these matters.

The Church desperately needs to be warned of the false teachers that are everywhere – inside the Church, not outside. I am sad to say that I fear John Armstrong is among them. May God keep all of us in Him.


ubfhistoryx said...

Along with what others see as theological about-faces by Armstrong in recent years, he has also embraced and endorsed a group called the University Bible Fellowship, which after years of having a cult reputation (well deserved), is now embarking on a "public relations" campaign to bring guys like Armstrong on board to swear that UBF is just a very zealous church that's just been "misunderstood." After all, UBF also "recites the Apostle's Creed". UBF's track record? See http://rsqubf.info/documents/external/external.html .

Anonymous said...

I recommend going to http://freegroups.net/groups/soundofgrace/ and searching for "john armstrong". It looks like, from the turn of the century, he's promoted or embraced the works-righteousness-tilted teaching of Norm Shepherd, Auburnism, the New Perspective on Paul, ecumenism, and the emergent church. He's really going off the cliff. I hope he doesn't take too many people with him. It makes sense, then, that he'd endorse UBF as almost a "model church", and that they would embrace him as a sometime teacher.

Anonymous said...

"...he's promoted or embraced the works-righteousness-tilted teaching of Norm Shepherd, Auburnism, the New Perspective on Paul, ecumenism, and the emergent church."

And now Armstrong is going ga-ga over the controversial Brother Yun, who claims in his book to have fasted for 74 days without food OR WATER. I can only shake my head at what Armstrong has become.