John MacArthur recently said that while his views on hot-button issues like homosexuality are controversial, his goal as a pastor is to “offend everyone” because any brand of Christianity that is “inoffensive” isn’t Christianity at all.
During an interview, author and conservative personality Ben Shapiro asked MacArthur how he addresses certain “difficult Scriptures,” pointing in particular to passages addressing homosexuality.
MacArthur, who is leader of Grace Community Church of Sun Valley, California, and president of The Master's College and Seminary, said that while there's “no getting around” the fact that the Bible clearly identifies homosexuality as a sin, it’s important to understand it’s “not some kind of sin that leads the parade and is separated by light years from all other sins.”
“That is a sin to which humanity is susceptible, and some people have more strong desires in regards to that sin than other people do,” he said, explaining that same-sex attraction could stem from a number of issues.
“The whole purpose of the Christian message is to confront the sinner’s sin so you can call the sinner to repentance and forgiveness,” he continued. “The sinner doesn’t like that.”
Acknowledging that such a perspective is considered offensive by today's standards, the pastor asserted that his goal “is to offend everyone.”
“That is my initial goal: To tell you that you are without God in the world, that there’s only one Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, that you’re in sin, that sin brings death and punishment, but the good news is that Jesus Christ is the Savior who has provided a way for you to be forgiven by buying your sins with His body on the tree.”
“I offend people all the time because that’s necessary,” he added. “If you try to develop a kind of Christianity that’s inoffensive, that’s not Christianity, it’s not the Gospel.”
Earlier in the interview, MacArthur said that while the Bible instructs Christians to speak “what edifies,” Scripture also tells believers to “dissent when the government is asking us to do something that is wrong.”
“Freedom of speech, for us, is to preach the truth of Christ even when society says it’s against the law,” he said. “Christians have always dissented through history ... and inevitably, when persecution of free speech comes it always comes against the people who have the religious absolutes, because that’s what threatens people’s freedom to sin. So we’re always going to be the culprits.”
Last year, MacArthur came under fire from supporters of the LGBT community after he stated that "no one is gay" and referred to homosexuality as a "vicious sin.”
"People commit adultery, they commit sins of homosexuality, they lie, they steal, they cheat ... That's like saying, 'You know, I keep robbing banks, but I'm a robber. I'm a bank robber. What am I going to do? I'm a bank robber.'"
He added, "That is not an excuse for what you do. Are there certain kind of impulses that lead people in that direction? Yes. But I think one of the really deadly aspects of this is to let people define themselves as gay."
MacArthur contended that people are "not gay any more than an adulterer is hardwired to be forced by his own nature to commit adultery."
"Those are all behavioral sins that are condemned in Scripture," he said. "God didn't hardwire anybody in such a way that they are not responsible for certain behaviors."
During his interview with Shapiro, MacArthur explained that while he is primarily called to preach the Gospel, he can’t avoid “everything political” because he’s also biblically required to “elevate justice and righteousness in the world. “
Society today is “fraught” with moral issues, MacArthur said, adding: “If you are one who has a moral authority, which would be the Word of the Living God, then your responsibility in any society is to make sure God’s moral standards are heard.”
The pastor went on to address the role of Christianity in government, explaining that in recent decades, it’s become “less challenging” to pick a political affiliation.
“Somebody who advocates for the slaughter of babies, which is murder by any biblical definition, any moral definition, that is not a just ruler, that is not a man of mercy,” he explained.
“I can’t vote for that. I don’t care who the other guy is. You’re looking, in some ways, at the lesser of the two evils.”
MacArthur pointed out that, when undergoing surgery, the surgeon’s skill set — not their moral life — is more important. Similarly, the presidency is not a “moral job;” rather, you choose the “best you’ve got.”
“Who has the leadership ability? Who can move things in the right direction? And who’s closest to a biblical moral standard, without expecting he’d be faithful to that, fully.”
MacArthur went on to emphasize that U.S. President Donald Trump can’t be blamed for the breakdown of the traditional family: “He had nothing to do with that, but that’s why the fabric’s coming apart,” he said.
He argued that there are three mechanisms God implemented in society “to govern and constrain it,” the first being “conscience.”
“Conscience only works if you have a defined belief system,” he said. “You can tamper with conscience when you alter belief; when you tamper with truth, or when you eliminate truth, the conscience is lost.”
Second, God designed parents for the benefit of society: “The way to destroy that mechanism is to tear the family to shreds, redefine it, abuse men — turn men into some kind of joke, dispossess them of all moral authority.”
Finally, government is a God-given institution developed to constrain human behavior and to “honor the good and punish the evildoer," and when these three things are destroyed, “you literally have disseminated a culture.”
“Then you take a guy and stick him in a presidential role — you think he’s gonna restore moral authority in a culture? That’s an impossible task,” he concluded.